President Barack Obama pledged during his speech at the Democratic National Convention that he would tell the American people hard truths. "I won't pretend the path I'm offering is quick or easy," Obama said. "I never have. 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."
The truth is Obama used his speech to attack the budget Paul Ryan authored without offering a real plan of his own to avert the looming debt crisis. "You can choose a future where we reduce our deficit without sticking it to the middle class," Obama said. "Independent experts say that my plan would cut our deficits by $4 trillion." The plan that Obama was talking about is designed to reduce deficits by $1.7 trillion, not $4 trillion. It was defeated 97-0 in the Senate and 414-0 in the House of Representatives. It's a plan that, even if it were to pass miraculously, is "unsustainable" in the long-term, as Obama's own Treasury secretary has acknowledged. It's a plan that doesn't have the support of anybody but Obama, which is to say it's really not a plan at all.
During his speech, Obama attacked Medicare reform, but in four years as president he hasn't proposed his own plan to save it. Obama also touted his tax plan: "I want to reform the tax code so that it's simple, fair, and asks the wealthiest households to pay higher taxes on incomes over $250,000, the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was president." But this is the plan Obama ran on four years ago. Why didn't he push it through when Democrats had a huge-majority in the House and a super-majority in the Senate?
Obama's DNC speech was the last chance of his campaign to propose new policy ideas or reframe the debate. But he didn't do that. He simply served up a four-year-old campaign pledge to raise taxes on the wealthy, an empty promise to reduce the deficit, and plenty of snarky and demagogic attacks on his opponents.