Team Obama: Focus groups told us they wanted a speech that was flat, repetitive, and disappointing or something

Such is the genius of The One that even his biggest failures are actually huge successes that most people simply haven’t appreciated yet.

Someday, we’ll all see ObamaCare for the masterpiece that it is.

While the pundits are generally calling the president’s Thursday night address mediocre, Obama and his advisers had taken great pains to avoid soaring rhetoric that might have been derided as empty.

Indeed, they extensively tested the president’s speech in dial groups, a type of focus group where voters twist dials to register approval or disapproval of specific passages, and say it tested off the charts. The reaction, they say, was more positive than to Obama’s 2008 acceptance speech in Denver.

In short, the president deliberately dialed it down, stopping well short of the altitudes he is capable of reaching. Perhaps that will prove to be a mistake, but the decision to go with a less rousing approach was carefully considered.

The campaign’s primary goal at the Democratic convention was to provide a concrete sense of what Obama would do in a second term. That was what independent voters wanted, according to the research, and that was the focus in Charlotte.

Yeah, the problem with this embarrassingly feeble bit of spin is that, per Charles Cooke, O really only has one speech left in his repertoire. Whether the focus group loved it or not, that’s what America was going to get last night. He can’t do sweeping vistas and uplift anymore because literally no one outside the hardest-core Obama-bots takes it seriously. The delusion of Hopenchange is now a punchline; if you doubt me, have a look at the Daily Show/Larry David collaboration below. So he’s forced to run through his “things could have been worse” shtick, replete with the same old policy wish list that’s starting to bore even Andrea Mitchell. Just the thought of them holding actual focus groups on last night’s gutterball is funny, in fact. First question: “Did you enjoy this speech more now or the first thousand times you heard it?”

The only people who “liked” what he said last night are, I suspect, partisans strident enough to work for MSNBC whose top priority at the moment is moving the goalposts. See, e.g., Krystal Ball, who thought it was just fine and a useful reminder that we should stop expecting O to be Superman even though he was sold to us four years ago as Superman. That’s his winning message this time around, apparently.

Update: A reader e-mails pointing to the fact that O does, it seems, have a little post-convention bounce. Yes, but read the fine print: Most of the interviews done for Gallup’s poll came before Obama’s speech. He’s riding high on the nice work done on his behalf by Michelle O and Bill Clinton. Let’s see what happens over the weekend now that his own speech is being absorbed by voters.

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