One striking difference between McCain's speeches and those both of Obama and Clinton is the former's absence of personal misery stories. At least McCain is clear on two vital issues of our time: ensuring that U.S. forces once committed to war defeat the enemy rather than withdraw in defeat, and ensuring that we cease borrowing money to spend what we don't have or are not earning.
94% of mortgages may be paid each month, but we hear constantly from Obama of foreclosure signs and the evicted. Unemployment may still be at historic lows (cf. the frequent -6-7% of the last three decades), but in Hillary's world Jane Doe and Joe Sixpack are out of work and starving. The point is not that these are not real stories, but that these human agonies are not put into any broad perspective to ascertain to what degree things in general are far worse than before.
A poignant anecdote is instead intended to move, sadden, and finally anger us—to the point of begging a Hillary or Barack to intervene to stop the unceasing misery of innocent others. The net result is one of profound depression that America is such an awful, failed country — and I'm not sure if that innacurate storyline is one they really want to pound home to the voters for the next nine months. It all sounds right out an Athenian court case where the victim brings in starving children in rags to sway the popular jury.
If one were going to make the case for agony and hardship, the Democratic candidates should at least make it rational and collective: e.g., gas is over $3.50 a gallon, this means X billion out of U.S .pockets, and Y dollars more lost from your personal budget for the year — AND this is due to A, B. and C that we had some control over. It gets worse when we get to education, where the culprit is always the absence of money, never the lack of standards, the absence of accountability, the politicization of the curriculum, the infusion of therapy into the classroom, the popular emphasis on sports or leisure rather than on knowledge, or the role of unions in stifling indvidual initiative and excellence.
There is no doubt that both Clinton and Obama, for all their talk of "hope" are both heavily invested in misery and failure--both in their economic philosophy, as well as their desire for immediate (if not sooner) surrender in Iraq.
You would think that people with real "hope" would see the progress in Iraq and the turnabout that has occurred in the hearts and minds of the people there. You would think that people hyping "change" would come up with some ideas and programs that aren't beholden to an ideology that has already failed in country after country, and which has made their economies circle the drain.
The Democratic party has become a bleak house that only knows how to pander to the pessimism and envy of Americans. Since 2000 when Bush was elected, they have been whining constantly and pointing to doom and gloom omens whenever they could about the economy. Their goal? To create a perception of disaster--even as the economy chugged along like the little engine that could. No group is happier or more excited over the possibility of a real recession than the Democratic elite, who are practically salivating over the word. Never mind that unemployment remains at historic lows, as Hanson mentions; or that manufacturing has actually grown during the Bush years:
From 2003 to 2006, manufacturing growth averaged over 2.3%. There’s every reason to believe that real growth in manufacturing continued in 2007.
Okay, what about the decline in total manufacturing jobs? Well, that’s due to productivity and calls for a history lesson.
In 1945, 16% of Americans worked in agriculture. By 2000, that percentage had shrunk to 1.9%. Yet, as with manufacturing, and despite steep, long-term, productivity-driven drops in the prices of agricultural commodities, agriculture’s GDP has grown consistently in real terms — but just not as fast as other sectors in the economy.
When’s the last time you read somebody fretting over the “de-agrification of America” and longing for workers to head back out into the fields? And why would it be a bad thing if, over the next few decades, we’re able to get ever more value out of manufacturing with fewer people as long as overall unemployment stays low?
This is why the Democratic candidates try to outdo each other with stories of pathos and woe, since anecdotes are the only real data to which they can refer to justify their economic doom and gloom.
And, now that things are going well in Iraq, the last thing you hear is any Democrat talking about it--except, of course, to remind people that they were opposed to it from the beginning--no matter what they said at the time, or how they voted. The anecdotes are being trotted out fast and furious here, too, to justify the "psychopathic soldier" meme--most recently that they even kill poor, helpless puppies-- that most of the poltiical left subscribes to anyway.
In fact, if you actually look at the behavior of the Democratic candidates and their leftist political base, you begin to see that "hope" and "change" are the last things in the world they stand for--or champion. More like hype and shortchange.
The Democrats live in a very bleak house, indeed.