Friday, January 11, 2008

The magic wand of change

All the candidates are running around claiming to be the candidate of change. Like a new brand of soap flakes, they want to be “New and Improved.”

Well, I don’t hear any candidate claiming they want Dick Chaney as a running mate, and Bush has run into the law on term limits…so there will be change in January 2009 no matter what. All of you can claim that you will bring change to the White House.

Seriously, how does a president change things? There is a great deal of talk about a national sales tax to replace income tax. There is talk about ending the war in Iraq, or creating jobs, or universal health care, or energy independence. But don’t things like that require help from Congress?

McCain’s website touts this line: “Border security and our failed immigration system are more examples of an ailing Washington culture in need of reform to regain the trust of Americans. In too many areas -- from immigration and pork barrel spending to Social Security, health care, energy security and tax relief -- business-as-usual politics prevents addressing the important challenges facing our nation.” (How long have you been in Washington, John?)

Hillary posts this: “Well, how about this for a new approach? No more cronyism, no more corruption, and no more deception. And here's an old-fashioned idea: let's start appointing qualified people to positions of power again.” (Mrs. Clinton, read the the front page of the Washington Post from 1993 to 2000.)

Obama’s website: “Obama's Transparency and Integrity in Earmarks Act will shed light on all earmarks by disclosing the name of the legislator who asked for each earmark, along with a written justification, 72 hours before they can be approved by the full Senate.”

Romney says: “The American values that have been at the heart of our historic rise to world leadership are being challenged everyday. We must promote a culture of life, protect America's children, and stop the erosion of America's basic freedoms.”

(The rest of the candidates sound pretty much the same. Those on the fringes are even more spectacular.)

Now, think for a minute about Pelosi’s “100 Hours” of reform in the House. How did that work out? Or the 1994 Contract with America. For these presidential candidates to do anything they would need to have the support of the House and the Senate, and various Federal Judges. We don’t have much confidence in any of them.

To keep those promises, they would need to violate the separation of powers (checks and balances) that our government is built upon. Are these people running for President or Monarch?

Obama’s got charisma and the experience of a speech at the Democratic National Convention, but so did Jesse Jackson. Can that charm work on Congress? Is Barack really strong enough at building consensus with the Republicans? His voting record looks nearly identical to Kennedy’s and Durbin’s. That doesn’t exactly smell like bipartisanship to me.

Change sounds great to the public, but just exactly how do you candidates plan to do it?

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