According to Thomas Friedman, writing in the editorial section of today’s New York Times, that’s exactly what the “debate” in this presidential campaign is doing.
Sometimes Friedman can be pretty full of himself (ok, most of the time), but in this case, he get’s it exactly right.
Who cares how much steel John McCain has in his gut when the steel that today holds up our bridges, railroads, nuclear reactors and other infrastructure is rusting? McCain talks about how he would build dozens of nuclear power plants. Oh, really? They go for $10 billion a pop. Where is the money going to come from? From lowering taxes? From banning abortions? From borrowing more from China? From having Sarah Palin “reform” Washington – as if she has any more clue how to do that than the first 100 names in the D.C. phonebook?
Sorry, but there is no sustainable political/military power without economic power, and talking about one without the other is nonsense. Unless we make America the country most able to innovate, compete and win in the age of globalization, our leverage in the world will continue to slowly erode. Those are the issues this election needs to be about, because that is what the next four years need to be about.
There is no strong leader without a strong country. And posing as one, to use the current vernacular, is nothing more than putting lipstick on a pig.
It’s the economy, stupid.