In the past few weeks the presidential campaign has seen its share of ups and downs on both sides. According to recent polls, Mitt Romney continues to experience a bounce due in large part to his debate performance, while President Obama’s declining poll numbers reflect what many perceive to be his lack of fight. Unfortunately for voters, with this shift has come a noticeable change in the issues presented to voters — and much of what receives attention is not what has the most impact on the populace.
The first and most noticeable target receiving far too much attention is Big Bird. Mitt Romney mentioned Sesame Street’s giant bird during the first debate so that makes discussion fair game. However, a more important point to make would be that Romney wants to, for example, increase already substantial military spending at the expense of public broadcasting — which has a negligible impact on the nation’s budget.
Another issue that seems to have lost campaign attention is Social Security. Despite denials to the contrary, Paul Ryan’s “Road to Prosperity” presents a plan to significantly alter the current system. Mitt Romney skillfully worded his thoughts when he stated that seniors who are currently collecting benefits and those who are very near retirement age will not be affected. But what this does is carefully avoid discussion of what the Romney/Ryan ticket believes should replace Social Security and Medicare: a ‘VoucherCare’ plan. Instead, what are we hearing? The campaigns are steering attention to style over substance so the point that seniors stand to face the prospect of paying more, particularly once cost of living increases set in.
How about the issue of abortion? Mitt Romney said, ““There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.” That was then. Once Romney changed his audience, he changed his tone to state that he would be a “pro-life president.” This is one prominent issue where President Obama and Vice President Biden can refocus their campaign: reassure female voters that they respect their right to make their own choices.
These are just a few out of many issues that have been pushed to the background while the quibbling continues. But what’s the bottom line?
Instead of talking about points that distract voters, let’s get the national conversation back to what the citizens need to know. What the pundits think is important doesn’t matter in the long-run; it’s what affects voters in their daily lives that should receive the most attention.
Here’s some food for thought: If these issues don’t remain at the forefront of the public’s view, voters will be basing their votes on trite information, half-truths, outright lies and nonsense.