Maybe the Democrats should double down and focus their convention on Obama's actual message in that maladroit riff.
Elizabeth Warren, who created the prototype "you didn't build it alone" speechlet, sent an email to supporters late last night that could be the keynote in Charlotte. Subject line: We built it together:
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gave a speech tonight at the Republican National Convention about the Greatest Generation.Obama's message throughout the 2008 campaign, minus the contemporary illustrations, was pretty much exactly the same. In his bid to move the nation's political center leftward, he used the same three-step narrative over and over:
Let's talk about what really made the Greatest Generation so great.
Coming out of the Great Depression, America was at a crossroads. The future of our economy -- and our democracy -- was at stake.
We made a decision together as a country: To invest in ourselves, in our kids, and in our future. For nearly half a century, that's just what we did.
And it worked. For nearly 50 years, as our country got richer, our families got richer -- and as our families got richer, our country got richer.
And then about 30 years ago, our country moved in a different direction. New leadership attacked wages. They attacked pensions. They attacked health care. They attacked unions. And now we find ourselves in a very different world from the one our parents and grandparents built. We are now in a world in which the rich skim more off the top in taxes and special deals, and they leave less and less for our schools, for roads and bridges, for medical and scientific research -- less to build a future.
Tonight, Chris Christie and the Republicans told the American people that we're to blame for our broken economy. He told families to tighten their belts. He told seniors to live on less. He told teachers to stop fighting for fair pay.
He never, ever mentioned how much more the richest have taken, and he had no mention that those who broke our economy still haven't been held accountable.
The Republicans believe in an America that is rigged for the big guys -- giant corporations that can hire an army of lobbyists, ship jobs overseas, and take their profits to the Cayman Islands.
That's not who we are as a people -- and that's not the kind of country we want to be.
We built America together, and that's what makes America great.
1. America was built on a commitment to shared prosperity:
But if we unite this country around a common purpose, if we act on the responsibilities that we have to each other and to our country, then we can launch a new era of opportunity and prosperity. I know we can do this because Americans have done this before. Time and again, we've recognized that common stake that we have in each other's success. That's how people as different as Hamilton and Jefferson came together to launch the world's greatest experiment in democracy. That's why our economy hasn't just been the world's greatest wealth creator – it's bound America together, it's created jobs, and it's made the dream of opportunity a reality for generations of Americans (New York, March 27, 2008)2. We went off the rails in the Reagan era and more so in the W. era:
We did not arrive at the doorstep of our current economic crisis by some accident of history. This was not an inevitable part of the business cycle that was beyond our power to avoid. It was the logical conclusion of a tired and misguided philosophy that has dominated Washington for far too long.3. We need to renew our commitment to invest in the common welfare:
George Bush called it the Ownership Society, but it’s little more than a worn dogma that says we should give more to those at the top and hope that their good fortune trickles down to the hardworking many. For eight long years, our President sacrificed investments in health care, and education, and energy, and infrastructure on the altar of tax breaks for big corporations and wealthy CEOs – trillions of dollars in giveaways that proved neither compassionate nor conservative (Raleigh, NC, June 9, 2008)
That's why, throughout this campaign, I've put forward a series of proposals that will foster economic growth from the bottom up, and not just from the top down. That's why the last time I spoke on the economy here in New York, I talked about the need to put the policies of George W. Bush behind us – policies that have essentially said to the American people: "you are on your own"; because we need to pursue policies that once again recognize that we are in this together (New York, March 27).In other words, we built it together; we need to marshal the will to do it again.
Update: Nicholas Kristof has pretty much the same thought