Ann McFeatters - Five failings of the GOP convention


Here are five arguments for why this year's Republican convention in Tampa, Fla., could be considered one of the worst in decades.

1. No effort was made to win swing voters, who will decide the election.

The convention was a total celebration of the conservative base, such as the GOP cave-dweller platform, calling for everything absurd -- from a return to the gold standard to a total ban on abortion but with no money for family planning. The convention blamed President Barack Obama and government for every known evil.

People know government is necessary. Their fathers and grandfathers couldn't have been successful without such programs as the GI Bill. Social Security and Medicare have kept millions of seniors out of poverty. Without regulation, fewer products and foods would be safe.

The party even changed rules to disenfranchise Ron Paul delegates, hardly a way to appeal to more voters or promote unity.

2. The convention was packed with lies.

Speaker after speaker repeated misinformation proven to be untrue by a variety of independent sources.

Despite Republican claims, Obama has not revoked the work requirement for welfare.

Obama is not killing Medicare. He wants $716 billion cut from Medicare by reducing payments to hospitals and private health insurers, while Mitt Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, wants to take that same amount and use it to offset more tax cuts for the wealthy.

The Wisconsin auto-plant closure that Ryan blamed on Obama occurred before Obama became president.

The upcoming, mammoth across-the-board defense cuts were not Obama's idea, but were ordered by Congress -- the same Congress that got the country's credit rating downgraded and very nearly caused the nation to default on its debts.

3. The convention implausibly accused Obama of failing to understand the American dream.

Really? The first black president? A single mother's self-made son who got into Harvard and became a constitutional-law scholar?

Once again, the convention's theme that business owners alone are responsible for their success misinterpreted what Obama inelegantly said -- that in America, community is as important as individual initiative. If you are successful, somebody along the line helped you. Somebody built those highways and bridges. Somebody taught you in school. Somebody loaned you the money you needed to build or expand your business.

4. The convention offered no details at all on how Romney would "create jobs."

If there were a simple solution to reinvigorating the economy, Obama would have implemented it. Romney says only that he would cut taxes, cut spending and cut regulations. But for eight years, President George W. Bush cut taxes and regulations and the deficit ballooned. Romney opposed Obama's efforts to prevent total economic collapse and save the auto industry. Romney's plan to cut spending without raising taxes on the wealthy would hurt the poor without balancing the budget.

Romney's plan to eliminate many unspecified regulations would not level the playing field; just the opposite. Big companies would get bigger, squashing little companies. The paltry regulations meant to rein in Wall Street would be overturned.

But even in the face of overwhelming evidence that trickle-down economics does not work, the convention did not offer one plan to halt the decline of the middle class.

The convention ignored 10 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the cost of which the Bush administration never included in the budget.

5. The convention failed to remake its standard-bearer, Mitt Romney.

After six years of campaigning for president, Romney remains relatively unknown, perhaps unknowable. The convention was all about attacking Obama, not praising Romney. Keynoter Chris Christie spoke for 16 minutes before mentioning Romney. Even Ann Romney, who gave a compelling speech about her family, failed to give us any insightful anecdotes.

Romney: father, son, husband, Mormon, former governor, savior of the Salt Lake City Olympics, leveraged-buyout expert. A $250 million man who may become president.

And despite Tampa, few of us have any idea what he would do as president.

Let's see what the Democrats do.

(Scripps Howard columnist Ann McFeatters has covered the White House and national politics since 1986.)

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