Liddick: How dumb do pols think we are?
Summit County, CO Colorado
Memo to this year’s crop of political office-seekers: Thank you so very much for treating us voters as though we had the collective intelligence of a cabbage.
Is there anyone running for office this year who hasn’t shown an opinion of the American electorate so low that one would need mining equipment to find it?
Not on the national stage. One of our presidential candidates has heard the cries for help from people too stupid or too greedy to refrain from making purchases they couldn’t afford with funds they didn’t have; he plans to take money from those who were prudent enough to do neither, in order to rescue the first lot. And he tells us that this won’t hurt at all.
Another presidential candidate wants to “spread the wealth around,” taking from the frugal and productive to support those who are not. He tells us this is just. He also thinks health care is a “right.” Perhaps he found it in the “penumbra of the Constitution,” next to the right of privacy.
Both men embrace huge new government programs, which they propose to fund by the old canard of “eliminating waste, fraud and abuse.” This was buncombe when invented by Jimmy Carter, and it hasn’t improved with age. New programs, implying hundreds of billions of dollars of new spending, will be funded through one of two mechanisms:
A) raising taxation to confiscatory levels not seen since the recession of 1976-9.
A) mortgaging our grandchildren’s future to China.
We all know this, much loathe though we are to admit it. And we know the awful truth implied. But one would think that an aspiring national leader would at least have the spine to tell us what is already in front of our faces. Alas …
Congressional politicians are no better. Consider Christopher Dodd and Barney Frank, accusers-in-chief in the current economic meltdown. They point to laxity in regulation and the “greed of Wall Street” as the root causes of our problems, but bristle when confronted with their own roles in the crisis, including the latter congressman’s continual pressure on lending institutions from 1999 through 2007 to extend more and larger loans to less and less creditworthy customers. There’s no denying this; he appears on television during hearings calling for this course of action, and berating senators who advocated stronger regulations for Fannie Mae as “fearmongers.”
Failure to acknowledge one’s own errors reveals deep character flaws. They are disturbing to see in a political leader, all the more so when coupled with the belief that the American people are too dull to notice.
By the way, the same attitude seems to apply in the race for Colorado’s U.S. Senate seat. The party currently crying the loudest about the “failed policies of deregulation” will not tell you that both candidates voted for the cornerstone of financial deregulation, the 1999 Financial Services Modernization Act, also known as “Graham-Leach-Bliley” Act. Thaaaat’s right. Both of them. Go look it up. And wonder why, if truth be so important, you didn’t get that bit.
Then there’s the dust-up over voter roles. One side of the argument sees purging electoral lists of cartoon characters, multiple entries of the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive line and the residents of Riverside Cemetery as a reasonable soporific against voter fraud. The other side sees it as disenfranchisement, and hopes you are stupid enough to agree that being dead is no reason to be deprived of one’s civil rights.
In these last two weeks before the election, let us agree to behave as though reason and common sense still existed. Let us demand to know how completely candidates intend to bankrupt our future to spare us pain and inconvenience at the present. Let us demand to know who will pay, and how much, to fund the bright promises they exchange for votes. Let us demand to know why former allies and comrades in the struggle to establish a Paradise on Earth are now converted to villains, and let us demand a full accounting of the villainy done by those who are now the accusers.
Let us agree as well that it is not unfair to have to pay for what one wants. That patriotism cannot be bought through taxes. That denying Mickey Mouse the right to vote is not disenfranchisement. Let us agree that a leader’s job is sometimes to share bad news with those he or she represents, so that plans to surmount challenges may be based on the rock of fact, not the sand of good feeling or the morass of false accusation.
Above all let us agree in this historic election, which may set the course for our nation for decades to come, to be smarter than the average cabbage.
May it be an unpleasant shock to some who seek our vote.
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