What SMBs Can Take Away from the Democratic National Convention

BY: ON SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 08, 2012

Fresh off the heels of the Republican National Convention, the Democrats made the case for another four years for Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. When sticking the conventions side-by-side, there really isn't much between them. Plenty of pageantry, some pomp and circumstance here and there, but the bottom line for such conventions remain to make a case for their party's candidate.

And plenty of speeches.

Much like the RNC, the Democratic National Convention showcased many of the biggest names and players in the party. The biggest speeches of the convention came from First Lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, and of course, the main event, President Barack Obama.

Although the convention itself was the Democrats' time to shine, the tone of the convention may have shifted somewhat due to remarks earlier in the week by Republican opposition. The question posed by Republicans was this; are you better off than you were four years ago?

"The president can say a lot of things,” Vice Presidential hopeful Paul Ryan said in a campaign stop just following his party's own convention. "But he can't tell you you are better off.”

Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus backed up Ryan by stating “the Barack Obama pixie dust is gone.”

Joe Biden responded to Ryan's remarks asking "You want to know whether we're better off? I've got a little bumper sticker for you. Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive." The duo will face off during the Vice Presidential debate on October 11th in Danville, Kentucky.

The Democrats took the “are you better off” question to heart throughout the convention, with former President Bill Clinton addressing the question in his own speech during the second night of the convention.

“President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did,” Clinton began. “No president— not me or any of my predecessors could have repaired all the damage in just four years. But conditions are improving and if you'll renew the President's contract you will feel it.”

Clinton's speech was somewhat of an enigma, much of which was off-the-cuff and represented a classic Bill Clinton monologue; composed, conversational and anything but brief. Democrats saw Clinton's speech as a huge moment for the convention and the party itself, especially considering the tension between Clinton and Obama since the fallout of Hilary Clinton's campaign in 2008. Clinton highlighted many of his own successes in the speech, which caused the Romney campaign to quickly point out that Democrats are choosing between Obama and Romney, not Romney and Clinton, and that pointing toward the nostalgia of the Clinton days will do nothing to change the face of the current American landscape.

Regardless, Clinton made his endorsement of Obama full-throated, meanwhile also speaking on how the President's election would spell good news for jobs and American businesses.

“I like the argument for President Obama's re-election a lot better. He inherited a deeply damaged economy, put a floor under the crash, began the long hard road to recovery, and laid the foundation for a modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses, and lots of new wealth for the innovators.”

While Clinton's job at the convention was to provide a strong, experienced backing for the President, Michelle Obama was responsible for backing up Obama's character. The President has been noted for his charisma and personality, especially since his days as a candidate prior to the 2008 Presidential election. This contrasts starkly with Mitt Romney, whom many at the RNC, including wife Ann Romney, felt the need to humanize during their convention.

“I have seen firsthand that being President doesn’t change who you are,” Michelle Obama said of her husband on the first night of the convention. “It reveals who you are."

There was plenty on the President’s shoulders during the final night of the convention. With a huge speech from Bill Clinton the night prior, a looming jobs report the next day and plenty of voters still left to reach out to, Obama had his hands full. Did he deliver?

The thesis of President Obama's speech, as perhaps should be expected, was that the country needs to finish what it has started in terms of the economy.

“Now, I won't pretend the path I'm offering is quick or easy; I never have,” Obama stated, early on in the speech. “You didn't elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth. And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades.”

President Obama gave mention to “businesses” eight times during the speech.

“I've cut taxes for those who need it — middle-class families, small businesses. But I don't believe that another round of tax breaks for millionaires will bring good jobs to our shores, or pay down our deficit.” This remark speaks directly to the President's desire to raise taxes on those making more than $250,000 per year.

Critics of the speech stated that President Obama wasn't particularly specific in terms of what he planned to do to restore America's economy. Mitt Romney received similar criticism during his speech at the RNC, providing a five-point plan for America's economy future, yet little else in terms of specifics.

A full transcript of President Obama's speech can be found here.

It seems that both parties are still in the “us versus them” stages when it comes to politics and policy. Hopefully the real red meat of each party's plans will come out sooner or later, because right now all we have are little details here and there. Now that the conventions are over and the Presidential debates are just around the corner, we'll understand what both the candidate and incumbent truly have in store for small businesses.

About the Author

Brent Barnhart

Brent Barnhart is a freelance content writer specializing in topics such as Internet marketing and content marketing for small businesses. His goal is to help business owners find their voices online and improve their content strategies. You can reach Brent or find out more at brentwrites.com.

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