“My View” from the Aug. 31, 2012, edition of “Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer.”
Every trial lawyer knows what it’s like to sit patiently while the other side puts on its case. Inevitably they make a few points that appeal to the jury, even though those points may be irrelevant. Waiting for the opportunity to respond can be painful. The desire to jump up immediately — to point out the flaws in logic or simple factual distortions — is often overpowering.
So it has been watching the Republican convention.
But let’s not make a rookie error by pretending they didn’t have some compelling moments. In fact, let’s acknowledge them up front:
• Ann Romney was a fine and sensitive voice, speaking from the heart about the hard work done by spouses — and the tough times that every family goes through.
• Paul Ryan was evocative on the loss of faith we have suffered, the reality that sunk in after the euphoria of Obama’s win. The testimonials about Mitt were truly passionate, let’s concede.
• Mitt Romney has a good heart and has worked hard, consistent with his faith, to help folks in need. And Mitt himself seemed almost approachable in his speech — truly desirous of a better life for those who are not at his income level.
But none of that matters to the bottom-line issue:
Who can lead us from the economic quagmire we still reside in to a better future? We still have a serious jobs crisis, an equity crisis and a growth crisis. Yet despite all this, the broad array of efforts and policies fought for and implemented by President Obama are moving us in the right direction — while the Republican Party has been nothing but an impediment to change and clear thinking.
Moreover, the answers provided by the Republicans are either outright false or based on policies that have been tried and failed miserably. Their convention was filled with nothing beyond the platitudes of a Hallmark birthday card. There was not a serious moment of learning, retrospection or reflection about why we had a cataclysm. Not a serious moment to ponder what actually works — and what doesn’t. And so the distortions and outright lies, all now well documented, were all they had left.
The Democratic convention next week should do more than try to attack Mitt Romney as a person — I am persuaded he is a fine man who does generous work and cares about other people. But he is dead wrong about the policies that will create a vibrant future for more than those inside his own economic circle.
Let’s make sure we rise above the personal assaults next week. We must make clear that we have learned, even if they have not, from the enormous errors in judgment and policy made by the last Republican administrations — both Bushes and Reagan. We are better off now than we were four years ago, and it’s because of the hard choices made by the Obama administration.
Let’s make that case, not just to lay the foundation for a victory in November, but to build public support for the actual hard work that must follow.
That’s “My View.”