By John D. Turner
1 Mar 2008

Once again, as in the elections in 1992, the mantra of the Democrat party is change. It’s time for a change! Change is in the air! Change is hope! Hope is change! Change, change, change.

Only this time, it is Barak Obama carrying the banner. It must be particularly galling to Hillary that the standard under which her husband marched to victory in 1992 is now being wielded to great effect against her by her opponent in the 2008 primaries.

Hillary may be for change too, as in changing out a Republican administration for a Democrat one with her at the helm; she most assuredly is not for change as in changing out her for Obama as the Democrat candidate.

Change. What does it really mean? No matter who wins the upcoming election, we will get change. If McCain wins, it is true that we will still have a Republican administration. But does anyone seriously think that McCain will govern the same way George W. Bush has?

New administrations are all about change. Old political appointees are swept away and new ones are put in their place. Cabinet officials. Department heads. Judicial appointees. Hundreds of new folks with new ideas, new experiences, and new points of view.

Change is the natural order of things. Every day is different. Yesterday, France was an opponent, today they are our friend again. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Iran, fearful after the invasion of Iraq, shut down their nuclear program. Change was effected. Now Iran is once more full of hope that change is in the winds here in the United States; change of administration brings the hope of change in U.S. policy; that the United States will fall back into its fitful slumber for 10 years or so, and allow them to get back to the business of constructing their own atomic weapons, with which they can change the world.

Two planes, crashing into two skyscrapers, turning them into piles of rubble changed America in an instant. Years of forgetfulness and loss of focus have changed it back. Where once we were concerned for our safety, and united as a people against the threat of Islamo-fascist terror, today we are more concerned with the latest antics of Brittany Spears, and are instead uniting in opposition to continuing to fight against those who mean us harm.

When a presidential candidate campaigns on the platform of change, what do they mean? What kind of change? What are the specifics they have in mind? How do they plan to effect this change of theirs? Why is this change good for me? Is it good for me? Is it good for the United States? Or is it just good for the candidate’s chances of being elected?

We as human beings tend to hear what we most desire to hear. When a candidate speaks of change, we think of the changes we would like to see, and assume the candidate is intending the same thing we want. It’s like when liberals rail against the rich. We cheer, because, of course, they are not speaking of us.

When the candidates speak of “rolling back tax cuts for the rich”, we know that change is good for us, because we know we are not rich. When the candidates talk of middle-class tax cuts, we cheer again, for we know, if anyone is middle class, it is we. When the candidates talk of programs for the poor, once more we cheer, because helping the poor makes us feel good. And as we are not rich, we know it won’t affect us if billions are given to those in need. There is no better charity than charity that comes out of someone else’s pocket, not ours.

The party that promises change must first convince us that times are bad, so that the change they offer is seen in a positive light. After all, if everything were going well, why would we desire change? So it comes as no surprise that the party of change paints everything in shades of black and grey. Any change would be better than the status quo. We may as well try something; it can’t be worse than what we have now. Such an approach allows you to, once again, substitute your fondest desires for change for the vague promises and illusions presented and make you think that you are getting something when in fact you have not really been guaranteed anything concrete.

It is not axiomatic that change is good. Proponents of the man-made global warming theory believe that change is coming and that change is definitely bad. Hurricane Katrina changed New Orleans, and not for the better, at least in the short run. The current pullback in the stock market and rise in oil prices has certainly effected change in our family finances; good change? Not really. And yet, the candidates on the Democratic side constantly wail about change while not giving specifics, and their adoring fans continue to chant the mantra as if the concept of bad change does not exist.

Give them four years, if they win. When the Republicans then speak of change, as in changing out a Democrat administration for a Republican one, then you will see change spoken of in a negative light.

To paraphrase Ben Franklin: you should know that change is never bad in the first person as in our change; it is only in the third person, their change that it is bad.

Huckabee talks of changing the tax code and eliminating the IRS. He doesn’t speak of how he plans to accomplish it. Instead, he speaks of how he majored in miracles, not math. He had best have pretty thick kneepads. If his first miracle comes to pass, getting the nomination, he will then need them for his second; getting elected. Only then can he truly hope for a miracle on par with parting the Red Sea – that of eliminating the IRS.

Hillary and Obama talk of changing our health care system to ensure that everyone has “affordable” health care. It sounds nice. Who could argue against wanting people to be healthy? But neither talks of how it is to be paid for, or the effect it will have on availability and diversity of health care in the future. I suppose we will tap “the rich” and “the greedy” again, just as we will tap them for all the billions more in spending that all the candidates have promised to us while on the campaign trail.

But that is fine with most of us. And we will cheer all the louder. Why not? We are getting something for nothing once again! For none of us are rich or greedy. They are obviously talking about soaking someone else; and that’s fine with us. Just make sure I get my piece and I’m ok with that.

Ralph Nader too, says we need change. And because none of the candidates running in either party espouse the sort of change he is looking for, he has announced that once again, he will be running for president as a third-party candidate. While nobody expects him to win, the Democrat candidates are singularly unenthusiastic, as it expected that Nader voters would otherwise vote Democrat.

Republicans too would be unenthusiastic should Ron Paul entertain a third-party run. Paul’s version of change is at odds with the majority of the Republican party, but highly popular with Libertarian-leaning Republicans. Were he to run as an independent, he would probably, in a manner similar to Nader, pull a significant number of such voters and perhaps even a significant number of registered Libertarians as well. Still, a Ron Paul independent bid is probably not in the cards. Although he was the Libertarian candidate for president in 1988, Paul has recently ruled out a third-party run, stating “I do not denigrate third parties – just the opposite, and I have long worked to remove the ballot-access restrictions on them. But I am a Republican, and I will remain a Republican.”

Michael Bloomberg, the popular and extremely well-to-do mayor of New York has been touted by many as a possible Independent candidate for president. There have been various competing opinions on which he would hurt the most, Republicans or Democrats were he to actually do so. But such change it appears is not in the air. On Feb 27, Bloomberg ended such speculation, stating that he is not and will not be a candidate for president.

Of course now, speculation is rife as to whether or not he would accept a position as VP – on either ticket; and if not, whom he may support with his endorsement, and cash.

Change. It’s what those who are not in power always espouse. It has been so every election cycle. The only candidates who do not run on a platform of change are those who run as incumbents.

Change. It means many things to many people. It’s flexible enough that all candidates can use it equally and effectively; even if they are intending the opposite of each other. It is ambiguous enough to seem to mean the same thing to all people – unless they sit down and compare notes. As a political rallying call, it is meaningless since it can mean anything and yet it is highly effective.

Change. It’s what is going to be left of your paycheck after the Libs finish taxing it next year should they win the upcoming elections.