THE PRESIDENTIAL GAMBLE – PART II
THE LOOMING ISSUES: AN INVENTORY
BEWARE POLITICIANS WHO JUST STAND FOR SOMETHING.
In my last post, I promised to identify and discuss the issues that I believe will tower over the current election cycle. I believe that these are foremost among the really big things that will preoccupy the next president (and at least one successor).
Whether or not they surface in the current debate, or continue bubble just under the political radar, they will haunt the elections of 2012 and 2016. Here is my short list of the top ten concerns of the next POTUS:
(LISTED IN RANDOM ORDER – WITHOUT INFERENCE OF PRIORITY):
Maintaining or reestablishing the essential core national facilities of production and manufacture in-country in the face of a massive outsourcing of our core manufacturing capabilities, but doing so without setting off a protectionist trade war.
NOTE: Here is a current inventory of essential American capabilities where 50 plus % vs. less than 50% mark those functions that are still effectively under US domestic control:
The US space program – (50+) The US military hardware – planes, tanks, ships and guns (50+) Boeing – (50+) Microsoft – (50+) Computer chip makers – (not 50) Agriculture – (50+) Automobile manufacture – (not 50) Steel production – (not 50) Aluminum & copper – (not 50)
Energy sources (coal, natural gas, oil, solar, wind, nuclear) – (not 50)
Protecting and securing the national borders while solving the problem of assimilating or expelling the huge underclass of illegal immigrants without crippling the economy, law enforcement or both. Securing a robust, clean energy supply, free from Middle East political manipulation. Developing economically sound, portable benefit packages for all workers without ruining the economy, government budgets or the health care system. Effectively countering the anti-Western jihad – a multi-administration, multi-focal effort aimed at protecting the homeland and our key allies from another 9-11, interdicting terrorist support by state actors, and be working to contain, undermine and eventually reverse the dangerous malignancy within Islam that threatens to birth a pan-Arab Islamic extremist superpower in the Middle East. Restoring the international primacy of the dollar and (thereby) protecting our assets from foreign acquisition without triggering a recession. Reducing the federal budget deficit without crippling economic growth through tax increases, and inter alia, getting a grip on entitlement reform, the deficit time bombs created by promises and programs that can never be funded over time. Repairing the bad-loan mortgage crisis without making things worse. Responding effectively and intelligently to the Eastern juggernaut – the prospect of a Chinese economic and military hegemony. Promoting the reverence for human life and respect for human dignity in an increasingly fragmented and amoral culture.
Here’s the deal:
A typical voter will decide his or her vote on a mix of issues and personal affiliation criteria (“I like Ike!” – “I hate “Tricky dick!”), some of which are not closely examined.
And thoughtful, issue driven voters typically are forced to make their selections on the basis of a list of “top three” concerns, partly because no viable candidate will agree with them on more than three, or because there are cloaked differences and faux agreements among the candidates on most of the others (“Yes, I too, support peace and strength and oppose human suffering!”), or because some issues, though very important, address such long term problems that they are easily crowded out by more immediate concerns.
Immigration and border control, for now, is the top issue polled, followed closely by a vague basket of economic worries and insecurities relating to that “dangerous world” out there.
It is a fact of life (i.e., a reality that is well known by most of the people most of the time) that certain issues simply cannot be solved within the lifetimes of 90% of current voters (think of world climate here) and other issues simply won’t be addressed because the people are almost evenly divided (think of entitlement reform).
Still, in a close race, some issues matter greatly, and intelligent, informed opinion can often tip the outcome.
In this spirit, I will venture (in Part III) to outline a few of the obvious, common sense positions that someone who is actually serious (as opposed to merely posturing) might propose.
THE TAKEAWAY POINT:
We are so frequently surprised and disappointed by the people we elect because the key issues on which we tend to base our choices tend to shift within the first year of office. Character, intelligence, core values and the absence of extreme ideology are actually better guides.