Monday, September 15, 2008

Absent Substance, Remove Rhetoric

“Change is not a destination, and hope is not a strategy.”
- Rudy Giuliani, Republican National Convention, 2008

Barack cannot be written off as inconsequential simply because he lacks genuine leadership experience in business or politics. The fact that he has such charisma in the absence of anything of substance, and given the fact that he does in fact have a large gathering, means that those who will vote for him in November are either die-hard Democrats who will never vote for a Republican – or they are non-issue Democrats who hate war, see unemployment headlines, and are generally dissatisfied with their lives; these are the ones who can be, and who have been, swayed and swooned by the empty rhetoric of Barack Obama.

The fact remains, however, that Barack has selected a running mate with a substantial public-service resume and has also posted some policy developments of his own that he would like to see come to fruition should he become the next US president. What this means to Republicans is that it is time to stop pointing out the apparent flaws of Barack Obama and begin talking about the real issues that matter and exactly – in layman’s terms, please – how these issues will be addressed.

How, for instance, can we convince American manufacturers and producers that as they continue to try saving a buck by firing workers and moving a substantial part of their operations overseas that they are actually producing the kinds of citizens who can no longer shop, can no longer spend on life’s little extra’s and that these new, unemployed folks no longer have disposable income after food and shelter and are unable to buy the products that will now be imported from these newly established foreign operations?

I know that such rhetoric is oversimplified, but this is a real issue for the American blue-collar worker and white collar, middle-management types. This is something that is completely beyond their control. What are they supposed to do if the entire industry in which they had once been employed chose to do what their particular employer did: pack up and leave the country? Who will be left to buy their products? Can government offset the job loss? Should government even try? Unemployment benefits will keep groceries on the table and gas in the car for the job hunt but not much more than this. What will we do in the meantime?

It is easy to suggest that the government will pay for retraining, but will the retraining be toward work within another US industry that is also looking at foreign land as its home base where labor is cheaper and workers have no rights or life? Where government regulations and restrictions are not nearly so regulatory or restrictive and governments themselves do not seek to choke the very life out of an industry or tax it to its grave?

We are completely and entirely dependent on foreign oil. During the embargo of the 70’s, the US vowed that such a thing would never happen again. President Bush has made several proposals about how to diminish our dependence and actually create new jobs right here in the US, but his detractors continue to argue that such proposals will take ten years to make any real economic impact, so it is discarded. Imagine if our illustrious “leaders” of the 70’s had given as much attention to such prophetic forethought in the 70’s when forward thinking was needed? Instead, demand is made to pump oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for “immediate” relief for the consumer, never minding that the Reserve was established for the very possibility of a potential, future embargo, and never minding that refining capacity does not seem to exist to handle the additional crude. Unless I am mistaken, then-President Clinton also attempted to release oil from the Reserve to help push down prices and unless I am mistaken, it didn’t work any better then than it will now.

My point is simply this. We have a bona fide need to diminish our dependence on foreign energy sources, and we now have a 6.1% unemployment rate. Why can we not enhance our own drilling capacity, our exploration endeavors, our research and development even toward “green” as well as other energy sources and put people back to work instead of talking smack about a “windfall profits” tax? The government does not need additional revenue sources; people need jobs.

This government and too many of our state governments have their thinking caps on backwards but, sadly, too many citizens no longer even notice that their governments have worked diligently to enhance its own revenue rather than focus on what it will take to get employers to put more people on the payroll. Who is talking about this on the campaign trail? Merely acknowledging our “pain” or sharing in it on some level does nothing to put people back to work.

Citizens can demand it, and demand it we must because it will not just happen unless or until the cozy employment situation of some congressmen and representatives becomes tenuous. Maybe then, perhaps only then, will they finally come to understand our “pain” and understand that more government programs are not always the answer.

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