Yet, surprisingly, a couple of weeks ago Joe Biden changed the script by offering a "flat guarantee" that there will be no changes to Social Security in a second Obama administration. What have we heard about that so far this week?
Anybody who was truly concerned about the Federal government's long-term deficits would support this accurate observation in the 2008 Democratic platform: "The real long-run fiscal challenge is rooted in the rising spending on health care..." But our runaway health care costs are driven by for-profit corporations, whose abuses were only lightly addressed in the health reform bill. This 2008 statement was replaced this year with... silence.
With Nancy Pelosi's capitulation to the Simpson-Bowles austerity plan, Biden and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are the only two Democratic leaders in Washington who've said unequivocally that its benefits need not and should not be cut. What did we hear about Social Security in Sen. Reid's convention speech this week?
Headline: big banks defeated
In his speech to the convention, Sen. Reid said this: "Some said (Obama) couldn't take on the big banks that brought our economy to its knees. But President Obama made the tough and right call so taxpayers will never again be on the hook for Wall Street's risky bets." Reid's rhetoric echoed the party's 2012 platform, which reads "We put in place Wall Street reform with smarter, tougher, commonsense rules that will prevent a crisis like that from ever happening again."
But the Dodd/Frank bill was the product of a "negotiation" charade that was acted out between Senator (now lobbyist) Christopher Dodd and his GOP counterparts. Their backroom negotiations produced watered-down reform -- and still received no Republican votes. And yet, to hear them tell it, the Democrats took on the big banks and won. A lot of people will be surprised to hear that, especially when they find out that the victory was complete and no further work is needed.
No bankers have been tried for their crimes, despite massive evidence. They're still allowed to buy their freedom -- and the right to keep pillaging -- with other people's money. There's been nothing to show for the latest "this time we really mean it" round of announcements of a task force to investigate mortgage-related fraud. And, contrary to Sen. Reid's assertion, it's almost certain that there will be another crisis.
The Demorats' repeated use of the past tense -- "We put in place... made the right call... never again on the hook..." -- is the most discouraging sign of all. Like their speeches and their platform, it implies that no further reforms are needed. They seem to be telling us they have no intention of fighting for the additional reforms we so urgently need.
I think I liked the silence better.
And now for a word from our sponsor
Wednesday we learned that the party has moved the location of Thursday night's events, so the president won't be accepting the nomination in Bank of America Stadium as planned. He and his party won't enter an arena whose entrance is a shrine to one of our largest and most crooked too-big-to-fail banks.
Bank of America: whose bankers committed massive forgery and other crimes to foreclose on American families. Whose CEO was its top lawyer when it committed widespread fraud that led to billion-dollar fines and settlements. Which would have gone bankrupt if not for the taxpayer, and yet has paid out huge bonuses (despite the Democrats' 2008 pledge to "ban executive bonuses for bankrupt companies) -- and where, despite the fraud and criminality, not a single banker has been indicted.
Enter through those doors? Politically, at least, it wasn't worth the price of admission. It wouldn't have been wise to have the president and his party coming together under the words "Bank of America," even if those words were looking down on the politicians and their party the way that Bank of America and its kind have always done: