Greater Krueger National Park

Greater Krueger National Park
An image from a recent trip to South Africa. Clcik on the image for more on this trip.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Todd Akin and the Elections

Todd Akin is insensitive at best and an idiot at worst.  His recent comments on rape were stupid.  His comments have been denounced by every prominent Republican that I know of, but because he is running for office in Missouri that is primarily for the voters of that state to resolve.  My own hope is that he wises up and gets out of the senate race, and if not, the Republicans put in a third party candidate. 

As far as the impact of Todd Akin's stupidity on the presidential contest, I believe that it should have none.  Republicans are not perfect and sometimes some of them say stupid, insensitive things about important matters.  This is another such example.  The man we are considering electing to the Oval Office, however, is Romney, it is not Akin.  Romney has denounced Akin.  Enough said.  Now let's get on with discussing the principal problem that matters to the entire nation - the economy.

All of this liberal commentary about their invented version of the conservative's view of women is ridiculous.  First and foremost, about half of the conservatives that I know are women.  Second, most of the conservative men that I know love their mother.  Third, most conservative men are married to a woman.  An awful lot of these couples have children, about half of whom are girls.  Women are a very important part of conservative lives and conservative women have strong personalities. 

The liberal idea that conservative men are somehow trying to wage war on women  is ridiculous.  Why in the world are we talking about it?  Because some idiot like Akin says something stupid?  Reject him and move on.  This country has far more important things to discuss.  Please.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Social Security and the Election

We do not yet know what the Romney-Ryan plan is going to be for Social Security, but we do know that, unlike President Obama, they are planning to deal with it.  The trustees that run Social Security tell us that if we do nothing, the safety net will begin to fundamentally break down in twenty-one years.  At that point, Social Security will only be able to pay about 75% of the benefits required by law.  Benefits will obviously be cut, but the deterioration will not stop there.  Things will continue to go downhill in succeeding years if nothing is done now.

The basic problem is that the money that Social Security pays retirees comes from the payments of people still active in the workforce.  In the past, there were more people working than there were people drawing Social Security checks.  Today, the situation is reversed.  There are more people drawing Social Security than there are folks paying money into it from their paychecks.  That is a fundamental problem and it is not one that we can continue to ignore.  We must fix the problem now and I say shame on the current Administration for not addressing it.  The sooner it is addressed, the less painful the solution.

In the past, conservatives have discussed the possibility of "privatizing" all or part of Social Security.  I am not thoroughly conversant with all of the ins and outs of this approach to the problem, but as I understand it the basic idea is to give the individual tax payer control of all or part of this Social Security retirement fund.  The basic idea was that the money could earn more by being invested in the stock market than it could by being kept in the Social Security program.  The idea was never very popular with the general public, but with the recent volatility in the stock market it is even less attractive today.  I note that Ryan did not include it in either of his recent budgets that passed the House of Representatives and I have not heard Romney talking about it during his current round of electioneering speeches.

My guess is that a President Romney would advocate a plan that would gradually change the ground rules of Social Security.  American life expectancy is greater now than it was when the program was first implemented.  We are able to work longer than we were a few decades ago so I believe that we will see the retirement age for receiving Social Security benefits gradually increase.  I also believe that "means testing" will be introduced into the system.  Those that have the means to live better will receive less money from the system than those that do not.  In other words, if you are already wealthy, you do not really need a Social Security check and can easily get by with a slightly smaller one than people in a less advantageous financial bracket may be getting.  Neither idea is going to be very popular, but they are going to be forced on us by the situation.  I also believe that Romney will take the same approach here as he is with Medicare.  People close to, or already in retirement, will not be affected by the changes he implements in Social Security.

As you decide how to vote in November, please remember that we have to do something and the sooner we do it, the easier it will be on all of us.  With all due respect to the Office of the President, Barack Obama has failed to address the issue and nowhere in his re-election campaign do I see him spelling out his approach to the problem.  We need a President who will address the problem and we need that done now before it becomes even more difficult and painful.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Fitness and Suvivial

Now that Paul Ryan is on the Republican team, we are beginning to get an earful of "Social Darwinism" as we listen to Democrats criticize the ticket.  It is nothing more than an effort by David Axelrod to wrap the current liberal argument in academic sounding language.  Coined by Graham Sumner in the nineteenth century, "Social Darwinism" was a term used to describe his understanding of the human condition.  Social Darwinism was a concept which Sumner, in turn, derived from the work of Herbert Spencer, an English scholar.  Both men were attempting to explain humanity's struggle for existence, not to advocate for any particular political ideology.  They became controversial when they pointed out that certain political ideologies ran counter to the underlying natural order that they perceived to be governing human relationships.

It is no longer fashionable to read either of these two scholars works, but they would both be very comfortable in today's discussion of the political and economic troubles that afflict us in this country.  Basically, they would tell us that what President Obama's liberal policies are doing is to drag us down to the lowest common human denominator among us.  They would argue that this is because he is working at cross purposes with the natural order that governs human relationships.  They would also say that the conservative counter-argument risks ignoring the needs of the disadvantaged among us.  Both are valid points, but it is important to understand that the Romney-Ryan team does not intend to abandon the disadvantaged.  It does intend to reduce debt, shrink government, stimulate business, overhaul the tax system, and generate jobs in an effort to survive as a nation.

Both Sumner and Graham would tell us that if we do not abandon the current economic trajectory that this country is following we will collapse as a society.  They believed that the brutal fact of life is that the fittest survive and the rest do not.  I wish that it was not true, but I agree with them.  I also agree with Romney and Ryan that it is possible to provide assistance to those that are truly disadvantaged as long as the rest of us pull our own fair share of the load.  History has proven over and over again that nations are like humans - only the fittest survive.  It is not really relevant, but it is interesting to note that, as individuals, we are fitness nuts, but as a nation we are obese.  We need to get fit both individually and as a society.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Fossil Fuel and Elections

Alternative energy is a good thing.  I am all for developing as much of it as we possibly can, but I am also realistic enough to understand that it has to be cost effective.  I think that this is an area that can benefit from government sponsored research, but I do not believe that it is a good idea to provide large amounts of taxpayer money to private corporations to develop alternative energy based on today's technology.  Solindra was a bad mistake as were several other similar projects undertaken by the current Administration.

Until we achieve some sort of technological breakthrough, the reality is that, whether we like it or not, we are dependent on fossil fuel for the energy that we need to run our economy.  I favor an energy policy that aggressively pursues the responsible development of domestic fossil fuel sources throughout our country.  We should, without question, insist on safeguards to our environment and include a rigorous inspection system to ensure that those safeguards are honored.  Those safeguards are critical to our ability to sustain this badly needed development.  There is enough potential reward to provide ample resources for sound safeguards and there is no reason why they cannot be put into place.

Energy is one of the most important resources in today's world.  American engineers are the world's leading experts on the subject.  Why not exploit our knowledge to become one of the leading producers of safe energy not only for ourselves but for the world?  China, India, Russia and the rest of the world are going to continue to develop whatever energy resources they have in order to power their own economies.  Why not teach them how to do it responsibly?  Why not show the world how to better harness fossil fuel of all types?  That would do far more to protect our environment than pretending that alternative energy is currently a viable alternative to fossil fuel.  It would also revitalize our economy.

President Obama has demonstrated that he won't do it.  We won't know how well Mitt Romney will do with the problem until we elect him, but I favor that choice.  I understand that we run a significant risk that overly enthusiastic power companies might damage the environment, but it is a risk that I believe we must take if we are to get our economy back on the right track.  Fossil fuel will be developed throughout the world.  We can not change that.  If we take the lead we can minimize the risk for all of us.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Gas prices and elections.

Gas prices are a volatile subject these days and rightly so.  This country is heavily dependent on energy and the price of gas affects the price of just about everything that we do.  Although it is fashionable to blame the guy in the Oval Office for the cost of gasoline, it is not something that he can do much about.  Gasoline is a commodity that the entire world wants and needs.  As other countries develop their economies, they demand more gasoline and the price rises everywhere.  The hard reality is that the price of gasoline is going to be determined by the world marketplace no matter who wins in November.

This does not mean that I support President Obama's energy policies.  I most emphatically do not.  This Administration is blocking the development of domestic energy resources in every way that it can and I think that is just plain stupid.  We are told by the experts on both side of the political divide in this country that we have more energy beneath our feet than exists in all of the Middle East put together.  I suggest that what we need to do is responsibly develop that resource so that we become a major producer of the commodity that the world needs so badly.  This would bring enormous revenue and numerous high-paying jobs into this country and go a very, very long way to resolving our long term financial problems.

The price of a commodity is relative.  If our income is down, commodities are expensive.  If our income is up, commodities are more affordable.  Today, our economy is in a state of stagflation and gas prices are way up.  Break the stagflation and get the economy going the way that it should be going and we will once again be able to afford gas.  In other words, you may not be able to do very much to lower the price of gasoline, but you can do much, much more to stimulate the economy so that we have the money to purchase what we need for a good life.  Responsibly developing domestic energy is one of the very best ways to get this process going.

I believe that we need to replace President Obama with Mitt Romney in order to replace the failed energy policy that is contributing mightily to our overall financial problems.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Finally, what really matters.

Finally, we are beginning to talk about what really matters in this country.  Understandably, there will be disagreements as we go forward, but let me try to put the discussion that we are having in context.  Take Medicare for instance.  President Obama is telling the American people what the polls say they want to hear.  In very carefully crafted sentences he is telling us that he won't do anything to change Medicare, while simultaneously making the claim that Mitt Romney wants to "end Medicare as we know it now" by turning it into a "voucher system."

The facts of the matter are far more complex.  First, we have to focus on the fact that every single analyst out there, left or right, is telling us that Medicare is either already broke or is going broke in the not too distant future.  Second, we have to acknowledge that President Obama has already, repeat already, cut Medicare funding by six or seven hundred billion dollars (depending on how you do the accounting) as he tries to force us into Obamacare. 

Medicare is understandably very much appreciated by senior citizens, but it is increasingly disliked by the medical profession because it pays the people that provide our medical services less than they feel that they deserve.  (This is the hallmark of a government controlled healthcare system.)  As a result, seniors are already having more and more trouble getting the medical services that they need.  The best doctors are already turning Medicare patients away, but what is happening right now is nothing compared to what is going to happen as we move forward toward full-blown Obamacare.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are offering a different approach to an extremely difficult challenge.  Their plan seeks to engage all of us in the financial aspect of our health care.  Right now, we don't care how much any given procedure or medicine costs, because the government is going to pay for it.  Medical costs continue to skyrocket as a result.  Romney and Ryan are trying to set up a system where we do care and where we shop around a bit before making our decision.  The objective is to bring the forces of the private sector to work.  That will increase efficiency and lower cost so that we all have the healthcare system that we deserve.

If we chose to go Obama's route we will destroy the most advanced healthcare system in the whole world without accomplishing the goal of bringing modern medicine to bear on those of us who are economically less fortunate.  If we apply time honored traditional American solutions to the problem, we have a fighting chance of improving healthcare for everyone.  Because the Romney-Ryan plan does not affect anyone over 55 years of age, we have the time to put it into place and refine it.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

We can do it.

Now that Paul Ryan is on the Republican ticket it is beginning to look like we might be getting serious in our discussion about what to do about the economic mess that we are in.  President Obama does not have a plan, or at least not one that he is willing to share with the rest of us, so it is relatively easy for the liberals to criticize the Republicans as they begin to seriously discuss what we have to do to get out of the mess that we are in.

One thing that we tend to forget is that the Republicans intend to reenergize the private sector.  We tend to focus on what Paul Ryan's budget proposal would cut and that is understandable, but we should also think about what will happen when we stimulate business activity.  A revitalized economy will be in far better shape to deal with our mountain of debt than the train wreck that President Obama is presiding over at the present time.  We also tend to forget what our country will look like when folks go back to work and start bringing in a decent income.

This country has done it before and there is no reason why we can't do it again.  Let's get off of this negative kick that we have been on for so long.  Let's get back to work and continue to do everything that we can to make this country great again - for all of us.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Taxes and the Election

There are a lot of things that we need to do to straighten this country's economy out.  One of the most important is tax reform.  We have one of the most convoluted tax systems that exist anywhere in the world.  Very few citizens understand the tax code and many rely on tax consultants to help them decide how much they owe to the various governmental authorities that demand money from us.  This causes all kinds of problems including outright tax evasion.  The result is a massive bureaucracy with miles of computers in the Internal Revenue Service and it's counterparts at state and local levels.

Tax evasion is unfortunately commonplace and utterly reprehensible, but it is not the worst part of the problem.  The biggest problem with our tax code is it's lack of transparency.  We all know of people who cheat on their taxes and we understandably suspect others of doing so as well.  We get really angry when we believe that people like the sitting Secretary of the Treasury got away with it and companies like General Motors are still doing it.  The reality is far more complex and the probability is that the vast majority of these companies and individuals are taking advantage of the complexities in the tax code to squeeze their tax burden down to the bare minimum.  Because of the complexities in the code, it is easy to argue with each line item deduction and that accounts for most of the reversals made by IRS auditors after the fact.

David Axelrod is trying to take advantage of this situation to brand Mitt Romney a tax cheat and thus, once again turn the national conversation away from the broken economy.  Axelrod has had Harry Reid question whether Romney paid any taxes during the period 1999 through 2009.  My assumption is that Romney is a good enough business man to have employed an excellent tax team and has paid the minimum amount of taxes required by law.  I also assume that he was careful not to break any laws.  To do so would, among other things, be inconsistent with good business practices.  In addition, he appears to be an exceptionally moral person, so I don't believe that he cheated anywhere along the line.  Besides, if he did, I am sure that Obama's IRS would have already been all over him.

Because Mitt Romney has a successful business background, I argue that he is in an excellent position to actually revise our tax code and do it in an intelligent manner.  It is one more reason why I believe that we should elect him president three months from now.

Paul Ryan

As I said in an earlier blog, I will support whichever of the potential running mates Romney chooses.  His choice of Paul Ryan is excellent.  It is one more indication that Romney is very serious about getting our economy back on track.  Ryan will be missed in the House of Representatives, but can actually do more to help the economy from the vantage point of the White House than he can from the House of Representatives.

Because all of the political pundits called for Romney to avoid Ryan and select someone who could attract one or another voting block, it is a clear indication that Romney is his own man, and I like that.  Some fear that Ryan scares too many people because of his poorly understood budget plan, and argue that it would be better to select a member of a minority or a woman so that more votes could be attracted to the Republican ticket.  This selection seems to say "I, Mitt Romney, am serious, the voter has to choose the direction for our country."

It is amazing to me that President Obama is still ahead in the polls.  If those counts are correct we are set to reject fiscal sanity in favor of empty liberal promises.  I refuse to believe that the people of this country will do that.  We are smarter than David Axelrod thinks. My assumption is that the silent majority will come to our rescue in November.  If they don't, this country is pretty much done.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Women and the election.

If I were a woman, who would I vote for in November?  Yep, you guessed it.  I would vote the conservative ticket from president all the way down to dogcatcher - and here is why.

Some of us conservatives argue about very important details, but virtually all of us hold family to be the critical building block of this country.  Strong family values are critical to the health and welfare of our country and for all of the people living here - regardless of gender.  When we are young, we sometimes stress out about family controls, but when we have our own family we understand that the strength of that unit underpins everything that we are and do.  As an adult looking back, I understand that it was my mother and father that gave me my start.  When I compare the richness of my upbringing in a middle class home with those that I know who grew up in broken homes, I understand exactly how fortunate I was.

Liberal policies sound great when we are at a point in our lives when we want to escape the authority of mom and dad and try our wings in the world.  It is a time of experimentation and I freely confess that I was attracted to liberal thought a lot during my first two years in college.  The Korean war made me rethink fundamentals and I was much more pragmatic when I returned to civilian life.  I think that kind of a transformation happens to a lot of us as we face the reality of the real world around us and it accounts for the polls that show that both men and women grow more conservative as they grow more mature.

One of my biggest problems with liberal thought is that it wants to replace each of our individual freedoms with a new law or government regulation.  When this happens, conservatives are forced to respond in kind.  As a result, our society has gotten so litigious that we spend half of our lives arguing about the fine print in mountains of regulation and libraries of law books.  In my childhood, I was taught what was right and what was wrong by my mother and father.  When I went out into the world, I knew the difference and that was what governed my actions - not an arcane piece of legislation buried in a book that I had never read in some far off capital city.

There is currently an argument in this country as to what constitutes marriage, so the knee jerk solution is to pass a new law.  I say that is stupid.  I'm married and I guarantee you that the piece of paper is not what holds my wife and I together.  After all, it is easy to get another one that says that we are not married any longer if we so choose.  We made a personal commitment that is far more meaningful to both of us than the legalese written by a huddle of lawyers and politicians in one or another capital city.  I honestly believe that government ought to get out of the marriage business - entirely.  If two people want to live together they should be able to do so no matter their gender and I don't really care if they say that they are married or not, nor do I care if someone else says that they are not really married.  If they want a priest to bless them, fine.  If they do not - no problem.  Look around you.  That is reality, irregardless of what the highly paid politicians and lawyers might say or do.

I take the same basic approach to contraception although I find this one a lot harder to rationalize one way or the other.  I think that we all understand the basic conundrum.  This is another one where I believe that the government should get out of the way and leave the decision to the woman.  I also think that it is the right of the church and others to argue as strongly as they want to stop the practice, but I don't believe that government should have any role in deciding the issue one way or the other.  Abortion is in the same general category, but gets even more complicated as the fetus grows into a recognizable human being.  In the last analysis, individual women have to make these decisions for themselves and a line of legal mumbo jumbo on a piece of paper is going to do little to change so fundamental a decision.

It is ironic that liberals say that they are for more individual freedom when their policies actually lead to more government regulation that limits our freedom.  Liberal policies are pushing our society away from our traditional values and moving us into an era of increased government control of our lives.  I think that is bad for all of us - men and women.  Right or wrong, with regard to contraception and abortion, I believe that the de-facto conservative position on these issues is that they are outside of what government can control.  Individual conservatives feel strongly about each of them and will understandably sound off loudly, but conservative governments are not going to ban contraception or abortion.  The reality is that, right or wrong, too many people in this country demand access to both.  We are not going to stop gay people living together either and I see nothing in the constitution that says that we need legislation on the subject.

So, if I were a woman, I would not be afraid of conservatives taking away my rights, nor of conservatives ignoring my health.  I would vote conservative in order to rescue the economy that makes it possible for all of us to do all of the things that we want to do.  To vote for the empty promises of Obama is to destroy the economic engine that makes it possible to continue to improve our lives.

PS:  The women's beach volleyball game last night was a pretty good example of just how strong women are in this country.  These four women are also outstanding examples of traditional values in modern America.  The values that made them are the values that conservatives cherish.  All four of these women "did it" and they did it the old fashioned way - hard work, individual determination, and lots of just plain grit.  Anybody who says that "they did not do it" is just plain wrong and anybody that says that they are not exceptional individual Americans did not see the digs, taps or slams.  They probably also missed the stars and stripes going up over the medals stand.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How important is the Vice President?

We are now entering the final stages of the VEEP sweepstakes.  Who will Mitt Romney choose as his running mate?  It is an important decision for a lot of obvious reasons.  So obvious that it does not need elaboration.  For what it is worth, I can live with whomever he selects.  The individuals involved in this election are important, but not as important as the political direction that we choose for our country in November.

I honestly do not think that Mitt Romney is smart enough to solve all of our problems all by himself, nor do I think that Barack Obama has, all by himself, caused all of the problems that we currently face in this country.  Joe Biden has unfortunately proven that a Vice President can be pretty useless to his president as well as to his country, so there is no assurance that Mitt Romney's pick will work many wonders for us.  (I do think that it will be very hard for the new number two to be as useless as Biden.)

This election is about much more than individuals.  It is about the direction we want to take our country.  (The last election was too, but we didn't fully appreciate it at the time.)  Barack Obama wants to continue moving us down the road to a government centric society where Washington makes more and more of our decisions for us.  A country where fairness is accomplished by lowering the standard of living of all of us until we are equally poor.  A place where individual accomplishment is a negative value.  A place where we didn't do that.

In order to accomplish his objectives as quickly as possible, President Obama has subverted the system of checks and balances that have here-to-fore protected us from over centralization of power in one branch of government.  We no longer have a budget process to govern national spending.  By strengthening the use of czars, he has moved government regulation out of the traditional line departments and tied it directly to the White House.  It is the President that decides what the regulations say and which laws we implement and which we ignore.  Etc, etc, etc…

Barack Obama has not done all of this all by himself.  He has had help.  Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have been stalwart supporters.  Eric Holder has been a key player.  Even Joe Biden has helped by being the President's willing sycophant. Outside of government itself, David Axelrod has been a critical player in presenting the political face of the administration in such a way that it attracts the support of large numbers of disadvantaged people in our society.

I believe that all of this is taking us in the wrong direction.  I see the 2012 election as being about much more than a choice of which posterior sits in the Oval Office or which one lives in the old Naval Observatory.  I see a vote for Romney as being a vote for getting our traditional governing system back.  It was good enough for my parents and it is good enough for me.  I want it back, darn it.

PS:  I have nothing against China or Brazil, but I was very happy to see the Women's Beach Volleyball teams win their semi-final matches.  I continue to believe that, as a fellow American, it is ok to be proud of their outstanding individual performances.  I honestly believe that although they were helped along the way, their individual grit and determination was what made the difference between winning and losing.  I don't really want a president that believes otherwise.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Quit acting like a bunch of losers.

There is a belief among some that the economy in this country is in such a mess right now that no one will be able to straighten things out and get us back on the road to prosperity.  Fortunately, that is poppycock.  We can right the economy and we do know how to do it.

I'm not saying that it is going to be easy, nor am I saying that it won't hurt, but I am saying that we can do it.  First, and foremost, we need to stop spending money as though we actually have a lot of it.  Second, we need to stop printing more and more money and thus devaluing the dollar.  Third, we must address entitlements and bring them into line with our ability to pay them.  Fourth, we need to reduce government regulation of business.  Fifth, we need to root out waste, fraud, and duplication in government.  Sixth, we need to reestablish the principal that welfare recipients are required to work to qualify for their benefits.  Seventh, we need to replace unemployment payments with job training.  Eighth, we need to seriously consider privatizing as many government services as possible.  Ninth, we need to reform our tax code.  Tenth, we need to quit acting like losers.

In the short run, this is going to hurt, but the longer that we delay doing it, the more painful it is going to be.  Face up to it now and we minimize the pain.  Be forced into it later and risk destroying the country.  Those that say that this agenda is impossible are the real problem in this country.  The economy is in serious trouble, but pervasive defeatism may well be our biggest challenge.

Monday, August 6, 2012

We are still not talking about the real problem.

David Axelrod's campaign strategy continues to hum along effectively.  This time around, it is Harry Reid's turn to launch the unsubstantiated charge that Mitt Romney has not paid his taxes for ten years.  Conservatives are furious and feel they must respond.  All of the charges and counter charges are bombastic, the tenor of the conversation is heated, and there are plenty of sensational charges and counter-charges to whet the appetite of the press.  So, once again, we are talking about something other than the nation's economy and what we should do about getting it back on track.

I am less interested in the specific charges that are involved in Mr. Axelrod's campaign than I am in it's overall nature.  In each individual case, he knows that he is not telling the truth, yet he does it anyway because he feels that it is politically expedient.  The fact that Axelrod is doing this on behalf of Barack Obama is extremely troubling to me.  The two men have been together a long time and Axelrod is President Obama's senior political advisor and confidant.  He is in charge of the President's reelection campaign so what he does touches the President, whether he tells the President in advance or not.  In every instance, Barack Obama could instruct David Axelrod not to do it, but the President has obviously not done that.  I say shame on Barack Obama.

Another aspect of Axelrod's campaign that I find troubling is the segment of the public that he is targeting with his ads.  By it's very nature, this campaign is not targeted on knowledgeable citizens.  It is targeted on those among us that are less well-informed about what is really going on in this country.  The individual charges all fit into a narrative that it is the successful among us that are the real problem.  All of this echoes President Obama's recent "you didn't do that" speech.  I find it hard to believe, but I am increasingly worried that these two men are trying to create class distinctions that have here-to-fore not been present in our society.  I find that concern to be deeply troubling.

The nature of the individual candidate's campaign tells us volumes about the men that are engaged in the contest.  I am not naive enough to believe that conservatives are above engaging in electioneering dirty tricks, but Axelrod's current campaign is in a class by itself and it raises some pretty fundamental questions about the candidate that he is supporting.  Axelrod masterminded Barack Obama's election in 2008.  I wonder how much of Obama's soaring rhetoric was written for political effect and not out of conviction.  Axelrod is obviously smart enough to know that America hungers for honest, effective, bipartisan leadership.  In 2008, he wrote speeches that gave us hope that we would get that kind of a leader.  It is ironic that he is now having his candidate give speeches that have the exact opposite effect.

This country needs a president that can speak for himself and tell us what he honestly believes.  I can assure you that Mitt Romney is not going to be perfect in the eyes of every one of us, but I honestly believe that he will be better than the fellow that we elected last time around.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Foreign Relations and the Election

It is not politic to say it, but the fact of the matter is that most Americans are not very interested in what is going on outside of our own international borders.  In our current political debates about who should be president of this country, that disinterest translates to a series of rather pathetic, overly simplistic, political ads - on both sides of the debate.  Both political parties talk down to the American people about foreign relations because too much of the American public is disinterested in the subject.

To be fair, foreign relations is an extremely complicated, multi-faceted subject.  I studied in it in university and worked in it for thirty years and I recognize that I am not an expert in any one facet of it, let alone smart across the full breadth of it's tangled interrelationships.  I do have opinions and some of them are compatible with what President Obama may be trying to accomplish.  I do not, however, like the overall drift that I see in our foreign relations under President Obama's leadership.  I believe that he is taking us in the wrong direction internationally as well as domestically and that it is happening entirely too rapidly to make me sanguine about our future.

Having said that, I should also add that foreign relations is not what I am voting about this time around.  No matter what we want to accomplish internationally, we will not be able to do it if we do not get our economy back on track.  The reason that this country has been so influential in the world is that we have been the strongest economy in the world not that we had better soldiers than the next guy.  Before we can project influence of any kind, we have to be influential.  Our economy is what gives us influence and the ability to project it.   Of the two contenders for the White House this time around, I believe that Mitt Romney has a better chance to get the economy right.  This is particularly true since Barack Obama has proven that he does not understand the economy.

PS:  I was happy to see some of the British athletes win gold and I was delighted to see the American Women's Beach Volleyball team win their first elimination round.