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Despite the inordinate quantity of press coverage about next year’s presidential election, attention to TV debates and the consuming desire of the media to predict who will win in 2012, the polls show that no candidate in either party is reaching 50 percent of public support.

Meanwhile, the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, conducted jointly by Democrats and Republicans, reports that 74 percent of Americans think our government is taking us in the wrong direction, and only 17 percent think we are on the right track. Other polls are similar, with Gallup reporting 85 percent dissatisfied with the way our country is headed, and only 13 percent satisfied.

The locals are restless, the grass roots are demanding change, and the tea partiers are expecting results – but Congress is stalemated, and President Obama spends his time fundraising and campaigning for his own re-election. Why hasn’t any candidate been able to ride citizen dissatisfaction into majority support?

I recommend that every presidential candidate read three books to understand why they don’t get it. First, they should read the best book about Barack Obama, “Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism,” which explains how he became a socialist while attending Columbia University.

Nobody knew anything about what was called the “lost chapter” of Obama’s life until a real scholar, Stanley Kurtz, did the original research. The highlight of the research was a 1985 Socialist Scholars Conference addressed by Frances Fox Piven (known for advocating the Cloward-Piven strategy of killing capitalism by loading more and more people on welfare).

The presidential candidates should then read two books that explain in depressing detail why grass-roots Americans are convinced that our government is taking us in the wrong direction and over a cliff before our children and grandchildren will ever achieve the American dream. Those two new books are “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?” by Patrick J. Buchanan and “After America: Get Ready for Armageddon” by Mark Steyn.

Those books will help the candidates understand and maybe even develop some empathy for the Americans whose votes they seek and must have if they are to win.

Buchanan explains how the America most adults grew up in is fast disappearing. Americans resent the dictatorial, undemocratic way that elitists in the media, academia, the bureaucracy and the courts have spit on the foundations of our culture.

Those elite opinion sources have carried on a war against our Judeo-Christian faith, traditional marriage and our patriotic belief that America is exceptional and should be militarily superior. They have trashed and tried to abolish symbols we cherish such as the Pledge of Allegiance, the Ten Commandments and a cross erected in a public place to honor our veterans.

Those same elitists, using the power of government, have destroyed the economic stability of the family by legalizing unilateral divorce, giving enormous taxpayer subsidies to single moms that discriminate against marriage, adopting so-called free-trade policies that shipped millions of good jobs overseas, importing millions of foreigners from Third World countries to take the remaining jobs away from Americans, and enforcing so-called affirmative action policies that discriminate against white men. They are replacing e pluribus unum with what Theodore Roosevelt warned against: unrestrained immigration that will make us “a polyglot boarding house for the world.”

Buchanan is eloquent in describing the coordinated attack on Christian America and its replacement with the new religion of diversity, using the language of political correctness. Equality, a French-Revolution word, has been elevated to become our national goal instead of liberty.

Buchanan cherishes the hope that our political leaders will, in time, recognize that enough Americans still want to remain one nation under God and one people united by history, heritage and language. He gives specific suggestions for how we can avoid driving off the cliff into national suicide.

Mark Steyn’s book delivers the same message, but in his uniquely different and delightful style. As Ann Coulter said, “Only Mark Steyn can write about the decline of America and leave you laughing.”

Steyn is particularly critical of the failure of our educational system. In 1940, a majority of Americans were schooled only from grade one to grade eight, and they grew up to be the greatest generation.

Now the plan is to keep kids in school from pre-Kindergarten until their mid or late 20s, laden with debt and coached to accept dependence rather than liberty. And worse, it isn’t clear they have learned anything useful.

Steyn puts it to us bluntly: We can rediscover the animating principles of limited government, a self-reliant citizenry, and the freedom to exploit our talents, or we can join the rest of the world in terminal decline. His message is, “If you want a happy ending, it’s up to you. Your call, America.”

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