October 3, 2008

What this election is really about

Oddly enough, before the vice presidential candidates' debate started last night, I wasn't sure there was any point in it.

But when the candidates were speaking about health care, not only the debate but the whole election became clear to me.

Both candidates want to:
• Fix the economy
• Provide health care
• Create jobs
• Decrease the country's reliance on foreign energy sources

This election isn't about goals. It isn't even about change.

It's about methods.

The Democratic Party's method to solving these and other problems is to let the government manage them. The Republican Party's method, as Sen. Joe Biden sarcastically remarked, is to let the free market handle them.

Whom you choose to vote for, then, depends upon whether you want the federal government to control these elements of our society, or whether you think, as Gov. Palin said repeatedly, the government should get out of the way.*

Personally, I think there is a middle ground, in which matters are left to the free market as far as it is feasible to do so, and in which the government steps in with regulation or federal management only when the free market fails.

But the Republican and Democratic parties are so polarized now, having moved so far to the respective extremes of deregulation and government management, they have left the middle ground a vast, empty no man's land.

* It bears mentioning that the Libertarian Party, which has been excluded from the televised debates, is even more resistant to government intervention than the Republicans. If you didn't think it was possible to be further to the right than the Republican Party, this may come as a surprise.

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