Common Sense Policies in an Election Year
In President Obama’s weekly address, he asserted that “there are things we can do right now to help create jobs”, stating that “a few common sense policies” can make a difference. This begs the question, what is common sense? To the political far right, one common sense policy could be to lock down the borders to insure those citizens born in America would not have to compete with illegal immigrants for jobs. To the political left, common sense means to pour money into the economy to control financial markets and create jobs. To say that every Republican is an advocate of financial austerity and every Democrat is a Keynesian is a reach.
The dictates of common sense vary considerably from person to person, from party to party and from generation to generation. Prohibition seemed like a common sense policy to the legislators of its day. One would be hard pressed to find much support for this policy today. President Roosevelt’s “New Deal” included spending that helped bring America out of the Great Depression. These same “common sense policies” applied today would bury the country so deep in debt that recovery wouldn’t be possible. Our economy simply doesn’t have the growth potential of the post-World War II America. To a conservative Christian, banning abortion in all its forms is a common sense policy. To a member of PETA, outlawing hamburger may seem like a common sense policy.
Today’s politicians speak of common sense, yet they don’t seem to understand what common sense really is. President Obama doesn’t have the market cornered on using this admirable concept to try to appear down to earth and worldly wise. Politicians on both sides of the room would love to be viewed by their constituents and the voting public as being one who is in touch with the needs of Middle America. In defense of the current candidates, our country is so diverse that anything touted as a “common sense policy” would not be supported by all.
It would seem that politicians apply the tag “common sense” to policies in an effort to protect them from opposition. If one opposes common sense policies, wouldn’t that mean they don’t have common sense themselves?
Political posturing is a tricky business, and for those of us who love politics it promises to be an exciting and interesting year. President Obama has proven to be clever at packaging himself as a candidate. It’s safe to say that Mitt Romney and company should have some tricks up their sleeves as well. I am expecting to hear a lot of common sense ideas over the next few months. It should be a wild ride.