What you need to know: 2012 GOP National Convention

Ashley Calvani | Online Editor

9/2: The following was taken from washingtonpost.com and is not ours in any way. Still, it is interesting to note the nuances of the RNC from Kleins point of view.

So what did we learn from the Republican National Convention?

Posted by Ezra Klein on September 2, 2012 at 4:17 pm

(J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

A few thoughts:

1. It feels like the case for Paul Ryan has gone from “bold truthteller” to “well, all politicians lie and deceive, why is everyone picking on Paul Ryan for doing it?” That’s not good.

2. The fact checkers are changing political reporting in a way that, until now, I hadn’t really thought much about: They’re stiffening the media’s spine when presented with lies and deceptions. Previously, it was difficult for reporters to say that a politician said X, and that was a lie. That’s taking sides, even if it’s simply taking the side of the truth. But now they can say that a politician said X, and the fact checkers said it was a lie. This is a slightly weird arrangement, as they’re just another arm of the media (Politifact is run by the Tampa Bay Times, Glenn Kessler is employed the Washington Post, etc), but it seems to be what’s happening.

3. “Politicians try to mislead voters all the time and only occasionally do they do this with flat-out lies,” writes Kevin Drum. ”Bottom line: if you focus only on actual lies, you miss too much.” It’s worth checking out his three-part test to see if a politician is trying to deceive you, and by how much.

4. Subjectivity really matters here. Unlike Kevin, I think Ryan’s line about the GM plant in Janesville, Wis. is much worse than his line about Obamacare taking from Medicare.

5. For all that, what Ryan said about the Obama administration is, in some ways, less interesting than what he — and Romney — didn’t say about the potential Romney-Ryan administration. Go back and read Ryan and Romney’s speeches. Then tell me, what would they do about Medicare? How would they cut spending? How would the tax code look when they were done? How would they create jobs in 2013?

6. That’s not just my judgment. As the Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote, “Neither [Romney] nor the entire GOP convention made a case for his economic policy agenda. He and Paul Ryan promised to help the middle class, but they never explained other than in passing how they would do it.”

7. There was a sense in which the Republican convention must have been very cheering to liberals. Republicans are running as the party that will protect Medicare. They are criticizing President Obama for doing too little to bailout auto plants. They are downplaying the more conservative elements of their agenda. It is difficult to imagine a ticket with that view of the country taking office and then making the kinds of cuts and reforms conservatives are hoping to see.

8. Perhaps this is why Romney’s campaign advisers are telling reporters that Romney might be a one-term president who attempts a kind of kamikaze mission against the welfare state. Color me skeptical. “I’m comfortable being a one-term president if I’ve gotten some big things done” is the kind of thing people stop saying once they’ve won their first term and now have the opportunity to be a two-term president.

9. This goes to my initial skepticism that it would be good for conservatives to have Ryan on the ticket. Already, Ryan is proving himself a good soldier, backing off his intention to cut Medicare over the next decade, reminding voters that a Romney administration will pursue Romney’s agenda, downplaying his policy ideas in major speeches. If Ryan had remained in the House and had wanted to continue being a national figure, perhaps he would have forced Romney to govern as a conservative reformer, if only because that’s what Ryan would have needed to do to remain an independent leader in the Republican Party. But as Romney’s vice president? The evidence so far suggests he’ll be a good soldier in a Romney administration and will use his considerable credibility to keep the GOP on-board with the boss’s agenda.

10. Nor is it even clear what conservatives would gain from an unpopular, single-term presidency. Romney and Ryan’s Medicare plan, for instance, wouldn’t kick in for over a decade. If that was jammed through Congress without much popular support and then Republicans lost the 2020 election, I think it’s safe to say it wouldn’t happen at all. Health-care reform, which is likely dead if Obama doesn’t win a second term, is a useful analogue here. I’d say the lesson of the last few years is major policy reform is very difficult if it’s not built atop a broad consensus. Simply passing the bill isn’t enough, particularly if there’s a long lag between when the bill is signed and when the new policy takes effect.

8/31: To watch/read Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney’s speech, click here.

8/30: For a breakdown of the most used words at the Convention, visit nytimes.com here. Turns out politicians also have to be master rhetoricians.

To watch/read Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan’s speech at the Convention visit nytimes.com here.

8/29: Yesterday the Convention debuted a series of videos called ‘These Hands” about small business owners who built their business, contrasting a claim that Obama made. To watch these videos and read their transcripts, click here.

This message from Obama may explain a Romney’s new “We built it” campaign. Here is the full context of what Obama said about small business owners that some Americans are calling “a slap in the face” according to abcnews.com.

“We’ve already made a trillion dollars’ worth of cuts.  We can make some more cuts in programs that don’t work, and make government work more efficiently…We can make another trillion or trillion-two, and what we then do is ask for the wealthy to pay a little bit more …

There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me, because they want to give something back.  They know they didn’t -look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.  You didn’t get there on your own.  I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart.  There are a lot of smart people out there.  It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.  Let me tell you something – there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.

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.  The Internet didn’t get invented on its own.  Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.  There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own.  I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service.  That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together.  That’s how we funded the GI Bill.  That’s how we created the middle class.  That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam.  That’s how we invented the Internet.  That’s how we sent a man to the moon.  We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that’s the reason I’m running for president – because I still believe in that idea.  You’re not on your own, we’re in this together.” – President Obama

8/28: Check out the Republican National Convention Order of Business from gopconvention2012.com here.

To read Romney dispelling ‘rumors’, visit mittromney.com here.

Click here for an image of the stage where Mitt Romney will be nominated.

Photo taken from gopconventions2012.com. Stay with us over the next few days for more on the 2012 GOP National Convention.

8/27: National Conventions are part of the electoral process, and show each political party at their best. Parties announce who wins the ‘party ticket’, which basically means delgates pick out who will represent their party in the election. The party also establishes their political policy at the convention.

This years GOP National Convention kicks off today at 2pm  in Tampa Bay, Florida until August 30th. The republicans plan to unveil a national debt clock in the convention hall when the event beings.

Photo taken from gopconventions2012.com. Stay with us over the next few days for more on the 2012 GOP National Convention.

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