"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness. It was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity." -- Charles Dickens, A Tale Of Two Cities
The Republican and Democratic National Conventions are now over -- thankfully, many of us may say -- and if the contrast between the two presidential candidates is stark, so were the quadrennial presentations. The Republican National Convention in Tampa was superbly organized and almost flawlessly executed, with the possible exception of Clint Eastwood's comical skit, which some seemed to take far more seriously than was intended. The Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., was -- shall we say -- found wanting?
Both conventions highlighted their opening nights with supportive speeches by the candidates' wives. Going into the convention with the usual Republican handicap of animosity from the "mainstream" media, Ann Romney acquitted herself handsomely, presenting a far different picture of her husband than had been previously offered up, by both the media and the Democrats (really one and the same, when you think about it). Her accounts of Mitt Romney's philanthropy, both as a Mormon elder and a private citizen, were corroborated by those whom Romney had helped, seeking no publicity or recompense for his actions other than personal satisfaction. First Lady Michelle Obama also gave accounts of how her husband cares for others. The problem was, all of this seemed to ring false in light of what we already know about the Obamas.
Yes, Barack Obama does care -- mainly for himself and those closest to him. No other president has taken more vacations, played more golf, and spent more lavishly on himself and his wife than has Barack Hussein Obama. Contrast this with the example of his predecessor, George W. Bush. On those occasions when Bush took himself a vacation, they were always at the same locale: the Bush family compound in Crawford, Texas. And those, for the most part, were working vacations. Such paltry vacations were not nearly good enough for the free-spending Obamas. Their vacations were in places like pricey Martha's Vineyard, Hawaii (to the tune of over $4 million) and Spain -- all for which the taxpayers were forced to pick up the tab. As if this weren't bad enough in itself, the First Lady and First Daughters traveled separately from the president, again with the taxpayers footing the bill.
Meanwhile, as the president and First Lady take lavish shopping trips in New York, schmooze with celebrities, and otherwise wallow in taxpayer-subsidized luxury and extravagance, George Obama, living in a hut in Kenya, is locked in a day-to-day struggle for his very existence. He apparently knows better than to appeal to his bon vivant brother in the White House, and, on the other hand, what offers of help have come from that quarter?
Could that possibly be the sound of crickets chirping?
Yet, as Brutus was an honorable man, so is Barack Obama a caring man.
Both conventions trotted out women and Hispanic office holders, and there were no real surprises here. The difference, however, was in tone. The general Republican tone was upbeat and positive. While Obama's policies were deservedly attacked, Obama himself was not. Candidate Romney, in fact, seemed to go to great length to point out that while Barack Obama was a good family man, he was a bad president -- and cited irrefutable examples. The Democrats, on the other hand, couldn't seem to keep from whining, from Sandra Fluke trying to convince us that her birth control medication is somehow owed to her by the taxpayers, to Caroline Kennedy ridiculously attempting to promote so-called abortion rights as a Catholic woman -- abortion being strictly in violation of Catholic dogma.
On the second night the convention seemed to fall apart when, in response to generally negative public reaction to all references to God having been removed from the party platform, plus failure to acknowledge Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Obama and his minions made a hasty attempt at damage control, trying to reinsert those positions. It fell to Los Angeles mayor Antonio Valaraigosa to put the matter to a vote. Twice in a row Valaraigosa called for a voice vote from the floor, and twice the pro and con responses appeared roughly equal. On the third try, with the same result as before, Valaraigosa declared that he had heard a two-thirds majority response from the floor, and that the positions would therefore be reinserted, eliciting boos from atheist and Arab-American delegates.
It all tends to raise a question: If these people can't even run their own convention, how can we then expect them to effectively run the country?
Other Democrat speakers seem to have been born of sheer desperation. Bill Clinton spoke for 45 minutes, but actually said relatively little. As if that weren't enough, there was also a video address from, of all people, Jimmy Carter. This is the party that calls itself "progressive," even as it offers up former presidents from Jurassic Park to make the case for their candidate.
The Republicans ended their convention on a high note. Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan seemed to sum things up on the second night when he announced, "We can do this!" to tumultuous applause from the assembled delegates. President Barack Obama ended his convention with the ultimate whine, continuing to blame the country's problems on his predecessor while begging for patience, saying he needed more time (four more years, to be exact) to fix the country's problems. After all, hadn't he inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression?
Seems to me there was another president in a similar fix. His predecessor had left him with a stagnant economy, runaway inflation, and fuel shortages resulting in long gas lines at the pumps and calls from the White House for heating fuel conservation. Yet instead of whining about the mess Jimmy Carter had left him, Ronald Reagan took charge, acted the leader, and turned the country around. Reagan, the Republican, did this with Democrat majorities in both houses of Congress. Obama, on the other hand, had the advantage of his own party having congressional majorities for two years, and the Senate in Democrat hands after that -- and still he says he needs more time.
It's still two years before election time, with three presidential debates, one vice presidential debate, and plenty of campaigning yet to be accomplished. If, however, the Democrats fare no better in these than they did in their convention, then it seems to me that unless the majority of Americans really are the kind of hard-left ideologues who vote Democratic no matter what (as they seem to in Connecticut), that Mr. Obama would be well advised to begin making preparations for his return to Chicago.
Full List of Tim Siggia Articles found at Writers Journal Kingscalendar
Tim Siggia from Hartford Connecticut, attended Central Connecticut State College (now Central Connecticut State University) from 1963-67 and then joined the United States Navy. In 1973 he completed a bachelor or arts degree in English at the University of Maine at Portland-Gorham. In 1991 he retired from the Navy at the grade of Chief Journalist after which he joined the United States Postal Service, from which he is due to retire in 2012. He now lives in East Hartford Connecticut with his wife Penny. They have three sons and six grandchildren