After watching the Vice Presidential debate tonight, I have several opinions to share. I have a rather unique perspective- I'm the â€œother guyâ€� not in the debate. I am the Libertarian Party Vice Presidential nominee. Now I know why I wasn't invited- the two parties are so much alike, having me on that stage would have exposed them as the fakes they are. There is so little difference between the 2 major political parties, it was painful to watch as they tried hard to look different. But I digress. First let me analyze the winners and losers. Then I'll get to the good, bad and ugly.
As far as winners- the clear-cut winner was Governor Sarah Palin. First, because expectations were so set so low. She did a very credible job- one that far surpassed what was expected of her. Second, because the biased liberal media once again has proven its own worst enemy. The media tried so hard to create the impression of Palin as being unqualified and â€œout of her league,â€� that they made her the big underdog. Palin more than rose to the occasion. What the media fails to understand is that America loves an underdog. The more the media belittles Palin, the more America (especially middle America) will rise to her defense. Third, the intellectual elite of this country thinks far too much of themselves. The pompous, arrogant â€œBeltway Insidersâ€� crowd thinks that no moose-hunting, hockey mom and beauty queen contestant from the University of Idaho can ever debate them on a national stage. To the contrary, middle America loves to see one of their own do battle (and win) versus an elite D.C. establishment-insider like Senator Joe Biden. Most Americans- if given a choice- will always root for a Sarah Palin over a member of the millionaire boys club.
Palin lacks the U.S. Senate pedigree, law degree, or the D.C. Beltway credentials of Biden, but she has Reaganesque-like charm, charisma and middle American values. She also has something that even a brash New Yorker like me appreciates- CHUTZPAH. Sarah, in an â€œaw shucksâ€� kind of way, is more confident of a speaker and debater than any 5-term United States Senator. Like Reagan, she knows how to connect to her audience- soccer moms and NASCAR dads (or as she calls them â€œJoe Six Packâ€�).
More than any other politician in the country, I understand why McCain took the gamble of a lifetime to choose Sarah Palin. She is a female me! We're both unusual non-traditional politicians. I speak often of being a small businessman, home-school dad, S.O.B. (son of a butcher) and citizen politician, from a far Western frontier state like Nevada- where we love guns and hate taxes. Sarah talks of being a small-town hockey mom who hunts, fishes and shoots moose, from a far West frontier state like Alaska- where they love guns and hate taxes. We both come from humble blue-collar beginnings- my dad was a butcher, my mom a homemaker. Her dad was a teacher, her mom a homemaker. We both speak often about our beliefs in smaller government and more power to the people. We are both family-oriented with long-lasting marriages and large families- Sarah has 5 children, including a new baby; my wife Debra and I have been blessed with 4 children, including a new baby. We're both young, enthusiastic, and passionate spokespersons for our political causes. We both get our supporters pumped up with enthusiasm. We are both proud of our lack of connections to Washington D.C. and fancy-pants lawyers or lobbyists.
And we both have a signature line that ties into who we are and where we're from- Sarah talks of the difference between hockey moms and pit bulls- lipstick. I talk of the big difference between my hometown Las Vegas and Washington D.C.- in Vegas the drunks gamble with their own money!
McCain sensed in the â€œPalin styleâ€� what I've understood for a long time: America is looking for a hero, an ANTI-POLITICIAN. Someone who is not a lawyer; not an elitist; not an intellectual; who understands middle America and small town values; who will govern with common sense; who wants to give the power back to the people- NOT the lobbyists and corporate interests. So I say BRAVO to Governor Palin for a job well done. You â€œget itâ€� in a way so few politicians do (or ever have).
But that is where my compliments end. And that is also where our similarities end. You see Sarah is much like me when it comes to â€œstyle.â€� But when it comes to substance and reality, not so much (as Sarah would say). You see I'm the real thing. I'm a Barry Goldwater-loving, anti-government, anti-tax rebel who despises politicians, lawyers, lobbyists, government spending, earmarks, waste and corporate welfare.
Read my lips: I will NEVER in my lifetime support a tax increase- taxes are already far too high. I pledge to lower taxes, and oppose any attempt at a tax increase. How's that for putting a bold promise in writing? Etch it in stone- I will NEVER support a tax increase. When it comes to spending, I join great fiscal conservatives like Barry Goldwater and Dr. Ron Paul in playing the role of â€œDr. NOâ€�- I pledge to oppose any and every spending increase that is not authorized by the constitution. Government spending is already far too high. I will only vote (and fight) to lower government spending.
Governor Palin is not an anti-politician. She's been a politician for 13 years now. She is not against tax increases- she has in fact supported tax increases. She is not against earmarks- as Governor of Alaska she has requested more earmarks (per capita) than most any other Governor in America. She is not against government spending- while she did cut some spending out of the budget, she also signed the biggest budget in Alaska history into law. She was not against the Bridge to Nowhere- she was actually for it, before she was against it. After it was killed by public opinion, she actually kept the federal money allotted for the infamous bridge. And unlike me (a home-school dad)- she certainly is no fighter for parental freedom and school choice. To the contrary, she has publicly denounced vouchers in speeches in front of Alaska teachers unions. So it appears Sarah's â€œcitizen politicianâ€� image is just that- an image portrayed by a skilled actress.
The Vice Presidential debate was most shocking to me for what it exposed- a 2 party system that I call big and bigger, dumb and dumber. There was no smaller government candidate on that stage in St. Louis. There were only 2 big government supporters arguing over how big to make it. The party of Goldwater is long gone. Palin and her running mate McCain support the $700 billion bailout that socializes the U.S. banking system- just like Obama and Biden. Palin used every opportunity at the V.P. debate to denounce â€œgreedy Wall Streetâ€� just like Biden and Obama (instead of strongly stating the truth- that it was corrupt and incompetent government that caused our economic and credit crisis). Palin supports more government regulation over Wall Street- just like Biden and Obama. Palin supports carbon caps- just like Obama and Biden. Palin agreed that mankind has caused some degree of global warming- just like Biden and Obama. Palin thinks the federal government should spend more money on failing public schools- just like Biden and Obama. No mention by Palin of failing public schools; greedy teachers unions; the need for choice and competition; or Democratic politicians being bought and paid for by teachers union contributions. Note that Goldwater supported an end to all federal meddling and spending on education. Reagan promised to terminate the entire Department of Education (although he never did). Palin proudly promised to spend more on education. Palin never mentioned one program or cabinet department she would cut. Not one. I have no doubt that Goldwater and Reagan were rolling over in their graves after this performance.
And when it comes to taxes, Palin simply says she wants to lower taxes, while the Democrats want to raise them. But she never clearly stated a detailed case for dramatically lower taxation or spending. She had no answer at all when Biden pointed out that McCain has supported tax increases hundreds of times. Is this what it has come to? Both sides arguing over who has supported tax increases the most? Is a conservative now the candidate who has supported tax increases only 120 times, instead of 400 times by the liberal Democrat?
And when it comes to war, Palin obviously supports ever-expanding military budgets (and taxation) to support more intervention and wars all over the world. There was not a mention by either candidate of cutting foreign aid, military bases or waste in the pentagon budget. Perhaps major contributions by defense contractors got in the way of that possible policy difference?
In the end, this debate proved the differences between the two major political parties to be small. Both Biden and Palin stand for bigger government- the only debate is over how big. With Biden (and Obama) it's always just a little bigger. Palin was chosen by McCain to win back conservative and Libertarian votes. She is an actress playing a part: the part of Wayne Allyn Root- a fiscally conservative, anti-tax, Libertarian small businessperson and citizen politician from a Western state, that wants to restore common sense and give power back to the people.
Every 4 years Republicans pull the same charade- then they get elected and go back to bribing corporate interests and spending like drunken sailors (no offense intended towards drunken sailors). Democrats don't even bother to hide what they stand for- higher taxes, bigger spending, bigger government, more power to teachers unions. Republicans just hide their true intensions much better. They run for election as small government Libertarians, then get elected and expand government to record levels. I call it â€œthe November surpriseâ€�- they talk like Libertarians, then govern like liberals. Only now- after all the decades of promises broken- it should no longer come as a surprise. Having me on that stage would have exposed the 2-party system for the sham that it is. I now understand why I wasn't invited to spoil the party. But boy would it have been fun!
Wayne Root is the Libertarian Vice Presidential nominee on the Libertarian Presidential ticket of Bob Barr/Wayne Root. His web site is: www.ROOTforAmerica.com.