I hope that with a crucial presidential election days away, voters watched the latest and final presidential debate and carefully evaluated the candidates. Both were alert, informed, engaged, and passionate, and the case could be made that both seemed presidential. Neither landed a knockout punch which would significantly change the trajectory of the election, which remains extremely close, indicating that we are a divided country.
As one who pays close attention to words, I would note that if the debaters were scored on grammar skills, President Obama would have been a big loser. His consistent use of speech tics like "look" and "you know" is a distraction and the mark of someone that is not the polished speaker he is generally credited with being.
We now are faced with the choice of whether to continue the policies of the president or shift to Mitt Romney, one who promises something entirely different. I am not sure where Mr. Romney stands on some issues, given his shifting positions, but it would seem that he would attempt to steer the nation in a different direction in which government has less of a role in our lives. I believe that he meant what he said when he indicated at a May 2012 fundraiser the belief that 47 percent of the nation's citizens are government moochers, and it is difficult for him to dissolve the controversy that he initiated through these unfortunate remarks. His point that government is too big and too expensive, of course, is valid, but he could not have conveyed his view in a more controversial and damaging manner than he did.
One of the most disingenuous positions of any candidate for office, be it the presidency or lesser offices, is the bogus pledge to achieve a balanced budget, some even saying that the nation should balance its budget immediately. The nation currently borrows a staggering 40 cents of every dollar it spends and is incurring deficits of in excess of $1 trillion per year. To those who pay lip service to a balanced budget, I must insist on the details of which $1 trillion+ will be cut. That is where silence generally ensues. Will it come from defense ... Social Security benefits ... Medicare/Medicaid ... education ... some other big ticket items? It is extremely difficult to remove a massive segment of federal spending and it would be unachievable even if our leader wished to do it, given the difficulty of getting legislation through a sharply divided Congress, a phenomenon which is likely to continue come Inauguration Day 2013.
George W. Bush, purported conservative, learned how difficult it is to say no to those who come hat-in-hand to the federal government as he began the spending spree which President Obama has continued and accelerated, and we have found that Republicans spend as much, if not more than the Democrats that are generally associated with expensive, runaway government. For evidence of this, we can look to the administration of President Bill Clinton, whose path to a budget surpluses was quickly blown up by his two successors. Perhaps even President George W. Bush would now admit the folly of approving a Medicare prescription drug plan which will add trillions of dollars to the deficit over time, and which was approved with no means of funding it. Imagine the outrage of the GOP if a Democratic president had provided the votes for such a budget-buster as this. Even former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, during his unfortunate 2012 campaign for president, was forced to admit that he regrets approving the prescription drug plan without a funding mechanism.
I have serious issues with both major party candidates and regret that the Libertarian Party nominee, former Governor Gary Johnson, has remained unknown to the vast majority of the electorate. I hope that at this critical time in American history, the voters make a choice that will render the next four years a time of peace and prosperity, a better era for our troubled nation. The vast majority of promises a candidate makes are unfulfilled. Time will tell whether the nation has been placed on the right course.