(Host) Commentator Dick Mallary is disappointed with the content of the political discourse he has heard so far in the current presidential campaign.
(Mallary) Recent polls tell us that only a small, but critically important, percentage of the American voters are undecided on their choice for president this year. I find it surprising that so many voters seem to have made up their minds so early in such a changing world.
It seems that most Americans have acquired very strong feelings about George W. Bush. Some seem to be charmed by him. Others have a visceral dislike for him and what he stands for.
The two candidates are very different people, and attitudes toward them appear to be based significantly on personality and style. I find it hard to believe that these attitudes are the result of the voters’ analysis of the important issues that face the nation and the positions of the candidates. Sadly, I don’t believe that either candidate has presented a realistic plan to address most of the critical issues that face our nation today.
I’m not satisfied that either has proposed a realistic and persuasive plan for us to extricate ourselves from Iraq in a reasonably timely manner without leaving dangerous chaos behind.
Neither has presented a fiscally balanced plan to address the serious issues of the cost of health care and access to it.
Neither has addressed the serious and growing issue of the United States’ trade deficit with the rest of the world and the jeopardy that poses to the American dollar and the American economy.
Neither has presented a balanced plan to address the looming crisis in funding our social security system, while at the same time both have foreclosed some of the realistic options such as higher retirement age, reduced benefits or means testing.
Both have promised to cut the annual budget deficit in half in four years, but neither has presented anything like a plausible plan to do so.
In this campaign we are hearing from the candidates only what they think we want to hear. They are not acknowledging that there are some very hard and unpleasant choices facing the nation.
It appears that both camps and the political professionals think that the American voter is so naive and uninformed that he will believe these glowing promises. It takes a leap of faith to believe that either candidate, if elected, will have the political courage to face the critical issues and take the steps, however difficult, to lead our country safely for the next four years.
This is Dick Mallary in Brookfield.
Dick Mallary has served extensively in state government and is a former U.S. congressman from Vermont. He spoke from our studio in Norwich.