Use this search box to find articles that have run in our newspapers over the last several years.

Hoping third party gets first place

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

It may be great fodder for the radio talk shows and the parade of pundits on television, but I really don't care if Senator Clinton is playing some sort of mind game with Senator Obama about the possibility of picking him to be her running mate, even though he is in the lead. This is not a real issue.

The two Democratic candidates have spoken very little in the past few weeks about the things that really matter to Americans. Instead, we've had Clinton attacking Obama and Obama continuing his hope and change rhetoric. It's just a lot of noise.

It's driven me to consider voting for Ralph Nader.

I keep waiting for one of them to talk about the war in Iraq, the home mortgage crisis, the energy crisis or the decline in the dollar's value. Or how about saying what they would do to re-build New Orleans and the Gulf Coast and how they would keep jobs here in this country.

For me, the issue of jobs is the key to the nation's success. To re-build the middle class, we need good jobs. To have a pathway from poverty, we need jobs.

While doing the research for my book on Springfield, it became more and more apparent to me the city's slow slide to its present state came from the erosion of its manufacturing sector. As early as 1954, when the Indian Motorcycle Company stopped production, the city has lost jobs.

Consider these blows: the closing of the Armory in 1968 followed by the closing of Westinghouse in 1970 and American Bosch in 1986.

With each of these closings the firm middle class in the city became weaker and weaker. How would these well-paying jobs be replaced? With positions at Wal-Mart? McDonald's?

Consider a city like Chicopee when it lost the Uniroyal tire plant. There was not only the loss of jobs from the factory itself, but also the ancillary income that went to retail shops and restaurants.

Without the ability to make a decent wage, how can our standard of living be maintained? How can we fight hunger, infant mortality and the other ravages of poverty?

Mike Dukakis once had a vision when he was governor that Massachusetts would replace its manufacturing jobs with high-tech jobs and the Commonwealth would have an economy split between high tech and service jobs. This was back in the heyday of Digital, Wang and other computer companies. It never happened, did it?

I guess it was a good thing he didn't become president.

We need a diversified job base. We need to reverse our trade deficit by making what we need here, not in China. We need local agriculture. We need local energy development.

Why aren't the candidates talking about these issues? Because it's easier and safer to spout off about stuff that doesn't matter, but makes a great headline in a news cycle.


Hey, I got my Social Security statement the other day. Did you get yours?

You know what I mean? That cheery little newsletter that lets you know how much money you're going to get when you retire?

Does it depress you? It did me. Now my wife and I have other retirement accounts, but I have to say that in order to get my maximum benefit, I'll have to work to 70.

I guess 70 is going to be the new 65.

And based on what I'm getting I better get used to the taste of cat food on Ritz! I'll just tell my friends it's pate ! Although Lucky the Wonder Bichon's food looks and smells better than the cat food.

This column represents the opinions of its author. Send your comments online to or to 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, Mass. 01028.