Much of last week’s Republican National Convention focused on giving Americans a dose of reality about the real state of our country and the fiscal crisis that is threatening our very way of life. At the RNC, the Romney campaign demonstrated that they respected voters enough to give them straight talk about the problems and tough decisions that lay ahead.
Four years ago, the 2008 Democratic National Convention was full of soaring rhetoric and promises of a new tomorrow. Hope, change, Doric columns, star-studded camera shots, a teary-eyed Oprah and a vision of America where government swoops in where angels fear to tread, solving problems apparently without Americans having to foot the bill.
This time around, with Obama camp weaker and well defined, they will have to defend their record – without being defensive or arrogant and most importantly without skirting reality. It will be a tall order to be sure. In an effort to try to convince Americans the president needs a second term the DNC will make little to no mention of the following:
1. The National Debt. Now approaching $16 trillion, the national debt and our debt to GDP ratio has never been worse despite the fact that Obama ran on a platform of debt reduction.
During the 2008 campaign he roundly attacked President Bush for borrowing from China to spend money we didn’t have. Now it seems that as long as Obama is spending the money, the national debt doesn’t matter. Under his policies it is projected that the debt will be 200% of GDP by the 2030’s. Obama has already presided over a more than 25% increase in government spending in just three and a half years. Unlike the RNC convention in Tampa, there surely won’t be a National Debt Clock hanging in the arena in Charlotte.
2. The Real Unemployment Rate. Everyone knows the unemployment rate is hovering over 8% and the president has to deliver his message to a nation that hasn’t seen the employment bounce-back promised from the $1 trillion in stimulus. However, what you won’t hear at the DNC are the real numbers – 23 million people unemployed or underemployed making the real unemployment rate, including those who have stopped looking for work at a staggering 14.9%. Unemployment is also being concealed by the between 3-4 million people who have been added to the Social Security disability insurance program since Obama took office.
3. Gas Prices. Obama hit President Bush hard for rising gas prices in 2008 and promised Americans relief at the pump. When he took office, the national average for a gallon of gas stood at $1.95. Today, on Labor Day, it’s nearly double, and yet he scarcely mentions it. How could he after appointing an Energy Secretary that believes it would somehow be good to have gas prices similar to Europe or after spending $1 billion on a failed so-called green jobs program? Obama’s stonewalling of the Keystone XL pipeline is also further evidence that the president is too focused on making the Chevy Volt viable rather than doing anything to lower gas and energy prices for Americans.
4. More than one third of Americans are on Government Assistance. Obama seems to be all for the culture of dependency, but don’t expect him to trumpet the idea that more than one third of the country is now receiving some form of means-tested government assistance. That number is up from about 24% under Bush. Of course, this welfare state isn’t a creation of the President, but between ObamaCare and his recent gutting of the work requirement for welfare recipients, Obama is well on his way to building his progressive utopia. The Romney camp should emphasize this point. Americans will find it depressing and distasteful.
5. The Federal Jobs Created. For all the talk about the unemployment rate and sluggish private sector growth, Obama has presided over the creation of nearly 150,000 new unionized government jobs during his term. This included thousands of new workers to manage ObamaCare at the IRS and the Department of Health and Human Services. This is a big slap in the face to the unemployed in the this country when you consider that the average salary for a federal worker is now in excess of $70,000 plus benefits. Federal workers who benefit from union protection are often doing far better than their private sector counterparts these days. And while GOP governors have been reducing the public payrolls on a state level, Obama has continued to grow the federal bureaucracy.
Thomas J. Basile is a Republican commentator and former Executive Director of the New York State Republican Party. Follow him on Twitter @TJBasile and at www.TJBasile.com.