Excerpts from the Globe’s opinion and news analysis blog at www.boston.com/theangle.
Barack Obama didn’t soar above the clouds [Thursday] night. His acceptance speech wasn’t the magic carpet ride he offered as a candidate in 2008.
Instead, it was an address that lived in the real world of limitations and frustrations, one less about hyping hope that acknowledging disappointment. . .
What he didn’t do was outline a clear or compelling way forward. There, his speech shared the failing of Romney’s speech last week.
Instead, much of what the president talked about was what he was against. That is, the Romney-Ryan plans. He drew a hard line, and a sharp distinction, on tax cuts. Romney, he said, would cut taxes for higher earners at the expense of programs that help the middle class — a charge that’s basically true — while he would ask upper earners to pay at the higher Clinton-era rates. He also pledged not to turn Medicare into a voucher, but said little about paring back that program, something experts agree will eventually have to be done.
But he did strike an important chord, and a common bond, on values, talking of citizenship, of shared obligations to one another and to future generations.
— SCOT LEHIGH
CLINTON COMES TO FORMER RIVAL’S DEFENSE IN SPEECH
Twelve years after leaving office, Bill Clinton has achieved a unique status in American politics — part statesman, part salesman, and part chairman of the board of the Democratic Party. All those roles were on display in his convention speech, which was more than a just a personal triumph: It was the case for Barack Obama that Obama couldn’t make for himself. . .
How can a president who has failed to significantly expand employment be the best choice to do so in the future? If he’s running against someone whose policies would mirror those of the previous administration, which presided over the collapse.
How can a president who reduced projected Medicare spending by $716 billion be the best choice to preserve Medicare? If the reductions didn’t touch benefits, and the savings went to help seniors pay for prescription drugs.
How can a president who granted waivers to states seeking to adjust their welfare policies be trusted to avoid creating a new culture of dependence? If those waivers required that states increase employment of former recipients.
Clinton’s case for Obama was fuller and more robust than those answers suggest — but it was those answers that are likely to be remembered by undecided voters in swing states. . .
— PETER S. CANELLOS
IN KERRY’S ATTACKS ON ROMNEY, AN ECHO OF 2004
Back during [John] Kerry’s campaign, [Mitt] Romney, then the Republican governor of Massachusetts, portrayed Kerry as an internally conflicted candidate and a flip-flopper.
In Kerry’s Thursday speech to the Democratic convention, the senator was so intent on making the same charge stick that he alluded to his own classic gaffe from 2004 to underscore that point.
“It isn’t fair to say Mitt Romney doesn’t have a position on Afghanistan,” Kerry said. “He has every position. He was against setting a date for withdrawal — then he said it was right — and then he left the impression that maybe it was wrong to leave this soon. He said it was ‘tragic’ to leave Iraq, and then he said it was fine. He said we should’ve intervened in Libya sooner. Then he ran down a hallway to run away from the reporters asking questions. Then he said the intervention was too aggressive. Then he said the world was a ‘better place’ because the intervention succeeded. Talk about being for it before you were against it!”
— SCOT LEHIGH