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Cary Brunswick

April 10, 2010

Fringe beliefs sprouting from groundless roots

It's funny that one of the major complaints about our two-party system of government is that there's not enough difference between Republicans and Democrats to offer much of a choice, and therefore accomplish any major changes.

You've heard of Tweedle-dee vs. Tweedle-dum in the 2000 election, won through a technicality by George W. Bush over Al Gore. In 2004, the distinctions between Bush and John Kerry were visible but not sharp, and voters were not ready to jump ship in the middle of a war.

Even in 2008, the biggest gulf between Barack Obama and John McCain was their proposals for health care reform. Other than that, it was clear we were not about to see significant changes with a Democratic president.

What Obama offered, and a majority of voters seized on, was his rhetoric of change that was not necessarily backed up by his agenda, aside from the watered-down health care reform recently signed into law.

We are still in Iraq and violence there continues to erupt. We have expanded the Afghanistan war, and military and civilian deaths are mounting. But during the election campaign, Obama never said he would do something other than what he is doing, which is not much different than what McCain would be doing.

Sometimes, however, a turn of events shows that voters can make calculated mistakes. It turned out that Gore likely would not have been a flip side of the ``tweedle'' the Bush presidency became. Our response to 9/11, our invasion of Iraq, our dealings with energy, health care and the environment all would have been different under Gore.

While Bush united the country after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and initially with the Iraq war, by his second term the nation was divided and politics was partisan. Bush's approval ratings plummeted because of the lingering war and a lack of leadership on domestic issues.

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Cary Brunswick

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