Politicians must truly depend on ignorant voters. So few voters really have a wide view of things. From my frequent time in the blogosphere and the print media, I am stunned about how little understanding there is of how things work. Politicians say what they will and naive people half believe them. We need to look closer. Let's go by topic...
Change is slow to come to Washington. People have this crazy idea that electing a President will significantly change things. Once in a while it actually happens. With Lincoln; with FDR; with Reagan. The end of slavery, the coming out of the Great Depression, and the end of the cold war (for a couple of decades anyway) were monumental accomplishments. However, most of the time it doesn't change - at least not for the better. Reagan could have done more without the Democratic congress. Clinton foundered the first two years with a massive tax increase from the Democratic congress and he stumbled badly abroad. The revolution of 1994 occurred and with a Republican Congress to be reckoned with, we had prosperity for the final six years. The first six years of W's administration has record low unemployment, low interest rates, and business was pretty good. Then the Dems took control of congress in January, 2007, and it has been a royal mess since. Since the people have this messianic view of their presidents, Clinton got all the credit, W gets all the blame. The fact is that there are three branches of government - the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. Unless all change, change is limited.
OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY
Jimmy Carter ran as an outsider. Not much changed except the lack of a lot of alcohol at state events. He turned out to be incompetent as head of the military and pushed the same old tired liberal agenda. Obama loves to say McCain represents a third Bush term even though there is reason to believe McCain didn't even vote for Bush after their harsh 200o primary campaign.
Unless McCain gets a GOP Congress, which no one is predicting short of a miracle, he will be crossing the aisle a whole lot and will likely have to compromise a lot to get anything done. If Congress continues to screw up the economy as they have the last 20 months, he will get the blame for things beyond his control. Obama has already shown that he can change at the drop of a hat on the issues. He will acquiesce to the big money backers (a half billion doesn't come without strings) and the Congress which has an 85% disapproval rating, and people will be madder than a hatter when he selects another ACLU Justice like his favorite, Ruth Bader Ginsberg (former Chief Counsel for the ACLU). Obama has a history of catering to special interests - slumlords among them. Unfortunately, given the Congress being on his side, Obama could mess things up a whole lot quicker than McCain could, even if McCain made some dunderhead decisions. McCain's vetoes would simply be overridden if the Dems have a "veto-proof" majority. A Democratic Congress overriding an Obama mistake? Not until the hot place freezes over.
Harry Truman sold ties and belts in Missouri. Dems cannonize him. Many consider a lack of WASHINGTON experience a huge plus. Fewer ties to lobbyists, fewer ties to the good old boy (or girl) network. Yet practical experience is important. Being a Governor or an executive helps. Just look at it as though you were hiring someone - what is on their resume? Not just the time put in, but the accomplishments. What ARE Joe Biden's accomplishments? Did he learn from his mistakes (he voted against the world in opposing the first Gulf War)? Just like evolution is touted as fact, global warming is tied primarily to human activity, and all Christians are equivalent to morons, the Emporers with no clothes will continue to be revealed. I can think of nothing in Joe Biden's background that would make me hire him as an executive of a company, let alone the country. With Obama, his impressive running of the campaign in the early months would have qualified him to head a non-profit, but his inability to stand against entrenched interests and in fact giving them favors and having his family personally profit while in the Illinois Senate and the U.S. Senate would surely disqualify him from the Presidency.
John McCain is a Senator like Biden. His temper, his erratic decision making, and his first marriage experience all lead to questions of judgment. What he showed as a P.O.W. and as a Maverick in Washington are all positives, yet he was not the first choice of me or of many others. While not disqualified, for many he is a "caretaker candidate" with low expectations. Sarah Palin is actually the only one of the bunch who has the correct temperament to be President. She is self-effacing, trusts in God to lead her, and is not ego driven. That type of experience is something God loves to use. The only one of the four with executive experience doesn't hurt. FDR, Truman, Reagan, and Carter had NO foreign policy experience. She has serious knowledge gaps, but looks like a quick study. Like those who came before, she will go through intensive briefings and will be fine. People who have to learn and depend on the judgment of others often turn out the best.
Politicians can vote different ways on the same issues. Depending on how the legislation is packaged, one can vote for something before he votes against it. As the polls develop, you can be on the right side no matter how you voted. Politicians say they are giving you a tax decrease when that is impossible. Obama reiterated that 95% of Americans would get a tax cut. 40% of Americans don't pay Federal Income Taxes. That means 40% of Americans would get a check as a gift, not a tax decrease! If the past is any indicator, taxes will skyrocket. That's what happened when Bill Clinton gave the same tired promise. Likewise, McCain cannot further reduce taxes without increasing the deficit. There is simply too much pork that will stay on the pig unless all the bums in Congress are kicked out (hasn't happened yet). Learn what is possible to do. Know that promises that are impossible will never be kept! If we are at deficit now, you can't fund a trillion dollars in promises by cutting taxes! It is elementary school math. Remember the old saw, if it is too good to be true, it isn't true.
Look back in history. Those who don't study history are doomed to repeat its mistakes. When has massive government spending over the long term EVER helped? Many attribute the length of the Great Depression to FDR keeping in place government programs too long. The Great Society caused family break-ups which have never been healed. Every four years we are promised that our world will be radically different. Yet, if the party that promises the world wins, things are in worse shape when they leave. If the party that controls the Congress is ineffective, the President will be as well. Look at the party's record at the state and local levels. If cities under control of the party promising change are the most miserable in the nation, why should the SAME policies work any better at the national level??? He who is faithful in little is faithful in much.
My friends, politicians depend on you not doing your homework. They depend on you not understanding how government works. They depend on you not understanding how what they are as a person affects EVERYTHING. It really DOES matter. Study often and study well so you will not be taken advantage of by those who succeed only when people are lacking in knowledge and understanding.