Overall, Obama was rather dour save for his crescendo at the end of the speech. It was nowhere near his best speech. However, that is hardly a fair critique because that ship sailed in 2004. He was very Presidential- “The times have changed –- and so have I. I’m no longer just a candidate. I’m the president.” I take that to mean he was assertive and much less cold and intellectual than he is often perceived.
One thing that struck me was that the speech did not feel totally built for his base. Some preaching to the choir, but most of it outlined the choice against Romney argument and built his Commander in Chief visage. This was especially clear in the foreign policy section. This has to be the most non-sensical contrast in the election. There is almost no daylight between Obama’s foreign policy and a hypothetical Romney-foreign policy.
1) The DNC showed that there is no more effective campaigner than Bill Clinton. The GOP has yet to really refute the bulk of Clinton’s substance. I take great heart in that. Not just because I appreciate the arguments but because out of both conventions Clinton was the only speaker to address actual policy differences between the parties with depth, substance, and length. He mustered ethos, pathos, and logos to make a policy-oriented argument for a candidate. The candidates should feel ashamed they lack that ability or are restrained by their consultants from using it.
2) Conventions matter, but a bump is unlikely. Unemployment fell today, by proxy of people leaving the workforce. That is bad news. At the end of the day the President has less control steering the economy than other factors. Nonetheless, this report will tamper what little momentum may have come out of the DNC. I am not a quantitative scholar and so I don’t prognosticate but those I watch (and whose methods I pay attention to because method matters) look for post-convention polls to return to pre-convention levels.