Commentators are saying that the Republican predilection for dwelling on largely self-defeating insults is a result of the fact that the economy is improving--which at the moment appears to be true. This tactic is reminiscent of the old legal mantra: "If you can't beat on the facts, beat on the law. If you can't beat on the law, beat on the facts. If you can't beat on either the facts or the law, beat on the table." That said - unemployment is still quite high at 8.3 percent, consumer credit card debt is soaring, student loan debt has now eclipsed credit card debt and is ballooning into the next economy busting bubble, national debt is growing geometrically and is perhaps out of control, foreclosures are still blighting entire neighborhoods, and the one thing that everyone can agree on is that the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 should be the subject of an 18th-century style book burning. It certainly seems that there is plenty to talk about without having to resort to negative personal attacks.
The issues that really are important to consumers---jobs, education, the cost of a college education, health care---are being overlooked in favor of substance-less, mudslinging attacks that don't address problems and don't provide plans. If I am missing something, I apologize, but I have yet to hear any of the Republican contenders talk about the nuts and bolts of how they are going to make America a strong and vibrant place to live.
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And who loses? We, the American people, do. Without question, there is a lot that needs to change in the current political scene for things to get better, but we can start with some low-hanging fruit. Stop being so fascinated by the puerile ramblings of people like Rush Limbaugh, and stay on message. It's the economy, stupid!
It's as though the candidates have strapped themselves to the roof of a political system that engages in mild and often tawdry distraction in the hope that nobody notices the total lack of substantive direction or vision as it speeds down the road to the White House. Can't these guys see that they're soiling themselves and the American political process?
Adam Levin is chairman and cofounder of Credit.com and Identity Theft 911. His experience as former director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs gives him unique insight into consumer privacy, legislation and financial advocacy. He is a nationally recognized expert on identity theft and credit.