Saturday, September 8, 2012

The other shoe drops

As predicted in my last post, the Democrats at their convention this week in Charlotte, spun their own tall tales, most if not all of them caught by It's amazing to me given the army of people these days devoted to scrutinizing candidates' speeches with a fine tooth comb, that the campaigns don't put more effort into making sure what comes out of the convention speakers' mouths is air tight.

OK I understand putting out a figure that is purely conjecture, such as how much the president's policies will result in cutting the deficit. All you need to back something like that up is the opinion of one so called expert, a rabbit and a hat. But in the age of YouTube, is it really a good idea to take your opponent's comments out of context, thinking no one will catch on?  You'll remember the Republicans did just that with Barack Obama's "you didn't build that" line.

Yes Mitt Romney did say as Joe Biden suggested: "it's not worth moving heaven and earth, and spending billions of dollars" to catch Osama bin Laden. If you read transcripts of his comments however, Romney was looking at the larger picture saying it was more worthwhile to go after the entire leadership of al-Qaida then targeting one man. That's a valid opinion, you can agree with it or not. But in no way did it undermine the effort and heroism of our armed forces to catch the former al-Qaida leader as the vice president implied.

Then there's the problem when you want to point out your opponent's deficiencies in one area, but don't have enough fodder. Why not just make stuff up? Throughout the Democratic convention, especially in the culminating speeches Thursday night, it was pointed out that Mitt Romney proposes to cut the taxes on the rich, while raising the taxes on the middle class. The first part is true, but Romney also has stated his proposal to lower middle class taxes as well.

It can be argued, as pointed out in the FactCheck article, that some experts have suggested the result of eliminating certain tax credits and deductions to pay for Romney's proposed cuts, might actually cause some middle class people to pay more tax. Now that's a valid argument against Romney's plan, why not just state it that way?

Other than the factual errors, in my opinion the Democrats did a superb job of delineating the philosophical differences between themselves and their opponents. Their speeches were well thought out, delivered for the most part with a good measure of passion, wit and intelligence. Admittedly there were as many tiresome Democratic stories about poor relatives and their struggles to sacrifice so their children could have it better than they did, as Republican ones. The fact that they rang truer to my ears could be simply because I'm biased. The Democrats also went out of their way this year to pay tribute to the military and their families. Amazingly, the Republicans did not; they were probably too busy tripping over themselves telling us how much they like women. In a time of war, that was a huge gaffe and the Dems pounced on it big time. Expect Romney, Ryan and their supporters to make up for their oversight in the coming weeks.

As critics pointed out, the Democrats didn't address the details of what they would actually do in the next four years, especially about the terrible economy. But let's face it, convention speeches rarely go into those kind of details, and when they do, the plans and their projected results presented as we have seen, are usually misleading at best.

Conventions are meant to rally the troops. That's especially important in a close election when there are relatively few undecided voters and the outcome may very well be determined by voter turnout. The Democrats preaching to the choir, did a good job conveying their message of inclusion and the idea that we're all in this together. Looking at the delegates on the convention floor, you saw the face of America today which represents all races, ethnicities, creeds, and social classes. This is not the vision many in this country like to see, but it is a fact. Most inspiring I thought was the emphasis on the dignity of work and the idea that all jobs are important, not just the high paying ones. As someone who plans to vote Democratic this year, I was pleased and yes even moved.

I just wish they could have cut out some of the crap.

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