These diversions are often by design when a candidate has no record to run on and in the case of the current incumbent there is additionally a collapsing economy to sidestep. When campaign tactics turn from critical issue debate to the politics of personal character assassination, there is a reason. So, too, there are policy factors influencing the weak economy and the economic implosion which currently is intrinsic in the stated policies of both candidates. For the incumbent, these policies are a result of campaign promises made and the philosophy of the president's party.
When president Obama referenced Abraham Lincoln's championing of collective policies in the first presidential debate of 2012, he was not referring to fact, but rather his version of fact based on his philosophy. In 2007 while campaigning for president, Obama identified himself as a "progressive", not a liberal, and there was a reason for this distinction. He identifies with the 1920's progressive party which, under FDR, gave us the progressive national income tax, (attempted
) national health care, minimum wage for women, limits on injunctions for labor disputes, inheritance tax and a plethora of entitlements among other collectivist policies. The party was started by Theodore Roosevelt and was patterned on principles that came down from Thomas Jefferson the founder of the modern Democratic party as Dick Morris so clearly describes in his video Lincoln's Economics
where he shows that Lincoln was actually a Republican, and in fact the founder of that party and not in favor of collectivist policy but rather self determination of the individual as defined in the US constitution. So Obama was using Lincoln to try and sell the idea of collective policies and solutions. Here is the actual specific text from the debate
But as Abraham Lincoln understood, there are also some things we do better together. So, in the middle of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln said, let's help to finance the Transcontinental Railroad, let's start the National Academy of Sciences, let's start land grant colleges, because we want to give these gateways of opportunity for all Americans, because if all Americans are getting opportunity, we're all going to be better off. That doesn't restrict people's freedom. That enhances it.
OK, so what's this got to do with the policies of the president, his opponent and the election in November? Actually it has everything to do with the progressive candidate's policies and those conservative policies of his opponent. While there are a few points of common ground, these two candidates offer two completely different directions for America, one favoring collective government-centric policies designed to relegate the individual as secondary to group solutions, the other favoring deemphasis on government control with the individual in control of his/her own destiny and with the support of government in that effort.
These principles of two vastly different approaches to democracy, collectivism and individualism were brilliantly codified by Ayn Rand who pointed out that the locus of the US constitution clearly underpins a society based on individual rights and freedoms. Those rights and freedoms are under assault from the current administration in the US and from an attempt by the US representatives in the United Nations to usurp the sovereignty of the US by bypassing US review of treaties that affect US citizens, such as the small arms ban among many other attempts. Anyone who has read Ayn Rand's "Fountainhead" or seen the movie with Gary Cooper knows exactly what this difference of approach involves.
By understanding the philosophy of both major party candidates for president it is possible to understand what is at stake in the presidential election and to make a decision based upon what philosophy is best suited to support the principles of the country and to reverse the economic damage we are now suffering through.
It should be clear that campaign rhetoric, debates and speeches may be spun to support a given candidate's philosophy and that it is incumbent upon the viewer to sift through the words and allusions to uncover fact from fiction. And, of course, there must be some belief in the integrity of the candidate based on their record of past deeds as well as their political rhetoric.
The questions to ask of yourself are: (1) do you want more government growth and control with higher and higher taxes to pay for more collectivist government programs (and commensurate growth of the public sector
) with less emphasis on individual responsibility, or (2) reduction of government growth, taxes and programs with emphasis on individual responsibility and private sector growth.