TAMPA, Fla. - The GOP will squeeze both Ann Romney and Chris Christie onto its prime-time agenda tonight in a convention already cut short by what some say is the wind and rain-swept wrath of God.
As Hurricane Isaac bears down on New Orleans on the anniversary of Katrina the Republicans are stuffing their key speakers into prime time in case they have to shave a day or two off the latter part of their convention. Remembering President Bush and his lack of response to the Katrina disaster they also fear television images of Republican delegates partying while a disaster named Isaac strikes millions along the Gulf Coast.
Republican spokespeople have said that the party shuffled its calendar because Ann Romney's remarks are critical to her husband's candidacy. They hope her speech will get voters to see her husband as she does.
Considering the huge number of voters who see Romney as an enormously wealthy tax cheat and as an outsourcer of jobs, it would seem Anne Romney has her work cut out for her.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's speech will showcase, presumably, how the GOP ia able to fit under its tent a popular northern governor from a normally liberal and Democratic state.
His task too will be difficult because there are an uncomfortably large number who remember how, on taking office, Christie cut state aid for education by $1.1 billion, slashed property tax relief for senior citizens and shredded government worker pensions. When he originally campaigned for the governorship he had promised, in each of those three cases, to do the opposite.
"Christie's personal and political ideology has cost New Jersey billions of dollars in federal aid for education, transportation and women's health funding," N.J. State Sen. Barbara Buono noted in a Politico interview yesterday.
Christie will try to portray tonight that he has put New Jersey on a sound fiscal path - cutting spending, holding the line on property taxes, fighting off tax increases, investing in education and laying the foundation for a so-called "Jersey Comeback."
In reality, New Jersey ranked 47th in economic growth in 2011 and its economy shrank that year by 0.5 percent. There are 175,000 fewer jobs today in New Jersey than there were in December 2007, when the recession began. Las moth New Jersey lost 12,000 additional jobs.
As for property taxes for the average New Jersey family: They were at a 20 percent net increase during Christie's first two years in office, up from $6,244 to $7,519.
One thing for certain is what the big speakers will not discuss tonight - the GOP platform. The new platform just adopted voucherizes both Medicare and Medicaid: "The first step is to move the two programs away from their current unsustainable defined-benefit entitlement model to a fiscally sound defined-contribution model," the platform reads."
"That means that instead of Medicare as we know it, which pays your medical bills, you'd get a lump sum which you can apply to private insurance - they'll yell when we call it a voucher but that is what it is," said economist Paul Krugman yesterday.
Underlining the continued race to the right by the Republican Party, Bloomberg Insider said yesterday: "Today's Republicans would call Ronald Reagan a socialist."
Photo: Stock image of Gov. Christie. Melissa Babin // CC 2.0