Jewish World Review March 12 , 2012/ 18 Adar, 5772
Unpacking presidential campaign myths
By Ann McFeatters
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | While it is almost assured that the November presidential election will be close, it is staggering how rash and unfounded are the promises springing from candidates' lips. They must think we're really gullible.
Newt Gingrich promises to bring back $2.50-per-gallon gasoline. He would do this, he says, by increasing domestic drilling. Drilling has steadily increased in the United States for the past eight years, but that did not prevent the current high prices. Neither did the facts that oil imports are below 50 percent of demand or that fuel economy is improving.
Gingrich not only overlooks how long it takes for drilling to impact prices but how many factors are involved. He seems not to understand that global oil speculation drives prices.
Yet Gingrich would continue subsidizing oil companies by billions of dollars despite their record profits. He opposed the Obama administration's mandate that new vehicles get 55 miles per gallon by 2014.
It is also cruel to families struggling to decide how to offset high fuel bills to suggest that there is a simple, one-step fix to a complicated problem. For his outlandish promise, Professor Gingrich gets the grade of a solid F.
Rick Santorum wants us to abide by his beliefs, which would put women back in the Dark Ages. He is against contraception. He thinks women with children should stay home (although he doesn't explain how families with just one earner can survive in this economy). He doesn't want women in war (the modern Army could not function without them). He would abolish abortion (although the Supreme Court has legalized it). He believes homosexuality is destroying America.
His insistence that a president has the power to take America back to a different era deludes his followers. His promises to repeal President Barack Obama's health-care reform law and change the tax code are without merit. Both would take congressional action.
The cruelest promise Santorum makes is to cut taxes. If his proposals were implemented, the federal government would have 40 percent less revenue. Ironically, taxes would go down for everyone except those earning less than $30,000 a year.
Ignoring the long-held rule that politics stops at the water's edge, Mitt Romney harshly criticizes Obama's careful strategy on Iran in an effort to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. Romney ridicules Obama's efforts as toothless and suggests war may be necessary.
The United States has been at war for 10 years and is war-weary. Iran is a huge, oil-rich country; fighting there would be no easy task. How many American lives are we going to sacrifice?
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, points out that Romney's blithe talk of harsh measures against Iran spooks the tight oil market and increases the amount of money Iran derives from crude oil to pay for its nuclear program.
Kerry also recalls that Romney's "blisteringly inaccurate assertions" against ratification of the strategic arms reduction treaty in 2010 went against all the Republican gray beards who know foreign policy better than Romney does.
We need more diplomacy, not less. It is distressing to witness Romney's wild gyrations on Iran, when we know that if he were president, he would be doing exactly what Obama is doing: trying to prevent Iran from going nuclear and prevent another war.
Obama, too, has made promises he didn't keep. He said in 2008 that if elected, he would push immigration reform. He pushed through much controversial legislation but not on immigration.
On the basics, there is little difference among Romney, Santorum and Gingrich. They would "grow" the economy and "create" jobs by lowering taxes, eliminating regulations and cutting spending, except for entitlements, oil subsidies, the military and all the other sacred cows.
Barbara Bush is right; this has been one of the worst campaign seasons in modern history. Those who make compromise a dirty word are damaging our democracy. We must prove we are not as gullible as the candidates seem to think.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
Comment by clicking here.
© 2011, SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE