A Blind Eye to a Vision for The Nation
We have a choice to make on November 6. For most of us, the choosing is already done. For a smaller group, the votes have already been cast. Early voting makes that possible and convenient.
If you like how things have been going, if you believe President Barack Obama when he says he's done what he told you he'd do, or if you've bought into his campaign's portrayal of his opponent as an out-of-touch one-percenter, then you're going to vote for the president.
Conversely, if you think the current administration has taken a bad economy and made it terrible, if you find the economic policy direction headed toward a Greek-style meltdown, and the concept of depending on a government bureaucracy to solve your problems raises your blood pressure, then you're planning to vote for Mitt Romney.
What you cannot do, regardless of where your political loyalty lies, is vote for either guy based solely on the strength of the vision they have laid out for America.
Not because their visions are flawed, but because neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney have actually described their vision.
In fact, this may be the first presidential race in modern electoral history where neither major party candidate even seems to have a vision for the future of America.
If they do, then the reason they seem unable to define it is that they must fear how we'll react to it. Hopefully, that's not true, because that logic is both extremely cynical and slightly dangerous.
We've been watching commercials for months. We've sat through three presidential debates. Lord knows they've had plenty of opportunities; but, instead, all we seem to get are President Obama's personal attacks on Governor Romney and Governor Romney's descriptions of his own business acumen.
The debates should have afforded us the chance to measure policy positions and initiatives as both candidates stood together on a stage.
The closest we got to that political comparison was debate Number One. Unfortunately, Mr. Obama left his ‘A game’ at home and spent more time looking down at this podium than he did describing his policy positions.
In his own interesting approach to campaigning, Governor Romney executed a series of pivots, shifts and complete conversions on a number of major policy issues.
It almost seems, in retrospect, like a sophisticated strategy. Knowing that your opponent is spending hours reviewing everything you've said for the last two years, just take the opposite position on debate night.
By the time the guy figures out what you've done, 90 minutes are up and you're home-free.
Unfortunately, if you have more debates planned, the bait-and-switch thing doesn't work too well. The other guy and his advisors get wise to the scheme and can call you on it.
Even armed with the Romney battle plan, President Obama blew his chance to demonstrate the power of the presidency. Instead of taking the well-informed high road, the president opted to be snarky.
In one particularly nasty exchange over the size of our Navy, President Obama lectured Governor Romney like a parent to a two year old. Liberal media representatives in the Spin Room behind the theater could be heard laughing and cheering the rebuke, but generally, the reaction across the electorate was more muted.
Through all of Governor Romney's shape shifting and President Obama's sarcastic lecturing, there wasn't even a hint of specificity about how either would restore the economy, stabilize the international scene, or rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.
President Obama's solution is tax increases on the rich, in spite of the fact that there isn't enough wealth to squeeze from the wealthy to fix our pitiful economic condition.
Governor Romney advocates tax cuts mixed with tax loophole closures as the answer, but again, economists on both sides say the math doesn't really add up.
President Obama has a record, one which he'd like us to ignore. His request for a second term sounds suspiciously like his first campaign; mostly that he needs four more years to fix the problems left over from the George W. Bush Administration.
This might be the first president in history who can tell us more about what his predecessor did wrong than what he himself has done right. Answer: very little.
Governor Romney might not have a presidential record, but the record of his primary campaign rhetoric stands in stark contrast to his recent positions.
At his current rate, Governor Romney runs the risk of taking so many positions in one campaign that even he may forget what he believes.
What both men lack is a compelling vision for the future of America, and no amount of slick 30-second television commercials will change that before November 6th.