In the 2008 election, 122 million people voted, 65 million for Obama and 57 million for McCain. Seven million people decided the election. In 2011, 50 million voters are unemployed or underemployed or are voting spouses that are directly affected. Quite simply, 2012 will be overwhelming about one issue, JOBS! It will not be about the important issues of debt reduction, tax fairness, or business environment restructuring, although those are critical issues to America’s future. It will not be about social issues, moral issues, or fringe issues. It will simply be about putting America back to work. If this is obviously the case, why isn’t political dialogue focused like a laser on this topic?
Words sway elections and shift the nation’s path. In the throes of the Great Depression during the 1932 presidential campaign, Herbert Hoover attempted to shift America’s focus from his handling of political affairs by discoloring Franklin D. Roosevelt’s proposals. Nonetheless his own words defeated him as Roosevelt went on to win a landslide victory with 57.4 percent of the popular vote and 90 percent of the Electoral College. From Hoover, America heard a lack of hope, vision, and backbone and concluded that Hoover would not lead us out of the depression. In his own words:
Lack of hope:
“The depression has been deepened by events from abroad which are beyond the control either of our citizens or our government.”
Lack of vision:
“I am able to propose an American plan to you. . . . We plan more leisure for men and women and better opportunities for its enjoyment. We plan not only to provide for all the new generation, but we shall, by scientific research and invention, lift the standard of living and security of diffusion of wealth, a decrease in poverty and a great reduction in crime. And this Plan will be carried out if we just keep on giving the American people a chance.”
Lack of backbone:
“I requested the governors of the Federal Reserve banks to endeavor to secure the co-operation of the bankers of their territory to make some advances on the security of the assets of closed banks or to take over some of these assets, in order that the receivers of those banks may pay some dividends to their depositors in advance of what would otherwise be the case pending liquidation. Such a measure will contribute to free many business activities and to relieve many families from hardship over the forthcoming winter, and in a measure reverse the process of deflation involved in the tying up of deposits.”
President Hoover’s words sealed his fate. And now after 40 years of Post Gold Standard Fiat Currency and Globalization, America is in the midst of another Hooveresque moment. Will our candidates’ words lead them to victory in 2012 or will they join the ranks of Hoover in the junk heap of failed elections. History shows that when candidates foretell their lack of vision, display their lack of character, or demonstrate their lack of desire to fulfill the true needs of America’s citizenry, their candidacies end well short of their life’s aspiration. During the last 40 years of campaigns in their own words:
1972 George McGovern
“Listen, you son-of-a-bitch, why don’t you kiss my ass?” George McGovern to a heckler late in the campaign
“The people don’t know McGovern is for amnesty, abortion and legalization of pot. Once Middle America – Catholic Middle America, in particular – finds this out, he’s dead.” – Senator Thomas Eagleton stated off the record about McGovern, his running mate for 18 days.
1976 Gerald Ford
”There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.” —President Gerald Ford, in a 1976 presidential debate with Jimmy Carter
1980 Jimmy Carter
“I had a discussion with my Daughter Amy before I came here what the most important issue was. She said she thought it was nuclear weaponry” – Jimmy Carter / Ronald Reagan debate answer before slipping 10 points in the poles the following day
1984 Walter Mondale
”Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won’t tell you. I just did.” – Walter Mondale, accepting the 1984 Democratic presidential nomination
1988 Michael Dukakis
“I think you know that I have opposed the death penalty during all of my life, uh, and I don’t see any evidence that it is a deterrent and I think there are better and more effective ways to deal with violent crime. We’ve done so in my own state. It’s one of the reasons why we have, uh, had the biggest drop in crime in any state in America.” – Dukakis showing both his aloofness and his opposition to gun control when asked if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered would he favor the death penalty?
1992 George H. W. Bush
“Read my lips. No New Taxes” – Campaign promise made in 1988 that was used against President Bush in 1992
“I did it, and I regret it” – President Bush responding to raising taxes during 1992 campaign
1996 Bob Dole
“Something is wrong with America. I wonder sometimes what people are thinking about or if they’re thinking at all.”
You know, a better man for a better America. That’s sort of our slogan.
2000 Al Gore
“During my service in the United States Congress I took the initiative in creating the Internet.” – Al Gore in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer when asked to cite accomplishments that separated him from another Democratic presidential hopeful, former Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey.
2004 John Kerry
“You bet we might have.” – Sen. John Kerry when asked if he would have gone to war against Saddam Hussein if he refused to disarm.
“I actually did vote for the $87 billion, before I voted against it.” – Sen. John Kerry, on voting against a military funding bill for U.S. troops in Iraq
2008 John McCain
“The fundamentals of our economy are strong.” – John McCain’s remark at a rally in Florida on Sept. 15, as Lehman Brothers was filing for bankruptcy
“Make it a hundred…That would be fine with me.” – John McCain to a questioner who asked if he supported President Bush’s vision for keeping U.S. troops in Iraq for 50 years
“We have sort of become a nation of whiners.” – McCain economic adviser Phil Gramm, on worries about the slumping economy, adding that the current downturn is a “mental recession,”
2010 Tea Party Rise
“But we have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it, away from the fog of controversy.”
– Speaker Nancy Pelosi, speaking March 9 to the 2010 Legislative Conference for the National Association of Counties.
Now in 2011, our field of Republican and Democratic hopefuls have the opportunity to wisely use words to sway Americans toward their vision, an America that hopes of returning quickly to productivity. Have our potential leaders demonstrated vision, fortitude, and alignment with the needs of Middle America or have they already condemned themselves to the sidelines of history with their words. You decide.
“Corporations are people, my friend… of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to the people. Where do you think it goes? Whose pockets? People’s pockets. Human beings, my friend.”
“Go home and get a job and get a life!…Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself. It is not someone’s fault if they succeeded, it is someone’s fault if they failed,”
“I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time [my grandchildren are] my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.”
“A lot of people will say, ‘well cutting a trillion dollars in one year is radical.’ Well, I operate under the assumption that the radicals have been in charge for way too long….They’re going to raise the debt limit, and then they’re going to print the money, and then they’ll default by inflation, and that’s much more dangerous than facing up to the facts of what’s happening today.”
“We can no longer wait for Congress to do its job. So where Congress won’t act, I will.”
“You should pass it right away.”
“It’s very clear that private-sector jobs have been doing just fine; it’s the public-sector jobs where we’ve lost huge numbers, and that’s what this legislation is all about.”
“As I read the Constitution, the Congress writes the laws and you [Obama] get to decide what you want to sign.”
“If you read the newspapers today, I, for one, am increasingly concerned about the growing mobs occupying Wall Street and the other cities across the country. And believe it or not, some in this town have actually condoned the pitting of Americans against Americans….”