New year gives many options for leadership

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The issue: Voters may cast ballots in at least two elections.

Our position: Become an intelligent voter and move beyond the fast talk.

Many people will watch today’s results in the Iowa primary votes on both sides of the party line.

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Candidates seeking the nomination of their parties as the Republican or Democratic for president have inundated Iowa, seeking the vote.

Politicians on the national, state and local levels have the tendency to get bogged down in their rhetoric. If it sounds good, and if people respond to it, then the same phrase will be used over and over again.

Politicians also have a tendency to use half-truths. The spin makes all the difference.

In consideration of the upcoming presidential primary in this state, voters need to ask questions.

Here’s an example from CQ Politics, a political Web site at Recently, Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama said, &8220;Gas prices have never been higher, and Exxon Mobil’s profits have never been higher.&8221;

Actually, this is a bit of hyperbole on Obama’s part. Obama was trying to get down on the level with folks who are irate about gas prices. He made the statement to a group of people in Iowa the day after Christmas.

Politifacts rates this a false on the truth-o-meter.

In March 1981, gas hit $1.42 a gallon, which would, with inflation factored in, mean $3.38 per gallon, a senior analyst for the Energy Information Administration told Politifacts.

Even if you don’t factor in inflation, Obama forgot that in May 2007, prices raised to $3.218 per gallon, which is the highest, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Now, about the Exxon Mobil claim. The company earned record profits of $39.5 billion in 2006, and those earnings continued through the first quarter of 2007.

But Politifacts analyzed the company’s quarterly statements, which shows in the second quarter, Exxon Mobil’s sales fell billions short of predictions, and profits dropped in the third quarter.

While Exxon Mobil ended up the year with profits of $29 billion, they weren’t an all-time record high.

Obama isn’t the only candidate to have the truth-o-meter applied.

Last month, Sen. Hillary Clinton, another Democrat for president, told a half-truth in a shopping center parking lot when she declined to sign a dollar bill for a shopper.

The Treasury Department says &8220;defacement of currency&8221; is against the law, according to Politifacts, but it talks about mutilating, cutting, disfiguring, and not anything about writing on it.

In fact, Title 18, Section 333 of the federal law could have been applied to President Bill Clinton, who signed the same dollar bill. Oh, and many treasury secretaries have signed dollar bills.

The question usually stands as : Did it really deface the bill so a business or vending machine wouldn’t take it?

Clinton could have signed the dollar without fear of the fine and jail time.

Again, these are a couple of examples. Every candidate has had a slip of the tongue and wandered over to the muffed truth side.

Voters need to realize this and depend on themselves to be truth keepers.

No matter how smooth or handsome or nice the candidate might be, that person needs your vote.

It’s also a good practice to question candidates in any race. If that candidate makes a claim or a promise, query the person until you’re satisfied.

After all, it’s the candidate searching for the vote and not the other way around. If, indeed, someone wants to become a servant of the people, then the campaign is a good place to begin.

And, before an individual can cast a vote, that person has to be registered to vote. Take the time to check. If you’re unsure, go down to the voter registration office . It only takes a minute.