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Reflections On Passing The Torch

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Posted: Friday, July 12, 2019 3:11 pm

One of the lesser candidates for the Democrat presidential nomination advised Joe Biden that it was time to pass the torch of leadership to younger leaders, presumably a category that would include himself, implying that Mr. Biden was too old for a leadership role. Mr. Biden is the most qualified, by experience at least, among the gabble of Democrat candidates contending for the nomination to run for the most powerful office in the world by virtue of his eight years as Vice-president, a heartbeat away from the presidency, and his lengthy service in the Senate. Herewith are some thoughts on that topic.

First of all, it is presumptuous of Rep. Eric Swalwell to imply that he is a leader or a judge of leadership or a worthy recipient of that torch, being virtually unknown outside his liberal California congressional district. Secondly, it is indicative of age discrimination to suggest that someone in his seventies is too old to serve in a leadership role. Thirdly, it is bad politics to offend such a large segment of reliable voters, senior citizens, whose votes each party will need to win. Forth, it implies that all the experience acquired in a lengthy lifetime and political career isn’t worth much. For chief executives, like commercial pilots, ship captains and other command positions responsible for human lives, experience is not just important, it’s the prime qualification (which is why I didn’t vote for Mr. Trump). There is no substitute for experience, especially in dealing with emergencies. Neither charisma, charm, eloquence nor youthful energy is enough.

Fresh ideas should always be welcome but young politicians are not their only source. They also need to be good ideas and throwing money at every problem is not always a good idea. Let’s examine some of the ideas put forth by some of the Democrat rising stars trying to gain attention by positioning themselves to the left of Bernie Sanders. For example, when asked during a debate to raise their hand if, in addition to free health care for all Americans, they would provide it to undocumented immigrants, they all did. Seriously? They would actually provide free healthcare to anyone who managed to sneak into the country? Our current major entitlements, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, are already unsustainable without major reforms that almost no politician is willing to support but they want to make free healthcare available to all the world’s huddled masses who can manage to enter the U.S. illegally? Is this a great country or what? Come one, come all. Your Uncle Sam will take care of you.

If there is a common trait that characterizes youthful liberal candidates and perhaps all millennials, it is the need for a cause and common enemies. Leading the list are Donald Trump, the “rich,” corporate America and fossil fuels. So obsessed are the young progressives over climate change that they pursue the war against carbon-based fuel with religious zeal. This in spite of the fact that fracking and the shale revolution has enabled America to become the world leader in producing clean fuels like natural gas. American research is producing even cleaner fuels. Fossil fuels have lifted millions around the world out of poverty and most of the world, including still-developing countries and the two most populous, China and India, will be dependent upon them for the foreseeable future. America accounts for only about 15% of global emissions. Even if our Green warriors were able to stop the use of fossil fuels in America, it would do little more than make them feel virtuous which is what, I suspect, motivates many of them anyway.

The younger generations will, indeed, inherit the world we leave them and so they should, of course, have a voice. They will also inherit the bill for some of the decisions we may empower them to make today. That bill will inevitably come due with interest. Many of the younger generation subscribe to the new economic theory that holds that as long as the economy keeps expanding enough, the debt doesn’t matter. That’s rather like saying that as long as we win at the casino, we will prosper. They will be in for a rude shock when we reach the point where the service on the enormous national debt we are racking up to pay for entitlements leaves nothing left for discretionary programs like defense.

Continuing economic growth may indeed be essential to our survival as a great nation. Right now, we are enjoying unprecedented economic growth under a GOP administration, whether you like the current president or not. So which of these liberals running for the Democrat nomination would you be willing to trust with this economy?

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