Republican Convention: Day 3
In an effort to mask their fiscal irresponsibility (or perhaps to highlight it), the Republican National Convention has, not one, but two “debt clocks” on display. One of them shows the current national debt, ticking ever upward. The other shows the amount of debt incurred since the time the Convention was first gavelled to order on Monday afternoon.
Of course, neither of these “clocks” are accurate (nor are they “clocks”, since they don’t tell time). They don’t show the actual expenditure of dollars (i.e., when some agency of the federal government cuts a check, when the Pentagon awards a contract, when oil companies get a kickback, none of this causes these “clocks” to tick up). They only show a sort of average per-second amount calculated by taking the year’s projected deficit and dividing it by something like 31,536,000 (the number of seconds in a 365-day year; but this is a leap year, so perhaps they used 31,622,400).
Highlighting the deficit and the debt is, one might think, a dangerous thing for Republicans to do, since the debt is almost entirely due to the actions of Republican administrations. Around 80 percent of the national debt prior to 2009 was created by the combined efforts of the Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II administrations. Around 95 percent of the current deficits are due to additional spending from two wars, other large military increases, and Medicare Part D — plus reduced revenues from massive tax cuts of 2001–2003 and the collapsed economic activity of the Great Recession — plus emergency spending (such as TARP and increased safety net demand) made necessary by that Recession — all of which stem directly from the Bush years when Republicans controlled all three branches of government.
Furthermore, the current Democratic president has reduced spending, cut taxes, and reduced the deficit since coming into office. The previous Democratic president (Bill Clinton) is the only president to have balanced the federal budget (and even produced enormous surpluses) in at least half a century. The contrast between competent Democratic leadership and feckless Republican profligacy is painfully clear.
So for Republicans to so prominently display their fiscal errors at their 2012 National Convention seems to be a daring move. Perhaps that explains one of the main themes of this convention — “We Can Do Better.” It’s hard to imagine a political party that can do worse than they’ve already done.
Last night was the “We Built This” night — trying to capitalize on a misrepresentation of a statement by President Obama. They kept pretending that the President said business people don’t build their business, obviously thinking that if you repeat an untruth enough times, it becomes true. They even edited the President’s statement to make it seem as if he said something he didn’t. For some reason, Republicans don’t seem to think they can make an honest argument. I pine for the day we have two ethical parties in America.
The theme for today is “We Can Change It”, clearly playing off the “Hope and Change” theme that stood at the center of President Obama’s 2008 campaign. Challengers running against incumbents always run on a “Change” theme. It’s pretty much required, since they’re trying to sell a change from the status quo. The problem this time is that the Republican prescription for “change” is primarily a return to what went on during the previous Bush administration, but moreso — more tax cuts (primarily, or perhaps even exclusively, for the people at the top), more military spending, more cuts to programs that are used by the middle class, more neglect of infrastructure, more starvation for state governments. It’s more “We Can Change…Back”.
Activities are scheduled to kick off with an attempt to soothe the Ron Paul supporters with a film about Representative Paul, rather than a slot for him to speak. His son
Ayn Rand will have a few minutes after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, gets a chance to talk later in the evening, along with a few VP runners-up — but not the 2008 VP nominee, nor the surviving Republican former President or Vice President. (Democrats are not embarrassed about their former office holders; President Clinton will deliver a speech in prime time at the Democratic convention. There is perhaps a lesson here.)
It will be interesting to see what The Republican Party does with the “Video on the two Bush Presidents”. (Drinking game: how many mentions of Ronald Reagan?)
We here at Logarchism will be commenting on the festivities this evening. Please give your thoughts for what’s been going on and what’s to come, and join in the discussion while it happens.
Meanwhile, enjoy the thought and irony below.
7:00 PM EDT
- Ron Paul Video
- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
- Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)
- Paralympic champion skiier Christopher Devlin-Young
- Jeanine McDonnell, daughter of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell
- Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
- Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens
- Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (he probably won’t attend due to Hurricane Isaac)
- Senator John Thune (R-SD)
- Senator Rob Portman (R-OH)
- Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuño
- Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty
- Video on the two Bush Presidents
- Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee
- Condoleezza Rice
- New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez
- Representative Paul Ryan (R-Janesville, WI)
- GOP Destroys Integrity of National Convention, Flagrantly Cheats Ron Paul Out of Nomination (theunconventionalconservative.wordpress.com)
- Romney officially clinches nomination at condensed GOP convention (fox13now.com)
- Deb Fischer takes aim at Obama in convention speech (omaha.com)
- My Comments on the Republican Convention (lewrockwell.com)
- LIVE STREAM: Watch Republican National Convention live (kfor.com)
About dcpetterson (187 posts)
D. C. Petterson is a novelist and a software consultant in Minnesota who has been writing science fiction since the age of six. He is the author of A Melancholy Humour, Rune Song and Still Life. He lives with his wife, two dogs, two cats, and a lizard, and insists that grandchildren are the reward for having survived teenagers. When not writing stories or software, he plays guitar and piano, engages in political debate, and reads a lot of history and physics texts—for fun. Follow on Twitter @dcpetterson