Democrats decisively won the battle of party conventions

Taegan Goddard NAILS IT:

President Obama’s acceptance speech sounded more like a State of the Union address than the soaring rhetoric he used to rally the Democratic conventions in 2004 and 2008. But it was exactly what polls suggest people wanted: Specific plans and proposals for a second term.

Obama also made a persuasive case that things are better today than they were four years ago. It’s not an easy one to make but he was helped tremendously last night by Bill Clinton and tonight by Joe Biden. 

The Obama campaign wanted this election to be a stark choice between two different governing philosophies and not a referendum on the president’s tenure. With this beautifully orchestrated convention — and with poor strategic decisions and unforced errors by Mitt Romney and the Republicans — they have succeeded.

Democrats decisively won the battle of the party conventions. It wasn’t even close really. And they continue to hold the upper hand in this election.



  1. Lying to the base is always a big hit.


    OBAMA: “I’ll use the money we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and put more people back to work – rebuilding roads and bridges, schools and runways. After two wars that have cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, it’s time to do some nation-building right here at home.”

    THE FACTS: The idea of taking war savings to pay for other programs is budgetary sleight of hand, given that the wars were paid for with increased debt. Obama can essentially “pay down our debt,” as he said, by borrowing less now that war is ending. But he still must borrow to do the “extra nation-building” he envisions.

    He made a similar statement in his State of the Union address, and it is no less misleading now than in January. And the savings appear to be based at least in part on inflated war spending estimates for future years.

    OBAMA: “We will reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul, but we’ll do it by reducing the cost of health care, not by asking seniors to pay thousands of dollars more.”

    THE FACTS: Some of the proposals the Obama administration has floated in budget negotiations with Congress would ask Medicare beneficiaries to pay more. Among them: revamping co-payments and deductibles in ways that could raise costs for retirees and increasing premiums for certain beneficiaries.

    Obama even indicated a willingness to consider raising the eligibility age, currently 65, to 67. As word of some of the proposals leaked out, the president faced a backlash from fellow Democrats. He has since said he would not accept Medicare cuts as a part of a deficit reduction deal, unless it also includes higher taxes on the wealthy. Still, some level of increased costs for middle-class and upper-income Medicare recipients is likely to be part of any future deficit reduction deal.

    OBAMA: “We can help big factories and small businesses double their exports, and if we choose this path, we can create a million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years.”

    THE FACTS: Obama has claimed an increase of some 500,000 manufacturing jobs over the past 29 months. But this is cherry picking by the president. From the beginning of Obama’s term 3 1/2 years ago, manufacturing jobs have declined by more than 500,000, according to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Manufacturing jobs have been on a steady decline for nearly two decades.

    Even though there has been a modest uptick in manufacturing jobs this year, unless there is a major turnaround, it seems unlikely that Obama’s goal of 1 million new manufacturing jobs can be reached by his target date of 2016.

    OBAMA: “And now you have a choice: We can give more tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas or we can start rewarding companies that open new plants and train new workers and create new jobs here in the United States of America.”

    BIDEN: “Gov. Romney believes that in the global economy, it doesn’t much matter where American companies put their money or where they create jobs. As a matter of fact, he has a new tax proposal – the territorial tax – that experts say will create 800,000 jobs, all of them overseas.”

    THE FACTS: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s proposal is actually aimed at encouraging investment in the U.S., not overseas.

    The U.S. currently has a global tax system that is filled with credits, exemptions and deductions that enable many companies to avoid U.S. taxes and provides an incentive for corporations to keep their profits in other countries. Whether Romney’s plan would spur investment in the U.S. is debatable, but it’s not a plan aimed at dispersing profits abroad.

    Experts differ on the impact of a territorial system on employment in the U.S. But Biden’s implication that Romney’s plan sends jobs abroad is not supported by the expert opinion he cites.

    Kimberly Clausing, an economics professor at Reed College in Portland, Ore., said a pure territorial tax system could increase employment in low-tax countries by 800,000. But that did not mean U.S. jobs moving overseas. Clausing later wrote: “My analysis does not speak to the effects on jobs in the United States.”

    BIDEN: “After the worst job loss since the Great Depression, we’ve created 4.5 million private sector jobs in the past 29 months.”

    THE FACTS: This seems to be a favorite statistic, because many speakers at the convention cited it. But it’s misleading – a figure that counts jobs from when the recession reached its trough and employment began to grow again. It excludes jobs lost earlier in Obama’s term, and masks the fact that joblessness overall has risen over Obama’s term so far.

    As well, in the same 29 months that private sector jobs grew by 4.5 million, jobs in the public sector declined by about 500,000, making the net gain in that period about 4 million.

    Overall, some 2 million jobs were lost during the recession that began in December 2007 in President George W. Bush’s term and ended officially in June 2009 with Obama as president.

    Never since World War II has the economy been so slow to recover all the jobs lost in a downturn.

    BIDEN: “What they didn’t tell you is that the plan they’ve put down on paper would immediately cut benefits to more than 30 million seniors already on Medicare. What they didn’t tell you is the plan they’re proposing would cause Medicare to go bankrupt by 2016.”

    THE FACTS: Biden wasn’t referring to any Medicare plan of Romney or running mate Paul Ryan, but to the consequences of fully repealing Obama’s health care law, which is unpopular with seniors even though it has sweetened Medicare in certain ways. A Medicare plan put forward by Ryan in Congress would have no immediate effect because it would apply only to future retirees.

    Obama’s health care law improved Medicare benefits, adding better coverage for beneficiaries with high prescription costs as well as removing co-pays for a set of preventive benefits. If the law is repealed, those benefits would be lost unless Congress decides otherwise.

    Similarly, Romney’s promise to restore Obama’s $716 billion in Medicare cuts could have unintended consequences for the program. The cuts don’t affect seniors directly, instead falling on hospitals, insurers and other service providers. Restoring the higher payments to providers would accelerate the depletion of Medicare’s trust fund for inpatient care, from 2024 currently to 2016, unless Congress acts to stave that off.

  2. doc: The fact that counts most, politically speaking, is the one in the headline above: Democrats decisively won the battle of party conventions

  3. No, the fact that will count the most politically speaking is what happens on election day.

  4. Peggy Noonan nails it.


    Was it a good convention?

    Beneath the funny hats, the sweet-faced delegates, the handsome speakers and the babies waving flags there was something disquieting. All three days were marked by a kind of soft, distracted extremism. It was unshowy and unobnoxious but also unsettling.

    There was the relentless emphasis on Government as Community, as the thing that gives us spirit and makes us whole. But government isn’t what you love if you’re American, America is what you love. Government is what you have, need and hire. Its most essential duties—especially when it is bankrupt—involve defending rights and safety, not imposing views and values. We already have values. Democrats and Republicans don’t see all this the same way, and that’s fine—that’s what national politics is, the working out of this dispute in one direction or another every few years. But the Democrats convened in Charlotte seemed more extreme on the point, more accepting of the idea of government as the center of national life, than ever, at least to me.

    The fight over including a single mention of God in the platform—that was extreme. The original removal of the single mention by the platform committee—extreme. The huge “No!” vote on restoring the mention of God, and including the administration’s own stand on Jerusalem—that wasn’t liberal, it was extreme. Comparing the Republicans to Nazis—extreme. The almost complete absence of a call to help education by facing down the powers that throw our least defended children under the school bus—this was extreme, not mainstream.

    The sheer strangeness of all the talk about abortion, abortion, contraception, contraception. I am old enough to know a wedge issue when I see one, but I’ve never seen a great party build its entire public persona around one. Big speeches from the heads of Planned Parenthood and NARAL, HHS Secretary and abortion enthusiast Kathleen Sebelius and, of course, Sandra Fluke.

    “Republicans shut me out of a hearing on contraception,” Ms. Fluke said. But why would anyone have included a Georgetown law student who never worked her way onto the national stage until she was plucked, by the left, as a personable victim?

    What a fabulously confident and ingenuous-seeming political narcissist Ms. Fluke is. She really does think—and her party apparently thinks—that in a spending crisis with trillions in debt and many in need, in a nation in existential doubt as to its standing and purpose, in a time when parents struggle to buy the good sneakers for the kids so they’re not embarrassed at school . . . that in that nation the great issue of the day, and the appropriate focus of our concern, is making other people pay for her birth-control pills. That’s not a stand, it’s a non sequitur. She is not, as Rush Limbaugh oafishly, bullyingly said, a slut. She is a ninny, a narcissist and a fool.

    And she was one of the great faces of the party in Charlotte. That is extreme. Childish, too.

    Something else, and it had to do with tone. I remember the Republicans in Tampa bashing the president, hard, but not the entire Democratic Party. In Charlotte they bashed Mitt Romney, but they bashed the Republican Party harder. If this doesn’t strike you as somewhat unsettling, then you must want another four years of all war all the time between the parties. I don’t think the American people want that. Because, actually, they’re not extreme.

  5. Another Wall Street Journal article from doc.


  6. I am sorry for linking to so many well written editorials and articles from the newspaper with the largest circulation in the country.

    I’m sure the big words and lack of liberal bias are very disorienting for you. .

  7. doc: I was reading the WSJ when you were in diapers, sonny. But I wised up to the fact that it was nothing more than a propaganda rag for the rich. Maybe someday you will wise up to the fact that its conservative bias has stunted your growth.

  8. Since Murdoch took over it is better known as the Wall Street Urinal. Certainly not the great paper it used to be.

  9. Diapers sonny?

    I am turning 45 in 1 week it has been 43 years since I have been in diapers. If you were reading the WSJ then you must have been at least 20, but I bet much older than that. So that makes Tex at least 65 but probably well north of 70 years old.

    That makes you old but you’re clearly not wise. Not if you think villifying the rich and class warfare are the answer to our problems. That just makes you a bitter old man.

    And if you think the Democrats are somehow the defender of those “less fortunate” then you are stupid too. The Democrats in power are all about maintaining that power.

    If you want to help your fellow man, DO IT YOURSELF. It will be much more effective than the sorry state of dependence that our nanny state has led us to.


    While this phenomenon far predated the Occupy movement, I would argue the Occupy ethos has something to do with rich people masquerading as the middle class. Nobody wants to be derided as a “one percenter,” or have to defend their success on a daily basis to a bearded guy who has all his mail delivered to a tent.

    Of course, there’s a loophole: you can escape the wrath of the 99-percenters if you make a product that they actually like and use. There was little derision of mega-millionaire Steve Jobs in the Occupy encampments, as protesters used their handy iPhones to tweet and text the revolution. He was the right kind of rich guy, in the same way nonunion, publicly traded corporations such as Whole Foods are the right kind of businesses.

    Similarly, if you’re wealthy and running for public office, it helps to be the right kind of rich guy. One of President Barack Obama’s primary arguments against challenger Mitt Romney is that his vast wealth puts him out of touch with the middle class, and that Romney hasn’t paid his “fair share” in taxes. An early Obama attack mocked the fact that Romney has one house that features an elevator for his car.

    Predictably, in 2004 liberals seemed to be less exercised about the wealth of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, whose wife, Teresa Heinz, is believed to be worth in the neighborhood of $1 billion. In fact, in 2004, Kerry paid a lower percentage of his income in taxes (13.1%) than did Romney in 2010 (13.9%). Yet Romney is the one portrayed as Scrooge McDuck, as he advocates for Republican ideals.

    It seems that many wealthy people are buying into the pernicious idea that even if they do make a lot of money, they somehow “didn’t build that.” At the Democratic National Convention this week, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel referred to rich people as “the most fortunate,” as if they just sat around, waiting for the money stork to drop a million bucks down their chimney. Yet the “fortunate” are those who have jobs because of the wealth created by those who take risks.

  10. doc said:”That just makes you a bitter old man.”

    Then you are a bitter young man. Still wet behind the ears also. I worked two more years than you have even been on this planet. But because you went to college, and are a Republican, your type fancies yourself more intelligent than the rest of us. So you believe that you are in the upper one percent and everything should flow to you. You only learned , in your first four years of college, what the rest of us learned by experience.

    Now understand this. I worked on both sides, as a worker and a business owner. I can do the work as well as run the company. But most of the companies I worked for, the owner could not do the work. He may have started the company, and guides it. But he depends on the people below him. Those people make the product, come up with new ideas, make the product more efficiently, and make the company what it was. Without those people the company would not exist. We are all interdependent on each other. So if your type thinks you deserve outrageous incomes, and your workers are nothing more than minimum wage because you are the job creator, guess what? Your company will fail. The job do-ers are just as important as the job creators. In fact, I would say more so.

    Then doc said: “Yet the “fortunate” are those who have jobs because of the wealth created by those who take risks.”
    Ah, yes. We should all bow to the job creators and be happy if they throw a few crumbs to those that make the product. After all we’re just slaves to the man and should be happy for low wages so the job creators can be rewarded. Seems to me your type is creating the class warfare. Like I said. it’s the craftsman, tradespeople and others doing the work, who have spent years to learn their job. They are the ones who deserve to earn a living wage, and not be treated as a slave for the job creators. They also take risks by putting their total well being and future into a company, they hope will not desert them, by closing down, outsourcing or off shoring, and basically walking away with everything the worker invested in that company.
    Maybe you will understand when you get a little older, a little drier behind the ears, and learn to stop worshiping money.

  11. You suppose so much and know so little Tex. You think because you are older than me you must be wiser than me.

    You think that because I am a 1%er now that I always was so. Also not true. I didn’t achieve 1% status until I was in my late 30’s.

    You assume that because I am a professional now that I always was so. Wrong again. I have worked at all kinds of jobs before college, during college and even during med school. Many of which paid minimum wage and others which paid a mean wage.

    You assume because I make money, I worship money. Also so untrue as to be laughable.

    I chose my profession because I love what I do, am very good at what I do, and get to help people every single day. The fact that I make the money I do is a side benefit. The money I make I earn because of my skill set, my training and the sacrifices I have made to be here, but not the reason I chose my profession.

    Cynical, old people are the worst.

  12. doc: You’ve crossed the line.

    People who use the trendy (and stupid) term “skill set” instead of just “skills” are on the Applesauce Watch List and are in danger of losing their privileges.

  13. http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/skill%2Bset

    a person’s range of skills or abilities.

  14. http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/physician-resources/solutions-managing-your-practice/coding-billing-insurance/cpt.page

    CPT® and RBRVS 2013 Annual Symposium

    The Annual Symposium is the only three-day event where you hear and learn directly from the source of CPT® — the AMA! Let our experts sharpen your SKILL SET and help refine the reimbursement process.

  15. doc: Just because the AMA uses the term “skill set” doesn’t mean it’s not silly jargon.

  16. Duly noted professor.

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