An article in the Washington Post talks about how Mitt Romney went to Ohio on his campaign trail and blatantly lied to the audience about Chrysler’s intentions (or lack of intentions rather) to move the manufacturing of Jeep vehicles to China. This was an outright lie and Romney knew it, but we the people, and they the media, permit this to happen.
All politicians lie, we know this. My question is why do we put up with it? Why don’t we start taking some proactive, problem solving approaches to this problem?
People, in the U.S. especially, have long talked about the need for campaign finance reform and how we need to get the money out of politics. I have a better solution: we eliminate the politicians’ ability to campaign, period.
No speeches, no advertising, no commercials, nothing except two questionnaires that the candidates have to provide written answers for, holding them to their words. (If I had my way, I would not even allow candidates to have a picture of themselves be public [I realize the complete impracticality of this, thank you] as people will be influenced by how good looking one candidate is vs another… see the results of the first televised debate ever between Nixon and Kennedy in 1960)
The first questionnaire, the Popular Questionnaire: a crowd sourced list of the top 100 questions on the minds of any and all of the voting public. On a website you can create a question, or vote that the candidates have to answer that question, or neither, or both. This way everyone gets their say in what they think the important issues are. Yes there may be a risk in the fact that the Popular Questionnaire be too populist, miss important issues, or ignore minority groups, but we could easily extend the list of 100 questions to 1000 and include everybody (I mean for crying out loud, politicians spend more time and money campaigning right now than they do solving problems! They could easily answer 1000 questions!) What’s more, any concern you may have about this part of the new model, should be addressed in…
The second questionaire, The Expert Questionnaire: peer selected groups of experts in all fields must come up with a limited list of questions. For example, we could have anyone who hold’s a terminal degree in a given field (a Ph. D. for sciences and humanities, an M.D. for medicine, etc) be allowed to contribute to the same crowd sourced website of questions and voting, it’s just that the only ones allowed to pose questions or vote for them would be qualified experts. Only the top 10 questions in a given field would have to be answered, and if they overlap with the Popular Questionnaire, then they would obviously be eliminated. The experts who participate would then be allowed to comment on the veracity, or lack thereof, of candidates proposals, drawing a consensus. All of this information would obviously be publicly accessible so that everyone can know what each candidate’s plans are.
After all, the only important thing that a candidate can bring to the table is a viable political plan for a given issue. This way, they have to commit plans to writing, publicly, and we can ignore the painful, annoying, detrimental, name calling, back stabbing and lying that drives us all nuts anyway.
Wouldn’t this be a much better way to find out what politicians are really all about? And couldn’t we finally hold them to their words and not let them twist facts? I fully recognize that a candidate could lie with the answers to these questions, but then it would be very easy to prove if the candidate did or did not do what he said in the answers to the questions posed. I mean, Mitt Romney actually vowed not to raise taxes at all if elected. What!?! (Sorry for you Republican readers out there, I don’t mean to continually bash Republicans, they Democrats do their fair share as well!)
The other thing that this does is it greatly simplifies and shortens the process of getting elected. Right now, after MORE THAN A YEAR of watching primary debacles, convention gaffs, Clint Eastwood arguing with a chair, and a series of spectacularly boring debates, I have had enough, I want it to be over.
We spend so much time and money on the campaign, and so little time and money creating sustainable economic growth, education, health care, energy solutions and so forth.
Why are we not demanding that our societies do better when it is really, honestly, so easy to imagine viable alternatives to the chaotic, costly mess that we have now?
The 800 Million dollars – yes nearly a BILLION DOLLARS – will be spent on this election. Well, you might say, this money fuels the economy doesn’t it? Well yes, it does, in the same way that sub-prime mortgages did. It is totally short term gain that does no innovation, no long term creation, creates no infrastructure and yields no net progress.
If we all agree that progress is the ability to control more of one’s own time, then you have to at least like the idea of this, even if you think its totally implausible.
If you like this idea, please email me, and let’s see if we can start to draw a consensus. If you don’t, then please tell me in constructive fashion how to make this better. Thanks!