Well, the end is finally in sight. Tomorrow we vote and the horrific political ads cease, oh the relief. No more name calling and breathless gasping commentator asking if you trust so and so to be dog catcher of Smallberg after how his dog of over a decade met its final demise? Yes, that’s right, the candidate for dog catcher allowed his own dog to just die. They never mention that the dog was eighteen and had a long, healthy and happy life because that does not add to their alarmist name-calling. Sometimes I almost wish there were a law requiring all political ads to be positive and about the candidate you are supporting in order to make the candidates and their campaign inform the public on what their candidate offers instead of making wild accusations and distortions about the other candidates. My favorite story referring to negative campaigning was an ad which pointed out that the other candidate’s wife, who had belonged to the drama club and appeared in high school plays, was a thespian during her youth. This was claimed to have been in a campaign for sheriff and this ad was sufficient to get the candidate elected and defamed the opponent.
But on to the elections tomorrow. For the vast majority of American voters, tomorrow they will cast votes which, in the great scheme of things, will appear to have little effect. Unless one lives in what are referred to as the battle ground states where the results will be too close to predict the winner, your vote for President and Vice President will likely be either an affirmation of what was already a given or a plaintiff cry against the mainstream of your community. This, for example, applies to Wyoming where Mitt Romney is virtually guaranteed a win or to Oregon where President Obama is assured of victory. Also, in such areas where one party has a significant to enormous majority of registered voters in their camp, then the votes for the United States House of Representatives and Senate will likewise be a foregone conclusion and most votes will simply be a bellwether of possible changes that may emerge in the future and little else. The elections where each individual’s vote will be the most significant will be for state, county, city, school board, and local offices. These are actually some of the most important votes people will ever cast and they are often unfortunately cast simply by party all too often. These local people who get elected to their first public office may well be the same people in a number of years running for higher and higher office and may even eventually run for national office, the Presidency even. So, choose these people with care otherwise they may come back to haunt us all later down the road. My one piece of advice is when it comes to electing judges and other board and council members where you are simply required to vote whether or not to allow some person you likely know little if anything about may continue to hold a position, first try to find out ahead of time about their performance. If they have been anything short of laudable, then simply vote no and by doing so perchance cause a new person to be chosen to fill that position. My feelings is that if people are not giving an outstanding performance in their position that general word of mouth applauds their actions, then it is time to try somebody new. If this becomes the norm instead of the current near automatic reelection of all judges and other such appointees who are required to receive affirmation of the voters each election, then whomever hold such a position will try very hard to earn the general respect and become known for their performance instead of having people who simply avoid disasters in order to be allowed to anonymously continue to occupy space receiving your tax dollars. The citizens deserve only the best in every office.
Now, for those who are still undecided or willing to listen to some advice, here are some tips one more time. Many people are concerned about tax rates, abortion rights, same sex marriages, and other such hot button issues. Where they go wrong is they often decide on whom to choose for President on these issues. The President has but the slightest of influence on these issues and definitively does not have the first or last word on them. Every single domestic issue is first decided upon and formed into policies by the House of Representatives and the Senate. Until legislation is fashioned and passed by both sides of the Congress, the President can only express his opinion, just like everybody else. Even if after the Congress produces and passes a final legislative act and sends it to the President, his decision to ratify or veto the legislation is not the end of the trail necessarily. If the President passes the legislation, then it becomes law; but all too often the Congress and the President design legislation that delegates the enactment of regulations fleshing out the implications of the law to the bureaucracy and they fashion the particulars. This is why we need to impress upon our Representatives and Senators that it is our demand that they write complete legislation that states everything up front and not leave the interpretation and implementation to the unelected functionaries. When you vote to decide domestic issues, those votes should be made on the level of the Representatives and Senators that will make up the Congress as that is where such actions are stipulated and formulated.
So, what should be a determining factor in choosing the President? Where his domestic and economic overview is applicable, that is not the areas where the President has ultimate powers. Where the President has near unlimited power to sway and direct the country is in foreign policies. The President not only sets the tone and represents the United States to the world, he decides initially where and when our armed forces will be deployed and for what purpose. Even with the limitations of the War Powers Act that limits the Presidential power to deploy troops in harm’s way before the President must receive the consent of Congress, most Presidents are aware that they can likely push such limits with little fear of consequences. Impeachment is purposely extremely difficult to both indict and convict. The President is without equal on the international scene. The President appoints ambassadors to nations and the United Nations; emissaries; consulate chiefs; makes treaties even though they require Senatorial approval that is most often a formality; and virtually any other action between the United States and other nations and world bodies. The President sets the tone and disposition of the foreign policies and the intensity with which such points are enforced and/or pursued. Simply put, the President is the United States when it comes to foreign policy and is unrivaled in their influence abroad. To choose a President for their domestic promises and not place their foreign policy proclivities foremost is pure folly. So, cast your vote for the candidate for President that you wish to be the face of the United States and the one who stands to gain the scorn, respect, fear, or affections of the rest of the world and choose Congress for everything else.
Beyond the Cusp