2008 presidential candidates are virtually interchangeable, except one: Ron Paul.
OK, it's 2008. Now it makes sense to actually pay attention to the presidential candidates, but there's really no need. They're all terrible, and whatever you want changed won't be. Want us out of Iraq? Not happening. Increased federal funding for technology initiatives? Forget it. Higher/lower/flat taxes? No, no, no. Although at press time, we can "choose" from 16 people, 15 of them are virtually indistinguishable - something this expanded campaign season has repeatedly proven.
Clinton, Obama, Rudy, Edwards, Romney - does it really matter who wins? Social issues aside, will any of them champion technology to increase government efficiency or reduce Washington's crippling bureaucracy? Who among them will accomplish what you're often called to achieve - do more with less? The probable answer is none.
Presidential politics ceased being about servicing the public and is solely about attaining and wielding power. It's often said that people get the government they deserve. For proof, look no further than Congress. Everyone hates Congress, regardless of which party is in control. Current polling puts Congress' job approval rating at 20 percent. Yet individually, Congress members routinely win high marks from constituents. Why? Because to get elected and stay in office, representatives must condemn pork barrel spending while promising the very same pork barrel spending. This virtually assures gridlock. And it may prove that representative democracy has a finite life span. Since this nation was founded, government has only increased in size. Never has it permanently shrunk. If this trend continues, which it will, the wheels of government will surely grind to a halt.
To worsen matters, those we elect to Congress and the Oval Office have no incentive to change things. Only by perpetuating this trend can they win re-election. To increase government efficiency would require reducing the wasteful spending that wins votes in a representative's district. And if the bacon isn't brought home, someone else who will bring it will get the votes.
Naturally this ship of foolishness needs a captain - a person who can, individually, embody this abortion of democracy. Pick any social issue, and realize that all the lip service candidates give it is nothing more than a distraction to keep you from noticing that all any of them want is power. And thus, you realize why it makes no difference who wins. None of the candidates are average Americans. They all come from money - money that is used to buy power. And the Oval Office is the ultimate goal for those seeking to hold the reins.
Of course, occasionally, there's an outlier, which is why I said 15 of the 16 candidates are interchangeable. This time, Ron Paul is the mistake, the one who slipped through the cracks. Paul seems to truly want to improve government. Which is why he has no chance of winning. People indeed get the government they deserve, and, at least for now, it appears we'll get it.
Happy New Year.