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Dobbs: President, Congress ignoring crises

By Lou Dobbs
CNN

Editor's note: Lou Dobbs' commentary appears every Wednesday on CNN.com.

NEW YORK -- Libertarian fatalism has infected and afflicted the leaders of both political parties, and none of us should take seriously the partisan posturing from either the Republicans or Democrats.

President Bush believes in the mystical power of free markets to solve seemingly every domestic public policy issue, and the president's faith-based economic policies, including so-called free trade, have led us to higher record trade and budget deficits.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, is still in a post-election campaign that is attracting the amount of attention today that it did in his failed attempt for the presidency in 2004. And while he's still fighting the swift boat controversy, he has not articulated a national economic strategy.

The Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tennessee, says he wants border security first and then pushes through an illegal immigrant amnesty bill. The Minority Leader, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, between attending boxing matches for free, believes requiring that English be our national language is racist.

Sen. John "Straight-talkin' " McCain, R-Arizona, is beginning to take on the form of a political pretzel as he shapes his pandering for a run for the 2008 presidential election. And Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, is now lined up with corporate America in supporting the onslaught of cheap foreign labor into this country while forsaking his party's historical alliance with working men and women and their families.

These men are jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring symbols of their respective party's lack of commitment to truth, the American Dream and our nation's middle class. How are we supposed to take these political leaders and the parties they represent seriously?

The answer is obvious.

As the midterm elections approach, both political parties will be treating us to their usual propaganda blitzes on wedge issues such as gay marriage, abortion, gun control and the pledge of allegiance. But it's unlikely either party will articulate policy positions on the issues of urgent importance to our middle class and those that aspire to it. Those issues include, of course, a number of outright crises that the president and Congress are ignoring, rather than resolving.

The war in Iraq continues to cost American lives and about $6 billion a month. And rather than enunciate a clear strategy for victory, the president asks us for patience while assuring us there will be more losses and challenges ahead. The Democrats stand all but mute.

Our public education system is failing nationwide. While SAT scores decline, teachers in every state fail competency exams, and our high school dropout rate shows no sign of real improvement. Both parties point to their bipartisan bandage, No Child Left Behind, rather than propose real and immediate solutions.

Both parties are looking upon border security as bargaining leverage in corporate America's quest for cheap labor and amnesty for illegal immigrants. The skyrocketing cost of health care and a college education continues to put undue pressure on the already constrained budgets of most middle-class families. And still there is no national plan for the urgent development of alternative energy, nor even a call from either party for conservation.

As we move toward the midterm elections, there is little question that these critical issues will be foremost in the minds of most voters. And the months ahead provide an opportunity for both political parties to commit themselves to true governance and the development of public policies that resolve issues rather than perpetuate them.

We can only hope and, ultimately, vote.

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