VERN’S VIEWS: What competition looks like in 2012

In the Jan. 3 Washington Post, Harold Meyerson summarizes what passes for President Barack Obama’s competition this election. Here’s my two cents.

Meyerson begins with Romney’s throwaway line: “Over the past three years, Barack Obama has been replacing our merit-based society with an Entitlement Society.” Romney also has said there will be “a very simple choice" between Obama’s "European social democratic" vision and "a merit-based opportunity society — an American-style society — where people earn their rewards based on their education, their work, their willingness to take risks and their dreams." What Romney misses here, is that Europe’s social democracies are more like “merit-based opportunity societies” than we are.

Meyerson notes: More European sons earning more than their fathers, as opposed to the United States; a heavily unionized Germany has a 6.5 percent unemployment rate along with the Netherland’s 4.8 percent and Sweden’s 7.4 percent, which is lower than our 8.5 percent; and those countries have large trade surpluses while we have the largest trade deficit in history.

Rick Santorum continues to beat the drum of his neo-Catholic absolutism that attacks the rights of people not like him — including women’s rights. His fear-mongering over Iran is laughable if it weren’t so naïve. Having followed the news for the past 50 years, I feel confident Israel’s Air Force has all of Iran’s nuclear facilities’ map coordinates in their data banks. Sorry, Santorum. Your stuff doesn’t play with rational people.

For a while, I thought I had fallen down a rabbit hole when Ron Paul started sounding like the sanest candidate on the debate stage. Irrespective of his isolationist and no-government stances, his ideas about bringing home our military made fiscal and policy sense — especially in light of our terrible international policies in the past 50 years or so.

Newt Gingrich is just going to keep being himself and blow up everything and everybody he touches with his nincompoopery. I must say, however, his new role as the dog that attacks Romney will do everyone a favor by exposing Romney for the lying, empty suit he is — as well as revealing the mean-spiritedness of himself.

The 2012 election cycle is shaping up to be the most expensive and expansive in our history. The money and the lies will flow like water. The electorate will be asked to endure mind-numbing, mindless ads from secret, “not affiliated” PACs and still be able to make a good decision on Election Day.

Hang in there, people. It’s only the future of your country that is at stake.

Turner is a retired teacher and industrial engineer who lives near Marble Falls. He is an independent columnist, not a staff member, and his views do not necessarily reflect those of The Tribune or its parent company. "The Voter’s Guide to National Salvation" is a newly published e-book from Turner. You can find it at He can be reached by email at

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