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Posted by on Feb 4, 2012 in At TMV | 4 comments

A Real ‘Choice Not An Echo’ Election

Every four years we hear pundits proclaim that this could be one of the most significant elections in recent U.S. history. Usually it isn’t.

The reason is that most of these elections pit two middle-of-the-road national parties with much the same views of government, give or take a few nuances, against one another, and the big decision for voters tends to involve one specific contemporary issue — not infrequently a foreign policy issue like a war (in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq).

Once in awhile, though, elections go well beyond a single issue focus and come down instead on the future nature of government itself. An excellent example of such an election was in 1964 when the Republican nominee, Barry Goldwater, used as his campaign slogan the memorable phrase: “A Choice, Not An Echo.”

This signaled that Goldwater genuinely wanted to change the terms of the New Deal government-private economy relationship that had more or less been accepted by both parties since 1932 when Herbert Hoover took down a previously well accepted but very different relationship.

This coming 2012 November election is shaping up to be one of those rare real ‘choice not an echo’ elections (at least barring a new Mideast war). Through all the shadings and deceptions of the billion dollar ad campaign that is going to turn our national media into a grotesque and protracted mud slinging affair, the basic decision here is the relationship of the government with the private sector in the operation of the domestic U.S. economy.

Should the government regulate certain sectors more or less? Should the government or private sources be more responsible for meeting the needs of the needy? Should markets be more shaped by government policies or the market’s own proclivities? How should the tax system be restructured to favor or not favor which interests and why? What kind of government-private relationships or lack thereof benefit the most Americans in the most ways in the short-term and the long term.

We’ve been dealing with louder and louder echoes for a long time. It’s time for real choices to be made. As a people we will soon decide, in the words of that wonderful old labor song: “Which side are you on, boy. Which side are you on?”

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  • dduck

    I agree with the first two paragraphs, the rest not so much.
    Same old, same old.

  • RP

    “Should the government regulate certain sectors more or less? Should the government or private sources be more responsible for meeting the needs of the needy? Should markets be more shaped by government policies or the market’s own proclivities? How should the tax system be restructured to favor or not favor which interests and why? What kind of government-private relationships or lack thereof benefit the most Americans in the most ways in the short-term and the long term”.

    As always, there is one question left out and that is the most important of them all.

    “Should the President be the leader to bring changes in the future financial position of the country so we stop living off our future generations wealth?”

    Right now we just have a president that wants to divide the country by class, does not have the ability to bring the masses together to support fiscal changes and is promoting a congress where Reid is blocking any House bills of any significance so Obama can run on a do-nothing congress platform.

    I wonder where we would be today had JFK divided the country in place of his “Ask Not” speech, had MLK divided the country instead of his “I have a dream” speech and had Reagan divided the country and not led with his “Morning in America” attitude. All of these promoted optimism, where today B.O. is promoting a divided country where pessimism is desired and he can run a negative compaign on the republicans in congress.

  • zephyr

    “Right now we just have a president that wants to divide the country by class”

    How long have you been following politics RP? No long it would seem. Fact: The country has been divided for decades. It’s been getting steadily worse since the witchhunting of the 90’s, and really took off during Bush/Cheney. Think of Obama as the messenger. He isn’t the same one who created the problem. Would you rather he ignored the problem? This is simple stuff, nothing complicated about it. I think JFK and MLK would agree. Reagan? Who knows..

  • Rcoutme

    Reagan would agree–his party’s candidates broke his 11th commandment.

    Meanwhile: RP, claiming that Reid is blocking stuff without mentioning that the House won’t even consider the stuff Reid would LIKE to pass is intellectually dishonest. The gridlock is not (exclusively) Obama. The House and the Senate do not and will not agree. Meanwhile, citing all the stuff the Senate has not passed as anecdotal evidence will not work on me. I know that the Republicans in the Senate filibuster all the stuff.

    I wish that Mr. Silverstein will be one of the debate moderators for the general election. I want those questions posed to the candidates. If a responsible journalist (almost an oxymoron today) were to ask these questions the American people might finally wake up out of their hypnosis.

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