With political convention season quickly approaching, now would be a good time to take a look back at Barack Obama’s much-vaunted, Styrofoam pillar, Democratic Nomination Acceptance Speech at Invesco Field in 2008 and do a little comparison of fantasy versus reality. At the time of the big speech, he was accused, and rightly so, of lifting lines (more kindly, drawing inspiration) for his speech from the fictional portrayal of the nation’s Chief Executive in the movie The American President. Obama, in fact, told the movie’s screenwriter Aaron Sorkin that he intended to do just that.
One such instance comes from the climatic scene of the movie when President Andrew Shepherd (Michael Douglas) makes an unannounced visit to the White House Press Room and calls out his Republican rival for office. “We have serious problems to solve and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you Bob Rumson (Richard Dreyfus) is not the least bit interested in solving it. He’s interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who is to blame for it. That ladies and gentlemen is how you win elections…”
Obama’s parallel line in his Invesco Field Speech was, “The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook….They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan Horse for higher taxes and abandonment of traditional values. And that is to be expected. Because if you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare voters. If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from. You make a big election about small things. And you know what – it’s worked before.”