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Let's face facts. On Nov. 4, most Americans are hoping to elect a magician, not a president. They want someone who can wave a magic wand and make everything better.

They want someone who can repair the damage to their 401Ks and restore the lost equity in their homes. They want an end to unemployment, the eradication of poverty and the economy brought back from the brink. Heck, why not even a cure for cancer while we are at it?

As the wand is waved, education will improve, the DOW will soar, lazy people will desire to work, banks will never fail and gasoline will drop to $1 per gallon. Maybe we can even expect the magician to cleanse the corruption out of Wall Street, stop crime and leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Of course these folks must keep in mind that a good magician's stock-in-trade is his ability to use deception in such a way as to make his audience believe what their eyes are witnessing. He must make sure to keep them distracted by something else just long enough to get them to buy into what he is declaring he can do. Yet his claim has no basis in reality, and when the show finally ends nothing has changed.

I never thought I would live long enough to see Americans become so focused on the economy and their pocketbooks that both trump every other important issue we face.

What about the huge burden we suffer as a result of 15 million illegal aliens or the constant threat posed by radical Islam? Can you imagine what is going through the mind of Jihadists as they watch Americans fixate over the loss of wealth and jobs? They sit in their caves, without running water or electricity, salivating over how the great Satan is ripe for the picking as our love of money has distracted us from their virulent hatred.

We have long-term challenges like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security that now exceed $53 trillion. Yet these don't get a mere mention on the campaign trail from either of the magicians who would have us believe they can fix all the problems by simply cutting taxes and creating jobs. How about cutting government spending?

That would take a miracle, not just a magician.

When a 47-year-old, untested, rock-star senator from Chicago with no practical experience is considered a viable alternative to a well-tested, seasoned politician with years of on-the-job training, then we have really slipped in our discernment of reality.

I am no fan of John McCain. I have made that very clear. But given the alternative of Barack Obama, I cannot see why this race is even close. Yet it is indicative of a people who are angry, scared and desperate for leadership that will change the direction of the country – even if it ends up being for the worse.

The desperation is so irrational Pennsylvania citizens are willing to again vote for Jack Murtha – a man who refers to them as racist rednecks and our troops as murderers and rapists. I know he brings home a lot of pork-barrel spending, but come on already. How can anyone even consider such a cretin for another term?

Or maybe we should look to Minnesota to see the level of insanity that fear and anger are producing in the hearts of the voters. Minnesotans, if the polls are right, may send a left-wing bomb thrower who failed as a talk-show host for Air America to the U.S Senate?

This is the same man who shared a microphone with other left-wing radicals calling for the assassination of President Bush – people who "prayed" that Vice President Cheney would die of a heart attack and claimed Tony Snow's cancer was payback. Al Franken (a.k.a. Stuart Smalley) would be one of 100 senators making decisions for our future.

But this is all part of the times in which we live.

Neither one of the men running for president can do anything to magically fix the mess we are in, unless one of them can find a way to create an atmosphere in where we will all once again believe in each other and the greatness of America. We don't need government programs, higher taxes, bailouts or cash injections into the system. We need a giant dose of confidence, not smoke and mirrors and not glitz and glamour.

We have to start believing in ourselves again.

I want a president who believes in what is real and who is willing to tell the American people the truth even if it makes him unpopular. America needs a person who will lead by example and is willing to do the heavy lifting along side his fellow citizens – not a president who claims if we vote for him, all will be well. If only we would just believe.

Make no mistake about it, no man or woman is able to fix America overnight. It is going to take time, energy and sacrifice to repair the damage done over the years – years in which the top priorities have been greed, wealth and ease at any cost.

The only question to ask ourselves between now and November is, which of these men do we trust to refocus the country on its greatness? Which man will provide answers and not blame? Which one believes in individual freedoms and the creativeness of the American people?

That is who we need.

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