The year of the unknown votrepreneurs
Sarah Palin's selection as the Republican Vice Presidential candidate has shaken up the race. Currently polls shows a reversal of fortune as McCain surges ahead of Obama in the polls.
First the American voter turned to an unknown politician, Barack Obama in great enthusiasm and now they are turning again to another unknown politician, Sarah Palin, with equal entusiasm. What's going on here?
Americans are tired of the war in Iraq and worried about the economy. They want their country to take a new direction. Bush has low approval ratings at around 35%. Congress has even lower approval ratings at around 17%. This desire for change was shrewdly spotted by that brilliant votrepreneur, Barack Obama who embodies that possibility. He is black and talks well.
The fact that they don't know much about him allowed voters to fill him with their hopes which can never be fulfilled without blood, sweat and tears. It is very scary that someone as unaccomplished and inexperienced as Obama could be so close to getting power in the world's most powerful country. After all, he was Senator for only three years and part of that time was spent campaigning for the Presidency. Well, that's democracy for you.
Now McCain is also campaigning as an agent of change by picking Sarah Palin as his running mate. Calling himself a maverick, he is going to distance himself as far away from Bush and his Republican Party as possible. Making promises that can never be kept is the stock in trade for votrepreneurs.
Can either candidate make the changes they promised? I doubt it though once in a long while, someone comes along and actually does something. The problem is systemic. Its not the votrepreneurs' fault. They have to labor under the constraints that the system imposes.
I have long written about the flaws of democracy - the short term nature of the decision making, the difficulty in giving out necessary but bitter medicine etc - that I will not repeat myself here. But for meaningful change to come, the electorate must be pushed to the point where their backs are at the edge of the cliffs before they will respond to a Statesman's call for sacrifice instead of a votrepreneur's selling of more snake oil.
The American voter is not there yet.