The (DNC) Circus Comes to Charlotte
For the most part, political conventions today are carefully scripted affairs, the platform hammered out in advance, the nominations a foregone conclusion. More than anything it is a festive gathering for thousands of partisans being rewarded for years of financial contributions, door-knocking, and phone-banking. Rarely do we see such drama as the contested Republican nomination of 1976 between Ford and Reagan, and certainly nothing like the 1912 Republican convention where the Roosevelt and Taft contingents were so bitterly divided that barbed wire lined the stage under the bunting.
The 2012 GOP convention was meant to let voters see the personal side of Mitt Romney, a man tight-lipped about his private life, religion, and charitable endeavors, painted as a ruthless businessman who cares only for profits. While toned down, it largely succeeded in its goals. Beyond that, Republicans lauded the greatness of the American entrepreneurial spirit that built this country, and rejected the idea that government gets credit for all we have.
The Democrat National Convention, on the other hand, turned into a freak show of radicals panting breathlessly about evil Republicans and the coming holocaust if Romney gets elected. It was a celebration of taxpayer funded abortions, government dependency until death, calls to steal more from the producers to give to the slothful, plus a tribute to their messianic figurehead, Barack Obama.
There were speeches by an eclectic assortment of whiners, conspiracy theorists, and grievance mongers, including the infamous Sandra Fluke (whose singular claim to fame is demanding you fund her birth control, but not judge her for her promiscuity), Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice (who warned of a reign of terror under a President Romney, where women would no longer be able to kill their unborn children at will), and anti-capitalist Senate candidate Elizabeth “Fauxcahontus” Warren (a woman famous lying about being a Cherokee Indian, and for her attacks on business and the free market). It featured the coma-inducing droning of John Kerry, the wealthiest member of Congress (who acquired that wealth by marrying the widow of a rich Republican) and a man who accused his fellow Vietnam veterans of murder.
Obama also made the tactical mistake of having former President Bill Clinton make the nominating speech, a speech widely acknowledged by both sides as one of masterful rhetoric, even if playing loose with the truth.
And so it was that Obama’s speech was a letdown. It was a letdown even before it started, moving from a huge NFL stadium to a much smaller arena when it became clear there would be many empty seats, even after giving away free tickets. Obama blamed it on a chance of rain, marking Obama’s own pseudo-messianic skill of turning water into whine.
Gone was the lofty rhetoric of hope and change from 2008, and claims the rise of the oceans would slow and the Earth begin to heal by virtue of his very nomination. Gone was talk of no red America and blue America but the United States of America. Instead, we were treated to an amalgam of previous speeches, repeating ad nauseum so many of the same catch phrases, claims, and promises that were it given by anyone else they’d be convicted of plagiarism. There was little focus on his two signature “achievements,” the stimulus bill and ObamaCare, and for good reason. Both led to massive new debt while increasing unemployment, and one is a government takeover of healthcare more expensive and unpopular now than the day it was signed into law.
Alternating between condescending, professorial aloofness, and that contrived, street-wise “If feel ya” tone, Obama’s speech turned into a long, meandering list of excuses as to why his presidency has not delivered on its promises, but promises it will get better…eventually…if he just gets four more years. Backing away from a post-inauguration interview where he admitted “If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition,” Obama now says “I won’t pretend that the path that I am offering is quick, or easy…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 us more than a few years to solve the challenges that have built up over decades.”
No sooner had Obama finished his speech than fact-checkers were questioning its veracity, like the whopper that he rescued the American auto industry, and American auto companies were once again number one in the world. Not so much. First, he didn’t save the American auto industry; he bailed out the UAW labor union (which spent tens of millions to get him elected) and did so by taxing millions of small business owners and working class Americans to pay the bill. As a reward, taxpayers now have a $25 billion loss on the deal. To make matters worse, Toyota, after struggling to rebuild following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, has surpassed GM in global auto sales, and Volkswagen is projected to surpass GM by the end of the year. Even the claims of profitability require a caveat; namely, the fact that a significant portion of vehicles sold by GM this year were to the federal government’s fleet, which were paid for by who? That’s right, the American taxpayer.
He revisited the claim of tax cuts for 95% of Americans, a math miracle considering 47% of Americans pay no federal income tax. He touched lightly on healthcare, but avoided the old claim that his mother had to fight insurance companies to get coverage while battling cancer, an emotion-inducing claim later proven to be a lie. Hilariously, Joe Biden resurrected that very claim. That guy is the GOP’s MVP, like an Energizer Bunny armed with weapons-grade stupidity, whose philosophy is that no hole is so deep that he can’t dig it a little deeper.
Maybe the most shocking display, even for a once-proud Democrat Party now home to a motley collection of bitter and jealous malcontents, was watching the convention chairman call for a final vote on the amended party platform. After suffering an embarrassing public backlash following the revelation that the platform had removed all references to God, and Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, America was treated to the sight of the convention chairman squirming as, for three consecutive voice votes, the delegates lustily voted down the motion to add a reference to God. When he claimed that it was the opinion of the chair that the “ayes” had achieved a two-thirds majority, he was greeted by furious boos. While the Apostle Peter collapsed in anguish upon realizing that he’d thrice denied his God, these Democrats felt no such shame.
Outside of the convention, the news is not any better for Obama. With karmic timing, the U.S. national debt hit $16 TRILLION at the opening of the DNC. After the close, new labor numbers came out, reporting the creation of an anemic 96,000 jobs, not nearly enough to improve the economy, and barely enough to fill the stadium in which he was supposed to give his acceptance speech. He grabbed tightly to the report that unemployment had dropped slightly to 8.1%, ignoring that the number dropped only because 368,000 Americans gave up hope and dropped out of the workforce.
There is an old saying that no news is good news, and right now Obama is wishing that the news would stop altogether until November 7th. For the first time in his life he has a record to run on, and it isn’t a very good one.