Cal  Thomas

Two of my pundit colleagues -- David Brooks of The New York Times and Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal -- have written about this "boring" and "inconsequential" presidential campaign.

Perhaps the reason is that we've heard it all before. "There is nothing new under the sun," wrote the author of Ecclesiastes, but that doesn't mean old ideas that worked in the past can't be updated and applied to our time.

Here in the birthplace of our 30th president, Calvin Coolidge, an education center stands to promote his ideas and values (full disclosure: I serve on its National Advisory Board). Even Democratic politicians, including Governor Howard Dean, Senator Patrick Leahy and Independent Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders, have made the journey to this frozen-in-time hamlet to honor Coolidge, if not always his principles. Some of Coolidge's contemporaries may have found his reserved New England manner boring, but some moderns are starting to reconsider the economic rules and political standards by which he lived.

Another reason this presidential campaign has failed to ignite the public's enthusiasm is that it seems more about politicians and their power and not enough about everyday realities; too many talking points and not enough getting to the point.

Following President Obama's "you didn't build that" remark, the Romney campaign produced TV commercials featuring small business owners sharing how they built their companies, often from scratch. The stories are interesting and compelling and it's a tactic the campaign should use more often. Debating policies is academic. Showing real people who have been harmed by policies that aren't working is how to connect with voters.

"All liberty is individual liberty," noted Coolidge. That sounds strangely foreign in an age where the collective is becoming supreme. "It takes a village" has come to mean a government village, not a village of individuals helping each other with government intervening only when individuals are not enough.

Vermonters remain proud that after last summer's floods they astounded FEMA by helping each other with greater speed and better results than government could produce. They call it the communitarian spirit. Neighbor is expected to help neighbor.


Cal Thomas

Get Cal Thomas' new book, What Works, at Amazon.

Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
 
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