Sunday, November 2, 2008

Answer the Question (Part 2)

Here is my follow-up to the first part of this post, in which I examined Barack Obama's non-answer to a question in the 2nd Presidential debate.  Here I look at John McCain's non-answer.


Since World War II, we have never been asked to sacrifice anything to help our country, except the blood of our heroic men and women. As president, what sacrifices -- sacrifices will you ask every American to make to help restore the American dream and to get out of the economic morass that we're now in?


Well, Fiorra, I'm going to ask the American people to understand that there are some programs that we may have to eliminate.”

So, he is going to ask us to understand stuff.  Is that one of the sacrifices?  I don’t know, John; that is a lot you’re asking of me.  I simply don’t want to understand stuff.  I have a Constitutional right to not understand or to not even attempt to understand.  That’s a tough one.

“I first proposed a long time ago that we would have to examine every agency and every bureaucracy of government. And we're going to have to eliminate those that aren't working.”

Sacrifice #2 is that we the American people will have to do without government agencies and bureaucracies that aren’t working.  Hmm.  That also won’t be easy.  We have all grown accustomed to our useless agencies and bureaucracies.  Is it really a “sacrifice” to give up something that isn’t working?  Many people don’t even know we have certain agencies.  Is it a “sacrifice” to give up something we don’t know we have especially when it isn’t doing anything to help us? 

“I know a lot of them that aren't working. One of them is in defense spending, because I've taken on some of the defense contractors. I saved the taxpayers $6.8 billion in a deal for an Air Force tanker that was done in a corrupt fashion.”

So, we are going to have to sacrifice $6.8 billion on deals that you already saved us because you took them on?  Is it really a sacrifice for the American people to give up deals that are done in a corrupt fashion?  It is hard to see the sacrifice here.  Are you just blowing your trumpet here?  Is this just a chance for you to brag about something you did because it doesn’t really seem to fit with the question. 

“I believe that we have to eliminate the earmarks. And sometimes those projects, not -- not the overhead projector that Sen. Obama asked for, but some of them that are really good projects, will have -- will have to be eliminated, as well.”

Okay, at least you have mentioned something specifically.  Great job.  But, again, I don’t know that anyone in the American public sees earmarks as a positive thing.  I’m quite certain that most citizens are against them.  Therefore, they will gladly give them up without any argument.  So, they will be voluntarily and happily doing away with them; not sacrificing.

“And they'll have to undergo the same scrutiny that all projects should in competition with others.

So we're going to have to tell the American people that spending is going to have to be cut in America. And I recommend a spending freeze that -- except for defense, Veterans Affairs, and some other vital programs, we'll just have to have across-the-board freeze.”

This is better.  Much better.  Cutting spending on certain programs may force some Americans to make sacrifices.  However, many Americans want to see lower spending by the government and if not lower spending, then smarter spending.  So, at least something good will come of it.  In addition, non-vital programs are just that – not vital.  One would ask if a program is not vital, should it be a program at all?  Therefore, freezing spending on that program will be viewed as a triumph.

“And some of those programs may not grow as much as we would like for them to, but we can establish priorities with full transparency, with full knowledge of the American people, and full consultation, not done behind closed doors and shoving earmarks in the middle of the night into programs that we don't even -- sometimes we don't even know about until months later.”

Again, we will be sacrificing things (earmarks) that we don’t want in the first place.  No big deal. 

“And, by the way, I want to go back a second.

Look, we can attack health care and energy at the same time. We're not -- we're not -- we're not rifle shots here. We are Americans. We can, with the participation of all Americans, work together and solve these problems together.

Frankly, I'm not going to tell that person without health insurance that, "I'm sorry, you'll have to wait." I'm going to tell you Americans we'll get to work right away and we'll get to work together, and we can get them all done, because that's what America has been doing.”

Thanks for including another answer to the previous question which you didn’t answer that time and you’re still not answering now.  It is extremely helpful.  How do you propose we all work together on this?  Should we get a huge conference room and talk it out?  The truth is, Americans aren’t going to work together on this.  The politicians are going to work together, or at least democrats and democrats and republicans and republicans will work together.  Also, are you implying that Canadians are rifle shots?  Or that other countries couldn’t do this at the same time?  Are we somehow better than others? 

The truth is, politicians just say words they think people want to hear.  I think they are grossly out of touch, because the people I talk to are sick of these types of "answers" and want more substance.  The real problem is that when we allow them to side-step important questions or just ignore questions, we cannot hold them accountable for the things they say.  How can we hold Obama and McCain accountable for these answers?  We don't even know what they have actually said.  I don't know what they've promised, so I guess I will never know if they have come through on the promises.  I would guess that one of these guys is going to be saying the same things in 4 years and we won't have a clue whether he did anything in the previous 4 years.  

Imagine if you were proposing a a new program to your boss and he or she asked, "What sacrifices will the company have to make in order to incorporate this program?"  What would happen if you said something like, "Well, boss, I'm glad you asked that and I thank you for listening to my presentation.  Over the last few years I have worked hard for this company and I have cut spending in my group.  And we are going to have to start thinking about our budget and some other things.  We will work together and together we will make this program go forward and all employees of this company will see the benefits.  We can do it but we have to start thinking."

Pack your bags and clean out your desk, because you just got canned or demoted!  And yet, the leaders of the greatest country in the world can get away with this when they are dealing with our safety, health care, taxes, etc.  There is something wrong with that.  Since this is a democracy and the politicians should have to answer to us, I say we fire or demote them.  I would appoint Obama to be the National Motivational Speaker and John McCain wouldn't hold office but we would all be his friends.

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