One Crazy Idea for the Political Season

I find modern politics frustrating. No, it is not that I don’t care about the issues. It is that the issues are not discussed. Politicians have learned that being vague and using feeling language it the way to win elections without tying themselves too closely to any unpopular positions. We elect black box politicians based on how their branding makes us feel. I read, for example, the Lincoln-Douglas debates and feel sad that such candor and actual debate of specific issues does not happen in contemporary politics.

So here is a crazy idea to change that. I propose that each candidate for president be allowed to put forward the text of three bills at the time they officially accept their parties nomination. The three pieces of legislation from the winning candidate would become law 100 days after the election unless each house of congress voted to block them. Gov. Romney for example could pass his tax cuts without fear of a senate filibuster, but he would have to spend two months defending those cuts and the loopholes and deductions he would eliminate as well. We would get to see exactly what the plan was and find out whether the Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction was on his potential chopping block. (It seems likely that it is, but such a move would be so unpopular that he dares not say it aloud)

In the same way, Pres. Obama could have gotten the Health Care plan he really wanted enacted in 2008. Of course, he would have had to run with his cards on the table, and perhaps if everyone had seen it to start, he might not have won election, or maybe he would have. It would have been interesting to see what the McCain version would have looked like.

It will never happen. People don’t want the other guy to get a free pass on three laws, and the candidates certainly don’t want to have to be that detailed. Instead we will continue to get flattering mush and scripted drivel from out black box candidates and I will continue to vote for the person I hope is the lesser of two evils.