Who Will Peddle the Most Outrageous Campaign Promises?

In his essay, The Politician, which H. L. Mencken gave in a lecture at the Institute of Arts and Sciences of Columbia University on January 4, 1940, Mencken had this to say about politicians.

They will all promise every man, woman and child in the country whatever he, she or it wants.  They’ll all be roving the land looking for chances to make the rich poor, to remedy the irremediable, to succor thhe unsuccorable, to unscramble the unscrambleable, to dephlogisticate the undephlogisticable.  They will all be curing warts by saying words over them, and paying off the national debt with money that no one will have to earn…The winner will be whoever promises the most with the least probability of delivering anything.

Mencken’s words immediately came to mind this morning when I read the following words uttered by Barack Obama as he stumps across the land promising the heavens to devotees and possible converts.

Obama proposed that the government pay for 10 percent of domestic automakers’ health-care costs for retired workers through 2017 if the firms plow half the savings into equipment for making more efficient cars and trucks. Obama’s campaign estimates that this would cost taxpayers roughly $7 billion over the next 10 years.

In addition, Obama proposed tax incentives for retooling auto assembly plants and the extension of tax credits for hybrid vehicles beyond the current 60,000-cars-per-manufacturer limit. His campaign put the 10-year cost of his plan at $20 billion and said it would be covered by auctioning greenhouse gas permits under a cap-and-trade program that Obama also supports.

Your vote, your soul, and your dollars bought for a promise, at the expense of your lives.

Obama Makes Push For Fuel Efficiency

Oh, and nice, green user friendly headline, too.

H. L. Mencken quote taken from my copy of A Mencken Chrestomathy, 8. Government, The Politician, pg. 168

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