Yet many today seem to assume that if things are bad, "change" will make them better. Specifics don't interest them nearly as much as inspiring rhetoric and a confident style. But many 20th century leaders with inspiring rhetoric and great self-confidence led their followers or their countries into utter disasters.
These ranged from Jim Jones who led hundreds to their deaths in Jonestown to Hitler and Mao who led millions to their deaths.
What specifics do we know about Barack Obama's track record that might give us some clue as to what kinds of "changes" to expect if he is elected?
We know that he opposed the practice of putting violent young felons on trial as adults. We know that he was against a law forbidding physicians to kill a baby that was born alive despite an attempt to abort it.
We know that Obama opposed attempts to put stricter regulations on Fannie Mae-- and that he was the second largest recipient of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae. We know that this very year his campaign sought the advice of disgraced former Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines.
Fannie Mae and Raines were at the heart of "the mess in Washington" that Barack Obama claims he is going to clean up under the banner of "change."
The public has been told very little about what this man with the wonderful rhetoric has actually done. What we know is enough to make us wonder about what we don't know. Or it ought to. For the true believers-- which includes many in the media-- it is just a question of whether you like him or not.