Rarely have I seen in any presidential race stretching back more than 30 years as much of a disconnect between the world of the candidates and the rest of the world that we see right now. Every day, on television and in the newspapers, the news is about Democrats squabbling – whether about race or gender or about some off-the-wall comment by a supporter.
Meanwhile, in what appears to be a different universe, the U.S. dollar is sinking like a stone, the price of gas has cracked $4 a gallon at some pumps, homeowners are going under, and star financial institutions like Bear Stears have their backs to the wall.
Would the candidates please do us – and themselves – a big favor: Would they turn attentions away from the bickering and tell us in more depth and with more attention to the rapid economic deterioration what they would do?
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have each proposed plans for the mortgage crisis but the problems now stretch far wider and deeper than their plans cover. John McCain keeps telling us that lower taxes and less regulation would do the trick – when it is obvious that the problems are much more complicated (just ask Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke).
The Democrats have a pause in the action now before the Pennsylvania primary. It will be tempting for them to keep on doing what they have been doing – barnstorming from one campaign event to the next. But they owe us something more now: Some serious talk about what their presidencies would hold and how they would govern.
John McCain, to his credit, wants to see for himself what is happening in Iraq, elsewhere in the Middle East and in Europe. He is wise to don the role of statesman while the Democrats diminish each other through their in-fighting.
But even as he looks upon the broader international horizon, he, too, owes us a much clearer, more sophisticated picture of what he would do to save the economy back home. If he were President, after all, he would have to address both at once. This would be a good time to start.
It may sometimes feel like good fun and games to have all this adolescent squabbling, but the day is coming when we will need a strong, mature adult sworn in as our next President.
- David Gergen, CNN Sr. Political Analyst
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