None of the below applies to Ron Paul, of course, the only presidential candidate who is honest, principled, and consistently says what he believes.
The would-be presidents are all spouting “change” now, but of course none of them states exactly what kind of change. It’s simply the buzzword of the moment. Vote for me and we’ll have change, they assert. Please tell us, then, what kind of change? More freebies for the indolent? More regulation and taxes? Inferior socialist health care for everyone? More government spending, manipulation and money creation? (Perhaps more liberty and a return to the Constitution? Don’t make me laugh!)
They are all despicable prevaricators. Certainly there are degrees, and at the top of their parties are Hillary “Schoolmarm Knows Best” Clinton and Rudy “I Was There” Giuliani. The former claims, although her marriage was and is obviously one of convenience, that she was essentially Bill’s “prez-partner” when he occupied the White House. If that’s true, then is Bill not guilty of some sort of high crime or misdemeanor? I doubt whether many citizens voted for a presidential partnership when they cast their ballots. If Bill wasn’t up to the task alone, shouldn’t the V.P. have taken over? Or was Hillary truly a trusted advisor, perhaps representing Bill’s female constituency? Or is she just a simple liar? These are questions which will never have answers, since the world’s sleaziest couple refuses to make public the pertinent records of the Bill Clinton years. (However, we can infer the obvious.)
For his part, Giuliani campaigns on the mere fact that he was mayor of New York during the terrible 9/11 attack. Many say he did a great job, rallying his people. What everyone seems to have forgotten is that his popularity was at its nadir when the tragedy occurred. The attack clearly revived his moribund career, and was simply the best thing that could have happened for him. Furthermore, in my opinion, practically any politician could have done what Giuliani did. After all, how hard is it to broadcast soothing platitudes penned by professional writers, to reassure the citizenry that “we’ll get through this,” to make lots of public appearances, and to stay up late “working”? Only a cretin would fail to see the opportunity for editorial-proof self-promotion, but only a cad (with a police-protected mistress, no less) would seize that opportunity and use it as a springboard to, and his primary qualification for, the highest office in the land. (Even if he was genuinely sincere during the ordeal, that isn’t exactly a major political accomplishment.)
When asked a question, all of them hedge, hem and haw, trying feverishly to concoct a response that won’t alienate a single soul, while simultaneously attempting to incorporate the usual something-for-nothing carrots-on-sticks, which amounts to little more than buying votes with empty promises. You can almost see their mental machinations during the debates, as they avoid answering simple yes-or-no questions with convoluted tangential ramblings, which neatly manage to avoid offending anyone and commit to virtually nothing.
When something negative happens to the candidates, their aides-de-camp rush to put a cheery spin on it. Their cadres of writers sit around tables, plotting every word, each calculated to produce a desired effect. When candidates put a proverbial foot in their mouths, they’ll soon state something like: “I didn’t mean to suggest anything negative about X — only that X is subject to review. If there’s a better way, we’ll do it.” (Perfect: I apologized in a nebulous way, no one can object to a review of something, “better way” equals “I’m always thinking,” and “we’ll do it” equals action and progress.)
Getting elected president is now all about money (the more TV ads, the better) and strategy. In other words: “buying and conniving.” It has nothing to do with genuine ideas, what’s good, right, Constitutional or fair. It’s about the continued aggrandizement of the presidency, and nothing about Congress making the laws, while the president merely enforces them. It’s all about having a new “Fearless Leader” with “vision” (which seldom materializes, except in ugly forms). And it’s all repulsive.
January 7, 2008
Andrew S. Fischer has worked in various fields.