A Forum for Opinions on News, Politics, and Life
October 25th, 2010
By Tom Carter
Racist rabble-rouser and archconservative George Wallace used to say, “There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the Republicans and Democrats.” Ross Perot said the same thing, as did Ralph Nader and others. What they had in common was they wanted to get elected outside the framework of the two parties. What they also had in common was they were at least partly right.
I just dispatched my absentee ballot to Texas. As I labored over the ballot, making sure I knew enough about the lesser offices and candidates to actually vote for one of them, that thought kept going through my mind. (I know, I know — you’re in bad shape when you’ve got George Wallace on your mind.) The fact is, when I look at the performance of the two parties during the past couple of decades it really doesn’t seem to make much difference which bunch is in power.
Right now, our biggest concerns are taxes, spending, deficits, and debt. Aside from a few well-credentialed idiots like Paul Krugman, who ought to shut the heck up, the vast majority of people seem to understand that we need to take dramatic remedial action through taxing and spending changes if we’re going to avoid a long-term collapse. There’s no other way to do it.
Republicans want to maintain or lower current levels of taxation and solve the problem by spending cuts. However, they’re vague as can be on what spending they would cut. For example, try finding specifics in their latest “contract.”
Democrats want to avoid tax increases on all but the wealthiest Americans — they generally don’t vote for Democrats anyway, so why not? But they want to keep all the expensive entitlement programs so beloved by their base. The only cuts they’re much interested in might be in defense, but even most Democrats know there isn’t much to be saved there.
The Bush Administration cut taxes and spent like drunken sailors (considering how bad it was, that’s an insult to drunken sailors). The Obama Administration is continuing the drunken sailor approach to government. Where can we voters go to find political leaders with the cojones (Sarah Palin said it first!) to prescribe the nasty medicine we must take in order to survive?
I voted for Rick Perry for governor of Texas again because he has continued to lead with economic policies that have made Texas relatively well-off compared to other big states. I voted for my incumbent Republican member of the House because, well, he’s not a Democrat, and I want to send my piddling little message of disapproval of how things are going.
How about issues other than the economy? War, for example. Clinton’s timidity and military ignorance botched the situation in Somalia and led us to lead NATO into the disaster of bombing Yugoslavia. Bush got us into ill-conceived and poorly planned and executed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama is doing the same thing with his muddled and doomed-to-failure strategy in prosecuting the war in Afghanistan. So in terms of finding a difference between the parties, war is a wash. They’re both incompetent and irresponsible.
So my meaningless little contribution to the vote totals in Texas isn’t going to make a dime’s worth of difference in the near-term fate of the country. Neither is yours, my friend. The real question is how bad will things have to get before our political leaders man-up and start making hard decisions? Very bad, I’m afraid.
Like most people, I’ll follow the election returns closely. I hope the Republicans beat the stuffing out of the Democrats at all levels. Not because I’m a Republican, God knows, but because I want politicians of all stripes to get a strong message that the people are mad as hell and they better start doing a better job. I don’t expect it to happen, but, as the man said, “Hope springs eternal….”
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