Stage set for Obama to vaunt his achievements
Republicans continue to falsely accuse Obama of “raiding Medicare” to the tune of $716 billion to finance the Affordable Care Act.
They also claim he gutted work requirements for welfare recipients; an appeal to Republicans’ distaste for “free-loaders”.
It will probably fall upon Bill Clinton to refute that false allegation. Clinton established the work requirement as part of his welfare reform in the 1990s.
The Democrats will also portray the Republicans’ constant repetition of an Obama quote, taken out of context, as deliberate distortion. On July 13th, Obama told a rally in Roanoke, Virginia: “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have, that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business; you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
Republicans quote only the last two sentences, ignoring the president’s argument that business could not operate without government help.
Angry assertions that “Yes, we did build that” peppered speeches throughout the Republican convention. The “I built that” slogan figured on Republican placards and T-shirts.
Though Obama is unlikely to address his own gaffe, he will argue that government programmes such as student loans, the GI Bill and interstate highways create opportunities, not dependence.
A poll last month showed Bill Clinton enjoys a 57 per cent approval rating – higher than any of the four presidential or vice- presidential candidates. “The former president will overshadow everything and everyone – at least for the brief time he is on the stage in Charlotte,” predicts Dan Balz of the Washington Post.
Clinton is likely to argue that Obama’s policies are those he adopted in the 1990s, when the economy flourished. “The Republican plan is to cut more taxes on upper-income people and go back to deregulation,” Clinton says in an advertisement for the Obama campaign. “That’s what got us in trouble in the first place. President Obama has a plan to rebuild America from the ground up, investing in innovation, education and job training.”
The Romney campaign has mocked Obama’s use of Bill Clinton as a surrogate. “No amount of showmanship can paper over the differences between these two presidents,” Ryan Williams, a Romney campaign spokesman, said. “Americans deserve a president willing to run on his own record, not the record he wishes he had.”
Humorist Will Rogers once joked that he was “not a member of any organised political party; I’m a Democrat”.
Because the party virtuously declined contributions from corporations, it had to organise the convention on a shoe-string. Charlotte, population 750,000, is ill-equipped to handle the massive influx. Some have predicted a “traffic apocalypse” that will be especially trying for those who’ve been forced to seek lodging across the border in South Carolina.