September 08, 2012 at 12:47 pm
Odds and ends from two weeks of conventioneering:
- At their convention in Tampa, Republicans hypothesized that President Obama couldn’t run on his record. But run on his record is exactly what he set about doing last week in Charlotte. Democrats made health care reform, the bailout of the auto industry gay marriage, gays serving in the military, student financial aid, the economy, the death of Osama bil Laden and the end of the war in Iraq the centerpieces of their convention. Of course they spun them all, some to the point of making observers dizzy, but they didn’t hide from the Obama record.
- In a speech peppered with good lines, Bill Clinton delivered one of his better ones when he explained his success at producing a balanced budget. “I always give a one-word answer: Arithmetic,” he said. He failed to mention that during the first two years of his presidency his focus was on issues like national health care reform and gays in the military. The national debt grew.
- It was after his party took a beating in the 1994 elections that he began to embrace the concepts of a balanced budget and welfare reform, leading to smaller deficits and eventually a surplus. Part of Clinton’s success can be traced to his ability to gauge the sentiment of voters and shift course accordingly. Perhaps the one-word answer to the balanced budget question ought to be “Newt.”
- Clinton also said that Republican administrations had quadrupled the national debt before he took office and that Republican George W. Bush doubled it after Clinton left office. As incredible as those numbers sound, they’re accurate. The national debt went from roughly $1 trillion when Ronald Reagan took office in 1980 to about $4.5 trillion when Clinton came in in 1992. When Clinton left office the number was $5.6 trillion and it shot to $10.7 trillion during the eight years of the Bush administration.
- Left unsaid is that while it took 16 years for the deficit to grow $6 trillion, from $4 trillion to $10 trillion, it has taken less than four years under Obama for it to grow $6 trillion, from $10 trillion to the present $16 trillion. Clinton made a far better case for himself than he did for the man he was nominating.
- You can add to the list African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic-American and so forth the newly minted LGBT-American, the shorthand for a gay person used by the Democrats.
- For the longest time, Democrats bristled when the health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act, was referred to as Obamacare. At their convention, they formally embraced the term, usually adding words to the effect, “Because Obama cares.”
- Republicans had a field day with the president’s “You’ve got a business, you didn’t build that,” quote. They played it over and over, never including the preceding line which made it clear the president was talking about infrastructure, not the business itself. If they had, they could have argued that businesses do contribute heavily to building and maintaining infrastructure and that the existence of roads, bridges etc. doesn’t equate to success. But that point takes longer to make and lacks the emotional impact, so …
- Did anyone else notice that at the end of his otherwise stirring speech, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida flubbed a key line? He was supposed to say, “We chose more freedom instead of more government,” but he transposed “freedom” and “government.” Oops.
- As near as I could observe, two speakers at the Republican National Convention declined to use the teleprompter. One, Condoleezza Rice, gave perhaps the best speech of the convention. The other, Clint Eastwood, gave decidedly the worst.
- No less astute an observer than Naples’ Chuck Mohlke, a member of the Democratic National Committee, remarked on the eve of the Republican National Convention that the name Isaac means laughter in Hebrew. Tropical Storm/Hurricane Isaac caused the Republicans to cancel the first day of their convention and remnants of the storm contributed to the unsettled weather that prompted Democrats to move President Obama’s acceptance speech indoors on the last day of theirs. It seems Isaac had a laugh at the expense of both parties.
–Brent Batten, Naples Daily News