In 2008, it’s likely we’ll be voting on us.

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It’s a bit less than a year to the 2008 presidential election. Anything can happen.

As proof of that statement, anybody you asked on January 1, 2007 would have said that the Iraq war will be the dominant issue in November 2008. Ask that question today. Maybe not so much.

At least for now, the success of the change of strategy in Iraq leading to the so-called “surge”has taken Iraq off the front page. I have always believed that average Americans do not object to the U.S. being in Iraq. They object to the U.S. losing in Iraq. And for too long following the successful invasion, the ensuing chaos looked for all the world like a losing effort. Americans objected and voiced that objection, among others, at the polls in November 2006.

Assuming that progress continues in Iraq, the subject of the Iraq war — and the Bush administration’s role in it — loses a great deal of traction. Particularly for the Democrats.

So, under this scenario if it carries to Election Day ’08, what will we be voting on?

I think we’ll be voting on something infinitely more important and infinitely more uncomfortable.

We’ll be voting on what kind of a people we want to be.

If I were making the choice, I would say we want to be the kind of people who risked everything to come to this country in the first place. I believe we should be the kind of people who were willing to leave the relative comfort of the verdant east coast and forge westward across difficult terrain, building a vibrant continent on the journey.

I’d say we want to be the kind of people who are willing to bear the ultimate responsibility for our own lives. People willing to become sufficiently educated so as to offer value to prospective employers and thus earn our way in the world. I’d say we want to be the kind of people who don’t expect the government to provide for our old age, pay for us to go to the doctor or shield us from the consequences of our bad decisions.

I’d say we want to be free and self-reliant. Willing to assume risk in order to be free to reap a just reward.

I’d say we want to be the kind of people that naturally resist taxes. The kind of people who are willing to make politicians justify the taxes they take from us and to make wise use of our earnings.

I’d also say we want to be a people that will vigorously resist the efforts of fanatics and religious zealots from other countries to rob us of our way of life through the use of terror and mayhem. I’d say we want to be a people who stand up for themselves.

And I’d certainly say we want to be a people that believes that America occupies a special place in history and a special place in the world. A unique place as an exemplar of the value of individual freedom and individual opportunity.

But that’s me. Many of my fellow baby-boomers, either openly or somewhere deep down inside, don’t agree.

Three of those boomers are running for president.

They join a sizable number of Americans who believe that it is the government’s job to provide health care, a comfortable retirement and relief from the consequences of choosing to be unemployable (through the voluntary rejection of a government-provided high school diploma).

Risk-taking for these boomers and their heirs is fine. So long as the consequences of failure are mitigated by a government “safety net” and the consequences of success are taxed at a rate sufficiently confiscatory as to make those who are less successful less envious.

This line of thinking believes that the government should levy taxes in order to provide programs that shield us from the responsibility to provide for ourselves with regard to retirement and health care.

This group doesn’t believe in the fundamental goodness of the individual. They don’t believe that individuals are smart enough or resourceful enough to have full responsibility for their own lives. And thus they believe that the nanny state must institute programs and agencies that manage various aspects of our lives such as how we plan for retirement and how we purchase health care.

And very importantly, many from this group don’t believe that America is special. A beacon of hope and opportunity for a troubled world. Quite the contrary, in fact. They believe that America’s is the source of much of the trouble in the world. They believe that America deserves to be disliked by lesser nations and by those who would do us harm.

So, again assuming that Iraq continues to improve and assuming that the economy isn’t deeply in trouble, we’ll be voting for or against a set of beliefs more than we’ll be voting for or against an immediate set of circumstances.

It’ will be interesting to see what we believe.

That’s my word. What’s yours. Which set of core beliefs animates your politics? You Tell Me.

Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of Gleiser Communications, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The Team FM & KYZS in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

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3 Responses

  1. Brian Eggerman says:

    You\’re half right. This election could very well come down to how we view ourselves as a people and as a nation. The most pressing question should be, are we the kind of people who made history on Sept. 1, 1939 or Aug. 2, 1990? On these dates, one sovereign nation attacked another without provocation or just cause. Will we be the ones to add March 19, 2003 to this heinous list?
    A small but squeaky minority in this country seem to think that success in this shameful endeavor will somehow justify it. One must assume these same people believe that if Hitler had won WWII, his actions would have been justified.
    Of course success is impossible in Iraq, because success is not the goal. For this war to be a success, it must be perpetuated, made to last, until the last bloodstained dinare has been squeezed out of it. Victory would be a disaster for the perpetrators of this war, for it would kill the cash cow. Thus the so-called surge was not intended to win the war, but to prolong it. Only at this level can it be referred to as a success.
    Finally, is it just a seredipitous coincidence that you laud the \

  2. Tony C says:

    Paul – I totally agree with your take on the coming election. Those Liberal politicians seem to believe they are smarter and so know whats best for the rest of us. They want us to vote them the power to rule our lives. They promise to protect us from our bad choises and to relieve us of our worries if we just give them the power.

    No thank you – Libs. I will take care of myself.

  3. Joe says:

    I agree with your statement. I am a 30 year old, sole supporter of my family of five, and I am a true believer in the American way. The problem is, how can I teach my children the American Way, when it is changing at such fast rate. Being an American used to make it’s people proud, courageous, and ready to fight for what is right…….but now, people, mostly liberal democrats, try to make people feel ashamed of being American. I am really sick of people making me feel this way. I can only imagine how it will be when my children grow up. We, Americans, need to wake up, and take back our beloved country. Stop depending on the politicians to take care of us, get up, get a job, and work to provide for your children and wife. Teach your children to be respectful, and to contribute to this wonderful country of ours. To set aside funds to facilitate our growing old. Stop having children that you can’t take care of. Stop allowing illegal immigrants to come in, and make us pay for their babies. Stop making our school teachers have to teach a test, instead of teaching our children what they need to learn. Stop demanding that government tax us to death. Stop allowing the politicians to lie to us. Stop looking for reasons to hate one another. Stop allowing our children to get shot at school. Stop allowing killers to sit on death row until they die of old age. Stop trying to take God out of everything. Whatever happened to IN GOD WE TRUST? Be a great American, like our fore-fathers were. Help out a friend in need, be generous, caring, and stand up for America. Take your son fishing and teach him how to be a man and provide for his future family. Have dinner with your daughter, and teach her the importance of staying true to your husband, and raising her future babies with love. Have a romantic meal with your wife, and tell her how much she means to you. Say hi to your neighbor and get to know them. Let the elderly woman get in front of you in the super-market line. Listen to an elderly war veteran talk of his days in WWII. Teach your children about God, and this beautiful country. LET US STAND UP, AND BE TRUE AMERICANS.

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