Dirty Harry Meets Clean Mitt


TAMPA, Fla. — Clint Eastwood put on an odd skit Thursday night at the Republican National Convention. It was awkward to watch and hard to hear, but I have to hand it to Eastwood. He achieved the impossible; he made the gaffe-prone Mitt Romney come across as supremely tactful.

Four years ago, when Barack Obama was elected president, Eastwood told the Republican National Convention on Thursday night, Eastwood thought: “This is great. Everybody was crying. Oprah was crying. I was even crying.”

But with 23 million Americans unemployed and the Obama White House not sufficiently interested in solving the nation’s economic woes, Eastwood concluded, “When somebody does not do the job, you gotta let ‘im go.”

“Hope and change had a powerful appeal,” Romney said as he accepted the GOP nomination at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. “But tonight I’d ask a simple question: If you felt that excitement when you voted for Barack Obama, shouldn’t you feel that way now that he’s President Obama?”

During the three years since the economy began to expand in June 2009, median household income in America fell 4.8 percent. According to an analysis of Census Bureau data by Sentier Research LLC, median household income had fallen from $54,916 in December 2007 to $53,508 in June 2009. That was hard, but things could get worse. Under the Obama recovery, that figure dropped to $50,964 by June 2012. Seniors were the only demographic group to see its income rise.

The unemployment rate has exceeded 8 percent since February 2009, yet the president has no plan to get America back to work again. He has proposed ending the Bush tax cuts for the top 2 percent of income tax payers. Why? Not because he expects this huge tax increase to create prosperity but because he thinks the president is supposed to be the fairness czar.

If Obama policies helped, it would be one thing, but as Ann Romney said Tuesday night, the little things, such as gas prices and grocery bills, pile up, while “the big things — the good jobs, the chance at college, that home you want to buy — just get harder. Everything has become harder.”

On Wednesday night, running mate Paul Ryan made the same point with more bite when he said, “College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life.”

I’ll tell you this much. The Democrats are going to get a lot more personal at their convention in Charlotte, N.C., next week.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., made a point of saying that Obama is not “a bad person”; he’s just a bad president.

As Romney neared the end of his talk, he reminded voters that many could not say they are better off than they were four years ago. He noted that in 2008, Obama promised that he would fight climate change and shepherd a moment “when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

You don’t hear Obama talking about green jobs anymore. But you may remember Romney’s pledge: “My promise is to help you and your family.”

This convention drew blood.

Email Debra J. Saunders at [email protected].

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