The Presidential election campaign is driving forward in full throttle. The leading candidates appear to be John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and Barak Obama along with Ralph Nader. Senator Clinton says she is "ready to start on day one," that she has had 35 years of "experience," and she says she has been "fighting for" ... hmm? And Senator Obama, considered to be the most liberal Senator in the US Senate, has heralded "hope and change" but from what, to what? Or, it is just a vapor of "hope-steria?" And Senator McCain has had a change of heart on several issues, and he is attempting to find the conservative heart of the matter. But "hope," that word has emerged as a centerpiece for this election as far as the drive-by media is concerned. But "hope for what?" The answer seems to lie in the details and on what side of the liberal/conservative continuum you stand. This piece will look at the liberal side of hope and a subsequent column will examine the conservative side of the issues.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "We judge a person's wisdom by one's hope." So true! All of we have hope, but we also have the ability and opportunity to make choices. One person's hope might be another person's nightmare. The two liberal candidates, Obama and Clinton, if they had it their way, HOPE for a time when people are more beholden to government. "Dependency" is the word. As far as many liberals see it, the government knows best and will tell you what you need to know, how to do it, and when to do it. Further, their call is to "reign in the corporations" and big business interests. This rhetoric against corporations is hollow thinking. The call for excess profits tax will reduce supply and spikes prices. Those who favor windfall taxes are by default favoring higher prices. What is necessary is to have corporative infrastructure and capitalism. As they see it, we need to tax the rich, spend more on entitlements, create more government jobs, increase government spending, raise substantially the minimum wage, and economically level the playing field. They want to manage the economy, rather than letting the free enterprise system grow the economy. As they see it, balancing the public budget is a reactionary theme of the past. And after all, they are about the "future" and "hope."

Their hope is to call for amnesty and issue driver licenses to illegal immigrants in order to bring them "out of the shadows." And further, their hope is to see that the English language is not declared as the official language of the US Government. Their hope is to weaken substantially the structure of foreign intelligence. And that is, by the way, the very critical intelligence which has foiled any number of horrific type of attacks by foreign murdering terrorists on our homeland since 9/11. These same liberals hope to reduce nationally security by reducing and weakening our military and minimizing the size of our armed forces. They call for granting US Constitutional rights to foreign terrorist suspects and mercenaries who are being held for high war crimes against humanity. And their big hope is to wave the white flag in Iraq, by surrendering to the murdering thugs who are out to destroy freedom and liberty to the men, women, and children in their fledgling nation. Now, what kind of hope is that? That is not hope that is capitulation.

And their hope goes to various social and domestic issues. The liberals see universal national health care as a panacea, where a government bureaucracy selects your physician and the time, place, and manner of treatment. They call for greater control of hand guns, taking them out of the hands of all law abiding citizens. They have a vision where choice and privacy trumps life and breath and for the restructuring of education because, in their opinion, "it takes a village to raise a child." They have a hope for greater regulations controlling the markets, subsidizing certain commodities, and there is no plan to find alternative sources of energy. Further, there is the hope to build in certain price controls, increase the number of earmarks for special interests, and building in additional entitlements, which have a tendency to snuff our individual initiative. And further, they see global warming evidence as solid "undisputable questionable evidence" based upon "opinion" where the datum is disputable by scientific analysis. But then hope trumps data.

Domestically, these same liberals hope to impose their views on AmericaŚnot by popular vote, which is the way it is supposed to be done in a democracy, but by "gaming" the legal system. They know they will never, ever, achieve all their goals on "Election Day." So, their strategy is to rely on activist appointed left wing judges to the Supreme Court who will bring about secular changes in our laws by "rewriting" the Constitution.

Coincidentally, it was Norma Thomas, a leading American socialist of the last century, who said, "The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism, but under the name of liberalism they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program until one day America will be a socialist nation without even knowing how it happened." As we see it, to use smoke and mirrors and hysteria to mislead the public is morally wrong. Is that the "hope" to which they refer? Ronald Reagan would encourage us to "just say no" to socialism and its bedfellow of liberalism.

Hope, change, vision? You bet, without these three, there is no progress. But we add a fourth dimension, which transcends all others: MORAL COURAGE. For we must have the courage to do what we know is MORALLY right. And that is how we see it FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE.