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More than a gut check needed in presidential campaign

Now that The Donald and the Bern have turned campaign 2016 upside down it’s time to ask the tough questions.

The Donald is promising us that “America will be great” again and the Bern is promising free college and single payer. It’s a campaign from Right to Left run on the steroids of “promises, promises.” How are they going to deliver and pay for their promises? 

As they say, the devil is in the details.

The promises made also obscure the need to balance rights and responsibilities. We want many things, but what are we willing to sacrifice for a more perfect union?

I’ve checked both the Trump and Sanders websites and, unlike presidential candidates in past campaigns, they have no “issues” papers on their websites which outline their positions and explain how they will deliver on their promises, how much it will cost taxpayers nor how they will navigate a Congress which will not change in 2016 since most members of the House and Senate have “safe seats.” Russ Dondero

Voters beware — do your homework — kick the tires, check under the hood and ask yourself which candidate not only has the rhetoric you like but which one has the temperament, expertise and common sense to chart a course for all Americans beginning the day they take the oath of office on January 20, 2017.

Which candidates have the capacity to use what Richard Neustadt called presidential “power stakes” to be President? 

Normally one would be inclined to say, “Listen to your gut.” But given the climate of anger and distrust in this country, more than a gut check is called for. What we need are civil discourse and a reality check. Right now we have Red and Blue voters acting like trains at full throttle passing in the night.

In Oregon we’ve been distracted by a volatile and divisive Wild West melodrama taking place near Burns at the Malheur Field Station, which illustrates what happens when insensate anger enabled by social media takes center stage. I’m glad it’s ended before the campaign circus comes to Oregon in our May primary.

In the ‘60s too many sowed their wild oats or went off to war not seeing the quagmire ahead of them. We must do better than that in 2016 — otherwise a new generation of Americans will have “buyer’s remorse” down the road of unmet or high-risk promises.

As Ed Murrow said: “Good night and good luck.”  

As part of the Forest Grove Library’s cultural programs series, retired political science professor Russ Dondero will talk about campaign 2016 at 7 p.m. in the Rogers Room March 1.