What if the principal parties’ candidates for president really agree more than they disagree?
What if they both support the authority of the federal government to spy on Americans without search warrants? What if they both support confining foreigners, uncharged and untried, in Guantanamo Bay? What if they both believe the president can arrest without charge and confine without trial any American he hates or fears?
What if they both believe in secret courts — kept away from the public and the press — that can take away the rights of Americans? What if they both think the president can disregard the Constitution when it comes to the rights of those the government has confined to speedy trials, to confront witnesses and evidence against them, and to counsel of their choosing? What if they both believe the government can use evidence obtained under torture at trials in American courts? What if they both think the president can incarcerate those he once prosecuted, even after acquittal?
What if both major presidential candidates believe they can fight any war, assassinate any foe or assault any country using the military or the CIA, and they need not ask Congress for a declaration of war as the Constitution requires, nor account to Congress or the public as the law requires? What if they both want American troops to remain in Afghanistan, even though no foreign country in history has successfully done so, and even though the culture in Afghanistan is as lawless, as vicious to women and children and as harmless to America today as it was when President George W. Bush invaded it in 2001?
What if they both think this costly and fruitless war — the longest in American history — is somehow good for American freedom and security, even though most Americans do not? What if they both refuse to understand that the longer we are killing people in foreign lands who can cause us no real harm the more likely it is that people from those lands will come here and bring us real harm?
What if they both believe in adding to the government’s $16 trillion debt and letting future generations deal with paying it back? What if they both want to have the feds spend more money next year than the feds are spending this year? What if they both accept FDR- and LBJ-style entitlements, even though they are nowhere authorized by the Constitution and there are not enough present-day workers to tax in order to pay for them?
What if President Obama wants to raise taxes by increasing some tax rates on the rich? What if Mitt Romney wants to raise taxes by eliminating some tax deductions available to the rich? What if raising taxes on anyone in a recession will cause higher unemployment?
What if they both believe in borrowing newly printed money from the Federal Reserve in order to fund the government? What if Mr. Obama is of the view that the federal government can tell you how to live and keep you from becoming too rich? What if Mr. Romney wants to make the same federal government more effective and efficient at what it does?
What if Mr. Obama is really a Marxist who rejects personal freedom, natural rights and private property? What if Mr. Romney is really an empty suit who doesn’t know or won’t say what he believes? What if Mr. Obama really wants all health care providers to work for the federal government? What if Mr. Romney spent the entire presidential primary season condemning Obamacare, only to say this past weekend that there are parts of it he really likes and will endeavor to retain?
What if Mr. Obama wants federal bureaucrats to ration health care and decide who lives and who dies? What if Mr. Romney spent the entire presidential primary season running against conservative and libertarian opponents and arguing that only the free market or the states should address health care, but earlier this week accepted a major federal role in its management?
What if Mr. Obama will have the feds tell you what doctor to see and tell the doctor what procedures to administer? What if Mr. Romney consistently blasted the concept that Congress can constitutionally force you to buy health care coverage you don’t want to buy, but now accepts the concept that Congress can constitutionally force insurance companies to sell you health care coverage they don’t want to sell?
What if the system is fixed? What do we do about it?
Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. He is author of “It Is Dangerous to Be Right When the Government Is Wrong: The Case for Personal Freedom” (Thomas Nelson, 2011).
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