Guest Post: Does America Face An Election Between Two Moderates?

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Submitted by James Miller of the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada

Does America Face An Election Between Two Moderates?

This weekend the runoff election will be held in Egypt to decide who will be the next president.  The country’s first democratic election in decades comes one year after former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted during a massive civilian protest.  Despite decades of financial support from supposedly democracy-friendly U.S. and Western governments, it’s was widely acknowledged that Mubarak’s constant reelection was the product of ballot rigging.  He aggressively held power for years by censoring and controlling the media along with suppressing political dissent.  Mubarak was shielded from most opposition by the fact that he used his office as a tool of political corruption and was the quintessential Western puppet of a dictator.

At the beginning, most journalists in the West were celebrating the Egyptian revolution as a victory for democratic governance.  They saw the possibility of untainted elections as the best way for Egyptians to adopt their values.  With the first presidential runoff ballot since Mubarak just around the corner, the good feelings have begun to wear off.  Many prominent media publications are dismayed that this weekend’s contest is looking like a battle between two radical candidates.  The Globe and Mail reports:

If this is what democracy is like, maybe we’re better off without it, many Egyptians voting in their first-ever truly free presidential election must be thinking.

With a choice between a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood on the one hand and a former air-force commander and prime minister for Hosni Mubarak on the other, not only do these virgin voters have to choose between two political extremes, but the majority of Egyptians don’t want either of them to win.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman equates the runoff election with “having to choose between two diseases.”

From the mainstream, corporate media perspective, this isn’t how elections are supposed to play out.  In America, the Democrat vs. Republican paradigm forces both parties to appease centrists and independent voters.  The nominees must campaign not as extremists, but pragmatic moderates who embody the level headedness of the people.  The victor in November is thus given an electoral mandate from the voters to carry out their collective will.

This is also the election process taught in public schools and universities.

But while the American public has been duped into believing such a process gives rise to pragmatic and temperate leaders, quite the opposite is true.

With former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney now the presumptive Republican nominee, campaign season is now fully underway.  Romney is being portrayed as the free market loving, social conservative choice to Barack Obama’s cool, calm, and collected liberalism.  Instead of falling victim to the stereotype of being a fragile leftist, Obama’s ramping up of the War on Terror has been applauded by the right as a step toward the center.  Weekly Standard editor and all around warmonger Bill Kristol declared the President a “born again neo-con.”  And in spite of initially supporting a public option within his key legislative achievement of health care reform, Obama opted for the less extreme alternative of the individual mandate that the conservative Heritage Foundation once endorsed.

As for Romney, he was portrayed by his opponents as Obama-lite due to his pioneering the President’s health care scheme during his tenure as governor of Massachusetts.  Romney has gone on record stating “I’m not going to cut $1 trillion in the first year” as it would “cause our economy to shrink [and] would put a lot of people out of work.”  Of course his logic only works if you believe the money stolen and spent by the government actually creates wealth despite the expenditures never having to compete in the open market.  Statements like these are what leads to Romney being called a “closet Keynesian” by Paul Krugman and the “Massachusetts moderate” by Newt Gingrich.

Though the November election will be hyped as two opposites squaring off against each other, both candidates are considered rather moderate compared to who could have been the nominees.

The question is, are Barack Obama and Mitt Romney really that moderate?

Let’s account for the similarity in policy of both.

–Both are large supporters of the military industrial complex.  Romney has vowed to increase defense spending and wants the Navy, which is larger than the navies of the next 13 nations combined, to ramp up production of warships.  Numerous times the former governor has vowed to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon even if it means offensive military action.  For Obama, as the New York Times recently revealed, the President spends every Tuesday morning playing God by picking out drone targets on what could be mistaken for baseball cards.  His unlawfully ordered death strikes are based on flimsy evidence and incredibly vague criteria for determining who the enemy is.  And then there are the hundreds of civilian casualties that have been a result of the unaccountable killing spree.  The drone war won’t end in a second Obama administration and military aggression will likely escalate under a Romney presidency.  This policy does absolutely nothing to keep the U.S. safe and everything to put the public in harm’s way.

–Both show no opposition to the Federal Reserve System and the banking cronyism it has institutionalized.  Both supported the Wall Street bailouts and the unprecedented bout of money printing that took place during the financial crisis.  While Goldman Sachs was Obama’s biggest private donor in the last election, the investment firm is currently Romney’s largest donor.  This election is shaping up to be more of the same as Wall Street is bankrolling both candidates.  Seeing as how the whole banking system operates under the veil of solvency due to fractional reserve lending, it is in the elite money lender’s interest to use their easy access to the printing press to keep the house of cards from collapsing.

–Neither candidate has made a peep out of ending the needlessly expensive and socially degenerating drug war.  In fact, the Obama administration has increased spending on drug enforcement and has cracked down on medical marijuana distributors more than any other president before him.  Romney hasn’t taken a position on the drug war but considering his socially conservative talking points, it’s extremely unlikely he will allow others the freedom of putting what they want in their own bodies.  In short, both candidates are supporters of the prohibition on dry plants and the seedy and dangerous black market it has created.

–And then there is the drug of which all of Washington is addicted to: spending and borrowing.  Neither Obama nor Romney have presented budgets that have actually brought expenditures in line with revenues.  The national debt would balloon under both their proposals.  Being that, as Lew Rockwell identified, pork barrel spending is the “entirety” of the federal government’s budget, denying the welfare dependents of their food stamps, the elderly of their Social Security checks, farmers of their subsidies, green energy companies of their taxpayer loans, Wall Street of its implied bailouts, dictators of their foreign aid, and military contractors of their lucrative deals has become electoral suicide.

Those opposed to the above polices are typically referred to as radicals.  This is especially so for the independent minded who see politics as a game played by well dressed mobsters and the state as an institution of pure thievery.  In modern American discourse, peace is now the policy of ignorance.  The right to do what you want with your self and property must come second to the will of the ruling class.  Being in favor of free markets and not the crooked capitalism which politicians love means wishing to see workers starving in the streets.  True liberty is only of value to the dimwitted and unpatriotic.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul was a steadfast supporter of sound money, nonintervention, the unfettered market, and significantly axing government spending before a now guaranteed financial collapse.  His reward was being treated like a senile uncle and his presidential campaign being subjected to an incredible amount of voter fraud.  He was deemed too much of a threat to the establishment.

In the end, Paul and others who are disgusted at the utter cronyism that is the state aren’t the extremists.  What’s extreme is a blind adoration of government power.  Paul isn’t a radical; he is practically the only politician in Washington who isn’t a closet socialist or fascist on an egotistical power trip.

With such radicalism deeply entrenched in the U.S. government, the best hope the country has is for this fall’s election turnout to be the lowest on record.  Like Egypt, the choice is between two radicals seeking to use the state’s apparatus of violence to help their political buddies and mold society to their liking.  Voting for the lesser of two evils is still evil and immoral.  The freedom to not vote is still available to Americans.  They would be best to exercise it before it’s too late.