In the current presidential contest, the pundits have often referred to a particular candidate's vision or lack thereof. President Obama has a vision although many people may not like it. Governor Romney often seems to have none or at least none that he is willing to share clearly.
The real question has to do with the other side of the coin: the sacrifices that must be made to achieve a particular vision.
Mr. Obama has been clear. His vision encompasses a European style big government empowered to address all the basic needs of its citizens. Unlike the Republican candidates, he is at least partially willing to talk about the sacrifices which must be made to achieve his vision - more and higher taxes.
Initially, Mr. Obama claims that only the rich must pay more (an easier message to deliver to the middle class). But he too is disingenuous. A European-style welfare state will require everyone to pay more in taxes - a lot more.
Visions require sacrifice.
Remember John Kennedy on America's defense of freedom: "ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."
And Ronald Reagan's "shining city on a hill" was backed up by the Star Wars defense initiative used to defeat the old Soviet Union - we beat them by out spending them.
Unfortunately, in politics, the sacrifices are often intended to be born by someone other than the visionary and those to whom he/she is appealing.