|Ninth Inning in the World Series of Politics
Now that the presidential debates are behind us, the time has come to buckle down to the season's real business.
The World Series.
No, no - just teasing.
The business at hand is deciding whom to vote for in the presidential campaign.
It's easy in Maryland to feel shortchanged politics-wise because we have so few close races on the ballot. What's more, the Democratic candidate for the White House almost always whips the Republican in Maryland, much like the American League shellacked the Orioles the last couple of summers.
(Sorry, we can't get baseball out of our brains.)
This political campaign already has gone on longer than the baseball season. When the Iowa caucuses opened the presidential season last January, pitchers and catchers hadn't yet reported for spring training.
Unfortunately, people are looking at this election like the Subway Series - two teams from the same city. In Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George Bush, many voters see two young and attractive politicians who are moderate in their views and who would steer the country in similar directions.
There's a view out there that you could flip a coin before entering the voting booth on November 7 and it wouldn't make a whole lot of difference.
Eenie meenie, minie mo.
How wrong that view is. Between now and Election Day, we intend to put down our baseball mitts long enough to tell you about a few of the monumental differences this election could make - in the environment, in matters like choice and distribution of wealth. In your lives.
In Al Gore and George W. Bush, there is a bedrock difference in views about the role of government in our lives. One believes in government that aggressively helps people solve problems, like environmental protection and sprawl. The other believes that government should intrude less and trust more in the good of people and corporations to voluntarily do what's right.
One candidate trusts women with the full responsibility of choice. The other believes those choices should be restricted by government's rules.
One sees tax cuts disrupting our economy and assisting those who need help the least. The other believes that we ought to cut taxes deeply and, in fairness, give back the brunt of the money to the well-heeled who gave it in the first place.
We won't presume to tell you which of these views is more valid, just like we don't endorse political candidates. But we would remind you that there's a world of difference between this year's White House hopefuls - and that, shortly, it will be time for you to step up to the plate.