The Conventions are finally over. This week, Congress is back in session. One would hope that that would meanÂ itâ€™sÂ policy time, not politics time here in Washington. Unfortunately,Â that hope is just as vain as Obamaâ€™s hope to lower the seas.Â The politicking will only intensify as we get closer to Election Day.
Neither Convention was a huge success. The RNC was, like their presidential candidate, perfectly competent but uninspiring.
But at least they had competence. The Democrats had proceduralÂ chaos, inclement weather, security issues, and some notably embarrassing speeches, particularly that of former Michigan Governor JenniferÂ Granholm.
First theÂ DemocratsÂ took God out of the platform. Then they tried to put Him back in.Â Half of the arenaÂ booed God three times. They rejected Cardinal Dolanâ€™s offer to pray, butÂ let him onlyÂ when it became a controversy.Â Democrats tried in 2004 and 2008 to appear religious because of George W. Bushâ€™s appeal among the supposedly lock-step evangelical values voters. The strategy failed in 2004, but somehow worked in 2008. Theyâ€™re not even trying it in 2012.
The RNC stage was an important opportunity for Governor Romney to introduce himself directly to the average voter, unmediated by reporters.Â His was mostly a positive message, and he generally avoided negative attacks on the President; it was a wise strategy: weâ€™ve seen this President for four years, and we know who he is. Romney, on the other hand, is still known primarily from Democratic attacks in the media and in advertisements. Romney seized the moment, and looked like a President giving a State of the Union, entering the arenaÂ shaking hands up the aisle.
In contrast, what was there for President Obama to say? Have we not heard it all already? He has done nothing but talk for four years as president, after getting elected for doing nothing but talk for four years as a Senator.Â Therefore, of necessity, Obama had to recycle some material. Wolf Blitzer called it â€śa lot of stuff weâ€™ve heard before.â€ť Savannah Guthrie spoke of â€śan excitement gap.â€ťÂ Even Mother Jonesâ€™ Kevin Drum admitted that Obama â€śphoned it in.â€ťÂ When the press is skeptical of Obama, then you know that heâ€™s in trouble.
The speech is a microcosm of Obamaâ€™s bigger problems: he has already said everything that he can say. He has tried every strategy available to him; he has promised to cut the deficit in half; he has promised all sortsÂ of new entitlements and payouts. Similarly, he hasÂ triedÂ everything that he could try: he has tried Keynesian stimulus; he has tried health care reform; he has tried Wall Street Reform. He has shot all his arrows. In his defense, what was he supposed to say?
Even if, hypothetically, he made the speech of his lifeâ€”a Gettysburg Address, for exampleâ€”would that change anything?There are fewer Americans working than when Obama was inaugurated, and fewer than when the 800-billion dollar Keynesian experiment was passed. Not even Bill Clinton could talk his way out of that one.
We also saw at the DNC, in marked contrast to â€śhope and change,â€ť Elizabeth Warren repeating three times that â€śthe game is riggedâ€ť against the working man. If so, then why are we bothering to listen to you? Letâ€™s all just go home. Also, if this is so, are the Democratic President and Senate to blame? Why should we elect you to the Senate if your party already controls it and is doing, even in your estimation, a bad job?Â Elizabeth Warrenâ€™s defeatism has never been popular in American politics; we are, rightly or wrongly, an optimistic people.
As if a lousy Convention were not enough, the jobs numbers came out Friday.Â They were bad, but certainly could have been worse. Unemployment fell by two tenths of a percent, from 8.3% to 8.1%, asÂ 96,000 net jobs were created, andâ€”much more importantlyâ€”368,000 dropped out of the workforce altogether. Keep in mind that we need to create at least 125,000 jobs just to keep pace with population growth. I need a recovery from this recovery! Compare this to Reaganâ€™s recovery, when the workforce actuallyÂ grew!
Despite the dispiriting news that the workforce had (again!) shrunk, the hugely symbolic number of 8.3% dropped. If it ever drops below 8% before the election, even if itâ€™s because of people leaving the workforce, the Obama Administration will run with it. They have two more chances: the October jobs report comes outÂ the FridayÂ before the election.
Comments are closed.