Jonah Goldberg

The U.S. economy - yes, that economy - grew at a 3.3 percent annual rate last quarter. This no doubt caused consternation at the highest levels of the Democratic Party, perhaps forcing some to consider a new convention film at the last minute: "Dude, Where's My Recession?"

To hear the Democrats at their convention this week, you would get the sense that a recession is merely a technical term for the worst human misery ever visited upon a once-great people. You'd think Americans were listening to the Democratic speeches as they huddled around their kitchen tables - if they hadn't already been used for firewood - deciding which of their children to pack off to the orphanage and how much tree bark they can afford to eat next week.

Thursday night, Barack Obama proclaimed: "Our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more." He went on to describe an America reminiscent of "The Grapes of Wrath" (if not "Mad Max").

But this was a weeklong theme. Over and over again, the Democrats insisted that the "American dream" is being snuffed out, crushed, beaten, stabbed and quite possibly dismembered in President Bush's West Wing bathtub, where Bush and Dick "The Cleaner" Cheney can dissolve the remains in sulfuric acid.

On Wednesday night, just in case some village waif somewhere hadn't already heard, Joe Biden reminded the world that he rides Amtrak home to Delaware from Washington. Apparently not since Gunga Din has there been a more heroic commute. And we've now learned that when he gazes out the window of his barreling locomotive, he can "almost hear" the conversations in the houses he sees whizzing by.

He "almost hears" things with an awful lot of specificity: "Should Mom move in with us now that Dad's gone? Fifty, sixty, seventy dollars just to fill up the gas tank? How in God's name, with winter coming, how are we gonna heat the home? Another year, no raise? Did you hear? Did you hear they may be cutting our health care at the company?" Super Joe even hears people asking him, "How are we gonna retire, Joe?"

Is there nobody between D.C. and Delaware talking about "American Idol" or their kids' school play or how they're sick of meatloaf?

Obviously, there is real economic pain out there. Food and energy costs are rising too fast and by too much. The mortgage crisis is real.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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