As you may have heard, Ron Paul is now officially out of the 2008 presidential race, although some would say he was out before he even started. But those same people who might say that are also the same who will vote for either the Republican or Democrat party candidate and expect things to be miraculously different. The only person I'm aware of who actually offered substantive change to the American people, as opposed to just mouthing the word, was Ron Paul. Now that he is out, we can really get down to the business of business as usual.
Not that this surprises me. Americans are fated to follow their present course to its inevitable conclusion: a totalitarian state that mandates and directs practically all facets of life. Heck, we're already well on the way there as it is.
But what happens once we get there, be it in one generation or three? Somewhere down the line, people will realize that the government is made up of nothing more than people, people who can no more circumvent the laws of reality than any individual can. Those who are naive enough to believe a politician's/bureaucrat's promises/lies in exchange for ever-more helpings of their liberty/sovereignty will be bitterly disappointed when they find they have nothing left to give and they are getting a whole lot less than they bargained for. Unfortunately, I think this is the depth the American people will need to sink to before they start looking for true alternatives, not the same old pig with a new makeover.
If it comes to pass, perhaps the financial superstorm that appears to be looming just over the horizon will finally disgust Americans enough to jettison the two main parties (who are looking more and more the same to me every passing year), and embrace, however tentatively, a new approach. This is probably a wildly optimistic hope, but it's one which I still cling to.
Given their past history of behavior, though, I believe the more likely reaction to an economic catastrophe by American voters will be to clamor for more of the same poison that got them into the situation in the first place--government intervention in the economy. This is akin to a junky trying to kick his habit by taking more dope. Sure, they'll feel better for a bit, but when the temporary high is over they'll find the pit they're in has only grown deeper. Eventually, the junky will have to wise up, grow a backbone, realize that life encompasses both pleasure and pain and that it's not one long laugh-fest, and knock the monkey off of his back or he will die. Ditto the American public.
It takes a lot of moral character and courage (and a dollop of intelligence) for an epochal event like that to happen with a people, and I'm not so sure the aggregate of the American population is up to the task. You have no idea how wrong I hope I am.