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Political Candor Needed

One of the few reasons to read the Washington Post is Robert J. Samuelson’s columns each Wednesday. Today, he laments the political myth that:

“elections allow us collectively to settle the "big issues." The truth is that there's often a bipartisan consensus to avoid the big issues, because they involve unpopular choices and conflicts. Elections become exercises in mass evasion; that certainly applies so far to the 2008 campaign. A case in point is America's population transformation. Few issues matter more for the country's future -- yet it's mostly ignored.‘

The second “big issue” that is not discussed is immigration. In conclusion, Samuelson writes:

“People complain about governmental gridlock. But what often obstructs constructive change is public opinion. The stalemates on immigration and retirement spending are typical. We avoid messy problems; we embrace inconsistent and unrealistic ambitions. We want more health care and lower health costs; cheap energy and less dependence on foreign energy; more government spending and lower taxes. The more unattainable our goals, the more we blame "special interests," "lobbyists" and other easy scapegoats.

“In this campaign, we have a candor gap. By and large, Americans want to be told what government will do for them -- as individuals, families, consumers -- and not what it will do for the country's long-term well-being, especially if that imposes some immediate cost or inconvenience. Grasping this, our leading politicians engage in a consensual censorship to skip issues that involve distasteful choices or that require deferred gratification. They prefer to assign blame and promise benefits. So elections come and go, there are winners and losers -- and our problems fester.”

While we might not agree with everything in the column, assigning blame and promising benefits sure seem to be standard political techniques.

HT Mark Levin Show 


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