The Democrats, for their part, are doing more than presenting themselves as the party of Not Romney. They are wagering on collective amnesia to descend on voters by portraying themselves as fierce bank-fighters. It comes across as kind of weak, quasi-Occupy rhetoric without the actual track record to back it up. Under the header, "Stabilizing the Housing Market and Hard-Hit Communities," we have the following: "For more than a decade, irresponsible lenders tricked buyers into signing subprime loans while too many homeowners got in over their heads by buying homes they couldn't afford." So far so good. It goes on to say that President Obama "took swift action to stabilize a housing market in crisis" -- which is true enough. It would have been good for the Democratic platform-writers to end there, and not add that the Obama administration "also cracked down on fraudulent mortgage lenders and other abuses that contributed to the housing crisis." As a matter of fact, one of the most widely lamented failures of this administration had been its lackluster record in cracking down on mortgage fraud, and especially the "other abuses" part -- fraud in the sale of the exotic derivatives that became a proximate cause of the financial crisis. The Democrats fall practically into Ryan fib territory when they say that "Democrats have held the largest financial institutions accountable by requiring them to provide relief for homeowners still struggling to pay their mortgages and to change practices that took advantage of homeowners." The reality is that the federal programs that aim at helping hard-up homeowners have been a disaster. An audit, released in July, found that a whopping 90% of the funds set aside for distressed homeowners have gone unspent. Bloomberg reported that "of a $7.6 billion aid program for families in states with the largest home-price declines ... only $351 million had been spent to assist 43,580 homeowners by the end of June
of 2012 ." Sure, even that $351 million wouldn't have been there if the Republican Party's free market and Tea Party dogmatists had their way. But why put such a whopping distortion in the party platform? The Republicans' march to the right is scary enough without distorting the Obama administration's record. It's painful to read the Democratic platform talk about how "banks and investors were allowed to package and sell risky mortgages. Huge reckless bets were made with other people's money on the line" -- when Attorney General Eric Holder, Securities and Exchange Commission head Mary Schapiro, and line prosecutors like Preet Bharara haven't held those firms accountable.