Donald Lambro

It was left to vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan to say the obvious Wednesday night at the Republican national convention in Tampa, "I have never seen opponents so silent about their record..."

Silent because they know the economy during their time in office has not really recovered and is to a large degree much worse than it was in 2009 when Obama was sworn into office.

Silent, too, because they have nothing to say about how to strengthen the economy, create jobs, raise middle class incomes, expand overseas export markets, boost energy supplies to reduce gas prices, and save an unsustainable Medicare program for insolvency.

Their last shot at trying to jump start the economy was Obama's $800 billion spending stimulus plan in 2009 that was an abysmal, wasteful failure. He can point to nothing he has done since then that has worked.

"They've run out of ideas," Ryan said in an electrifying acceptance speech that put the Republican ticket back on the offensive. "Their moment came and went. Fear and division are all they've got left. With all their attack ads, the president is just throwing away money -- and he's pretty experienced at that."

What was especially welcome and often inspiring in the convention speeches Wednesday was the determination by the party's younger rising stars to aggressively rebut the fallacious, flim-flam hucksterism peddled by Obama.

Like this one from Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul which should be broadcast in a 30 second ad for the duration of the campaign:

"Mr. President, you say the rich must pay their fair share. But when you seek to punish the rich, the jobs that are lost are those of the poor and middle-class," Paul said.

Obama knows that the top 25 percent of income earners pay 87.3 percent of all federal income taxes, according to the IRS. But he's betting most Americans don't know that or don't believe it. Meantime, the truth is that over the past four years, the middle-class has been shrinking and they have born the brunt of the severe unemployment levels under Obama's failed economic policies.

For the past four years, the president has had the luxury of an extended honeymoon with the national news media. But that's been changed this week with a newly energized GOP campaign that has begun punching back with some effective firepower.

A major target was Obama's unending excuses: He "is the first president to create more excuses than jobs. In his view, it's George's fault. It's the bank's fault. It's Europe's fault. It's Congress's fault," said former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty. "Mr. president, if you want to find fault, I suggest you look in the mirror."

But besides the economy, no Obama statement took more of pounding from the convention podium than his "you didn't built that" claim which placed the government at the center of everything Americans have accomplished in their lives.

Ryan, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and others struck down that preposterous claim with a vengeance in a counter attack that revives a deeply held political belief in the American electorate.

Americans still believe that persistence, hard work and the opportunity to compete in the open market place in a free enterprise society is the surest path to success. They just want the government to get out of their way.

That's the economic revival Republicans were selling in Tampa this week. Next week, however, Obama and the Democrats will meet in North Carolina -- where the jobless rate is 9.7 percent -- peddling more government.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.