WASHINGTON — According to the pundits and politicians, this election is all about the economy. We're all supposed to know that — because we're not stupid. That's why the Republicans had a "national debt clock" over their convention floor in Tampa, Fla., and the Democrats didn't have one in Charlotte, N.C.
To no one's surprise, the Dems didn't remind anyone in the Charlotte Convention Center that our national debt topped $16 trillion on the opening day of their conclave — a 50 percent increase during the Obama presidency. The so-called mainstream media played along and focused instead on the change of venue for Barack Obama's outdoor acceptance speech from the 74,000-seat Bank of America Stadium — echoing O-Team claims that the move was weather-related. Republicans said the change was precipitated by fears of empty seats.
It probably isn't fair to expect the potentates of the press to remind Americans that when he ran for president in 2008, Obama blasted President George W. Bush as "irresponsible" and "unpatriotic" for piling up $4 trillion in new debt during his eight years in office. When your children and grandchildren ask how all this could happen, you're supposed to tell 'em it's "Bush's fault." At that point, they may really want to push Grandma off a cliff.
As we heard from so many speakers in Charlotte, it's also Bush's fault that Obama's 2009 promise to "cut the federal deficit in half" hasn't been fulfilled. Then it was $1.4 trillion. Now it's $1.2 trillion. But who's counting. Blame Bush. The O-Team just needs more time.
And then there's unemployment. In 2009, when he was pushing his stimulus package through Congress, bailing out hand-picked car companies and "investing in green businesses," the president told us he would cut unemployment to 6 percent. Now, 46 months into the Obama administration, it's still higher than 8 percent. Mr. Hope and Change now says that he needs four more years to "fix America's economic problems." Don't forget; it's Bush's fault.
Unfortunately for the nice people who support him, there are many other shattered vows that Obama can't blame on his predecessor. His Inauguration Day assurance that he would make government accountable and "transparent so that the American people can know exactly what decisions are being made" didn't happen. Nor did his campaign commitment to "televise the debate over health care." The failure of his pledges to "get energy costs under control" and "achieve energy independence" by expanding "alternative sources" and "funding green energy initiatives" is reflected in the pain we're feeling at the pump. And we still don't know who in the Obama administration authorized the "Fast and Furious" gunrunning operation or why he or she did it. No one should be surprised that none of these issues made the news in Charlotte.
What did make news was how quickly and deftly the Democrats moved to rectify two potentially damaging omissions from their party's platform — a 70-page document outlining the goals for a second Obama administration. For reasons that have yet to be explained, the drafting committee removed the word "God" from the platform and then deleted the clause, "(Jerusalem) is and will remain the capital of Israel." Both were in the 2008 edition.
Apparently, the O-Team was hoping nobody would bother to read this year's version. Bret Baier of Fox News did — and began to ask about the omissions. Within hours, Republican nominee Mitt Romney said: "It's unfortunate that the entire Democratic Party has embraced President Obama's shameful refusal to acknowledge that Jerusalem is Israel's capital. ... I find that one more example of Israel being thrown under the bus by the president." A day later, delegates in Charlotte amended their platform to restore God and Jerusalem as Israel's capital in the document. It's not clear how the original error can be blamed on George Bush.
By the time they pulled out of Charlotte, the Obama campaign machine had to be hoping that no one else parses through the platform — except the 20-plus references to Osama bin Laden's being dead and al-Qaida's being on the ropes. While they were putting God and Jerusalem back in, they should have deleted the sentence, "We have responsibly ended the war in Iraq."
Evidently, the O-Team is unaware that Iraqi air traffic controllers, trained by the United States and using radar and communications equipment provided by U.S. taxpayers, currently are facilitating flights from Iran to Syria. According to press reports — and a senior U.S. intelligence officer — the Iranian aircraft flying over Iraq are transporting weapons, Quds force special operations troops and intelligence personnel to prop up the brutal Assad regime in Damascus.
Of course, that means that the Obama platform pledge "to hasten the end of the Assad regime" is a future broken promise. Just blame Bush.
Oliver North is the host of "War Stories" on Fox News Channel, the founder and honorary chairman of Freedom Alliance, and the author of "American Heroes in Special Operations." To find out more about Oliver North and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.