Friday, May 9, 2008

The Character of the Candidates

If you, in honesty were to vote just on the character of the candidates, who would you vote for? Be honest!
by Charlie Leck

Russ Limbaugh is a low-down sort of person. "Mendacity with a dash of condescension" is a perfect way to describe him. The talk show host inspires only one thing in people – hatred. He's not a true patriot and he doesn't understand patriotism. That so many people "tune him in" and "tune into him" frightens the bee-jeebers out of me.

I want to be inspired by someone of exceptionally high personal character, honesty and hopefulness. This year I am going to vote for a president who brings those traits along into the oval office. Whether man or woman, black or white, Republican or Democrat. It's vital to me and it's crucial to the U.S.A..

The gas tax holiday issue may seem like an insignificant one in considering this major concern of mine; that is, in establishing which candidate best represents these traits that I'm looking for. Wrong! This little issue is huge in allowing us a peek at personal character issues.

About this topic, Greg Mankiw, a professor of economics at Harvard, said something on his blog that we should all think about:

"Why, then, are candidates proposing the holiday? I can think of three hypotheses:
Ignorance: They don't know that the consensus of experts is opposed.
Hubris: They know the experts are opposed, but they think they know better.
Mendacity with a dash of condescension: They know the experts are opposed, and they secretly agree, but they think they can win some votes by pulling the wool over the eyes of an ill-informed electorate.

So which of these three hypotheses is right? I don't know, but whichever it is, it says a lot about the character of the candidates."

I think Mankiw had his tongue firmly planted in this cheek when he said, "I don't know," in answering his question about the motivation of the candidates.

This little political dance damaged Hillary Clinton and John McCain in a very considerable way. The public generally saw through the matter and realized it was a sham. Start with the fact that nothing could have been done in Congress by Memorial Day at any rate. Then go on to the fact that it is a bad idea. Now is not the time to encourage people to do more driving. That would only drive prices up even higher. Then think about the impact of losing that much income for the federal government – already in the deepest debt in the history of the nation.

It was a sham of an idea and I am proud the people saw through it. Hardly any polling agency concluded that a candidate's stand for a summer relief from gas taxes helped one iota.

Barack Obama was correct on this one. He would not jump to stump for it. He would not pander to such foolishness for the sake of gaining some votes. He did not go down the popular political trail.

This little tiny development says something gigantic about personal character. Mankiw put it this way:

"This issue is like the canary in the coal mine: No one really cares about the canary, but its condition tells us about deeper problems that lie below."

We need a President who will tell the American people what they need to hear, and what they must hear, and not just that which they will enjoy hearing.

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