Picking a winner?

By Sarason D. Liebler | Jul 15, 2012

The consensus of pundits is that it will be today’s undecided voters who pick the president in this fall's presidential election. They reason that in this long, never-ending campaign the undecideds will learn more about each candidate and then rationally pick a winner. I think that they are in error. In my view, whether we pick Mr. Romney or re-elect President Obama we will really be picking a loser. Worse is the fact that Congress will also represent a weak group of leaders and few informed thinkers. As the economies of this country and the world wobble, there is little reserve strength to absorb the continuing stagnation.

We have witnessed more than enough to see that Mr. Obama’s self-regard far exceeds his experience and capabilities. His confidence that he will be able to make all who listen to him see things his way is misplaced. His foreign policy efforts to “reset” our relationships, such as with Russia and the Muslim world, has flopped. His dabbling in venture capital, such as having his administration view with optimism the solar panel manufacturer Solyndra Inc. that was backed by close to $530 million of taxpayers' money and is now bankrupt, the very significant losses of life and maiming of American armed forces members in Iraq and Afghanistan with no acceptable outcome, the blocking of the Keystone pipeline to bring Canadian tar sands oil to American refineries; steadily hollowing out the No Child Left Behind initiative, designating Afghanistan as a key ally: the list of his failures is long and growing.

This takes us to Mr. Romney, who visually projects a Superman image, but is locked in the role of a dithering Clark Kent. For me it is impossible to discern what he stands for, or even why he is running. He and his campaign staff are either at odds or simply perpetually stuck with his shifting positions,, just as night follows day. His claim to fame is his work at Bain Capital where he did quite well; managing the 2002 winter Olympics when it got at cross purposes and serving as governor of Massachusetts, where he introduced a kissing cousin of Obamacare that he claims is significantly different, but does not seem to able to explain how.

Where Mr. Obama is glib, snide and cute when dealing with the media, Mr. Romney comes across as vacuous. Like all politicians, they speak of how the voters are smarter than the politicians, but that, too, is just whitewash when you examine their positions and daily back-tracking. It gets worse when either one is pressed as to what he intends to do about any of the country’s pressing problems after the election. Mr. Romney is very negative on Obamacare, claims he has a replacement for it when he leads in repealing it, but we are left to wonder what he plans. Mr. Obama has taken the position that Iran will not be allowed to gain nuclear weapons, but gives not a hint as to what he intends to do other than to claim that everything is on the table, yet we do not have a clue where the table is.

They both focus on creating jobs, lots of them. This is a pressing question, yet I cannot believe that either one of them has a plan that can bring quick relief, and certainly not sustained relief. The big reason they are extremely vague on this issue is that that no solution is even close to apparent. We have a situation where corporate profits are healthy, but the need for gobs more workers to meet demand is absent, as computer- and robot-generated productivity increases in leaps and bounds. Any job-creating stimulus used in the past does not meet the needs of today, much less those of tomorrow.

Americans must be stirred up and challenged. They need to see the downside of where we are and how the way out will only come with very hard work and it is going to get worse before it can possibly get better. People are going to have to be educated well beyond the level that is considered acceptable today. This form of tough love must be articulated and driven home by a leader.

Alas, neither of these candidates can play that role. And please do not mention Ron Paul.

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