Friday, February 29, 2008
Despite our faltering economy, the endless war in Iraq and the home mortgage crisis, Americans still want to maintain the status quo in Washington D.C. While we argue over which established politician gets to be president, too few of us question whether simply passing the presidency between lifelong political insiders really benefits the nation.
Whether John McCain, Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama ultimately takes the White House, I expect the country to run in pretty much the same way it has. All three of the finalists for the presidency represent slight variations on the same theme. They might argue over taxes, abortion and other issues, but none of them wants to blow up the system and create real change.
A senator brought up through the two-party system and beholden to maintaining that system cannot effect real change. When Obama, a sitting senator and a devoted party line Democrat can push himself as the "change" candidate, you know that no hope for actual change exists.
Obama portrays himself as an outsider, but his actual credentials show that he's as inside as they come. This isn't some maverick beholden to nobody. Obama ia a Democrat-for-life who gave a speech at the 2004 party convention nominating the ultimate party hack, John Kerry, for president.
Most people, the voting public included, like talking about change and hearing speeches about it a lot more than they like actually making changes. That's why after nearly two years, millions of dollars and countless votes being cast we're going to end up with a presidential race involving two well-established senators from the two well-established political parties.
We could have picked an experienced businessman, demanded a true outsider or begged someone whose life does not revolve around maintaining the power structure in Washington to run, but we did not. Instead, we sorted through the usual assortment of senators and governors, ending up with more of the same.
Basically, we looked at the nation with all its problems and said, "you know who can fix this? The same people who haven't been able to fix it before."
Despite the fact the we have terrifyingly high oil prices, rapidly falling home values and an economy that's stumbling like Paris Hilton on a Saturday night, people still voted for exactly what we currently have. The hairstyles might be slightly different as is the rhetoric, but anyone who believes Obama, McCain or Clinton will truly shake things up is deluding himself.
The only way to truly fix what's broken would be to have a president who owes no political favors and has no Washington connection. To overhaul our bloated, inefficient system, we would need a person able to make enemies without having to worry about the politics.
Basically, we should be demanding a president who actually represents the people instead of one who gives pretty speeches while campaigning, then ignores us. America deserves better, but if we don't demand better, we'll be stuck with yet another empty suit working more for his political cronies than the American public.
Daniel B. Kline's work appears in over 100 papers weekly. His new book, a collection of columns, "Easy Answers to Every Problem," can be ordered at Amazon.com or Barnesandnoble.com. Daniel B. Kline can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.