If you don't like preachiness, stop reading now.  I'm about to write about the connections between performance-enhancing drugs and politics.

Of course athletes have been using steroids and HGH.  They, make that we, have been pounded with the message that one can achieve success and avoid the hard work simply by taking some sort of drug.

Since Boomerdom we've been conditioned to believe we can smoke, swallow or inject our way to a quick fix.  So it was a no-brainer for the modern baseball player to be tempted by performance enhancers.  They are a much easier path to hit home runs than the tedious and painful regimens that had become so quaintly obsolete.

Why deal with any difficulty when it can be smoked, drunk, swallowed or injected away?

The candidates have their own version of this.  They are quick to decry the harsh realities that confront this country: healthcare, education, you name it. But when it comes to solution time, the remedies are noteworthy for their painlessness.

The only people who will have to pay for the repairs are someone else. It is political death to suggest that any of us will have increased taxes or decreased services.  If anybody even hints at that, his or her opponents pounce and he or she retreats to the narcotic of feel-good policies.

The problem is that like steroids, these approaches mask our weaknesses as our country gets more and more flabby.

Tortured analogies aside, we truly need our leaders to exert more, dare I say it,  leadership,  if we are ever going to regain the strength to make the United States what it promises to be. The first thing we should do is be honest about the heavy lifting it's going to take.