election 2012

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Where Reality Sells

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

A lot of people, Democratic and Republican, have been saying that yesterday’s election was “the most important in our lifetime.” It wasn’t — and wouldn’t have been had the presidential race gone the other way.

But as it is, the outcome was hardly shocking. An incumbent got re-elected. Wow.

The Senate solidified its Democratic position; the House remained solidly Republican. America after Election Day looks almost exactly the same as America before.

So, why so little change?

Blame it on “hope.”

Face it: in electoral politics, fantasy sells. Mainstream politicians love to promote The Dream. Not the American Dream, which is about hard work and honest dealing, but the Changeling Dream, about getting something for nothing. Or getting ahead at others’ expense. At present, this Dream rests upon spending more than government takes in forever and ever, believing that somehow there are no disastrous consequences to the resulting accumulation of debt.

Democratic politicians may be better able to describe their lavish dreams for all that government can do, but Republican office-holders sure seem to hang out on that same street in Dreamland.

Now they’ve just about all been re-elected to go back and hang out for another term.

What can we do? Hope they change their spots?

No. That’s too passive. “Cast your whole vote,” Henry David Thoreau wrote, “not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence.”

How? In 2013 and 2014, citizens can petition to put important issues on state and local ballots. We change the terms of political debate; we gain the upper hand — and put common sense back into government.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

The Punisher Vote

Monday, August 27th, 2012

As bad weather and thousands of good Republicans descend upon Florida, it’s worth keeping perspective: The best (and perhaps only) reason to vote for Mitt Romney is the same as the best/only reason Americans had to vote for Barack Obama in 2008: to punish the party previously in power.

The excesses of united Republican government in the mid-oughts, and the sheer irresponsibility and insider bias in the lame duck Bush years, as the GOP president panicked and turned Wall Street into the largest welfare queen class in America, required punishment.

Americans wanted a change. So they voted, understandably, for the man who promised change.

But what did they get?

Bush had pushed in a new welfare “entitlement” program; so did Obama and the Democrats. Bush had pushed bailouts for the wealthy and the protected; so did Obama and the Democrats. Bush had pushed war and occupation and “nation building”; so did Obama and the Democrats. Bush had presided over deficits and a rising debt; so did Obama and the Democrats.

Turnabout being not merely fair play, but the will of the pendulum to swing back, it seems like voting against Obama is what is in order. It seems almost ineluctable.

But, uh, there’s a problem. Is Romney electable?

Both major parties tend to throw up lackluster candidates when the opposition has an incumbent in the White House. Take three examples: Walter Mondale, Bob Dole, and John Kerry, paragons of pointlessness.

But, this time, a pointless challenger has history endow him with a point: Obama and the Democrats deserve to be punished.

Not much of a platform? True. But it’s something.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.