iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Paul Abrams

GET UPDATES FROM Paul Abrams
 

My New Year's Wish for America in 2012: A Clear Choice, and a Clear Decision

Posted: 01/01/2012 2:16 pm

Let me state in no uncertain terms that I consider Rick Santorum to be as crazy, dangerous and misguided as any of them.

But, if he does very well in Iowa, I plan to send him money, and suggest that millions of others do too.

Why?

Because the country desperately needs to "have it out", to have a clear choice about alternative futures and to choose one. Unlike almost everyone else, I did not consider the 2008 elections a mandate for change, and said so just two days after that election, suggesting what the then president-elect needed to do to build a "working majority for change". He didn't.

Mitt Romney is not only a phony, he also takes so many shades of gray, often on the same day, on so many policies, that people who are unhappy with President Obama will be able to read into Willard whatever they think he ought to be favoring. Moreover, expect the Republicans to pretend, as they always do, that they have the interests of the 99% at heart.

The election will then become a contest between Republican lies and peoples' transferences to Romney -- not realizing that he is a tool of Wall Street and the neocons -- versus their experience with President Obama. Although the President has a long list of impressive achievements, the times in which he has governed have not been happy. Once again, the country will have failed to resolve its differences.

Santorum is different. Of course, Ron Paul is too, but a Paul vs. Obama election would merely tell us that we reject the truly bizarre.

Santorum stands for just about everything that Obama does not. Santorum wants the government to tell people how to procreate, whom and how to love, and how to have sex. Rape and incest victims would be forced to bear their misbegotten babies. At the same time, Santorum wants government out of its key historic roles of ensuring pure drugs, safe cosmetics, uncontaminated food, job safety, workers rights, clean air, clean water, safe cars, rebuilding roads and bridges, aiding education and so forth. In foreign policy, Santorum is certainly more trigger-happy than President Obama, less likely to pressure Israel to negotiate a workable peace with the Palestinians, disdainful of international organizations and allies, and believes the U.S. can, and should, go it alone.

In Santorum's America, the wealthy would become much wealthier and the middle class and poor would take whatever trickled down, if anything. Voter suppression would become nationwide. Budgets would be cut on the backs of the middle class. Medicaid would be block-granted to states -- which would then engage in a race to the bottom, encouraging those needing medicaid to go to more generous states. Social Security would be privatized. Medicare would become a defined contribution, i.e., a voucher system, rather than guaranteed care.

Anyone who wants to know what a Rick Santorum presidency would be like should just extrapolate those of the other Ricks -- Snyder (MI) and Scott (FLA) -- at the state level to the national level.

If America needs anything right now, it is clarity. More than any other candidate running for the Republica nomination, Santorum represents that side very well, and without the thuggishness of a Gingrich or the stupidity of a Perry to cloud the choice.

On the other side will be President Obama and the Democrats. They need to articulate what they stand for very clearly, not by trying to grab the center that Santorum abandons, but to ask the center to declare which America it wants.

Does the center believe in the social safety net, and is it willing to pay for it? Does the center recognize that the public good (education, infrastructure, caring for the least fortunate) is achieved through collective action, and that collective action is what government is established to do? Does the center believe that tax cuts that perpetuate income inequality, that zero-out estate taxes, that double-down on the policies that brought record deficits and financial and economic ruin to America need to be reversed? Does the center accept that one of government's functions is to serve as a "countervailing power" to large economic interests that can pervert the free markets and put the entire country at risk by their behavior? Will the center vote for candidates, and only those candidates, that will champion a constitutional amendment that says that money is not speech and that corporations are not people? Will the center reward or punish those politicians who blocked progress so that voters would be sufficiently unhappy to vote against the president?

My New Year's wish is that the 2012 campaigns for president and Congress provide these clear choices to the voters and that the elections result in a clear determination of which vision the American people choose for their future.

And, then, let us get on with the task of making that future.

Happy New Year to all!

 

Follow Paul Abrams on Twitter: www.twitter.com/pabrams2001

FOLLOW POLITICS