A strong, positive message must come out of Charlotte

Tonight, the Democratic counteroffensive at the Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina starts. But unlike Mitt Romney and the Republican convention in Tampa, Florida, there is no need for Obama to tell the American voters who he is. They know, after almost four years as president.

The question is whether Obama deserves another four years in the White House, and the voters’ judgment on the matter will decide the electfion in November.

It’s clear that the great wave of enthusiasm for the 2008 elections is gone. But much loyalty remains and Obama, as a person, is infinitely more “likable” than Romney, who barely won any new supporters on that point in Tampa. A new Gallup Survey shows that Romney received only “lukewarm” reactions to his speech there, and while 40 percent said it is now “more likely” that they would vote for Romney, 38 percent responded that it was “less likely”. And according to Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight, Romney has lost ground, both as to the number of electoral votes and his chances to win in November, which now stand at only 25 percent.

So the numbers are not really strong for the Republican challenger and his vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, who continues to get beat up in the media for his half-truths, the latest concerning his time when he ran his last marathon. “Since When Did Paul Ryan Become a Liar”? asks Jonathan Chait in New York Magazine.

Romney’s insistent message, “you cannot tell us that we are better off today. America has been patient, but today it’s time to turn the page,” must surely resonate with many. The Democrats’ response in Charlotte is expected to be “absolutely,” we are better off now, after all, since the economic collapse in 2008.

For Obama and the Democrats, however, now is not the time to get caught in some kind of negativism, in an endless, tedious, long line of critical statements aimed at the Republicans. The offensive must be positive and contain a specific message about where Obama intends to take America during the next four years. He must convince the voters that he is best placed to continue the economic recovery that is underway, albeit oh, so slowly, and that it is not a good strategy for the country to change leaders midstream. He must also, according to Michael Tomasky in the Daily Beast, tell the truth about what it really would mean for the country if Romney/Ryan win this fall.

Three exciting days await in Charlotte!