Thursday, September 06, 2012

Game over

By Carl

The Big Dog -- The Greatest. President. Ever. -- has spoken:

We Democrats think the country works better with a strong middle class, real opportunities for poor people to work their way into it and a relentless focus on the future, with business and government working together to promote growth and broadly shared prosperity. We think "we're all in this together" is a better philosophy than "you're on your own."

Who's right? Well, since 1961, the Republicans have held the White House 28 years, the Democrats 24. In those 52 years, our economy produced 66 million private sector jobs. What's the jobs score? Republicans 24 million, Democrats 42 million.

It turns out that advancing equal opportunity and economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics, because discrimination, poverty and ignorance restrict growth, while investments in education, infrastructure and scientific and technological research increase it, creating more good jobs and new wealth for all of us.

Clinton was too modest to admit that he was in office when 23 million of those jobs were created-- nearly matching the entire Republican army of presidents -- and as such is overseer of the single biggest economic engine since World War II. And if you exclude jobs created due to World War II, he is by far the president who oversaw the creation of the most jobs in American history.

Period. Eight years of relative peace and undeniable prosperity for all. And he did it by raising taxes on the wealthy.

Ronald Reagan was called the Great Communicator, but never once did he ever have to seriously defend his abysmal economic record for the middle class. Indeed, very quietly in his second term, Reagan instituted the greatest tax hike on the American people since the income tax was instituted, and still barely created jobs. Unemployment under Reagan's tax schemes still averaged 7.5%, not much lower than Barack Obama's rate, and Reagan almost single-handedly created the homeless population of America. This, despite sending American troops overseas nearly continuously.

Epic. Fail.

Back to Clinton's speech: it had nearly everything you'd wish Barack Obama could say, and indeed may have been written with an eye towards the freedom an ex-president -- one who has established his bona fides as someone who has disagreements with the current Oval Office -- has to comment on the "loyal" opposition. This paragraph in particular stands out:

Though I often disagree with Republicans, I never learned to hate them the way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate President Obama and the Democrats.

Coming from a man who was disgraced by the same party that now terrorizes the American people, forced to defend his personal life time and time again from the idiocracy inherent on the right wing, to say that even he can empathize and love his enemies is a powerful statement that will resonate with the American people.

After all, it was only 15 years ago. We ain't that dumb. It was a noble and gracious sentiment and yet still stabbed at the heart of the Teabaggers in ways no other Democrat could.

Clinton dismantled the economic "policy" that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have both signed onto, and countered that cronies were more important to Romney and Republicans than jobs.

But this, this I think was Clinton's strongest argument of the night:

No president -- not me or any of my predecessors could have repaired all the damage in just four years. But conditions are improving and if you'll renew the President's contract you will feel it.

President Obama inherited an economy teetering on the precipice of another Great Depression. We, as a people, won't credit him with saving it from disaster because the only way we could is if the disaster actually happened, the tape rewound, and the President steps in to save us in re-runs.

But Clinton laid out the case magnificently, using arithmetic and logic, and laid it out in language that the average person watching in his living room could understand.

It's a talent he has. It's a talent I can only aspire to as I write these pitiful little blogposts to you, my readers.

And now for a couple of side notes:

1) Tonight, President Obama will accept the party nomination for president. Last night, the last Democratic president was trotted out for a barnburner of a speech, but where was his wife?

She was in East Timor. Under the guise of "the secretary of state should not attend political conventions," because, you know, politics stop at our shores. Right?

It would not surprise me, however, if Madam Secretary has an August surprise up her sleeve to bring home tonight, just ahead of the evening news cycle.

2) I would be remiss if I didn't mention the speech given by Elizabeth Warren, Senate candidate from Massachussetts. Between her and the Big Dog, it was a wonky night, but a wonky night that was easily digestible by anyone who sat in front of a television and paid attention. She's a gifted explainer and I am sure that Massachussetts recognizes "smaht" when they see it.

3) Michelle Obama Tuesday night. Bill Clinton Wednesday night. They have stirred the convention, the national media and the electorate into a rhetorical frenzy. Either this convention has been one of the best choreographed conventions to re-introduce a president to his people, and Barack Obama has the greatest speech of his life in him (not an easy task, given how many great ones he has given), or the convention fizzles tonight. Either way, it will make for great television.

The people in the arena in Charlotte stood and cheered. For the Dems, the people at home have stood and cheered right along with the delegates.

Game over.

(Cross-posted to Simply Left Behind.)

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