Thursday, February 21, 2008

Losing Our Electoral Minds

By Alan Caruba

It’s a good thing that national elections don’t come around any more frequently than every four years. The sight of so many Americans totally losing their minds must be shocking to foreigners.

The system that winnows out various aspirants for the highest office in the land seems to make no sense at all, despite the fact that it has worked now for a very long time. Almost from the beginning, the nation divided itself into political parties. After that, they engaged in the most vicious slander of the opposition in the interest of acquiring the power to influence our future.

What should give anyone pause is the way some of the most incompetent, if not crazed, men have made their way to the Oval Office. John Quincy Adams felt terribly insecure, having had to live in the shadow of his badgering, but brilliant father. Andrew Jackson, who adorns our $20 bill, had fought many duels and, by most accounts, was a compete egomaniac. In more modern times, we are still living with the succession of bad judgments made by Jimmy Carter, an ex-President who is an unfailing embarrassment to the nation.

Carter’s predecessor, Richard M. Nixon was a total paranoid. He was so obsessed with his “enemies” that he was ultimately forced to resign in the wake of the Watergate Scandal. Bill Clinton was and is a feckless, immoral fool who one hopes has now managed to destroy his wife’s insane ambition to succeed him. The train wreck of her campaign is a tribute to that tiny voice in the back of voter’s minds that she is a terribly unpleasant person and that returning him as First Philanderer to the White House would be an egregiously bad idea.

This brings us to what can only be called a celebrity phenomenon, Barack Hussein Obama. Strongly influenced in his youth by a Communist fellow traveler who he acknowledges without referencing his political orientation, Obama has got to be the strangest aspirant for the White House in the history of the nation. A mulatto son of a white mother and a black father who deserted the family early on, he proudly bears a Muslim name while attending an Afro-centric Christian church. Any one of these aspects of his life might automatically exclude him from serious consideration, but let’s add the obvious fact that he has zero evidence of any kind of a legislative record. A rookie Senator from Illinois, Obama is famous for reluctantly voting on anything in his days in the Illinois legislature and has little accomplishment to point to in the U.S. Senate.

Yet this is a man who makes some members of his audience swoon and faint in ways that Frank Sinatra or Elvis did. He offers some rhetoric about change and hope, but it is difficult at best to know what he would do in office, except to retain and act upon the most leftist bona fides of anyone in that hallowed debating chamber.

Finally, we have yet another liberal, one who keeps proclaiming his conservative bona fides, Sen. John McCain. He’s not keen on shutting the southern border to the vast influx of illegal aliens or for encouraging those already here to return home. He’s consistently teamed with the most liberal Senators to co-sponsor bills that make conservatives cringe. He believes that the Earth is actually undergoing a global warming when there is zero science to support this UN-inspired hoax.

It’s not just the political silly season. It’s a completely senseless season because the choices the two-party system has served up are absurd. The Republican voters have apparently settled on the least worst of those who initially contended for the nomination. The Democrats have tilted away from Lady Macbeth toward a total unknown with excellent oratorical skills and a pie-in-the-sky message that is dangerously naïve.

Yes, the nation is tired of being a superpower. It’s tired of being the only one around that really believes there is a war between two civilizations, the West and Islam. Americans keep electing children to office who spend money without any accountability or regard for the debt piling up. We want to believe in the Socialist fairytales that say we can all have health care without really having to pay for it, old age security despite the fact there are fewer workers paying into a system while others, having lived far longer than expected, continue to receive their checks.

Or the biggest fantasy of all, that we can be “energy independent” without ever exploring and extracting resources we have, permitting a new refinery to be built, allowing coal-fired, gas-fired or nuclear-powered electricity plants to be built. Our wonderful economy and lifestyles are totally dependent on importing the most global of all commodities, oil and natural gas. Happily, we have ample coal. It is the cheapest energy source around and yet there are people who think it’s going to destroy the atmosphere. It won’t. It can’t.

Presidents since Jimmy Carter and earlier have been warning that we are running out of energy resources and have been telling us we must become independent. The U.S. peaked in oil production in the 1970s. We now import what we need. So does the rest of the world. Even some oil producing nations have to import gasoline for lack of refining capacity.

And every four years we elect someone to manage the affairs of the nation and, these days, the world. Occasionally we get lucky. We get a Jefferson, a Lincoln, a Teddy Roosevelt, a FDR to lead us through a world war, a Reagan to restore our faith in our political system and ourselves. We have had, for the most part, men that were up to the task, but we have had some clinkers.

Obama is the Pied Piper of Chicago. He’s filling stadiums with huge crowds. Rock musicians do this routinely, but they aren’t expected to manage the United States of America for the next four years. We need more than rhetoric. We need a keen sense of reality.

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