The election season is upon us. And so today I sat down and read through the always-helpful "voters guide" included in my daily newspaper.
I cannot decide if the candidates are 1) bold liars, 2) naive optimists, or 3) smoking silly weed.
"Healthcare already consumes over one sixth of our economy," says one congressional candidate, Robert Long. "We can and we must reduce healthcare costs while helping the uninsured and without harming providers and insurers." Wow. Who knew it was so easy? Get this guy on the phone to the White House.
And here is what Ralph Jaffe, a candidate for governor had to say: "I'm a teacher and not a politician, and I know the difference between right and wrong. I believe in telling the truth all of the time." Sounds like a governor to me. His wife is on his ticket, running for lieutenant governor. I guess she's there to keep him honest.
The Republicans, as might be expected, have singled out wasteful government spending and high taxes as the immediate crisis, and appear to believe that the illegal aliens hanging outside their local convenience stores, waiting to be hired for some low-pay laboring job, are a grave threat to our nation. The Democrats are mostly incumbents, and a little embarrassed. They talk a lot about creating more jobs. Both groups seem to believe that our problems can be solved by eliminating "waste" and applying some good ol’ common sense.
The federal debt? "I make forecast budgets and expense for products in my engineering work and adhere to schedules," says Daniel McAndrew, a candidate for the U.S. Senate. No doubt those skills are easily transferable to Capitol Hill. It worked in the movie Dave.
The eternally thorny issue of abortion? "I intend to propose and see to passage an amendment to the U.S. Constitution protecting human life from conception to death," says Eddie Vendetti, a McAndrew rival. Now there's an optimist.
The ugly partisan mood in Washington? "I will ... reach across the aisle to all congressional members to produce winning solutions," says Michael Lee Philips, running for Congress. Yeah.
My favorite answer though is from Doug Gansler, the current attorney general in Maryland, who promises to bring "a strong dose of innovative thinking" if re-elected. "Consider, for example, chicken manure, the single biggest pollutant to the Chesapeake Bay," he says. "By bringing a power plant fueled by chicken manure to Maryland we will get manure into the plant and out of the bay. We create jobs. Farmers supplement their income by selling manure. And we finally clean up the bay."
It's a win-win-win. Even for the chickens. Who can possibly argue with that?