EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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September 9, 2012

Column: Background noise to campaign is debt clock ticking

The family Labor Day cookout was on Sunday, so I was able to spend some quiet time on Labor Day watching the national debt clock heading for $16 trillion. The Republicans were displaying it during their convention, and now I can follow it on my computer at usdebtclock.org. It’s like monitoring your car odometer to see it hit 100,000 miles, except it’s moving really fast. It’s hypnotic — glad I’m not driving.

The theme of the first night of the Republican Convention was “We Built It”, combining defiance of President Obama and Elizabeth Warren’s declarations that “you didn’t build it” to hard-working American entrepreneurs, and tribute to those small businessmen/women who did.

Republican governors, whose states are leading the way to government overhaul, introduced businessmen and women who started with nothing, took risks, worked very hard, built their businesses and created jobs. New Jersey’s Chris Christie, who has worked successfully with Democrats on budget control, confidently led into Wednesday’s theme, “We Can Change It” — referring to the status quo that I think most of us recognize isn’t working.

My two favorite speakers that second night: Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky spoke for the libertarian element of the party, reminding us that “we must never trade our liberty for any fleeting promise of security”, and “you, the individual are the engine of America’s greatness.” Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico, my first choice for vice president, introduced Paul Ryan. Her best line referred to President Obama and the $5 trillion he’s added to the debt: “If he can take credit for building small business, he can take responsibility for building that.”

Ryan was criticized for not talking about his and Romney’s specific plan for change during his speech; but as House Budget Committee chairman, he has the only plan on the table – the Democrats haven’t passed a budget in three years. His role at the convention was to be the traditional VP pit bull, laying out the economic failures of the Obama administration; you can find the worst on the debt clock site, which notes the official 12.5 million, actual 23 million, unemployed Americans.

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