“My View” from the Aug. 27, 2012, edition of “Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer.”
Three storm clouds hover over the Republican convention: one real, the other two figurative.
As Isaac barrels toward New Orleans, along a trajectory that leaves Tampa drenched but not in the direct line of fire, Republicans nonetheless have to deal with an even worse prospect: Isaac’s approach to New Orleans raises the specter of Katrina and the issues of Bush failure all over again. The Republican disdain for government is apparent and most evidently dangerous in the government’s failure to respond to the needs of the public at a time of crisis. The coldhearted and grossly incompetent response from the Bush White House at the time of Katrina will cast the Republicans once again in an intensely unfavorable light.
The second cloud is the reality of the right-wing social agenda that the GOP has embraced and put front and center in their platform. I called in to a radio show hosted by Geraldo Rivera today and had an impromptu debate with Sen. Ron Johnson from Wisconsin. He tried to focus on the economy exclusively, referring to the Republican social agenda as essentially irrelevant to most voters.
I think it’s fair to say that issues of choice and immigration are not minor issues to many in our population, nor should they be. The Republican effort to be dismissive of the extreme positions they have embraced — make no mistake, this is a Todd Akin/Sheriff Joe Arpaio platform — will accentuate and make more dramatic the difficulty the Republicans have with many women and Latino voters in particular.
The third cloud is the most serious for them. When it comes to the issues of the federal budget and the economy, the Republicans have embraced Paul Ryan, as did Sen. Johnson in our debate. He tried to present the Ryan budget as a serious effort to confront the issues ahead. We know better. The Ryan budget would not even survive SEC scrutiny if it were an offering document — it is flim-flam and smoke and mirrors, nothing more than an unsubstantiated rehash of the George W. Bush economic model that brought no good at all.
So while I wish the Republicans a jolly good time in Tampa — any political party can be fun, I suppose — their agenda for the nation is bleak and gloomy, only made darker by the actual storm clouds swirling around them.
That’s “My View.”