All must run on their records
This fall, whether it's the presidential candidates or our own mayoral candidates, they all will have to run on their record of performance. Just as in a job interview, it's not only what the applicant says they can or will do, but what they have actually accomplished in their life. Sure, their new ideas and plans for the future are very important and should be discussed and debated, but what evidence do we have from their past that they know how to lead and execute to really get things done? Don't actions and results speak louder than words?
If you had the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, would you base your decision on a player's promise that, despite his lack of scoring and rebounding and very average record in college, he has no doubt he will suddenly become a top scorer in the NBA and lead the team to the championship? Or, if you were about to put the future of your team in his hands, would you examine his history and stats and ask him to explain why he believes he would suddenly become a superstar?
I believe all candidates, whether already in public office or coming from the private sector, have to answer for their records and show what they set out to do—and what they actually accomplished. Do they have a record of reform and did they follow through to make progress and bring about change? Or was it just talk—and now, in an election year, are they simply “spinning” again in 30-second sound bites? Or worse, just trashing the opponent because they have little to say about their record without sounding phony?
President Barack Obama doesn't get to run this time on just the rhetoric of “hope and change.” He has a record now that can be compared with the promises he made about increasing the number of jobs. We have an increased national debt he has to answer for—and he must explain what we got as taxpayers in return and how it affects the future of our children and grandchildren.
Mitt Romney has a record in the private and public sector which he must defend as well. What has he accomplished that will inspire confidence he can be president? In both cases, you must compare the rhetoric with the record before you vote.
Mayor Kip Holden has an eight-year record, and he wants four years more. He must defend his actions and explain his accomplishments, as well as tell the voters what the next four years have in store. While he had a good first term, resulting in a landslide re-election, his second has been rocky, with some dissension involving the Metro Council and other elected officials. Some of the tension and bitterness, a departure from Holden's usual jovial style, emanated from lack of support for his two failed bond issues. Those proposals, which he designed, and his reaction are part of his record.
Crime is foremost in people's minds, and the mayor should stop using stats to suggest that “crime is down.” He seems to have become more proactive lately, with the election growing closer. Also, his current supporting cast is lacking, and he may need some new draft picks for his team. You never win alone.
One of Holden's challengers, Mayor Pro Tem Mike Walker, has ramped up the rhetoric and attacks—and purports to be the “superstar” the East Baton Rouge team needs. But he may need the most scrutiny of his record over the last 12 years. It appears he wants us to believe he is a sort of “new face” who is attacking the establishment and will bring a fresh approach—but Walker has been in and around politics and government all his life (as a bureaucrat and politician). And he has been on the Metro Council for 12 years (he's now term-limited), including serving as mayor pro tem for the last four (a position to which he was elected with the help of his then friend Mayor Holden).
Walker is complaining about crime and rolling out a nine-point plan, but where was this plan in the last four years and why didn't he lead as mayor pro tem? It sounds like a “push card policy” prepared by a campaign consultant. If it was in Walker's heart and head, then why didn't he present and pass these initiatives before this election year? While he has been a strong supporter of the police in the past, where were his ideas, leadership and results—on which he could now be running?
As for the record, the last big story on Walker I remember in the news was when he abruptly adjourned a council meeting because he lost control of the quorum. I described the incident then as a circus—and Walker as the ringmaster.
Councilman Joel Boé said of that meeting, “We promote ourselves as the next great city, but you can't tell from our dysfunctional politics. Last week it was removing committees; now we're ending council meetings two hours early, and our leadership is promoting backroom deals. The public deserves better!”
This is part of Walker's record in leadership as pro tem—and of Holden and all the Metro Council members who are up for re-election. Each will have to answer to voters this fall.
What is your philosophy?
Part of deciding who we will vote for to lead our nation will depend on your philosophy regarding the role and size of government, taxes, and our individual freedom to pursue the American dream. I believe there will be two distinct choices this November. Below are a few quotes I like that address these issues. What do you think?
“We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”
“A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”
—George Bernard Shaw
“If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free!”
“A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.”
“The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.”
Budget in simpler terms
Earlier this year Fox reporter John Stossel expressed the federal budget in terms of a family budget and described this scenario: “Last year, you earned $24,700. But you spent $37,900, incurring $13,300 in debt, and you were already $153,500 in debt. So you say, 'I promise I'll spend $300 less this year!'
“Yet if you add eight zeroes, that's America's budget.”
Stossel points out, “When the economy grew most dramatically, government was less than 5 percent of gross domestic product. Today, it's well over 20 percent.”
He notes, “Since Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty began in the late 1960s, government spending has gone up relentlessly. This is just not sustainable. So what do we do? We must cut. But I fear Americans aren't up for that.”
One suggestion he had was, “To really save America, we need to cut whole departments: Commerce, Energy, Education, Agriculture, Labor. We don't need them.” I agree.
comments powered by Disqus
Real estate recap: DPW reorganization recommendations coming … Capital Region home sales post 5% gain in February … WWII bombing range near Hammond at center of new lawsuit
What Families Are Spending on Prom Night