Monday, January 07, 2008
The more they talk about "change.."

--Eric Bloom, 360 producer

If you have a chance to see the candidates deliver their stump speeches today you are almost certain to hear them talk about "change."

This election has long been a "change" election and Senator Obama's victory in Iowa confirmed it. Now other candidates are incorporating the message more frequently into their speeches hoping to also ride it to victory. The voters spoke and the campaigns are responding.

I think most Americans would welcome change in Washington. The President's poll numbers have been mired in the low to mid-30s, and the Democratically-led Congress has even lower numbers.

But just how optimistic should we be? In the past we have heard the call for change by presidential candidates only to see a resistant Washington reject such efforts and protect its interests.

So regardless of who you think will win and which party you identify with, do you think the next president can deliver real change? Can the promise of transforming Washington to work more for the average American occur?

If your answer is yes, what's the first thing you would like to see changed? We'd like to know. Thank you.






Posted By CNN: 11:09 AM ET
  15 Comments
When all is said and done, we can really only change ourselves.
Hopefully that can inspire others to change too, but if they resist change it will be a huge uphill battle. Nothing is impossible, but Washington has to WANT change.
Until they meet any President half way we all will be going in circles, including the new President.

Lorie Ann
Buellton, Calif.
Posted By Blogger Lorie Ann : 11:50 AM ET
Eric,
Honestly I think all of the candidates can talk about change until thay are blue in the face but if both parties as a whole doesn't want to make that change then nothing will be different. I think we do need a big change in this country but to get that to happen you are going to either have to do one of two things:

1. Change a WHOLE lot of minds of people in congress and their ways of thinking...which I can't see happening.

OR

2. We voters are going to have to really look at our elected officials and kick out the ones that we think that are stuck in the past or that aren't willing to move on and get this country back on track. And then elect ones that are willing.

To me the last is really what we are going to have to do to get that change.

Cynthia, Covington, Ga.
Posted By Blogger Cindy : 11:58 AM ET
Hi Eric,

The candidates have overused the word "change" in this campaign. When I watched the NH debates, I thought, "If I hear that word one more time, without them backing it up, I would scream."

First and foremost, what I'd like to see changed is the attitude of both parties. I'd like to see them working, compromising, and cooperating with one another to solve problems and get things done. Sounds really basic, but if they can't do this, the changes they've been talking about will not happen and we'll be back to square one.

Thanks,
Lilibeth
Edmonds, Washington
Posted By Blogger Lilibeth : 12:02 PM ET
Yes, there could be change in Washington, but only if the people in Congress and the White House were replaced one hundred percent. And only after we change the election process so that the person with THE LEAST money would be elected. And every candidate would have to demonstrate clearly that he or she KNOWS first hand what it's like to work for minimum wage, live on government benefits, without health care, etc. etc. Then we'd have to get rid of all the special interest groups and corporate lobbyists. Yeah, and then the general populace would have to wake up and make smart and intelligent choices. Only then would there be real change in Washington.

I see that coming in the near future, don't you?
Posted By Anonymous Monika, Eagar, AZ : 12:06 PM ET
Wow, Mr. Bloom, you ask many questions.
First of all I think that American's do want change. As we all know, the word "change" is relative and unique to each one of us. So first we must define change. I think change means an administration that is able to deliver results with Congress that the average American can see and feel in their daily lives. With that being said, any candidate cannot deliver massive change on the domestic side of things because major changes in American policy must be voted on by both houses of Congress. The president alone cannot do it. So the new president is going to have to be able to cut through the partisan gridlock that has weighed Congress down to get work done.

I believe that average Americans want their lives to be better than what they are right now. This will be the test for the new President. The middle class wants jobs the new president is going to have to provide them, our massive deficit is going to have to be cut down - the new president is going to have to do it, interest rates are going to have to go down. People need to be able to go to the doctor and buy their perscription drugs without it vastly affecting their quality of life. This is crucial. Times are hard in this country now, I think harder than they have ever been. The new President is going to have to deliver. Its a non-negotiable!

WE NEED TO GET RID OF NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND!

Presidents have greater levrage on international affairs because they do not have to deal with Congress as much. Many presidents have created their entire legacy on international politics because it was just easier to do that. Internationally, we must restore our relations with foreign countries; we must work to bring the Iraq war to an end; we must stand firm against terrorism using more tactical methods in fighting terrorism, and bring up the price of the dollar in overseas markets.

WE MUST REMEMBER AFRICA!
We cannot just let the United Nations go in and solve every thing in Africa. That is not going to work. We need an Africa policy that is strong - Darfur, The Congo, famine, disease, civil war, and other conflicts need the United States as well as the Western Hemisphere's attention. The new president needs to have an aggressive Africa policy.

It is my hope that the new president whomever he or she may be will need to be able to work with Congress and the International Community to get the job done.
Posted By Anonymous Madeliene, Atlanta, Georgia : 12:14 PM ET
Hey, people need to start realizing that it takes more than a President to effect change in the United States. We will never again have a government for the average American. First of all, who is going to agree on what an 'average American is'? I'm not being cynical, but we have to realize these things. More goes into it besides just one political personage. We the People, have not been the People for a long time and probably will not ever be again. Times, they are a changin'!
Posted By Anonymous Sandi : 12:21 PM ET
Hi Eric,

I think the optimism factor is why Obama is doing so well. He, and Edwards to an extent as well, is seen not only as someone who wants to change things, but who might actually have the strength and resolution to follow through. I think we all want to believe it's possible to have a government that will work for us... whatever that means to each of us. Only time will tell if our optimism is foolish, but it's nice to see that we can still have faith.
Posted By Anonymous Jennifer, Washington, DC : 12:30 PM ET
Hi Eric,
Do I think the next President can affect change in Washington? I think that there can be some small changes, but that sweeping change is unrealistic with Washington being the "old boys club" that it is.
However, if change were possible, I would want to see changes in the "red tape" that is up around people getting much needed Federal Aid, like the victims of Katrina.
Posted By Blogger pamina : 12:32 PM ET
I was totally enjoying Mr. Bloom, until my candidate started losing. I'm shaking in my boots but will go the distance with Hillary!
Posted By Anonymous J. P. White : 12:46 PM ET
Of course they all want change but in order to make that happen the members of the government have to work together. And I just don't see that happening. I'm not sure why they can't put aside their political parties and create a climate where progress could occur.
If real changes could be made I would like to see it focused on health care for everyone and getting out of Iraq.
Mary Anne, Parlin, NJ
Posted By Anonymous Mary Anne : 2:07 PM ET
Change will have to start at the bottom, we the people, and works its way up through the system. Unless we get involved and vote out the established Washington machine, and that would encompass about 95% of the House & Senate, then I see little chance of change. I am a stauch Democract, but unless the party establishment is changed, beginning with Pelosi and Reid, and starting with some fresh faces with new ideas, then change is just a hollow theme. Just look at the 2006 election, the Democrats ran on changing the way things were run in Washington, but I see nothing different from the Democratic controlled Congress than the Republicans who ran Congress since 1994. It is great seeing Obama bring in new people with his positive message and hope about change and I beleive he is sincere, I just hope he can follow through if elected.
Posted By Anonymous Bill Franklin Fayetteville, TN : 2:12 PM ET
Eric,

You ask the question that I have been thinking about quite a bit during this election season. Every candidate coming from a different party from the incumbent president always promises change. Sometimes change happens, and sometimes it's for the worse. GW Bush was certainly different from Bill Clinton. After Pres. Clinton's sex scandals, people wanted someone they thought of as wholesome and honest. They didn't look carefully enough at Pres. Bush's lack of foreign policy experience and who his advisors would be. Who knew what a neocon was? Yet, if the media had looked hard enough, the invasion of Iraq was entirely predictable. I don't want this to happen again. I want to know who is advising these candidates and what role ideology plays in their thinking.

Can any president transform Washington? Well, Bush greatly increased the power of the executive branch. Will his successor want to keep it that way?

I think for real work to be done in Congress, the president and a majority of Congress need to be from the same party. Hopefully that will happen in this election. After that, who knows?
Posted By Blogger Barbara in Culver City, CA : 2:13 PM ET
Perhaps I am being a bit too nit-picky, however, I find this latest buzzword/mantra "change" to be an odd choice, even for politicians. Please don't get me wrong, I am not happy with the direction the country has taken lately on a number of issues. But I just don't see a lot of promise in politicians parroting the word "change" over and over.

"Change" does not promise "improvement" or "better", just a difference. It can go either way and still fulfill the campaign promise of "change".

I suggest that the politicians look closely at the usage of the word and come up with an alternate that more exactly explains what they intend to do. Such as "outright replace such and such system with ...", "refine and tweak an already existing system by ...", or 'scrap the system ... altogether and do without".

Perhaps then we the public will then have a better appreciation and understanding of the differences of each of the canditites, for a change.
Posted By Anonymous Eric, Boca Raton, FL : 3:29 PM ET
The first thing I would like to see changed is that our troops are re-deployed where they can do the most good, which means OUT of Iraq. We should have been focusing on Afghanistan and Pakistan all along. A very, very close second area we need to see change in would be the economy. I believe we are headed for a very bad recession and our leaders are so distracted by other issues that we are sliding into it with increasing momentum. I've been saying this for the past 4 months. It's why I bought a house while the banks were still offerring 'no money down loans' and now I'm gonna hunker down and try to wait out the economic mess that President Shrub and Darth Cheney have gotten us into.
Posted By Blogger Tina : 4:21 PM ET
Eric/AC360:
Change has to happen, otherwise, I am scared about the future of this country.
Posted By Blogger Sharon from Indy : 5:01 PM ET
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