The Democrat National Convention has concluded. Three themes stand out: one about the Democrats, one about the Republicans, and the third about the difference between them.
The theme most emphasized by the President was about Democrats generally and himself specifically. It is a message that permeated the convention is a set as the central point of the re-election campaign of Mr. Obama. The message of “Yes, We Can!” from the 2008 race is now “We Are Doing the Best We Can!”
Four years of Mr. Obama have divided the nation and eroded our material and spiritual strength. Only the most partisan liberals are proud of his accomplishments, the rest of the country sees no accomplishments. Only the most loyal swoon from his rhetoric, the rest of the country is bored with the clichéd flourishes. Obama’s heralded coolness is now understood as aloofness. His passions seem increasingly pointless and out of touch.
Thus the President is staking his election on a request for more time. To do what? He has not said. He wants to “finish the job,” without explaining what that means. I am apt to believe that he is doing the best he can, but as Clint Eastwood tried to point out, Obama’s best is not good enough. On this reasoning his re-election bid will fail.
The failure of Obama, as hoped for by Republicans, is the second theme of the DNC. Gone are the days under President W. Bush when the bumper stickers proclaimed “dissent is patriotic.” Today, Democrats see sin in Republican wishes for Obama’s failure.
Naturally the locus of this theme is the claim of Senator Mitch McConnell that his “single most important goal” is making Obama a one-term President. Kudos to the Senator, I share his goal. To Democrats this is well-nigh treason, and proof that Republicans 1) are driven by political vanity, 2) are unconcerned with the welfare of the nation, and 3) are really racists.
The first two are easy to dismiss. Basic honesty tells you that every political party seeks to unseat its opposition in every electoral opportunity. The dishonest part belongs to the Democrats who selectively edit the quote. In the same breath McConnell said, “but that is in 2012, our biggest goal for this year  is get this country straightened out.”
More fundamentally, the defeat of Obama is – according to Republicans – the prerequisite of getting the nation straightened out. Rush Limbaugh at the 2010 CPAC event gave the fullest description of this, but it can be best understood with a nautical analogy.
Imagine two units of crew aboard the Titanic. The red crew claims that its top priority is to avoid icebergs. The blue crew immediately decries the reds, “how can that be?” they shriek. “What about saving passengers, what of buying more life boats, securing food, signaling for help?”
The best and simplest way to solve all those problems is to just avoid crashing and sinking. The red crew knows that if we can just avoid an Obama-berg, all will be better. The blue crew accuses the red crew of a grave betrayal. Rather than not sink, the blues try to manage the decline. This is the point of McConnell’s statement, and why I whole-heartedly endorse it.
Then there is the racism. Democrats like to imply, and oftentimes publically aver, that Republicans oppose Obama because his skin is black. This is pure fiction. Everyone knows it, yet a few partisan hacks use the allegation as a club to scare black voters into remaining loyal to a party that first opposed abolition, first opposed integration, opposes school choice, is beholden to an abortion industry that disproportionately kills minority children, and now presides over black unemployment that is twice the national average. Racism does exist, but most prevalently as the “soft bigotry of low expectations,” and it is a phenomena of the Left.
The third theme of the Democrat Convention attempts to define a distinction between the parties. Nearly every speaker in Charlotte riffed on the belief that we are “our brother’s keeper.” An oft made claim is that we can only prosper together, and our nation will only improve when all recognize that we are indeed “in this together.” Quickly this progresses to the call for each to do his or her “fair share,” or “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need,” (a slogan first popularized by Marx in 1875).
Having played many late night poker games with friends, I know that we are “all in” only when each has pitched his ante. Today in America about half the population pays no federal income taxes, with nearly half of them actually receiving net income from the public trough. We are not “all in.”
During those games it often happened that a streak of bad luck and bad decisions wiped out a player. Eager to keep the game going folks were always ready to seed the down player a little bit to get them in for another round. It made the game better, kept friendships intact, and gave someone a chance to recover their fortunes. America today does this, but also has the most progressive tax structure in the industrialized world. Meaning, rich Americans not only already pay a lot more than their “fair share,” but are disproportionately saddled with a responsibility for the rest.
Democrats led by Obama are redefining the notion of what a community is, and what it means be to all in this together. Republicans are not seeking to implement a common sense understanding of “all in,” only to be a slightly more fair and respectful of what people earn. My poker experience also informs me that when a player is playing with someone else’s money they tend not be prudent in their decisions.
For four years Obama has been playing high-stakes poker with someone else’s money. For four straight years he has played a losing hand and owes the house $5 trillion. He may be doing the best he can, but it is not good enough for me or my country. It certainly is not good enough for my children who will someday be handed the bill for his gambling debt.