Hoping for change in Obama's acceptance speech


Four years ago, when I watched Barack Obama accept the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in Denver's Mile High Stadium, I was hopeful about the prospects for change, but disappointed by his safely centrist acceptance speech. This year, opting to watch tonight's speech on television rather than being there, the only hope I feel is that Obama will finally focus on fighting for the 99 percent, which seems like his best chance of keeping his job.

Frankly, I had just about given up on two-party politics – cynical about the feckless Democrats, refusing to be driven by fear of Republican boogie-men, ready to advocate for the Guardian to endorse Green Party nominee Jill Stein – when the Democrats speaking at the DNC rediscovered their populism and turned their rhetorical guns on the predatory rich who are exploiting most Americans.

“People feel like the system is rigged against them,” Elizabeth Warren, the consumer advocate and Senate candidate from Massachusetts, told the convention last night. “And here's the painful part: They're right.”

Yes, they are right. Most people understand that both the political and economic systems are rigged games controlled by powerful interests, for powerful interests. And it's good to hear top Democrats sounding that theme again, as First Lady Michelle Obama did Tuesday night and former President Bill Clinton did last night.

Obama has been battered by his bi-partisan approach these last four years. Aggressive conservatives fought his every move, demonizing the first black president in ways that defy reason, labeling him a socialist taking over the health care for pushing health care reform that left insurance companies in charge and requires people to buy coverage, an idea long advocated by Republicans. And Progressives felt like Obama sold them out on issue after issue, from extending tax breaks on the rich to propping up predatory banks to escalating the wars on drugs and Afghanistan.

Now, Obama finds himself in a tight race with a Republican ticket that insanely wants to “double down on trickle down,” as Clinton put it. And if Obama thinks his centrist approach of four years ago is going to win this race – and, more importantly, break the debilitating political gridlock that his conciliatory approach and conservative intransigence have created – then all of us concerned about rising plutocracy could be sorely disappointed.

At this point, I'm not yet ready to place my hope back in a president whose unwillingness to fight for traditional Democratic Party values has delayed meaningful action on this country's most pressing problems. But tonight, in setting the tone and themes for this election and his second term, my hope is that he makes a change and begins to fight for my side and my vote.

Where to watch: Rather than surrounded by tens of thousands of hopeful Democrats in a stadium, like four years ago, I'll be surrounded by a few dozen hopeful Democrats at a watch party sponsored by the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee. Join us at the Laborer's Local 261, 3271 18th Street, San Francisco. It is from 6-8:30pm and the suggested donation is $25.


Talk is cheap.

Posted by marcos on Sep. 06, 2012 @ 2:00 pm

We are screwed. This program is a rerun.

Clinton never had his epiphany until he was out of power.

It is all a side show.

Obama won't miss a mortgage payment or a meal if he loses. No matter the outcome, everybody wins except for all of us.

Posted by lillipublicans on Sep. 06, 2012 @ 2:59 pm

It must be hard to live being so negative all the time. I mean - it has its place certainly but your outlook is exceedingly grim.

Posted by Troll II on Sep. 06, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

I recall at college, the left-wing activists rarely had any sense of humor, and certainly couldn't laugh at themselves.

It takes a pessimistic outlook to feel that the world is all wrong and against you, and that everything has to change.

Most normal, moderate people are happy optimists.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 06, 2012 @ 3:27 pm

Yeah, let's dial back to the fifties with syrupy feel-good Americanism that is thoroughly out of touch with what's happening to the planet...from global warming to mass extinction of species to the rape and pillage of the planet by corporate interests. Y'all put on your rose-colored glasses. Don't worry, be happy.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 06, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

are concerned about global warming.

Your fifties straw man is odd.

Posted by matlock on Sep. 06, 2012 @ 10:13 pm

-- and we're supposed to "know" that there is nothing we can do about it. Our concern is really just a prop to justify calling ourselves "normal" or "moderate."

Don't even get us started about extinctions or corporate power, that isn't "moderate" at all.

People who bring up strange topics are "odd" -- not normal.

Listen to matlock, he's a ""moderate.

Posted by lillipublicans on Sep. 07, 2012 @ 10:23 am

I fear that you're both right, but I'm trying to remain open-minded. Obama has to see that his old approach didn't work -- either in helping the Democrats' agenda or remaining personally popular -- and I do think think he's smart enough to perhaps change course midway through his presidential reign.

Posted by steven on Sep. 06, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

Look, I'm no fan of Matt Gonzalez, but four years ago, he challenged people to do some critical thinking about the man, and not just blindly invest their hopes in someone who delivers feel-good rhetoric. You're a journalist~ follow the money, and you'll quickly see who Obama is really beholden to. If you look at his voting record you'll soon discover that Obama's allegience has NEVER been to the little guy, but to the corporations who will funnel at least a billion dollars into his campaign coffers~ corporations like the nuclear and coal interests, bankers and war profiteers. Oh, and Wall Street. You're a journalist, right? So you have no excuse not to check out his record. Or do you prefer prettified speeches dressed up in bogus populism? That's some lazy-ass journalism (sorry, but I have to call it as I see it).

Posted by lp on Sep. 06, 2012 @ 4:39 pm

self-deceit and denial that liberals practice. (Such as holding out hope that a servant of the ruling class is going to start working for the interests of the middle class, working class and poor.) But yeah, Steve could at least watch INSIDE JOB.

Posted by Michael W. on Sep. 06, 2012 @ 9:14 pm

For the most part, Steven and Tim are excellent journalists. But when election time rolls around, they seem to lose all their marbles. I do feel a bit guilty about my mean words towards Steven. Maybe it's not his fault. I mean, perhaps you can't get away with writing for a liberal paper without toeing the line and practicing self censorship because otherwise they'd fire your ass. Still, it IS lazy-ass journalism if you don't care enough to research a candidates record, and report on it truthfully. And it does a disservice to his readers to feed us a line like "Oh gee, I'm still sitting around waiting for Obama to change. Maybe this will be the year when he gets behind his progressive base." Steven and Tim are smarter than that, and are certainly capable of better reporting.

Posted by lp on Sep. 07, 2012 @ 2:51 pm

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 06, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

same things he's been doing for the last four years. There is no reason to believe there will be any change.

For me, that's fine, as I want a moderate Prez and not a revolutionary one. But Obama doesn't need the far left voters as they have nowhere else to go anyway. Obama needs the moderate voters and they don't want socialism or anything that sounds like it.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 06, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

and we don't. Obama is a reactionary president dressed up disguise.

Posted by lillipublicans on Sep. 06, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

Purity progressives always feel that way - no one ever measures up to their impossibly high standards. They're constantly disappointed.

Posted by Troll II on Sep. 06, 2012 @ 4:38 pm

They keep moving the goal posts.

Posted by matlock on Sep. 06, 2012 @ 10:17 pm

Either Obama is net empowering the 1% or he is net empowering the 99%, the answer is clear, he's screwing the 99% to keep the 1% comfy and in so doing is condemning tens of millions of middle class Americans to economic insecurity and eventual poverty.

Posted by marcos on Sep. 07, 2012 @ 7:49 am

Can *anybody* who pays attention continue to believe that he is a "moderate"?

Posted by lillipublicans on Sep. 07, 2012 @ 10:18 am

Obama’s Kill List – The president claims the authority to assassinate anyone, including U.S. citizens, at any time anywhere in the world

Indefinite Detention expanded by Obama – Under Sections 1021 &102 of the NDAA, the president has the right to lock up any person, including U.S. citizens, without trial or due process.

Arbitrary Justice – The president can decide if you will be tried in a federal or military court.

Extraordinary Rendition – The Obama administration says it is not continuing the abuses of this practice under Bush, but it insists on the unfettered right to order such transfers - including the possible transfer of U.S. citizens.

Warrantless Searches – The president may now order warrantless surveillance, including a new capability to force companies and organizations to turn over information on citizens' finances, communications and associations. Obama extended this provision of the Patriot Act in 2011.

Immunity From Judicial Review – Like the Bush administration, the Obama administration has successfully pushed for immunity for companies that assist in warrantless surveillance of citizens, blocking the ability of citizens to challenge the violation of privacy.

Secret Evidence – The government now routinely uses secret evidence to detain individuals and employs secret evidence in federal and military courts.

War Crimes – When courts in countries such as Spain moved to investigate Bush officials for war crimes, the Obama administration reportedly urged foreign officials not to allow such cases to proceed, despite the fact that the United States has long claimed the same authority with regard to alleged war criminals in other countries.

Posted by lp on Sep. 06, 2012 @ 4:56 pm

Like you've done consistently. Obama has let us down by not standing with our sheriff - Romney will clearly be a better option.

Posted by Troll II on Sep. 06, 2012 @ 5:14 pm

at Burning Man, dressed as a schoolgirl.

Posted by Ruth Bladder Ginsu on Sep. 07, 2012 @ 9:48 am