The cast of characters

Thomas Sowell

10/31/2006 12:01:00 AM - Thomas Sowell

Perhaps nothing so captures the superficial, frivolous and irresponsible spirit of our times like the sudden boomlet for Barack Obama as a candidate for President of the United States.

He is a bright, personable and articulate young man but what has he ever actually accomplished that would qualify him for the highest office in the nation and the leadership of the free world?

This is no criticism of Senator Obama. He has been in the Senate only a couple of years. Maybe a decade from now he will have crafted enough important legislation, or distinguished himself in some other way, as to be someone worth considering for President. But today, just because he is fluent, smooth and black?

Similarly for Congressman Harold Ford, who is running for the Senate in Tennessee. However moderate he may seem, his election could turn the Senate over to extremists like Ted Kennedy & Co.

Both Ford and Obama are probably better than most Congressional Democrats, but that is a very small claim in a high-tax party that has been irresponsible on national defense for decades and has fought against even modest attempts to control illegal immigration.

Contrary to what you might think from the way the media cover politics, elections are not about the careers of politicians but about the fate of the country. That fate is definitely on the line now with a nuclear Iran and a nuclear North Korea looming over our children's future.

The time is long overdue to get serious about the caliber of people to whom power and responsibility are to be entrusted. That is especially important if and when the Democrats take control of the House of Representatives after this election.

They can be vague about their agenda but they can't hide the facts about who will stand to wield power if they take over the House.

Everyone seems to be talking about House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as a new Speaker of the House after this year's elections. But is anyone interested in what she has actually done in the past, as a guide to what to expect from her in a powerful position that also puts her next in line to become President of the United States after the Vice President?

On immigration, Congresswoman Pelosi voted against tightening border security. Current House Speaker Dennis Hastert voted for it -- and also led the fight that stopped the Senate amnesty bill from gaining approval in the House of Representatives.

On taxes, Congresswoman Pelosi has paid no attention to their actual economic consequences and instead repeated the standard Democrat's line about "tax cuts for the wealthiest few, causing red ink as far as the eye can see."

Cuts in tax rates have been followed by increases -- repeat, increases -- in tax revenues. This has happened not only during this administration but also as far back as the Kennedy administration.

Red ink comes from runaway spending, which can always exceed any increases in revenues. When a bill was introduced in the House of Representatives to cut federal spending on welfare, Pelosi voted against it.

Upper income earners -- most of whom are not rich -- have in fact paid more total taxes after the rates were cut because these cuts have spurred economic growth and higher incomes. But to admit this would be to abandon the twin pillars of liberalism, higher tax rates and class warfare rhetoric.

As regards the war on terrorism and the terrorists' war against the west, Nancy Pelosi has opposed having international phone calls to and from terrorists monitored by American intelligence agencies.

The liberal spin is that this is "domestic spying" when someone on one end of the line is within the United States. Pelosi also doesn't think we are treating terrorists nice enough at Guantanamo. She wants to give them "rights" that neither the Constitution nor the Geneva convention gives them.

This is from someone who, as Speaker of the House, would be two heartbeats away from becoming President of the United States. We can only hope that the President and Vice President never travel in the same car or fly on the same plane.