Gotcha … for those in our community who support me, you are either thinking “great” how can I help, or has he lost his mind. For the others, who for whatever reason are not my biggest fans, you are already strategizing the many and sundry ways you can oppose / defeat my candidacy. In full disclosure, the campaign for the President of the United States is certainly hitting up with a number of likely suspects announcing their exploratory committees.
But isn’t it amazing that the campaign really began shortly after President Obama was elected in November of 2008. The Republican candidates who sought the nomination eventually won by Senator McCain wasted little time launching their own talk shows or writing their books that afforded them the opportunities to pretty much campaign full time. Our country is so celebrity focused; merely running for President provides instant fame for even those without the necessary credentials to be elected and certainly not to lead our country.
Sometimes the phrase stating that “elections matter” is over-used, bordering on cliché. Of course they are important. But I will argue some are more important than others. Or put another way, certain times call for different strengths in those we elect. And although we cannot predict the issues that might occur during an elected officials term in office, we certainly know the issues of the day that the newly elected will face as they assume their office.
Consider the 2008 presidential campaign. Our country had been dealing with the issue of fanatical terrorism since September 2001. We were and had been fighting two wars for many years. The Republicans while in Power prior to 2006 offered very little in offering solutions that would return America to greatness. They talked about it, but mostly in the context of sticking our chest out while we showed our military might. As I wrote a few weeks ago, in 2000 President Bush took office with annual surpluses and proceeded to grow our national debt from $4.6 trillion to over $9 trillion.
And as we all know, in the final years of the Bush Presidency, the economy collapsed. Candidate Obama comes along and tells us he will bring about change. He told us that he would raise taxes on the wealthy, institute new government programs, grow entitlement spending, and basically enact the same approach many progressive and democratic predecessors have taken – grow the size of government and the rest will follow.
After two years of spending like a drunken sailor or shore leave (I can that my Dad was in the Navy) by the Democratic President and Congress, we scratched our heads in bewilderment of what was happening. Why? President Obama and his partners in crime told us exactly what they were going to do. He appointed key cabinet members and other “czars” who were known not to represent mainstream thinking but very liberal policies by most standards.
Fast forward to the fall of 2010. The Republicans roar back from almost extinction to win the House of Representatives, almost win the Senate, and thoroughly sweet most races for governor and legislatures even in many states that historically vote for the Democratic party.
Why? I propose that these two dramatic shifts politically are due to the power of the independent voter. Those that occupy the middle of the policital spectrum have tremendous power. Elections are won or lost depending on who wins the independent voters. Those in the middle in 2006 did not feel that President Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress were leading in a way for American to prosper. They gave the Democrats a chance. And again in 2008, they supported President Obama in solidifying the control of the federal government by the Democrats.
A short 22 months later the independents are horrified by the runaway national debt, the growth of the federal government and the minimal progress made in turning our national economy around. Neither party delivered the solutions needed by our country, so the independent voters have chosen gridlock in electing a divided government.
What now? As mentioned earlier, the usual suspects are in full campaign mode: Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney are being jonied by the Tim Pawlentys of the world and all could take on President Obama in 2012.
I would argue that neither the president nor most of the likely Republican candidates can truly lead our nation in a way that puts our country back on a path to greatness. The Democrats will continue to preach more spending aka (investing) as the answer. And the Republicans will talk about cutting the spending but only in those easy areas: non-defense and non-entitlement discretionary spending.
Neither party has a plan for reforming taxes, improving and reforming education, reforming entitlement programs or improving our relationships globally. We need leadership.
If I had the ability, instead of running for president I would establish the national nonpartisan party. Our new party would seek those to serve who ask hard questions, seek common sense answers and, after using their God-given ability to think, propose solutions. If an elected official responds to questions armed with only his or her party's talking points, they are not fit to serve.
I hope and pray that someone is out there who can effectively lead this great nation!