Democrats See Opportunity in Charlotte by Brian Harmon
After a gaff-filled week in Tampa, Florida, Republicans appear to be experiencing a middling bounce. Unforced errors are certainly at the center of any forensic study of the RNC failure; however, to blame it all on style is to overlook the bitter substance of the Republican agenda.
Running on a platform of austerity, tax cuts for millionaires, Groupon for Grandma voucher-based Medicare, and further culture warfare that targets women’s equality and liberty, the Republicans are hemmed into politically unpopular positions. No wonder their Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees delivered policy-free acceptance speeches.
In place of substance, Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney used fact-free filler. Although Romney’s acceptance speech, according to New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow, “avoided the flat-out falseness of Ryan’s,” one in ten of the Romney campaign’s statements evaluated by fact-checking site PolitiFact have been branded “Pants on Fire” lies. In comparison, only one in fifty of the Obama campaign’s statements earned that distinction.
The reaction from the right to having their lies exposed? Blame the fact-checkers! The crime that the Weekly Standard hopes will taint all the fact-checking analysis? A New York Times goof, misplacing interior quote marks. The original White House release did not indicate exactly which of the President’s words were directly quoting a Republican source, and the Times mistakenly included ten extra words in the interior quote. Scandalous! That’s evidence of “incompetent partisans masquerading as ‘independent’ media fact checking organizations.”
En route from the Charlotte Douglas Airport to the Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, North Carolina, today, I rode with a busload of arriving delegates to the Democratic National Convention. North Carolina voted for Obama in 2008, and is currently leaning toward Romney. Along the route was one of those weakly-identified political billboards screaming, “Don’t believe the liberal media.”
In 2012, the election hinges on the Republicans being able to prevaricate on a level previously unknown in modern American politics, while imploring their flock to ignore any facts that deviate from their dystopian world view as a plot by liberal media elites. With all their cash, Fox News and the rest of the RWNM, there is a chance they could pull it off.
The stakes for the Democrats this week are high. Will we effectively make the case that Pres. Barack Obama has performed admirably under incredibly adverse conditions, and deserves four more years to try to right the disastrous state that Republicans and Wall Street leveraged buy-out con artists have left us in? Will we be able to effectively articulate what it means to be a Democrat in memorable sound-bite form? Will we be able to rekindle the hope that flickered to life four years ago, only to be extinguished by grinding reality.
We cannot move forward to the promised land as long as the few who have it all are willing to settle for “a lot”, and leave the rest of us a little bit larger slice of the pie. The 2012 campaign pits hope against greed. This is our week to make the case to the American public.
I am deeply honored to have a front-row seat this week. I’ll be reporting on what I experience here. Please allow yourself to hope we succeed.