Modern-day political conventions have always been more about the show than substance. But when you look at the speakers’ chosen and the messages delivered you can at least get a good idea about each party’s core values.  That’s why we were especially glad to see the Democrats extend an invitation to West Palm Beach senior and National Committee volunteer, Carol Berman, to address convention delegates last night.

Carol’s story is one that resonates for many American seniors who have worked hard and saved for their retirement years and are anything but the “greedy geezers” portrayed by many conservatives so eager to slash already modest Social Security and Medicare benefits.  Carol took to the podium last night and eloquently described how important preserving these programs are to millions of American families just like hers. 

I’m so proud to be at the Democratic National Convention from Florida.  I'm one of the seniors who retired to this piece of heaven on earth and I'm as happy as a clam.   It’s not just the sunshine…it’s Obamacare.

I'm getting preventive care for free and my prescription drugs for less. It’s pretty great.But the Romney-Ryan plan has me terrified…not just for me but for my three daughters who are in their 50's.

If Mitt Romney gets into office, the Medicare that they’ve earned will turn into Vouchercare.  Seniors will get a voucher to purchase health insurance …but the voucher won’t keep up with the costs, which could push people into private insurance plans.  And even though many seniors are on fixed incomes, it could add up to $6400 more a year in out-of-pocket costs.  And on top of that, he’s promised to repeal Obamacare on day one.

Thousands of dollars might be pocket change to Mitt Romney – but that’s a lot of money in my family…it’s birthday presents for my grandkids and a flight to visit them. Republicans are trying to end Medicare as we know it but we’re not going to let them.

We have worked for our Medicare; we have paid for our Medicare; and we have earned our Medicare. I’m proud to have been born the same year that Social Security was. It was the most important law of my lifetime. Medicare was pretty great too.  And now we have Obamacare, which preserves the promise of Medicare and a secure retirement.

So like I tell my daughters, let’s vote like our lives depend on it…because they do.

Politically, candidates hope voters will hear something they like at these conventions and provide the party’s presidential ticket the “bounce” needed to create momentum going into the fall.

While the GOP convention provided a small 1% bounce overall, what is worth noting is how different voting blocks reacted.  CNN summarizes here:

The poll indicates Romney may have picked up support among men, but there was no change at all among women, keeping in place a double-digit gender gap. And there's an interesting movement among age groups. Romney gained a bit among younger voters and among senior citizens, but Obama was the big winner among voters between 50 and 64 years old.‘It's possible that senior citizens who are already on Medicare have accepted the GOP assurances that their benefits will not be affected, but the group of Americans who are approaching retirement - who will be the first ones affected by the GOP-proposed changes in the Medicare system - are getting worried about what's in store for them,’ added Holland.

The problem with those cynical GOP “assurances” to seniors that their reform won’t hurt current retirees is that those are simply empty promises.  If elected, the Romney/Ryan repeal of healthcare reform will immediately strip benefits from 32 million seniors who have already used the new preventive screenings and benefits through the Affordable Care Act.  There’s also $3.1 billion dollars in real savings that seniors have already seen in their prescription drug coverage that will also be taken away. The Part D donut hole will return, private insurers get their massive subsidies back and Medicare will be insolvent by the end of Romney’s first term.

So much for convention promises.