Monday, October 20, 2008

McCain and Obama: MIA

McCain and Obama: MIA’s

Rome is burning; the stock market crashed, credit has dried up, and 401K’s are in the tank. America is crying out for leadership, and neither McCain nor Obama is stepping up.

Where is the leadership we need in a critical time in the nation’s history? Where is the leadership that will provide confidence in Washington, confidence in our government? President Bush’s approval ratings are in the mid 20’s, but Congress consistently polls about 15% lower than the President. That’s not a good omen for the next President.

Leadership is an intangible; it can be based on presence, demeanor, style, voice, heredity, conduct, proposals, or acts. Neither Presidential candidate has shown leadership in this election cycle. Where are the proposed solutions to our critical problems?

Trashing Wall Street is following the crowd, and yet Wall Street will have to be a major player in the economic solution.

Both candidates are offering short term pabulums to win/buy votes to win in November.

Neither has looked America in the eye and soberly, reassuringly told Americans everything will be all right; we may have to suck it up for the short term, but we will be fine. Both are willing to sit back and watch the Bush Administration act. If it works, they will be the beneficiary. If the Bush attempts are unsuccessful, then they will blame Bush for our travails.

Senator McCain proposed a $300 billion restructuring of troubled mortgages. That tells the 97.5% of us paying our mortgages on time that we are foolish. He also proposed additional tax cuts, which are a start, but much more is needed.

If the contest is between who will spend the most, then the Republican will always lose to the Democrat.

Senator Obama is running the classic frontrunner campaign of killing the clock, and will probably hold the lead unless he does something stupid. Hence, he’s doorbelling in Toledo, Ohio next to foreclosed homes, and Joe the Plumber.

He’s offering tax cuts to 95% of the taxpayers, including the 40% who don’t pay income taxes, but will penalize with high taxes those who actually create jobs. We know that his middle class tax cuts are as illusionary as were those of President Clinton. The exchange with Joe the Plumber makes clear Obama’s belief in income redistribution, a killer for an ailing economy.

Senator McCain is still running an undisciplined campaign trying to make Obama the issue. Good strategy, but poor tactics. While the market plunged, and the economy is facing a recession, McCain attacked Obama’s character. Bad timing; what the public needs is reassurance that the economy will work out. The economy was seemingly falling off the cliff, and McCain was off on personal attacks against Obama’s character and judgment – all perfectly legitimate, but a month late.

Neither McCain nor Obama has given us a FDR reassurance, although Senator Biden
stated President Roosevelt gave a TV address, ignoring the facts that Roosevelt was
not yet President, and TV did not yet exist, but Senator Biden is on to something though. In his inauguration speech, in the midst of a bank panic, President Roosevelt uttered these reassuring words: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Neither McCain nor Biden have said anything of the kind.

Maybe Obama’s ½ hour primetime buy on the major networks shortly before the election will provide the comfort zone.

Roosevelt’s policies did not end the Great Depression, perhaps even prolonged it. Some of his programs failed, and many have become lasting legacies to America. The people believed in FDR because he was leading us through uncharted, perilous waters. If something worked, that’s great. If not, move on to the next program, but always, especially through his Fireside Addresses, reassure the people.

We expect little from Obama, and have not been disappointed. His whole career has been
spent in community organizing, personal contacts, charisma, and assiduously avoiding
controversy. He never stepped up in the Illinois Senate, and has spent most of the past 4
years in the U. S. Senate campaigning for President. No leadership there.

His position against the Iraq war was a no-brainer. Congress voted for the war, not the
Illinois Legislature. Hence, he could speak out against the war and campaign to the far left
of the Democratic Party, the voters in the Democratic primaries, but especially in the early caucuses, especially Iowa.

Where is the leadership?

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