I thought Obama had to do two things tonight. One was tell the nation what he was going to do in the next four years that he hadn’t done in the past four years. He did some of that–cut the deficit, cut oil imports, improve fuel economy–but there were no big ideas in the speech. It was a speech of a man who was tired of the game. The other thing that he had to do was lower expectations. That he did do.
He made several references to the seriousness of the economic crisis. He showed some enthusiasm for attacking Romney and Ryan, but nothing new, just the predictable attacks on the banks. There weren’t a lot of opportunities for the Democratic delegates to cheer. Obama was like Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner, a sadder but wiser man after four tough years in office. CNN spent a lot of time talking about the enthusiasm gap between Tampa and Charlotte. I think it’s real. After being one-upped by Clinton last night, Obama is going to have to raise the level of his game.