Both parties have billed the 2012 election as the most important in a generation, a real page turner. Both say that we face a clear choice. Both have done everything possible to obscure exactly what that choice is.
The president and Democrats (brave fellows) appear to be standing with the 99% against the 1%. Four years ago they promised "hope" and "change" and something about the rise of the oceans slowing and the planet healing... Now we are asked to join them on the side of the angels.
The Republicans are conducting an exorcism. Apparently all their candidates have transgressed by expressing some liberal sensibilities. If they were Chinese Communists, the Party could parade them through the streets in dunce caps. Instead they have donned Ronald Reagan masks and recite passages from Barry Goldwater's Conscience of a Conservative. I guess they figure since Barack Obama got away with claiming to be the reincarnation of FDR and Abraham Lincoln and cribbed many of his lines from Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, why not?
One thing I am sure of, none of these guys are Ronald Reagan, FDR, or Abraham Lincoln -- far from it. Since we are going to have to choose one of them as "leader of the free world" it would be nice to have some idea as to exactly where they intend to lead us:
Will they continue to spend like drunken sailors until the government runs out of credit or our currency is so debased that like the citizens of the Weimar Republic we need wheelbarrows of cash to pay for a loaf of bread?
Will our public schools continue to serve the job security interests of teachers to the obvious detriment of the educational interests of our children?
Will public employees continue to pay "dues" the principal purpose of which is to fund politicians who in turn confer pay and benefits on them substantially greater than those available to the taxpayers that they serve?
Will they continue to invest public funds in the private enterprises of their most influential campaign funding sources like the recently estimated $25 billion cost (as in loss) for subsidizing the UAW at General Motors and the countless billions lavished on so called "green energy" producers that don't produce anything but green losses.
Will they only cut the military portion of the federal budget confident that this one competent part of the government bureaucracy will probably figure out how to be efficient and effective while they leave the remaining three trillion dollar amalgamation to continue to run with the ruthless efficiency of the post office?
Will we continue to ignore the fact that over ten million people continue to rattle around in our country in some legal no man's land?
In lieu of constructing sensible tax and fiscal policies, will we employ empty rhetoric like calling for the "Buffett Rule" as anything more than a means of flattering an old man and diverting our attention from the facts: that we are running unsustainable trillion and a half dollar annual budget deficits; our political class is corrupt, self-serving, and self-perpetuating using the tax code as an intramural political weapon; our country has nearly 25 million unemployed or underemployed; and we are losing our international competitive edge.
Will we continue to eschew sensible homeland security screening practices in favor of fondling nuns, geriatrics, and right wing senators?
Will we criminalize abortion as we tried unsuccessfully with prohibition, accept it as we do smoking, alcohol consumption, pornography, and other contentious matters of individual choice, or promote it using public funds?
Are we going to affirmatively prevent our gay children and friends from entering into contractual relationship e.g. marriages like other citizens, continue to evade the issue, or face up to it and settle it in a manner consistent with our Constitution and Bill of Rights?
We have a national election coming up. It ought to be about something.
Al Checchi is chairman of Join Together America, the former chairman of Northwest Airlines, and a former candidate for Governor of California. His new book is The Change Maker.