With election season in full swing, political analysts are constantly bickering about which candidate would best serve the nation. In reality, the President of the United States cannot make progress with a stagnate Congress that has vetoed a multitude of bills. The Senate and the House are essential to ensure that the President does not wield more power than he should. This system of checks and balances can be efficient, but of late has been counterproductive. An excessive amount of filibusters in the Congress have delayed the process of passing bills for progress. These bills could have the potential to help the fiscal situation, but have been denied by Congress. For example, the Simpsons-Bowles Bill was a bi-partisan bill that was supposed to help the economy, but was struck down by six republicans who co-sponsored the bill; they changed their minds as the bill was being voted on. Many pundits speculated that this was a direct sabotage to put the president in a bad light. Another problem with our political system is rider bills, which result in pork barrel spending. Politicians often attach other bills of their interest onto big prestigious bills so they get it passed, because alone they would not have passed. These rider bills contribute to unnecessary spending, creating more fiscal problems. Without the line item veto, these bills are forced to be passed together or not at all. The line item veto would allow the president to pick and choose what part of the bill is necessary, but in turn, many pundits speculate this would give the president too much power. Bill Clinton had held this power in 1996 for a brief period of time, before it was repealed. These underlying issues contribute to the finical mess we currently have. Both sides are too stubborn to compromise, which results in a stalemate, where nothing gets accomplished. Pundits and politicians are extremely narrow-minded, as they only see things from one perspective rather than understand both sides and making a decision based off that. A pundit, like Sean Hannity, can have hardcore right-wing philosophical beliefs that he will not back down from, while the same could be said for Chris Mathews on a left-wing basis. This arrogance that one side is better than the other creates unnecessary tension and divides what is supposed to be a united nation. Gandhi once stated that “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind,” and this is essentially what is happening in America. Each side wants to one-up the other, and as a result, progress has been put to a halt. Without a strong third party to step in and make an impact, the format will continue to remain a two-party system, where all our beliefs may not be adequately represented. These pundits and politicians obviously do not critically analyze the situation, as their biases lead them to go in with preconceived notions. These premeditated ideas lead pundits to make up their minds before they even hear the proposals or rhetoric at hand. This applies to the debates, where Fox News already had their mind made up that Romney won all the debates, while MSNBC had their mind made up that Obama won the debate. There is not an efficient media station that has a non-partisan agenda (CNN probably comes the closest) that calls it how it is. Proponents on both sides have been reluctant to fix an upcoming financial problem that is lurking on Dec 31, where the fiscal cliff will automatically force cuts in many crucial programs. If the issues are not addressed, we will lose essential programs, or if politicians try to save it, it could possibly add to the enormous debt. We must ignore the smoke and mirrors that are used to deflect each candidate’s ‘lies’ and negative ads. Negative ads have been proven to be an intelligent campaign strategy, but are counterproductive, as they ridicule the other candidates rather than focusing on the key issues at hand. Politicians are obviously charismatic and articulate, so to decipher who is the better choice, we must look at their vision and policies to ultimately make our own decision. We must be open-minded and listen to the policies to see if they will benefit our needs, rather than automatically assume they will not. In an effort to get the wheels back in motion, a compromise between parties would be wise.
Evan Smith is a third year political science major, with a minor in communications. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.