You hear it all the time: Republicans and Democrats are Tweedledee and Tweedledum — different in name only. Anyone who believes that didn’t pay attention to the speakers at this year’s national conventions. A simple side-by-side comparison bears this out.
Elizabeth Warren vs. Nikki Haley: Elizabeth Warren is the Democratic challenger for U.S. Sen. Scott Brown’s seat in Massachusetts. Nikki Haley is the Republican governor of South Carolina. Warren pawned herself off as a Native American to gain preferential consideration for a teaching position at Harvard. Haley is a real East Indian who asked for nothing short of an even playing field. Warren came up with the phrase, “You didn’t build that,” long before the president used it at a Roanoke, Va., fire station. Haley knows better. She watched her own parents tirelessly work for years to build a million-dollar business.
Michelle Obama vs. Mia Love: Michelle Obama is, of course, our first lady. Mia Love is a Utah mayor running for her state’s 4th Congressional District. Obama was raised in a middle-class home in Chicago and followed her brother to Princeton. She attended Harvard Law School and was hired by a high-profile Chicago law firm, where she met and eventually married the man who would be president. Despite the advances she carved out for herself, it wasn’t until her husband was running for president that she was able to say she was proud of her country for the first time in her adult life. Love’s parents immigrated to the United States from Haiti with $10 in their pocket for the privilege of calling themselves proud Americans. It’s evident to anyone who witnesses Love speak that her parents instilled that same pride of country within her.
Charlie Crist vs. Artur Davis: Charlie Crist is a former governor of Florida who later left the Republican Party. Artur Davis is a former U.S. representative for Alabama’s 7th Congressional District who later left the Democratic Party. Crist’s political philosophy is dictated by the latest polls. Davis has been a moderate to conservative his entire political life. When Crist was losing badly in a GOP primary battle for the U.S. Senate against Marco Rubio, FOX News anchor Chris Wallace asked him five separate times whether he would consider leaving the GOP if his chances remained bleak. Crist answered “no” each time, then left his party within days and ran as an independent. Davis, on the other hand, voted against the Affordable Care Act as a Democrat in Congress and later supported Alabama’s voter ID laws. He became a Republican only because he felt the Democratic Party had become too extreme.
Sandra Fluke vs. Susana Martinez: Sandra Fluke is the Georgetown law student who was thrust into the limelight because of her support for the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate. Republican Susana Martinez is New Mexico’s first female governor and America’s first Latina governor. Fluke epitomizes the “cradle to grave” reliance on government depicted in the administration’s “Life of Julia” ad campaign. Martinez was taught self-reliance by her parents’ example when they built a successful multi-state corporation from nothing.
Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney: Barack Obama had never held a public or private executive position of any kind prior to becoming our president. Mitt Romney spent most of his working life in chief executive positions. To the president, government is usually the solution; to Romney, government is often the problem. Obama sees free enterprise as an income source; Romney sees it as a problem-solver. Success, to Obama, is meted out in the interest of fairness; with Romney, it’s earned, also in the interest of fairness. Both New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have described Obama as the most arrogant man they’ve ever met. Romney demonstrates time and again his reticence to boast about his life’s accomplishments.
Of course, this isn’t close to being a complete list of speakers. On the Democratic side, I didn’t include Lilly Ledbetter, who sued her employer for gender discrimination. Her inclusion as a convention speaker is odd given the fact that the White House, the Democratic National Committee as well as U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., all underpay their female staffs. On the Republican side, I didn’t include Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who courageously fought off public unions and a recall petition in a Democratic state and won.
In comparing the slate of speakers at the two conventions, I almost feel sorry for the Democrats. It hardly seems fair, and I sometimes think maybe we should spot them a few votes on Nov. 6 — but we won’t.
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