It seems like this election season is filled with more attention from the media than any in memory. Its not, rather there is a lot more venues for election information to get to people. The old media like newspapers and radio, the middle aged outlets of TV are supplanted by several cable news channels, news sites on the net, blogs and special interests coming at us from all of the above and surreptitious attempts to influence. Actually, credible thoughtful investigative journalism seems distinctly absent.

Reality is quite different from all the plan and policy information talked and parsed and discussed. The studies done by public interest groups, polling organizations and even more special interest groups and political committees, plus the “talking heads” and spin doctors just add to the bonfire. So:

When is the last time a presidential candidate pulled off the plans laid out in any significant way or in near similarity to what the campaign promises offered? Long pause there . . . OK, Ronald Reagan got along with a noteworthy batch and Lyndon Johnson stuffed many of his plans right through Congress almost with Americans watching him collar Congressmen and physically put them on his side of the votes. Newt Gingrich managed to stuff 9 of his 10 points into law with the “Contract With America,” but Representative Gingrich was the House Majority Leader and even overwhelmed Bill Clinton to get them signed onto law. The mystery is how Clinton managed to make that huge success seem to be his own and then even that has been co-opted by his wife Hillary for her run at being president.

What the reality check is about is the fact that anything has to be passed by both the House and the Senate. Before that, someone(s) will write bills, that will be redone uncounted times in committees, voted on then passed back to a joint House and Senate conference committee, voted on again and maybe, just maybe sent on to the new president for signing into law. That’s the crunched, abbreviated and very short version. Expect lots of changes, add-ons, pork, earmarks and other bits that cost billions to get slipped into the game along the way. The chances are the campaign promise will be utterly lost if even the theme still exists.

That said, reality is more about the possible instead of the plans and policy offers in the campaign. The differences between the two main candidates are not especially significant in plans and policies. One way or another, both will answer the public’s demands as fed up or packaged by the media and dissected and rebuilt by special interest groups influencing Congress.

What is in play is the proposals that come with the mandate from each election at the front end, the effectiveness of the President during the Congressional mastication, digestion and dispensation of the public’s business as leavened by the Congress’ sense of constituent views and the prospects of getting the president’s signature at the end.

Pull out all of the negative advertising. Grow up and pass the pandering and motivational junk and look exactly at the quality of the thought in the plans. Do your own reality check – what of these ideas can survive the Congressional tour and carry along the minimum of destructive junk at the end?

The worst possible thing that can happen is for one political party controlling both the Congress and Presidency. In that case (no matter which one) the costs are incredible and passed on to the future. Worst of all would be the single party rule having more than the 60 votes in the Senate to override the filibuster, the last of democracy’s defenses against extremism. Just to scare you – its possible the next president and Congress may be in just that situation come January. There’s an “Oh My God” moment for you.

Keep in mind; Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi will be back at their majority leadership jobs no matter who wins the Presidency. Their goals will be supreme over whoever wins, is president and whatever the strength of the election mandate.

Now one has to think critically. Who can work with, effectively manage and maneuver the nation’s business past those two? Do you want to put the nation at risk with a single party system for two or four years? How long will it take to undo any damage? What never ending taxpayer bloodbaths will be born? Isn’t a competitive perspective a huge advantage to America?

You’ve been promised goodies, problems solved, a better life and a new kitchen sink, all with soaring rhetoric and feel good meetings, speeches and more comedy than ever before. We even paid for the whole thing, hundreds of millions of dollars, gone forever to sell us something we should have not be wanting to buy in the first place.

You see, no matter who wins, we’ll still be responsible for ourselves. The rules might change, and if the government chooses it will take from all and give back to the allowed few what the law, regulation and bureaucratic oversight choices might be.

There is the problem. When government takes over responsibility the choices, changes, innovation, and improvements become limited and if ever to change must go through the political process again with a whole new constituency of workers and beneficiaries to overcome in the repair effort. That could take decades.

Being responsible for oneself would get much harder, done from a poorer position, likely with government competition setting a limit, not a floor for quality and quantity just as we’ve seen before.

Americans might just learn in this election cycle that freedom means mostly one thing – freedom to choose how to be responsible for oneself and our loved ones.

This time “Change” doesn’t mean more choice, freedom or responsibility.


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