In short, at least Romney seems to believe things can get better. A Democratic response to his Tuesday night all-but-acceptance speech says otherwise.
“Four years ago Barack Obama dazzled us in front of Greek columns with sweeping promises of hope and change,” Romney pointed out in Boston. “But after we came down to earth, after the celebration and parades, what do we have to show for three and a half years of President Obama? Is it easier to make ends meet? Is it easier to sell your home or buy a new one? Have you saved what you needed for retirement? Are you making more in your job? Do you have a better chance to get a better job? Do you pay less at the pump?”
Tough questions, to be sure. But the implication is that with a steadier hand at the economic tiller, things can get better.
“In the short term, the recovery looks shaky,” Meyerson wrote. “In the long term, the economy looks shaky — so shaky that it may be many years before a president of either party or any ideology can count on winning a second term … As currently constituted, the U.S. economy looks less and less capable of generating the kind of prosperity that a president, or a party, needs to ensure a long run in power.”
The economy is to blame, he explains. That includes the housing market: “The problem isn’t just that 11 million homeowners owe more on their homes than those homes are worth.”
He quoted the Wall Street Journal, which reported last week that “housing sales remain weak “because many buyers don’t have enough cash for a down payment or can’t qualify for a loan, despite the fact that mortgage rates have fallen to near-record lows.”
“Last week’s CBS News-New York Times poll, which showed Obama and Romney running even at 46 percent, also turned up massive evidence of economic insecurity and the ratcheting downward of hopes that once were widely held,” he wrote. “Two-thirds of the respondents said they were concerned about their continuing ability to pay for their housing. Forty percent of parents said they have had to scale back their expectations for their children’s college educations.”
He then claims “Nothing in Romney’s record suggests he would challenge these trends.”
What’s striking about Meyerson’s response isn’t that he says Obama can help; it’s that he says no one can, “barring fundamental change” in our system of what he calls “the increasingly destructive form of capitalism in this country.”
Romney at least offers hope — a forgotten theme from the last election.
“I have a very different vision for America, and of our future,” he said. “It is an America driven by freedom, where free people, pursuing happiness in their own unique ways, create free enterprises that employ more and more Americans … We believe in America. We believe in ourselves. Our greatest days are still ahead.”