Neither party is offering realistic solutions to the nation's problems

May 08, 2012

It looks like this election will be close, but not because two centrist parties are both making persuasive arguments about how to best lead our nation toward peace and prosperity.

Referring to the great recession and two unfunded wars, the pitch of the party out of the White House seems to be: "President Obama failed to clean up our mess fast enough, so put us back in."

The fact that the obstructionist party was more determined to defeat the incumbent president than to do what was best for the country is rarely mentioned.

On the other side, the pragmatic president wasted time and political capital negotiating with himself about compromises that might enable watered-down solutions (or anything) to pass the Tea Party-dominated House of Representatives.

Both parties and their presidential candidates have reason not to look backward and wallow in recriminations. But they and their financial backers seem unable to resist.

The impact on our democracy of Super PACs and the unlimited amounts of money special interests are allowed to spend to influence elections can't be overstated. As difficult as it is today to hold politicians accountable, imagine the public's feelings when it's absolutely clear that a small number of invisible, very wealthy individuals and corporations are pulling the strings controlling America's elected officials.

One solution is for Americans to re-empower themselves by eliminating private money from public politics. Another is to demand both parties focus on a Simpson-Bowles type solution to the budget crisis and repair our nation's economy. It's far better to fight over who deserves more credit for a success than to point fingers after failure.

Roger C. Kostmayer, Baltimore

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