Democratic theme: 'Be patient'

Thanks to a marathon primary process (seemingly designed to deliver the Last Fundraiser Left Standing) - and despite the failed efforts of Ron Paul Republicans to change the debate in Tampa - neither national convention this year offered the drama of a contested nomination.

What remained were a matched set of three-day public relations efforts, designed to present the two presidential candidates and their sales pitches in the best possible light.

Though the pollsters still call it a close presidential race, the historical oddity this year was that the party currently occupying the White House reversed the usual order of things, in that it appeared to have the harder sales job on its hands.

Unable to run on the strength of an "economic recovery" about as convincing as Herbert Hoover's in 1932, the Democrats' current argument, in a nutshell, is that voters should be patient, should wait for Barack Obama's policies to turn things around.

"He reminds me that we are playing a long game, here ... and that change is hard, and change is slow and it never happens all at once," first lady Michelle Obama said of her husband in her address Tuesday evening. "But eventually, we get there."

"He inherited a deeply damaged economy," said former President Bill Clinton on Wednesday, amplifying the theme, "put a floor under the crash, began the long hard road to recovery and laid the foundation for a more modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses, and lots of new wealth for the innovators."

Indeed, an economy as large as America's has been compared to a giant ocean liner - it can't be turned on a dime. If voters believe President Obama's policies are working, the plea for patience makes sense.

Unfortunately, it makes no sense to give a set of policies more time to work if they've actually made things worse.

Government regulators and taxmen have been piling onerous costs on business owners for so long they can't seem to believe those that were unable to escape overseas are finally collapsing.

Yes, the economic mire, vastly deepened by federal interventions that pressured lenders to hand mortgages to people unlikely to ever pay them off, had authors in both parties.

Nor did President Obama single-handedly launch the Environmental Protection Agency and its disastrous attempts to curb energy production and thus drive up the costs of gasoline and electricity in a fantastic scheme to limit outputs of carbon dioxide - a harmless gas, necessary to life on Earth.

But far from taking sensible steps to limit far-fetched federal interventions until the economy recovers, the Obama administration has been on the front lines, blocking pipeline construction, making it hard to expand or develop new oil wells or refineries, threatening to block productive new shale fracture technologies.

America now has newly discovered oil, gas and coal reserves to last centuries - enough to turn us back into a net exporter. Energy and gasoline prices should be plummeting.

Instead, Mr. Obama engineered a vast shift of capital from the private sector to government contractors, emergency "stimulus" spending to fund "shovel-ready jobs" - and then admitted, a year later, that there's really no such thing as a "shovel-ready job."

Instead of allowing major auto manufacturers to shed their unaffordable union contracts in a standard bankruptcy reorganization, this administration intervened to essentially nationalize the companies - turning over part ownership to the unions at the expense of investors. How can Chevy now refuse to keep offering a Volt no one wants?

Does anyone believe ObamaCare - which requires businesses to finance pre-paid health care for all, and which was upheld by the Supreme Court on the grounds it's a gigantic new tax - has made business more affordable and predictable?

And as for those federal attempts to step in and rig the energy market, choosing Mr. Clinton's "vibrant new businesses"? Solyndra Solar: $535 million federal loan, bankrupt. Evergreen Solar: $5.3 million loan, bankrupt. Amonix, of California and North Las Vegas: subsidized with more than $20 million in federal tax credits and grants, closed.

Fisker Automotive built only 40 electric cars, two years late - in Finland. That Chevy Volt? Suspended production and layoffs despite a $7,500 tax credit with purchase.

Nevada Geothermal Power, a favorite of our own Sen. Harry Reid: $98.5 million federal loan, $66 million in grants, yet the auditor notes "significant doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern."

Meantime, the main Democratic attack against Republican challenger Mitt Romney seems to be that he's been too successful, that he made too much money - for himself and plenty of stockholders - as an expert in financial turnarounds, rescuing firms and setting them back on the road to profitability and job creation. How curious.