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NUGENT: Can’t buy me love

Votes of America’s wallet-watchers aren’t for sale

- - Saturday, April 23, 2011

As a free market addict who believes capitalism is the most powerful force for quality of life ever devised by man, I believe the price of a product or service is generally set by what the market will bear.

However, when it comes to the incessant political campaigns on the national level, the amount of cash required is staggering. Our politicians spend as much time and money campaigning as they do trying to convince us that they are working hard on our behalf.

Reports say that President Obama's campaign for re-election may raise and spend $1 billion. He won't be alone. The GOP nominee will likely raise the same amount of cash. And I thought $4-a-gallon gas is outrageous.

It won't be long before you start to see what a billion dollars buys. The tsunami of political television and radio commercials will soon begin to flood the airwaves. The amount of political junk mail that will pack our mailboxes may even be enough to postpone the economic collapse of the U.S. Postal Service for another year.

And not a single dime spent on crafty political advertisements will convince me to vote against my political gut instincts and values.

I'll vote for the gal or guy who says Washington is much too large, spends way too much money, taxes far too much and unfairly, who advocates for a balanced budget, has owned or worked for a successful company (not including law firms), and who believes health care and retirement is an individual's responsibility.

The billions that will be spent on the upcoming political campaign are not targeted at me. The money will be spent trying to convince so-called moderates to cast their vote a certain way.

Ironically, even the billions spent on campaigns will, in the end, not matter nearly as much as the money in the wallets of the voters.

Americans vote with their wallets. If their wallets are flush with cash, they generally stick with the same political horse. If their wallets are lean, the incumbent is in big political trouble.

And that is the millstone around President Obama's neck. Out on the campaign trail, his golden tongue may wax eloquently that the economic malaise of high unemployment and even higher underemployment is the fault of President Bush, but that is a tired, out-of-tune ditty.

Young people rallied around Mr. Obama's message of "hope and change" in 2008. With a large percentage of college graduates returning home to live with their parents because there are no good jobs to be had, the idealism they had in 2008 will succumb to harsh economic realities. This too spells trouble for the president.

The GOP candidate faces a split party - stalwart Republicans and Tea Party activists. The nominee's job will be to unite the party while at the same time, spending hundreds of millions courting moderates and telling them happy days will soon be here again.

There is a powerful undercurrent of economic reality that Americans feel. Everyone knows someone who has been laid off, can't find a job or who is underemployed.

Even a billion dollars will not be able to convince Americans otherwise. Their wallets speak loud and clear.

Ted Nugent is an American rock 'n' roll, sporting and political activist icon. He is the author of "Ted, White and Blue: The Nugent Manifesto" and "God, Guns & Rock 'N' Roll" (Regnery Publishing).