Bribery is the lifeblood of democracy. The President of these United States, putatively known as the Leader of the Free World, is chosen not for his commitments to liberty, constitutional rule of law or limited government. Instead we bear embarrassing witness to Mitt and Barry jousting for the votes of the five percent who will decide the election based upon promises of government swag. Pell Grants! Cash to Planned Parenthood! Cheaper gasoline! Pick me! No, pick me!

These five percenters are not ideologues. Indeed, they are eminently pragmatic. They rightly suspect that the robust tax-and-spend programs of the Left will lead to our collective financial ruin. At the same time, and without apparent dissonance, they see a big government pie and want their piece.

Barry’s job should be the easy one. His is the party of bribes. Democrats are legendarily famous for showering their constituencies with free food, free houses, free phones, free mortgages, free salaries, free health care, free venture capital loans and of course free salamander crossings.

Mitt’s job is less enviable. He must keep close his herd of limited government types but tread in the middle long to entice the five percent. Ethanol, you say? Sure, we got that! Sorry, I didn’t mean a flat tax, just a flatter tax. You can keep all of your deductions!

I think the five percenters paradoxically want both. They want the wholesomeness of libertarianism drizzled with sweet nectar of free stuff. They want to claim fiscal sobriety while enjoying a few drinks on the house. At the same time they unselfconsciously blame various Presidents and Congresses for incurring $16,000,000,000,000.00 in debt.

And the five percenters, hiding behind the plus-size skirt of a well-bribed democracy, always manage to escape comment. And blame.

Benjamin Gross
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