Listen to the broadcast of You Tell Me on Newstalk 600 KTBB, Friday, January 25, 2008

We’ve gotten so used to it in our politics that we almost don’t notice when it’s right under our noses. Every four years, politicians stand up and tell us what the government is going to do for us.

Both parties are guilty. But what government can (read: should) do for you is much more a part of the rhetoric of the Democrats.

Here’s a montage from the Democrats from just the past few days.

So after listening to the montage above let’s understand what it says.

It is the role of the president to provide health care for you and your children, help you out when you can’t pay the loan you took out on your house, keep your lender from exercising the relief they retained as an incentive to loan you the money in the first place and to generally just make sure that nothing bad happens to you no matter what.

That’s a big job.

The fact that it can’t be done should be obvious. The president can’t insure you against having to pay for medical service. Medical care is no different than food, housing or transportation. It is a fact that modern American society will make available to you a very basic form of all of these services, including health care, today — right now — for very little or no cost. But if you want the best of what’s offered, and that includes health care, you have to be able to pay for it.

The president can’t get you out of a tight spot on paying your mortgage. You took out the loan. You have to pay the money back.

The president can’t stop your lender from stepping in if you don’t pay the loan in the manner that you agreed. Why would any lender loan money if the lender had no way to recover from those who did not pay? Want to talk about tight credit? Just make it such that lenders have no recourse against payment default. No one will be able to borrow money.

The role of the president is set forth in Article II of the Constitution. That article is divided into four sections. Section 1 deals with how we elect the president, Section 4 deals with how we get rid of one should the need arise. Sections 2 and 3 set forth the duties and powers of the president. Including section headings all of the duties and powers of the president are set forth in just 324 words.

None of those words empower the president as Provider in Chief.

The fact that apparently all of the candidates from one of the major parties is speaking as if Provider in Chief is the president’s role should be troubling to us all. Because when we accept that sort of rhetoric as the norm, it is a tacit acknowledgment that we have ceded a great deal of the personal responsibility for our own lives that the framers of our constitution fought so hard to win.

Do you really want to elect a president based on what he or she promises to do for you? Or would you just be happy if the president saw to our defense, appointed sober, responsible judges and officers, used the bully pulpit as an instrument of adult supervision of the Congress and otherwise behaved himself or herself in a dignified manner?

I’d be tickled to death with the latter, myself. But what about you?

You Tell Me.