"It's that it supplants a real debate, so that by the time the election actually happens and a victor is declared, it's not entirely clear what we all collectively just decided. Did we just vote for universal health care, or against that cranky old man and his dimwitted running mate?"
On the perils of the modern political system, it's not at all clear what a vote FOR Obama means, at least not to me. It is clear usually the reasons to vote AGAINST and this is true regardless of which party it is Obama has very real detraction in key economic areas, not because he's a 'socialist' but because he's a Democrat and therefore protective of unions. McCain obviously has passed by his better days, whatever those were. Very few politicians use debates and public air time to discuss ideas during an election season (which lasts longer and longer these days, this one went on for almost 2 years). The Obama infomercial was a nice idea, and probably a good use of his money in a political sense, but I, as a idea seeking person, was still left with the gnawing feeling of: so? What does that mean? What exactly are you wanting to do about this?
Obama's rhetorical style often marks him as thoughtful and the race debate issue that came up during the primaries gave him a rare opportunity to address the nation in an adult fashion and lay out plainly the problems within it. I've yet to see him use the same system to attack a problem, merely to use that discourse to define one. When that's the sort of information that we're left to make decisions on, it's not a sufficient, quality debate.
The one politician I recall actually outlining plans was Ron Paul, with naturally some being kooky. And others being too far out of step with the current hillbilly wing of the GOP to secure any votes. But there was plenty of money rolling in for his campaign. I think that suggests there's some hope. The last time that happened Perot didn't need anybody else's money and used his own to run infomercials on the economy, during a time period when it was no where near as painful as now. There's some hope that Obama the President would use this skill to explain in somewhat useful terms the painful truths and their proposed solutions. Maybe that's the hope portion of people. I'm not sure he's supposed to be the saving factor or that any one person is supposed to have that power in the American federalist system. He might. I shall have to hope there's some use for good, but I also haven't been given any shreds of evidence there will be.
Three new books on Europe
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