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BARACK OBAMA is a failed president. Joe Biden is a puff piece. So why are they leading in the polls?
In less than a month, Americans will vote for their next president. It's an enormous privilege, one we tend to take for granted. Who among us would like to live in a country where the leadership was decided by raw power or inheritance? We get to choose our leaders ourselves. The downside is, we get what we deserve.
Our Founders knew this well. They saw virtue as a requirement for a free republic. Benjamin Franklin wrote that "only a virtuous people are capable of freedom." The 1776 Virginia Declaration of Rights says that it is impossible to secure a "free government or the blessings of liberty to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue."
How are we doing on that score? Not very well, by my count. We are a hedonistic culture, choosing what feels good over what's authentically good, who's cool over who has character. I can only imagine what Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert would do with George Washington's powdered wig and false teeth. How silly were those tight pants; how ridiculous his devotion to his mother. Yet it was Washington's depth of character--his refusal, for example, to take power as king--that set the course for this nation. Goofballs like Stewart and Colbert would chortle at him, and many of us would laugh along with them.
As a culture, we are unserious. Seduced by entertainment, anesthetized by busy-ness, we race through life grabbing pleasure where we can get it: in the latest tech toys, the latest entertainment news, the latest video games and movies. Disturbingly, we seem to have lost the ability to discern truth from lies, objectivity from bias, and transcendent realities from temporal trends.
In many ways, I see the upcoming election as a contest between the serious thinkers and the wishful thinkers. The serious thinkers point out the mathematical impossibility of our current trajectory: A $16 trillion deficit, unsustainable growth in Medicare spending, the problems when unrestrained public service unions bankrupt local governments, the evil in the world that will not yield to bowing and apologies. They say what we would sometimes rather not hear, but they speak the truth. The wishful thinkers would have us believe we can have it all: health care for everyone, a happy, safe world, good education--all abundant gifts from a beneficent government that will, of course, never abuse the power we have yielded to it.
Right now, Obama leads Romney among women voters 49 percent to 31 percent. I'd like to know why, because it is women who benefit most from conservative principles that support the family and sustain opportunity. Where are they getting their opinions? From the vacuous femmes on "The View"?
The alleged Republican "War on Women," for example, is a trumped-up charge based primarily on one issue: abortion. It is always portrayed as a fight against "a woman's right to choose" rather than a protective
That's what I call a war on women! And by the way, women have a perfect right to choose--not to have sex, for example, or to practice good contraception, or to give an unexpected baby up for adoption. Can we call ourselves a virtuous people when we so readily embrace killing the inconvenient unborn? In this, we are not far from the ancient Canaanites, who sacrificed their children to the god Molech in hopes of prosperity.
FAILURE ALL AROUND
Barack Obama has failed even by his own standards. Speaking of economic recovery, he said, "If I don't have this done in three years, then there's going to be a one-term proposition." Amen, so be it. His economic policies have failed to produce jobs, relieve unemployment, or get the economy moving again. His "outreach" to the Muslim world has been interpreted by it as weakness. His has not been a post-partisan presidency; in fact, he has failed to cross the aisle and compromise with Republicans, a point Virginia Sen. Jim Webb now says was a mistake in passing Obama- care. Unlike President Clinton, Obama did not move to the center after devastating midterm elections. His advocacy for abortion, his attacks on First Amendment religious freedom, his administration's refusal to protect American diplomats in Benghazi, then lying about the cause of the raid that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens--these do not reflect virtue.
But will Americans really look at Obama's record? Or will they mindlessly buy the slanted views of the mainstream media, guffaw at Mitt Romney's gaffes, and pull the lever for the "cool" candidate, who tickles our ears, promises a lot, and accomplishes little that's good?
If so, we'll get what we deserve. And God help us all.
Linda J. White is assistant editorial-page editor of The Free Lance-Star.