Presidential elections for dummies

Oct. 21, 2004
Another presidential election will soon be upon us. Unfortunately, both parties are making nothing but silly appeals to emotion in their campaigns. The best political brains in our nation evidently feel that talking to people on an idiot level is what it takes to get a candidate elected.
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One of the issues is offshoring and the deterioration of our manufacturing sector. I haven't heard a Republican who has anything incisive to say about the matter. The Democrats, on the other hand, criticize offshoring, but they cast the problem largely in irrelevant terms.

An example is John Kerry describing how American workers are forced to "unbolt" their machinery and prepare it for shipment overseas. It is interesting to note that when addressing manufacturing issues, politicians are so out of touch they can't even get the lingo right. Machinery being taken apart for shipment isn't "unbolted," it is disassembled.

Mr. Kerry also cites American workers having to teach foreign workers how to use equipment being sent overseas. Yes, that is corporate arrogance, but how would Mr. Kerry stop this practice? It isn't within the province of the President to end it.

He also says he will end tax incentives that induce companies to move work offshore. Here he is referring to the fact that profits earned overseas aren't taxed until brought back to the U.S. I'm not sure there is a feasible way to change this, and if there is, I don't think it will stop companies from moving offshore.

With regard to the war in Iraq, there appears to be no honorable way to bring it to an end. The Republicans won't admit it, and the Democrats imply that "international cooperation" is the answer. (Yeah, right, the French and Germans will help us.) Moreover, I can't understand how an army is supposed to fight a war without inflicting civilian casualties.

Often mentioned during the campaign are the "two Americas," one rich and the other a financially stressed-out middle class. I personally am selective about my compassion regarding the stressed-out people. I feel sorry for engineers, especially those of my generation, who find themselves at age 50 working as clerks at Radio Shack. They played by the rules and selected the most difficult of all academic disciplines in college, yet the system failed them.

In contrast, I can't feel sorry for people in difficult circumstances who are mired in a swamp of their own creation, whether it comes from a lack of fiscal responsibility or their choice of a loser's lifestyle. Implied in lamentations about the "two Americas" is an assumption that the federal government is supposed to guarantee people an upscale standard of living. I don't believe that is the government's job. Economic policy shouldn't be decided by voters who don't know when to stop using their credit cards or never realized that divorce can be financially ruinous.

What is unfortunate are the many issues not being discussed in the campaign. When will politicians acknowledge that lawyers are creating a medical malpractice crisis? And too many social issues are designed to have Uncle Sam become the husband or boyfriend of last resort for single mothers. The underclass will continue to expand until fathers are made responsible for their progeny. What about stopping the hordes of illegal immigrants crossing our porous borders? They also are building up a larger and larger underclass. Last but not least, the problem with health care is how it is priced. We can't have charges for medical service based on an assumption that all patients have munificent health insurance.

Finally, I have one last gripe. When politicians make a speech, they should realize that the sound system amplifies their voices. There is no need for them to become orators and try to make their voices resonate to the back of the hall in the manner of William Jennings Bryan. That amounts to nothing more than pompous posturing and makes them look foolish. All they need to do is talk normally, and the sound system will do the rest.

-- Ronald Khol, Editor
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