Less fluff please, politicians! Tell us something concrete

Alan Duff

What the American people want are solutions. What they don’t need is more empty rhetoric. What I want is for politicians to stop using the most generalizable, vague and larger-than-life statements that contain no discernible policy.

The solution is for politicians to also be real Americans, just like you and me. We need someone who understands the plight of the average American worker, and one of these million-dollar candidates will surely be able to do just that. I’m sure of it.

As you can see, I’ve said a whole lot of nothing, and it was most likely frustrating. So when I waited in line to listen to Mitt Romney, only to hear statements such as, “the American people want X or demand Y,” it felt empty. There were no clear specifics of what Romney’s actual solutions were besides undoing Obama’s work.

Consequently, I left Romney’s speech unsatisfied, as did many of my colleagues. However, this empty rhetoric in speeches isn’t something that Romney alone is guilty of. Politicians from Obama to Santorum churn out speeches like this all of the time. These speeches can be easily identified because they are all fluff and no substance.

For some parts of a campaign, that’s fine. Who doesn’t find campaign phrases such as “Who would you rather sit down and have a beer with?” or “Change” compelling, though admittedly overly general?

Campaign speeches, however, need some form of substantive platform for citizens to grasp so they understand why they should vote for a candidate.

Take for example Romney’s closing remarks: “The dreamers can dream a little bigger, the help wanted signs can be dusted off and we can start again. And this time we’ll get it right; join me, walk together this Tuesday and take another step until Nov. 6.”

Any politician could have said that and no one would have been able to tell the difference.

Honestly, empty rhetoric sounds good and there’s a reason it’s employed. It’s what supporters of candidates like to hear, plus no one gets offended. The politician does nothing new or bold, but rather safely emphasizes the same generalizations the same way that pop artists never try anything new.

But it doesn’t help those of us in the middle, trying to decide which candidate to support. I want to know the reasons why I should vote for a candidate instead of hearing some supposedly omniscient politician talk about how he or she somehow knows what all 308 million of us want and need.

That’s what this rhetoric implies and it’s an unsettling idea. Unfortunately come the fall election cycle, we will probably see an increase instead of a decrease in all this empty rhetoric once the Democrats and Republicans fully start their campaigns and speeches against each other.

There are some simple solutions to solving the speech problem however. Candidates could phrase their rhetoric differently to imply what their own policies are: “I believe that X would be best for the American people because of Y.”

While many pundits like to hear empty rhetoric, and it may sound good, the American voter should not have to cast their votes based off of general statements and by which candidate gives the most general and nice-sounding speeches. Rather, American voters should be able to actually decide who provides the policies and plans that best fit with their personal beliefs.