Honest Politics

Robert Samuelson in today’s Post:

There’s a vast gap between the country’s problems and the candidates’ agendas and rhetoric. The candidates dissemble because they believe that Americans don’t want the truth. It would be too upsetting.  They’re probably right. Let’s imagine what a candidate inoculated with truth serum might say. …

"I know you worry about the economy. So do I. But, frankly, if you elect me, I won’t do much about it. … We must also cut spending … cuts should focus on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. … raising eligibility ages … ‘Energy independence’ is a fraud. … All we can do is limit our dependence by shifting to more-efficient vehicles and increasing domestic production. … Without major technological breakthroughs, making big cuts in greenhouse gases will be impossible. … Unless we stop poor people from coming across our Southern border … we won’t reduce [USA] poverty."

Of course, our hapless candidate would be dismissed as misinformed, offensive, possibly racist and, of course, unelectable. People say they value candor, but in practice they don’t. … Politics is mostly … about offering up convenient scapegoats and instant solutions for voters’ complaints, even if the villains and promises are often false.  We in the media bless this process by treating much of the self-serving rhetoric with undeserved seriousness.  Is it any wonder that our genuine problems persist year after year and, in the end, foster public cynicism?

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