Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The One Trick Pony

According to the MSM, the American voter has an attention deficit problem. In recent reporting they are saying that the war in Iraq is no longer an issue and that the economic insecurity of the American people is what will drive the primaries and the general election. Every election the talking heads, pundits, and pollsters try to boil the election down to one issue, one issue that will be central to the election of a Party, a candidate, or a movement. It appears in their eyes that the American electorate is incapable of focusing on more than one issue. In the early stages of this perpetual primary season it was the war. Each candidate was going to be judged on their positions concerning the war, troop levels, and experience. Now, the election is going to turn on the economic instability being felt by millions of Americans.

DES MOINES — The Democratic and Republican presidential candidates are navigating a far different set of issues as they approach the Iowa caucuses on Thursday than when they first started campaigning here a year ago, and that is likely to change even more as the campaigns move to New Hampshire and across the country.

Even though polls show that Iowa Democrats still consider the war in Iraq the top issue facing the country, the war is becoming a less defining issue among Democrats nationally, and it has moved to the back of the stage in the rush of campaign rallies, town hall meetings and speeches that are bringing the caucus competition to an end. Instead, candidates are being asked about, and are increasingly talking about, the mortgage crisis, rising gas costs, health care, immigration, the environment and taxes.[1]

Isn’t it great to be told what’s important and what isn’t? If I wasn’t so cynical I would view this as a coup for the Republicans, everyone knows they didn’t want to run on the war and if the media has anything to do with it they won’t. I feel extremely gifted that I am able to walk and chew bubble gum at the time. Despite their best efforts to deflect the presence of 140,000 US troops in Iraq, I for one still view Iraq as a major issue. It’s funny though that there are still two Republicans who want to keep the war front and center. The first is John McCain, Mr. McCain somehow feels vindicated for his unwavering support of the war by the “success” of the surge. The second is Rudy Giuliani; Mr. Giuliani has nothing else to run on except 9/11.

While stating the obvious that economic issues, immigration, and health care are important issues these in no way make Iraq any less important. Are we to understand that the American electorate is so one-dimensional that they can only focus on one issue at a time? When going into the booth their focus will only be on just the economy, the war, or some other issue. I beg to differ with the media, there are a number of voters that will weigh a number of different issues at the same time. While they may prioritize those issues they will be conscious of all of them.

No candidate can embody the complete views of any one voter, so many voters look for the candidate that best articulates their views on the most issues that matter to them. I hardly think that most anti-war voters will vote for a candidate that advocates advancing the war, even if he or she does agree with them on tax policy. Just as I am sure most fiscal conservatives would have a hard time supporting a candidate that advocated large deficits even if they did agree with his or her war policy. Oh wait a minute, bad example! We have seen that the war and large deficits don’t seem to prevent the fiscal conservatives from supporting their man.

The caucuses in Iowa while only a small percentage of the American electorate have made one thing extremely clear, that Americans want change. The change they are seeking is not just about Iraq, the economy, or any other single issue. The change they are seeking is a fundamental change in the direction of America. There has been a growing frustration with many voters and non-voters alike concerning the direction of the country in not just the last eight years, but the last few decades. This frustration has caused many Americans to opt out of the electoral process, thus leaving many pundits to believe that there was harmony. This year that view is about to be shattered in a big way. The strength of Barack Obama is that he is able to energize those frustrated voters and bring them back into the process.

This is an untapped resource that everyone knew was there, but many thought could never be reached. The election this year is not about any one issue or maybe even about any issues at all. This election is about altering the current state of America. The silent majority of inactive voters are tired of the system as it stands today. They are tired of the gridlock in Washington and the poisonous political tone that has characterized our political debates. They are tired of the only legislation being passed is what benefits the wealthy while their concerns are ignored. These people have embraced the call for change being offered by Obama and they don’t care about his experience, his race, or his background.

The winds of change are blowing and it is scaring the hell out of the status quo. People are not buying the, I can change it from the inside argument any longer, they have heard their options of experience versus change and they have chosen change. Now comes the time when the talking heads and pundits who don’t understand the phenomenon to try and explain it. They will try to boil it down to one incident, one issue and in the process they will expose their lack of understanding of what is taking place. There is a growing storm and the longer it blows, the stronger it will get. America is ready for a change, the question is now what will the powers that be do to stop it?


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