If you’re even halfway intelligent, you have to be completely put off by the choices for President of the United States this year. Partisanship aside, we have one tragically inexperienced candidate who proposes that his inexperience is a qualification for high office; we have the other candidate in his golden years who can’t quite seem to put his finger on the pulse of the country. They are both U.S. Senators, although one is still on the Earn While You Learn program in that capacity. Senators, as a rule, are career politicians who have spent their lives talking about issues, writing bills about them, brokering deals to pass the bills, and voting on others’ bills. Most of them have never run so much as a candy store, let alone a state or a country. Between these two, you have one opportunist who feels that his destiny is to lead us (and to, of course, gather the spoils of victory), and another who won a war of attrition and seems only half-assed interested in the office he seeks. Both have enunciated pie-in-the-sky programs—their “plans”—which they know are unattainable, but which are great sales tools, pushing the right buttons with the right voters. Both give us round-about, vague descriptions of policies they propose, which they cannot promise to ever be funded, and which, furthermore, will require a compliant Congress to implement. Congress serves itself. At the same time, both have attempted to frighten us about the other. They both shoot for the lowest level, assuming that the electorate is composed of morons who will believe the interminable and annoying TV ads and stump speeches. Alas, our ignorance created both of these candidates, presumably in our image.
If we’re so stupid as to have put forward these two mendacious, opportunistic hypocrites as the entirety of the field for this horse race, we should recognize ourselves for what we are: easy marks. One guy tries to buy our votes by promoting wealth envy; the other guy tries to buy our votes by appealing to our sense of decency and values. One guy panders to pro-abortion whackos; the other guy panders to anti-abortion whackos. It goes on and on. The crap that flies is so transparent that if we don’t see through it, we’ll soon be shoveling it big time. Life with either of these guys will be a shit sandwich—the more bread you have, the less shit you’ll have to taste. That is the way of the world, which I’m telling you just in case you’ve had your head so far up your ass that you haven’t noticed.
Neither one of these guys has made the slightest attempt to abandon the vote buying and pandering to hit at the root of our biggest problems—the abrogation of individual responsibility and the concomitant massive increase in the size of government. We need to be reeled in. Us. All of us. I know, I know! It doesn’t feel good. They’ll take away our toys! The American Dream! Nahhh, we don’t want to be reeled in. We’d rather listen to vacuous promises and be hopeful that we can pass on the price of our denial to later generations. Anyone but us. We need our toys. We need our handouts. We need big government to take care of us from cradle to grave. Corporations that provide the stuff we crave are bad, evil profit mongers! We must be able to sue them to get our money back if things go bad! If we screw up, we need government to fix it for us. That’s it! Free stuff! Down with THE EVIL CORPORATIONS! We need governmental guarantees of safe conduct through life. Death to any politician who has enough balls to tell us that it cannot be so! Yeah, right. Bullshit, people. Those of us with any brains at all know that collectivism is a morally—as well as fiscally—bankrupt paradigm. We know what once made this country great and what will make it great again—the individual. But we need to stop listening to empty promises of quick fixes and find leaders who will lead—CEOs, not civil servants turned salesmen.
At this moment I can think of no politician who could run for president without peppering us with great packs of lies and unworkable feel-good scenarios. Accordingly, I am offering an alternative. I am proposing that you write-in “The Nittany Turkey” on your ballot if you feel as uncomfortable as I do in choosing between the two gentlemen who are running for the office. You want “change”—I’ll give you change. Here are some of my platform planks.
- Mortgage “Crisis”. No bailouts for either bankers or mortgagors. Let us bite the damn bullet now and not pass the problem on to our grandchildren, who will have their own problems to solve. Some people who have defaulted on debts that they entered into knowing full well that they would ultimately have to repay them will and should lose their houses—and perhaps their cars, their big screen TVs, and their Chicago Bears season tickets. These people are victims, alright—victims of their own greed, incompetence, and desire to live above their means. They should have stayed in rental apartments if they couldn’t afford houses, particularly in the overinflated real estate market of this decade. Now they must pay, not be bailed out. Everybody with the hand out needs to be politely told, “You broke it, you fix it!” Or maybe not so politely, responding in kind to their ridiculous demands.
- Line Item Veto. This is something that a long line of presidents dating back to Ulysses S. Grant have campaigned for and never got. Why? Congress reserves the right to load up bills with pork barrel crap they use to buy votes from the greedy beneficiaries of that pork. It has become a self-perpetuating nightmare. Let us end it by giving this Turkey the right to strike out any gratuitous add-ons that pollute legislation coming to him for signature.
- Energy policy. The solution to the dependence on foreign energy sources either must end or we will become a second-rate nation. It makes sense that we’re doing something wrong if we let enviropussies push us around such that we cannot drill for oil where it exists. There are no such restrictions in place with our international rivals. Russia drills where it wants and China is drilling off Cuba. We’re hamstrung because our politicians don’t have the balls to tell these whackos to shove off. They have far too much power—only because politicians listen to them and take their money—but they do not represent the views of the citizenry. They merely represent thumbs-up-the-ass elites. We haven’t built an oil refinery in 30 years in this country because environmental regulation, among other things, make it a dicey, risk laden venture. We need to provide incentives to the oil industry to increase domestic output, and to diversify into other sources of energy. Natural gas and clean coal technology need a boost. Finally, nuclear energy should not be the subject of fear smears. It works, it is relatively cheap, and it is sustainable. Unfortunately, it takes years to build a nuclear plant and the up-front investment is huge. This is where government can and must help grease the skids for private industry. We need to stop listening to fear mongers and set ourselves on a course that will take us to energy independence. Profits are not obscene. They provide incentives to improve the product and its delivery, as well as accruing to the benefit of all of us who own stock in oil companies, which includes a lot of people who bitch vacuously about “oil company profits.” You want to see chaos in the marketplace and long lines at gas stations? Nationalize the petroleum industry. Ain’t going to happen on my watch. The oil companies do a helluva job managing a distribution system that we take for granted. They deserve credit, not scorn, and they must be encouraged to explore, drill, refine, and deliver.
- The “right” to drive. Here’s a radical proposal sure to endear me to teenagers of all shapes, colors, and sizes and their irresponsible parents. Let us start by increasing the national driving age to 19. Let kids use public transportation and school buses. Keeping 16-18 year-olds’ asses out from behind the wheels of cars they don’t have the maturity to drive in the first place will save lives and money. We’ll save lives because studies have shown that the pre-frontal cortex, where responsible decisions are made, is not fully developed until about age 25. Let the little geniuses do their text messaging on school buses, not in their own cars, so they don’t risk MY ass as well as theirs. We’ll save money because parents won’t be obligated to buy Junior or Megan a car when he or she turns 16. There would be an exemption for 18 year-olds who have served or are in the process of serving our country (see #6). If you are responsible enough to fight for our freedom, you’re responsible enough to drive. Meanwhile, we must beef up public transportation. As a society, we just cannot afford cars for our least productive citizens.
- Health Care. This is not a responsibility of government and it should not be a responsibility of our employers. Why do we concede something so important to entities that couldn’t care less about us as individuals? Government-run healthcare systems exist in Canada and England, and through them we can see where we’re headed if we go that direction. This is an area in which the left-leaning candidate has it all wrong and the right-leaning candidate has it all right. While it sounds great, the bill of goods sold by the socialist fails when it comes to funding it. We’ve already crossed that bridge with Medicare. The rationing and the squeeze on private physicians’ incomes can only get worse if the scale of social medicine is broadened. Meanwhile, the pseudo-individualist would leave the employer-driven health insurance morass in place with some beneficial modifications. This Turkey thinks he has a better idea, but it doesn’t go as far as it should to place the responsibility squarely back in the hands of the individual, not his government or employer. Competition in the marketplace is necessary to drive prices down. Individuals should buy their own health insurance as we self-employed people have to do. We should be able to buy insurance across state lines, as one candidate proposes. We should dump the whole “managed care” system and allow only traditional indemnity health insurance policies to be written, with no special deals between insurance companies and providers. Everybody pays the same price and deals with the insurance company for reimbursement. The doctor and his staff work for YOU, the patient who pays them, not for the insurance company, whom they presently believe is the true customer. I could write 100 pages on this, but you get my point. As soon as government and the insurance industry stop holding the health care industry for ransom, we’ll get prices down and service will improve. We can provide a governmentally funded (i.e., out of my pocket and yours) safety net for the truly needy uninsured, but this does not mean those healthy young folk who choose to gamble irresponsibly by not purchasing health insurance because they would rather spend the money on clubbing and toys. Those people need to pay the price, because you and I don’t intend to.
- National Service. This one will be very popular with parents of so-called young adults. Every lad and lassie will be required to serve two years in service of their country. Pay would be minimal, but they would receive sustenance, lodging, and invaluable training. Military service would be required, as it is in Israel. No exceptions for the rich, only for those unable to serve because of physical handicaps (which will be relabeled handicaps, not referred to as “challenges”). We will no longer have issues either allowing or prohibiting homosexuals (not “gays” – we want that word back as an happy adjective, too) in the military because everybody, straight, queer, or otherwise, will be required to serve. Non-combat assignments will go to those who are not fit for combat.
- United Nations. It is time that someone else played host and provided most of the funding for this corrupt and ineffectual institution. We have been royally screwed for too long by an outfit that has evolved into something that bites the hand that feeds it. Spin off UNICEF. They do good work when UN operatives are not siphoning off funds from that program. Abandon “peace keeping” programs where UN troops wind up creating more havoc than peace, raping women and stealing stuff.
- The War in Iraq and Afghanistan. Do not pull out until both wars have concluded successfully to the benefit of the region and our interests. Yes, oil is involved, but until we can fully implement my point #3, which could take a quarter century, we need to ensure that our high-mindedness does not cause our balls to be cut off unwittingly. It is nice to talk about global peace, but as you learned in Economics 101, it’s all about resources and scarcity, and we need to get our hands on those scare damn resources. The defense budget pales in comparison with spending on social programs, but without it we’ll obviate the need for social programs.
- Living within our means. Yes, friends, that’s how we’re going to solve what has become an economic nightmare. We’re all bitching—which means we’re all fucking guilty! Nice smokescreen, folks. You want government to cover your ass because you were a bad little boy or girl and you got caught? No, baby. You need to be spanked. You’re feeling the sting of that brown leather belt right now and that’s why you’re crying NOT FAIR! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Yeah, ya bunch of pussies. You did it to yourselves, so don’t go crying to momma government to fix it for you. That comes out of MY damn pocket and the wallet is hereby shut! Get rid of your fancy cars, your fancy houses, and your fancy entertainment habits and live within your means for a while. And if you lived beyond your means for a long time and the bill is now coming due, PAY THE FUCKING BILL. That might mean living very low for a while, but you did it to yourself, buddy. And stop taking off work at 2:30 on Friday, damnit! Our national productivity is suffering in this leisure oriented society. We spend far too much money to support dumbass actors and even dumber professional athletes, while Rome burns. This money is just thrown away. If we refused to pay $12 for a movie ticket and $90 for a seat at a basketball game, we’d fix this in a hurry.
- Fix our schools. Get rid of teachers’ unions and privatize schools. Pay teachers a competitive salary and require that they have real degrees in real disciplines, not watered-down “Education” degrees. Require real world experience outside the classroom as a qualification for a teaching position. End certification programs that tend to create barriers to people who really have something to offer kids and protect incompetent teachers. End social promotions. Get government the hell out of the classroom.
- Stop blaming what happened yesterday. Yesterday is gone. We can’t change it, and it doesn’t matter who did what to whom yesterday. The future is a dream. The only thing we have a hold on is the present, so let’s take the bull by the horns. This will be hard. We will have to endure hardship that no generation since those who lived through the Great Depression and World War II ever had to face. We’re far removed from that type of hardship, but we’ve shown in the past that we can survive it. We need to come together, work hard, make sacrifices, and make this a better country for succeeding generations.
And so, my fellow Americans, look cynically at politicians who offer the same old crap with different labels, particularly those who offer “change.” That’s just a sales gimmick. Either of those two guys will ultimately play the game in Washington just as it has been played for over 200 years. They’ll tell you what they think you want to hear in order to get your votes, and then they’ll do whatever the hell they want—for the benefit of those they “owe” and to feather their own nests and lust for power. I, on the other hand, won’t tell you what you want to hear. I’ll tell you what you knew all along was true but chose not to think about. Now it is time to think about it. Now is the time to DO something about it. Let us bite the bullet together and make this country strong again. Write-in The Nittany Turkey on your ballot November 4!