Saturday, November 8, 2008


I am an undecided voter in this year’s primary. And I hate it!

Like me, many Americans are frustrated. We feel government needs to alter its course, but don’t necessarily know what to change or who is best qualified to do it. Every candidate knows this and whips our discontent into a frenzy, offering themselves as the one to usher in this “change.”
After claiming to be this savior, candidates avoid questions that ask for details. Speeches demanding change in Washington don’t take any courage in the face of a recession, a war, and a housing crisis. Comparing all their vague generalizations is like trying to choose between six different flavors of vanilla ice cream.

If candidates are selling change for the sake of change, I am not buying. Change does not come without a cost. Candidates need to be more specific. Outline the alterations you plan to make. Fully disclose all costs. Don’t insult our intelligence by implying the money is hidden somewhere in the budget. History has taught us that we will sacrifice our money through taxes and inflation or sacrifice our liberty.

I haven’t found a leader worth following. Every candidate wants to rule America. None have the courage to lead America. Romney’s flip-flopping and Clinton’s poll-of-the-day pandering is irritating. People want their leader to stand firm.

A leader, like a parent, needs to establish and enforce boundaries. A good leader leads patiently. Additionally, a good leader counsels those he leads when they desire to make an unwise choice. These changes are innovations I would love to see in America’s next president.
Unfortunately, no candidate has the courage to tell the American people when their desires are unwise. It might interfere with their re-election. I doubt these lawyer-candidates can explain why our desires are unwise in a way that we can all understand.

The political sleight-of-hand is especially confusing in this primary. Nothing is as it seems. We have Ron Paul, previously a Libertarian, running as a Republican. We have Huckabee running as a Republican yet sounding like a Democrat. We have McCain, previously an Independent, running as a Republican. Maybe this switch is the change the candidates are talking about.
I am not convinced that any of these candidates will keep their promises. Obama, McCain and Clinton are senators, and Ron Paul is a sitting congressman. They were elected to represent their state’s interests in Washington. While campaigning, all they are supporting and defending are their own reputations.

Citizens of Arizona, Illinois, and New York are paying a candidate $169,300 to take a year off the job while reducing their representation by 50 percent. Citizens of Lake Jackson, Texas are without representation in the House while Ron Paul is setting campaign fund-raising records on the people’s dime. While candidates are campaigning they are not sitting on their committees. They are not listening to deliberations. They are not voting on any resolutions. They are not doing their job.

A candidate running for higher office while serving in another government position is not illegal. Still, they have no ethical problem cashing their paycheck without doing their job – a job that cannot be delegated to others. It is naïve to assume that a pay raise and an oval office will magically change their attitude.

Let’s not forget the press. They don’t make my decision any easier. It amazes me that with six candidates the press produces so little helpful information for voters.

In the past they harped about the cost of John Edward’s haircut and how Dan Quayle spelled potato. How shallow! It is like being back in 6th grade.

This primary season all the voters have gotten from the press are stories about Obama’s race, Romney and Obama’s religion, McCain’s age and Clinton’s gender. Race and gender are obvious to anyone with eyes. All are issues that perspective employers are forbidden by law to ask in the employment process. How ironic.

Many people are undecided in this primary election because they are too confused or uninformed. Most Americans don’t have the time or resources to sort through political hype for the truth. What corrections will help us make intelligent, informed decisions as voters?

The press needs to change their focus. Major networks should let the tabloids handle reporting about the shallow and petty. Otherwise, it appears that both have the same goal: selling papers regardless of truth content. The press has regular access to candidates. They should ask probing questions that push thorough the patronizing generalizations given by candidates. Citizens need information that intelligently compares specifics on the issues.

Candidates need to change their approach to campaigning. They should be more specific and substantial in their speeches. They should be courageous and show leadership by being examples of ethics and integrity.

Both candidates and the press need to change their tactics and prioritize discussion of non-polarizing issues. Then, Americans could begin to find common ground and become more united. That transition would be the best change of all.

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