Political Antics vs. Electoral Semantics?

By J. W. McLean | THE JOURNAL RECORD, October 3, 1992 | Go to article overview

Political Antics vs. Electoral Semantics?


J. W. McLean, THE JOURNAL RECORD


The brilliant semanticist, author and Iowa speech disorder specialist, Dr. Wendell Johnson (who cured himself from a severe case of stuttering) often contrasted the typical afternner speaker, "who comes to know more and more about less and less until he finally knows everything about nothing," with the general semanticist, "who comes to have fewer and fewer misconceptions about more and more until he ultimately has no delusions about anything."

It is my earnest desire that this column shall take its rightful place in the minds of its readers much nearer the latter extreme than the former.

To that end _ and also because the political season is now within only a month of closure _ it would appear to be high time that we sort out the substance and meaning of it all, as distinguished from the glitter and symbolism. Academicians would call such an approach an exercise in semantics. So be it. Hence the theme this month: "Political Antics Versus Electoral Semantics."

So, let's examine some the the key positions of the two primary presidential candidates and discern if we can that which is mere political posturing or, instead, clearly entitled to the support of the electorate. Bush Favors: lower tax revenue with spending cuts for congressional approval later. Clinton Favors: higher tax rates on large income with enlarged benefits spending.

While neither position would perhaps deserve the label "political antics," each is seriously flawed. Reducing tax revenue with no assurance of offsetting cuts in spending is one of the ways our annual $400 billion deficit got that way. Similarly, a taxdend approach has also yielded a lot of budgetary red ink in past years. Why is it so unthinkable politically to focus, first, on slashing the nation's massive expenses? Bush Favors: a capital gains tax cut to stimulate job creation. Clinton Favors: an ultimate break in rates for lower bracket taxpayers.

Is the president merely pandering to potentially large campaign contributors? Is the governor merely pandering to a potentially large segment of individual voters? While we may never learn answers to questions like these, what comes through quite loudly is a reminder that all taxpayers _ business and individuals alike _ long for the day that everyone keeps a greater share of their earning power. All the more reason to beware "political antics" concerning perennial income tax posturing by office seekers. Bush Favors: cuts in military spending, but not drastic at this time. Clinton Favors: deep cuts in military spending with funds earmarked for domestic benefits.

The nation's role as a strong enforcement arm of the United Nations may be the real issue here. At any rate, the candidates differ widely on this issue and it happends to be one which should not be difficult to evaluate. What one may never know is the extent to which the president is currying the favor of the industrial community, on the one hand, or, on the other, the governor's outreach to voters who may become eligible for such "domestic benefits." Bush Favors: profe. Clinton Favors: prooice.

The Republican platform remains unchanged from previous campaigns and, of course, has enormous appeal to archnservatives. The Democrat platform is a welcome mat for all others, even including those who would view abortion as an acceptable means of birth control. It is becoming increasingly clear, however, that both parties are heavily populated by those who abhor abortion, but can conceive of circumstances under which it might be the least objectionable choice. …

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