Were tired, Mr. President.
Liberals and conservatives and, especially, the independents you need to reach.
Were tired of worrying about the size and lifespan of our paychecks. Were tired of waiting for customers to start filling our stores the way they once did. Were tired of knowing that the next middling jobs report will be met with criticism and promises, but not solutions.
Tonight, when you accept the Democratic nomination on the blue stage of Time Warner Cable Arena, you have the opportunity to say more.
Last week in this space, we called on Mitt Romney to use his Republican acceptance speech to provide details about his economic policies. Romney chose not to do so, and Democrats this week in Charlotte have obligingly filled in the gaps for Americans. Theyve noted that the middle class will likely have to pay for tax cuts Romney has promised to the affluent. Theyve explained that historically, those kinds of tax cuts for job creators dont result in a more robust economy.
We expect youll say some of the same tonight, and those contrasts, both fiscal and social, are important for voters to hear. But you also need to make a case for yourself, and it cant be the usual case you make.
Unlike with Mr. Romney, Americans already know much of what their president believes. They know he values government as a regulator of behavior that can harm us and an investor in things that can help. They know his social values gay marriage, abortion rights, equal pay for women. They know, too, that what drives most of his policies is a belief that America benefits when all Americans have a chance at being better.
Its a theme weve heard a lot this week, and most Americans agree with it in principle. But most Americans are concerned right now with their own wallets. Harsh as the reality may seem, this election has been and will be about our individual economies, not our collective opportunity.
Heres another reality: Voters know that Washington wont be much different if they decide to keep the incumbent in November. Congress will still be split or perhaps fully Republican and those Republicans will be just as intent on obstructing the presidents vision as they have been for the previous four years.
So Americans want to know what, specifically, their president will do differently. Beyond keeping the status quo of the Bush tax cuts, what will the administration propose to significantly help the middle class that everyone is talking so much about this week? How, specifically, can jobs be created and a $16 trillion debt reduced? Thus far, in part because of Republican resistance, the administration has only chipped at the surface of these issues. That resistance isnt going away. Whats going to change this time?
In the end, different is what Americans will vote for this year, and tonight the incumbent needs to explain what his version of different will be. We know thats not typical fare for the last night of a national party convention. But outside the arena, Americans arent much in the mood for placards and confetti. Were tired, Mr. President. What are you going to do about it?