Leading the people on…

July 4, 2008



By Tony Walther

The phones are working today. My computer files seem to be intact. And I’m not dealing with bureaucracy, because, for one reason, it’s a holiday, the Fourth of July. So, Happy Birthday America! Got the flag flying out front, which it has been doing since before Memorial Day when the wife purchased it (made in the USA).

If you read my previous blog, you know what the first three sentences were about.

Now today, I should be writing something super patriotic and inspirational, but I’ve already got a late start, so I’ll just cheat a little and run the blog I managed to retrieve from my file. I hope it doesn’t read too negative. And you will note, if you bother to read further, that I have used the term “nut case” several times. Maybe that term was too harsh. So, if you want, just read it as “eccentric.”

And now the resurrected blog, with maybe a few updates:

I really don’t want to vote for either John McCain or Barack Obama for president now that I have read of all of their inconsistencies out on the stump.

Sadly, I have to agree, politicians will say or do anything in their quest to get elected. In fact, they are forced to by the fact that they need votes to get elected and unless they say what people want to hear, they’re not likely to get their votes, that is, perhaps, unless voters are voting against the other candidate.

So, in the end, we’re asked to vote for the lesser of two evils or the liar we prefer.

And we really only have two choices, Republican or Democrat.

I mean, could you ever see a Libertarian candidate making it? No. One good reason for that is that they are usually nut cases (okay, eccentric), living in their own version of reality. If you happen to be a Libertarian, sorry to offend you, but I’m just going off of personal observation through the years. Maybe you’re an exception.

I actually interviewed a Libertarian presidential candidate once, although I can’t remember his name. At that same time, I had been covering a local election in the Sacramento suburbs in which an eccentric doctor (well actually, he may have been a nut case) was running for an officially non-partisan office, a county supervisor spot, sometimes called county commissioner in other states. He was a Libertarian.

Now at the time, and even now sometimes, I could agree in general with the Libertarian approach which really confounds those who see things as either conservative or liberal, because Libertarians are both at the same time and neither one.

But, who cares about all of that? Libertarians are usually nut cases (sorry, again). Sure they sound good sometimes, for awhile, but the ones who are true to their ideals don’t believe in having city police departments or even publicly supported fire fighters. And they don’t believe in public parks, among other things.

But, I like Ron Paul’s stances on a lot of things. He is the Libertarian who decided to run for president as a Republican, probably concluding no one would take him seriously as a Libertarian candidate (and despite internet money raising success, he still didn’t get much attention), because, well, Libertarian candidates are never considered seriously.

Oh, and remember Ross Perot? I stood a few feet away from him on the capitol steps in Sacramento when he was running for president on the so-called Independent Party ticket. Before he was introduced he was peeking around the corner of a pillar waving to some folks, big ears and all – 0oh I love to dance a little sidestep, now they see me now they don’t – I’ve come and gone and, ooh I love to sweep around the wide step, cut a little swath and lead the people on (lyrics by Carol Hall). Yall, I had to drop out of the race because they was going to interrupt my lil darlin’s weddin. But I was for widdlin down big guvament, especially after I made so much money off of it in my computer business contracts, and I was against NAFTA, but for a special free trade airport me and my son was developin.

Sorry about that, I’m back – Come to think of it, the one thing that the Libertarian presidential candidate, whose name I can’t recall, told me that made sense was that they know they can’t get elected president any time soon (and that was more than a decade ago), but that if they work at the grass roots level and get elected to local offices they can build from there. The other guy, running for county supervisor at that time, well, he lost.

Today, so-called maverick McCain has decided to basically support Bush policies, and though I loved what he said about we ought to be ashamed for condoning torture, he flip flopped on that – he now supports it (as long as he’s not the recipient – been there, done that). And Obama is running to the center, flip flopping on many things such as his original stance against domestic spying – he now supports wire tapping our phone calls and computers and giving the phone companies immunity in doing so, and while he campaigned against free trade, he now says some of that was “overheated rhetoric” and it’s old news that he had secretly (although you can’t keep secrets too well, thanks to blogs) assured some Canadians that his words against NAFTA were not sincere (just for local audiences). 0oh I love to dance a little sidestep, now they see me now they don’t – I’ve come and gone and, ooh I love to sweep around the wide step, cut a little swath and lead the people on.

(Obama attempted to explain his wire tap turnaround in a blog Thursday in the Huffington Post — should I go into the side step song again? And out on the stump, Obama also seemed to give conflicting statements about his position that he would pull troops out of Iraq. On that one, I would think he would have to make the decision only after he is elected, if he is elected. So we won’t go into the side-step routine.)

Bob Barr, the congressman who led the impeachment move against President Clinton, heavily criticizing Bill’s sleazy sexual antics in the White House, is said to have engaged in his own sexual antics during at least one public gathering and reading about his political positions, he seems to be the king of flip flop and side step (you can look that up on Wikipedia and other sites). Barr is running for president as a Libertarian.

Now back in 1980, I cast my vote for John Anderson. The other choices were a B movie-grade-actor looking to become the leading man in the biggest show ever, that would be Ronald Reagan, and the ineffectual, but highly educated peanut farmer from Georgia, Jimmy Carter, running for re-election. I forget what Anderson stood for, but he sounded reasonable and credible to me at the time.

But in our system the deck is stacked against third party candidates.

What I would really like to see is a series of formal one-on-one debates between McCain and Obama – not panels, not town hall meetings, but arguments where the participants are on their own and have to make formal openings and use evidence to support their arguments and have to respond directly to their opponent and not go off on a tangent to change the subject. If you can’t hold your own in a real debate, then you shouldn’t be running for president. And it doesn’t matter who the pundits say wins a debate, because the voters are free to make their own decision in that regard and act accordingly.

And the more polished debater, and one would expect Mr. Obama to be that, does not always win in the voters’ eyes or maybe voters don’t always look for who won in strict debating points, but who they can most identify with in political philosophy.

If in doubt, I say write in Alfred E. Neuman (What Me Worry). And where is Harold Stassen when we need him?