Friday, August 20, 2010

OK, what will you do if elected?

Mid-term elections are heating up.  Locally, we've got a Senate seat being given up by the retiring Jim Bunning (R) being contested by Jack Conway (D) and Rand Paul (R).  Of course, our Representative, Jim Yarmuth, is up for re-election, and for the life of me I can't remember who's running against him.  Hmmmm, that doesn't bode well for the GOP in that race.  Gonna have to do some homework there.

From the Democratic side, I'm hearing a lot of "The Republicans are evil!  Bush caused all this! Hope and Change is working!  More stimulus!  Tax the rich!  Pay off the poor!".

From the Republicans, it goes "Obama is a moron!  We're circling the drain!  Cut Spending!  Lower taxes!"

From what I can see, the issues that I care about are, in no particular order:

  1. Economics - Get the government out of the private sector and let the market figure out which companies (Auto manufacturers, banks, mortgage lenders) deserve to survive.  Quit giving my money (I earned it, and it was taken from me while I was looking down the barrel of a tax law) to fund the latest pandering of either party to their political base.  It's a simple formula.  Let me keep more of my money, and I promise to spend it or invest it wisely and pay taxes on the income from the investment.
  2. The War - Yes, our combat troops are out of Iraq, at least for now.  But if you try to tell me that the Iraqi security forces are cohesive and competent enough to keep that country from sliding back down into the sewer, I'll call you a blue faced baboon of a liar and a fool.  We'll either repeat our mistake in Vietnam of just leaving and not getting involved as that country fell to our opponents, or we'll be back in a year or so.  As for Afghanistan, are we following the right strategy to bring the people over to some semblance of good government?  Is Karzai and his group of kleptocrats the right horse to bet on?  Can we convince the Taliban that it's better to work with us to improve their country and let us go home than it is to continue to martyr themselves at the point of a bayonet?
  3. Health Care - It's none of the Federal government's business how I pay for my health care and how much I and my employer pay.  Want to make me happy?  Get rid of the national healthcare bill, and let insurance companies compete across state lines for customers.  Let me buy my medications from whomever is licensed to sell them to me.
  4. Defense - I'm pro-military, as you may have guessed.  But having grown up around the Air Force and spent most of my early adulthood in the Army, I know there is a lot of wasted manpower and money in the defense establishment.  Want to cut the defense budget?  Try cutting out a lot of the fat in the procurement process.  Tell the Pentagon to scale back its fanatical obsession with buying the new shininess from BAE and Lockheed.  How about we do a non-political evaluation of all of the bases, overseas and domestic, that we have and decide if we need all of them without Congress messing it up, and then actually close bases in less than a decade?
  5. Border security - I find it personally insulting that my grandfather came through Ellis Island and worked hard to stay out of trouble and be productive to become a citizen and now someone can slip across our southern border or jump off a container ship in Oakland and expect to be taken care of by our social safety net while working in a gray market of slave labor.  Want to make me happy?  Get all of those who are here illegally out, be they a Hispanic day laborer who slipped across the border at Nogales, or an Irish student who entered the country through LAX and let his visa lapse.  Prohibit the federal government from doing business with any company that uses illegal immigrant labor in any way.   Let the economy absorb whatever damage that causes.  Close the bloody Mexican border using whatever means are necessary. Better control the Canadian border if that becomes necessary.  Force ships coming into our ports to be inspected for illicit human cargo.  If we need immigrants to do work we don't want to do, then let them in in a controlled manner, either as legal residents or as foreign workers with an expectation that they will take themselves back to their home countries after a very finite period of time.

Here are a few "issues" that are being brought up that I don't want to hear about from politicians:

  1. Gay Marriage - It's none of my business, and it's none of the federal governments either.   Let the states and the courts figure that out.  Find another subject to talk about. 
  2. Mosques - It's either a location that's a few blocks from Ground Zero that just happens to be right for building a Muslim community and worship center, or it's a victory mosque being built to stick a thumb in our eye on the site of a national tragedy.  Either way, it's not a federal issue.  I have my own opinion, but I'm not using it as a political yardstick. 
  3. Abortion - It's the law of the land, no matter how I feel about it.  Until either the Constitution is changed or the Supreme Court changes it's mind, quit yammering on and on about it.
  4. George Bush - He's been out of the White House for a year and a half.   Democrats have been in charge of Congress since 2006.  Either share the blame for the mess we're in or stop dredging up old news.
  5. Barack Obama - Personally, I think he's the second coming of Jimmy Carter.  I hope he's a one term president.  I don't agree with his politics or his work ethic (Wish I had that much vacation time, even if they are working vacations).  He's the president.  He's a citizen, unless something unexpected crops up.  Move on.  You can talk more about him when he's an actual candidate in 2012.

To summarize:  I have a pretty well defined set of things I want to hear about from political candidates.  I'm tired of distractions from both parties that keep us from discussing those things.  The more you talk about the distractions, the less likely you are to get my vote.  It's the right of someone who considers himself to be a political independent to look at both parties and decide which one's candidates turn his stomach less when deciding how to vote.  Your goal is to be as non-nauseating as possible by telling me what you believe are the important issues in our country, and what you plan to do about them.  If we can agree, then you may earn my vote.  If we don't, well at least you got consideration.  Try to baffle me with bullshit, and you won't even get considered.

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