WASHINGTON, D.C.,August 15, 2012 — Morning Joe’s Mika Brzezinski is right. The 2012 presidential campaign is a like a Seinfeld episode. Except that a Seinfeld episode is actually fun to watch. This campaign is not. In fact, it is stupefyingly boring.
Both candidates regurgitate the same old slogans and phrases that have been excessively polled and focus-group tested. Their talking points are littered with applause line after applause line.
Their speeches are filled with an avalanche of buzz words solely aimed at eliciting a desired emotional response from certain demographic groups.
Gov. Romney wants to make government simpler, smaller, and smarter. He wants to cut spending, cut taxes, balance the budget, and repeal Obamacare. That’s all well and good but what else? Apparently he also thinks President Obama is serving the country “Obamaloney,” and the president thinks Romney’s tax plan is “Romney hood.”
How does any of that help the single mom working two part-time jobs trying to put food on the table for her children? Or the construction worker that just lost his job because a local plant closed? It doesn’t. It’s just a distraction. Fine, it’s an election year, there are always side issues. But it’s time to get serious.
President Obama’s policies are equally boring. He says that Romney is offering the same failed policies of the Bush administration. But he’s also offering more of the same. More government spending, and higher taxes on the wealthy.
He wants to extend the Bush tax-cuts only for those making less than $250,000. Are people making slightly above $250,000 really rich? It depends. Think about a family of five college-aged children living in New York City or San Francisco trying to put all their kids through college while also dealing with credit card bills, mortgage payments, healthcare costs, and a small business.
They may be doing better than millions of other Americans but that doesn’t mean they’re living large, sitting on a beach everyday sipping Pina Coladas, and monitoring their off-shore bank accounts on their little iPads.
With that said, this may still be good politics for Obama because it further helps him make the case that he’s a fighter for the middle class. However, it’s a piecemeal approach to tax reform.
The tax-code needs to be simpler and flatter. A pro-growth tax policy involves lowering tax rates, broadening the tax base, and eliminating loopholes. Neither Obama nor Romney has offered a detailed and specific tax-reform package.
The upcoming general election ought to be about big things. There are serious issues facing the country: high unemployment, lack of an energy policy, a crumbling infrastructure, an escalating national debt, unsustainable entitlement spending, and a bloated and inefficient tax code just to name a few.
President Obama and Gov. Romney’s proposals so far have been too small, too narrowly-focused, and too insufficient for the moment. A tax-cut here and a small investment there won’t solve the county’ problems.
Both candidates need a new set of initiatives, and a new approach to problem-solving. They need a reassuring vision for the country that can be articulated with broad clarity. Hopefully they have been inspired by Olympic athletes that put it all on the line in their sport for their country. Politics is a sport, and these two candidates are not living up to the moment.
If they think the public isn’t ready for big solutions, then they’re out of touch. Now is the time to be bold and visionary.
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