Dear Mr. Obama,
They say your ascent to the Democratic nomination for the presidency of the United States is practically a foregone conclusion. I suppose congratulations are in order. One primary win in Iowa and you have been fitted for an impressive temporary crown, and in fact there are other so-called experts who claim that we’re already breathing the air of inevitability: that you may very well be our next chief executive.
Yet I have one specific question for you that—so far as I can tell from watching the TV news and reading my favorite online outlets—has yet to be answered: Exactly what is your political philosophy, and exactly what will you do to effect this “change” you talk so much about?
We hear about your interest in various issues—health care, the war, energy—in other words, the same issues every candidate attempts to address. Whenever you speak, the words seem to have a rather mesmerizing effect on your audience, and the subsequent excitement evinced by your appearances is characterized as palpable. You’ve been dubbed a phenomenon. No doubt some people think you are a visionary. Yet no one knows anything about what the vision is.
It’s one thing to have words of inspiration thrilling throngs of people desperate for something to believe in. (They might try church or something, but I digress...) It’s quite another thing to actually spell out specific methods of change that will let voters know what the impact will be on their pocketbooks, their personal lives and their sense of security.
It’s interesting to note that Republican candidate Ron Paul comes under criticism for some of his so-called radical ideas, but in fact Paul always explains that his plans—for dismantling the IRS and revising the tax code, for withdrawing troops overseas, etc.—involve transitional periods for everything. Paul has stated that gradual reform is a necessity. You, however, use pretty words and a slick (if appealing) demeanor to declare that there is some kind of broadly sweeping transformation of America coming under your leadership. Yet you tell us nothing about how it will be accomplished.
We have, in these pages, previously accused Hillary Clinton of demagoging the issues. But, in fact, you are out-demagoging the demagogue.
Anybody can talk about change. Lord knows there are many critical issues that need addressing with an eye toward distinctive change. Here are five things many Americans want to see happen:
1. An end to unbridled immigration. Stop the flow inward—absolutely, completely—and then address the issue of what to do with the illegals residing here. Illegals are killing the tax system in California and elsewhere, and they just keep coming.
2. A total reassessment of income taxation and a reduction in the size of the federal government. It’s a cliche, for sure, but middle- and lower-income Americans are getting killed with the rising costs of gas and food and lots of other things. If you keep taking their money to feed the monstrous federal bureaucracy, you will make their lives even more miserable. Instead, if people are going to be miserable, or at least needing to readjust their lives, it should be federal employees. There are too many of them doing non-essential work, many of them being paid more than private sector workers, with secure benefits and health-care plans. The federal government tail should not wag the tax-paying public dog.
3. The end of our dependence on imported oil. This is not only a question of our own economic independence as a nation, it is a question of freeing up our foreign policy. So long as we are beholden to radical and tyrant states simply because they sell us oil, our future is in peril. This requires a multi-pronged, long-range plan (sort of like getting to the moon) that should begin on January 20, 2009. It means having the balls to take on the domestic oil and car industries and tell them to fend for themselves while new technologies are developed for an OPEC-less future. (If you’ve got vision, Barack, you’ll need a ton of it for this one.)
4. The implementation of reasonable solutions to health-care issues. If 43 million Americans are uninsured, that means about 260 million of them have insurance of some kind. Actually, that’s a pretty decent percentage of insured folks, though a great deal of others have insurance that won’t handle heftier bills. This is a monster problem nonetheless, due mostly to the rapacious tactics of health-care providers and insurance companies. Who ever said it was right that doctors and insurance executives should get ultra-rich on the backs of sick people? Certainly there are compassionate compromise solutions to this problem.
5. A responsible approach to the war (which we all know you didn’t create or endorse). Well, it’s not just the war. It’s that the military-industrial complex is sucking all our money out of our domestic economy. I support our troops. I support the troops that we need. What I don’t support is a huge military infrastructure, worldwide in scope and paid for with American tax dollars. Sorry, but like the federal employees, the soldiers will have to be employed elsewhere while rejoining the rest of us workers not on the dole. It’s not that bad a life, really. We have to fend for ourselves a bit, but you get used to it.
There are other things, of course. Social Security. Our escalating trade deficit. Green issues (which suddenly look like nothing when compared to the challenges that really lie ahead).
So, okay, Barack. No more pretty words. No more hyperventilating throngs. No more Oprah. If your specifics for addressing the issues are as practical and logical as the attractive package in which you wrap your rhetoric, I’ll be the first to listen and remain last among the captive audience.