Posts Tagged ‘election’

Lately I’ve seen a lot of people saying they hate Mitt Romney or Barack Obama, a lot of negative ads from down-ticket candidates, a lot of politics of division.

I’ve also seen a lot of voter fatigue, a lot of Facebook statuses saying “I’ve quit caring who wins” or “I just want the election to be over”, or worst of all “I’m sitting this one out in protest”.

As ever, there’s a third way. Stop being anti-. You can be pro-someone without having to hate everything the opponent stands for. You can prefer beef and still eat chicken. Or if you really want to protest the two-meat system, get out there and vote for tofu instead of sitting out dinner. If you’re sitting out dinner, you don’t get to bitch about the restaurant.

So let’s try something better. I’ll start.

“I’m voting for Barack Obama next week because despite some mis-steps I believe the effect of his presidency on the country has been positive.
I prefer government to be small where possible, but not so small that the ones who need our help fall through the cracks.
I would like to keep my taxes reasonable, but I’m not willing to lose important programs like Social Security to save a couple of bucks a month.
I believe in the importance of alternative energy programs, and in a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices, and in the right of consenting adults to marry whomever they love, and I believe that our current President better embodies these choices than his opponent.”

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Considering the increasingly obvious phenomenon that the officials we elect to represent us are largely unable or unwilling to do so, I would like to propose the following legislation. In keeping with the cockamamie names often bestowed upon Acts of Congress, I hereby present the Compulsory Limits on Earnings, Assets and Numerous Ulteriors Pending Year End Reporting Act, otherwise known as the CLEANUPYER Act.

Be it resolved that:

a. Upon election to office, an officeholder’s assets shall be placed in a savings account and will lose or gain funds at the end of the officeholder’s term according to the following principles:

  1. For each percentage point gain in the median household income during the officeholder’s term, there will be a corresponding percentage point increase in the saved funds; and
  2. For each percentage point drop in unemployment,  there will be a corresponding percentage point increase in the saved funds; and
  3. For each percentage point increase in the high school graduation rate,  there will be a corresponding percentage point increase in the saved funds; and
  4. The reverse case of all of the above will lead to a corresponding decrease in the saved funds, and;
  5. For each ‘earmark’ requested by an officeholder, there will be a percentage point decrease in the saved funds, and;
  6. Should Congress declare war and the President execute same, there will be a percentage point decrease in the saved funds for every 3 months of the war’s duration; and
  7. Should any legislature adopt this Act, the officeholders voting ‘aye’ will receive a twenty-five point increase in the saved funds in addition to the above provisions.

b. Elected officials shall receive a stipend not to exceed twice the median income of their constituents.

c. Elected officials shall for a period of one year after leaving office be ineligible to take positions with either lobbying firms or industries which have directly benefited from legislation enacted during their term of office.

d. On election day, prospective officeholders will report to a neutral area to await results, refusing contact from lobbyists or other parties which may seek to influence forthcoming legislation.

e. In addition to the existing reporting of campaign contributions, any unaffiliated entity will also disclose the sources of its funding.

It is my fervent hope that there will one day be a government which would pass this Act. Perhaps then I would even begin to trust my government.

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Dear Sirs,


Now that the only one of you with any decency has departed the race, I feel compelled to make the following assertions to you:

  • I will support keeping government out of our boardrooms the day you support keeping it out of our bedrooms.
  • I will believe in corporate personhood the day you make corporations subject to all the restrictions and penalties imposed by law as well as the benefits conferred by it – up to and including the death penalty. Speaking of which…
  •  I will believe that you are pro-life the day you vote to repeal not only Roe v. Wade, but also the death penalty and the Second Amendment. I will believe you are pro-life when you stop trying to gut the EPA and start trying to gut Halliburton Corp. I will believe you are pro-life when you stop saying “Kill America’s enemies” like a brainwashed jihadi.
  • I will believe you are pro-family the day you do something which benefits all America’s families rather than merely the ones you personally find acceptable.
  • I will believe that you are protecting the institution of marriage when a committed couple of 30 years can finally get married for love but Kim Kardashian can’t do it to get a headline.
  • I will believe that you support the free market when you stop rigging it in favor of your campaign donors.
  • I will believe that you want to rein in government spending when the Department Of Defense has to publicly disclose all of its accounting.
  • I will believe that you are in favor of individuals’ freedom when you begin to not only respect but insist upon the separation of church and state.
  • I will believe that your party is worthy of governing when it is no longer (by its own admission!) prioritizing defeating the opposition over bettering the lives of Americans.
  • Last but by no means least, I will consider voting for you when you stop telling me what’s bad about the other guy and start telling me what’s good about you – assuming there’s anything to tell.

President Obama is far from perfect, but as things currently stand, he is still head and shoulders above all of you.

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The drawn-out saga of Minnesota’s 2008 senatorial election appears at last to be coming to a close. Or is it?

After recounts and lawsuits galore, the Minnesota State Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that Alan Stuart Franken is the winner of the hotly-disputed race.

Regrettably, the court stopped short of directly ordering Governor Tim Pawlenty to issue a certificate of election – which leaves an opening for an appeal to the US Supreme Court, the acceptance or refusal of which would fall under the purview of Bush appointee Justice Samuel Alito.

I truly hope that having now been ruled the winner by the state’s highest court, Franken can be allowed to do the job which has been waiting for EIGHT MONTHS. I would want someone finally doing that job even if Franken were not a Democrat.

That said, that 60th vote does make the victory a little sweeter.

Edit to above: Coleman has in fact conceded, and the state of Minnesota has the second Senator to which it is constitutionally entitled. Congratulations to Al Franken on what he must hope will be the biggest fight of his political career.

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Oh, sure. I put up a politics-related post, and some misfit senator has to go and make a party switch. Way to go, Arlen Specter. Thanks for ensuring that you’re the only political thing anyone wants to read about on a day when I posted about something entirely else.

Aw, who am I kidding? It’s pretty sweet. The Senate has another Democrat. Admittedly, it’s a guy who was the Dems’ easiest target when they needed to win a vote from across the aisle, but it serves to send the message that the Republican Party is increasingly becoming a minority party simply due to their incessant attempts to play to the hysterical far-right base.

This switch doesn’t mean that much in terms of the actual votes. Sure, the Republicans don’t really have the option to threaten a filibuster any more (especially if/when Coleman runs out of options and Franken finally gets seated), but Specter and the other more moderate Senators on both sides will still be voting their consciences rather than sticking to the party line. Otherwise, nobody would actually give a flying fuck about Senator Nelson other than his Nebraska constituents.

What this means, perhaps crucially, is that in 2010, when Specter is up for re-election, he will probably get the Democratic party nomination and beat Pat Toomey handily. Had he stayed Republican, Toomey would probably have beaten him out in the primary and the Senate would have lost a longtime voice of reason. (NB: by ‘reason’, I mean an intelligent, level-headed moderate. I don’t always agree with Specter, but I don’t hold with extreme ideologues on either side.)

Despite the general inclination to vote his conscience, though… in order to consolidate his position as a Democrat, Specter may throw his backing behind some of the more crucial reforms of the Obama agenda which he otherwise might not have; this would make it all the more likely that he gets the nod in ’10.

So welcome to the party of Yes, Arlen Specter. Good to have you.

Now if we could just get Norm Coleman to FREAKING QUIT ALREADY. YOU LOST. GET OVER IT.

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However any of us may have voted, few can deny that Barack Obama is a phenomenal and inspirational public speaker; his acceptance speech on Tuesday night took millions of people on a wild ride from somber reflection to unbridled optimism, along the way taking in patriotism, the love of family, and the willingness to reach out to all of humankind in search of a better tomorrow. There were few dry eyes left in Grant Park that night, and no small number of tears shed across the nation and the globe.

His speech managed, despite its brevity, to evoke Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., among others, and left a feeling that Obama truly wishes to set the bar that high and intends to meet it.

It is perhaps fitting, though, that Lincoln is receiving the lion’s share. One of the high points of Obama’s speech recalled the words of the Gettysburg Address, where Lincoln said: “this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom […] government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” A fellow President from Illinois, Lincoln paved the way for African-Americans to take their rightful places in American society, a process which many consider to have had its culmination on Tuesday night. Also of note is that overtures to Lincoln bespeak the wish for greater bipartisan cooperation; for a Democratic President-elect to so honor the founder of the Republican party is a massive step.

As the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth approaches – indeed, it will be shortly after Obama takes office – it is all too appropriate that the chosen theme for the Inaugural Address is “A New Birth Of Freedom”, and that Obama will face the Lincoln Memorial as he takes his Oath of Office.

Considering the power of his acceptance speeches, both for the party nomination and for the Presidency, I can’t wait to hear him speak on January 20th.

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The dust is finally settling. Democrats now have the White House, and majorities in both Houses of Congress. If you’re bothering to read this, you undoubtedly know what happened in your neck of the woods, so I’m not going to re-hash the results themselves.

Nor am I going to talk at length about the crucial factors that made the difference; suffice it to say that a more organized campaign, a massive get-out-the-vote operation, the economic collapse, a nationwide feeling of Bush fatigue and, yes, race all played hefty roles.

I will say this: I have for a long time had a great deal of respect for Senator McCain. Unfortunately, Candidate McCain wasn’t even the same man, and lost a great deal of that respect as the campaign wore on.

What is far more important than all of the above is what the result actually MEANS for the country. We have, in our President-elect, a man with a great deal of intelligence and charisma, but a notable lack of experience. This is offset by the vast experience Joe Biden brings to the table, and the immensely long list of advisors from whom Obama will hopefully solicit opinions before making his decisions. However, the ultimate authority in many situations will lie with Obama. I desperately hope that he has the wisdom to listen to the advice he is given.

I also desperately hope that Obama’s presidency is a successful one; if not, it could be a substantial setback for subsequent “minority” candidates. The weight of expectation now thrust onto his shoulders is immense, considering both his quasi-messianic status among devotees and the fact that he is inheriting two wars and an economy in crisis. The definition of “success” for the next four years may well be simply a matter of not screwing anything up too badly, but I very much hope to see more. It’s not going to be an easy term, for him or for us, but I do have hope that better days are in store.

I have seen two separate writers, both of whose opinions I greatly respect, refer to the job of President as Persuader-in-Chief. Indeed, it will not be Obama’s job to make the laws (hence the separation of the executive and legislative branches) but he will nonetheless have a role in shaping them. The charm and charisma so often displayed during the campaign may indeed be his most valuable asset as he asks members of Congress and foreign leaders for their support on specific initiatives. A smile and a handshake from “That One” could be as effective as the Majority Whip will be.

One area in which I fervently hope that the Democratic Party make bold steps forward is GLBT rights. Over half the states in the Union now have bans in place on same-sex marriage, and some of them ban or restrict the adoption of children by same-sex couples. However you slice it, this IS discriminatory – a subset of the populace is being denied rights which the rest enjoy. This is not particularly different from the long-gone classification of black people as three-fifths of a person, nor from the restriction on voting rights to men only. I do not contest that the legal frameworks of the nation and the individual states allow for such bans, but I cannot, and will not, accept that they should ever be enacted. Personally, I feel that banning anyone else’s marriage threatens my own far more than allowing it ever could. I also do not accept the argument that allowing same-sex marriages will culminate in people being allowed to marry their pets, or whatever the latest idiocy is. I believe that if you are able to give your informed consent to a marriage, you should be allowed to enter into it, regardless of gender, gender identity or sexuality. 

Another area is lobbying reform. When lawmakers are being offered inducements in return for their votes on legislation, the best interests of the nation are no longer being served. If the special interests are not a factor and members of Congress can vote with their consciences instead of their pocketbooks, we might see real accomplishments.

Due in part to Obama’s race and in part to the polarization of the country, many people have raised the horrific specter of another presidential assassination. We can all pray that this does not transpire, for I do not believe it would do anybody any good. However, it does reinforce the single piece of advice I would give to President-elect Obama, and would ask that he heed above all else: govern each day as though it is your last. Don’t think about re-election in four years, think about what you can do each and every day to make the United States of America better for all its citizens. I believe that four years of operating in this manner will do infinitely more good than eight years without.

Another blogger I read came to these shores with his family while he was still a boy. Last night, his father texted him with the words “THIS is the reason I brought you to America.” Let’s not have that faith – that hope – be in vain.

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Democracy calls!

So here we are. Super Tuesday is just hours away, and all Americans who haven’t already taken advantage of early voting systems are called upon to do their civic duty.

The vast majority of pundits, bloggers and party insiders believe that Obama has this election in the bag, and the only remaining question is how big the margin of victory will be.

This may tempt some people to stay home. Why vote, if the outcome is already a foregone conclusion?

Don’t let yourself think that way; even assuming your vote wouldn’t make the difference for Obama (and it might), there are down-ticket races where one vote could be crucial. My wife and I live in a state which is so far into Obama’s column that it’s almost falling out the other side, a state in which neither Senate seat nor the governor’s mansion is up for grabs – even a congressional district that the Democrats have tightly locked down. But the state Senate is another story. The Republicans have control of the State Senate by one single seat, and our district has a chance to change that. So why stay home? There’s still a difference to be made. Even if you have to get down to school boards, town councils, the small stuff. It’s still important. There’s a reason these things are put to a vote as well as just the Presidency.


So yeah. Get out and vote. And remember, it doesn’t matter who you vote for, as long as you vote for Obama. 🙂

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In order to help me keep my electoral math straight, I created a spreadsheet to track the likely winner of the Presidency next Tuesday, entering my own projections plus data for about a dozen relatively realistic alternate scenarios.

I’m sure I’m not the only one.

I also added in worksheets to track the House, Senate and gubernatorial races (including my projections for each one of the roughly 480 races involved), plus one to provide me a running timetable of when the polls in each state will close.

OK, maybe now I’m the only one.

I think of this as geeky. D thinks I’ve strayed well into nerd territory.

However, if anybody else is inclined to use a tool like this, or just keep it handy as a running scorecard while watching Tuesday’s coverage, let me know and I’ll either put it up for download or email it to you directly.

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Since I’m sure you’ve all been breathlessly awaiting my views on things… 😉

When I first looked at my screen this morning, my thought was that Kerry still had a chance at the presidency. As I checked the state-by-state numbers, I instead grew increasingly convinced that we had another Bush presidency to look forward to.

Hearing at 11 that Kerry had called the president to concede threw me into something of a despondent mood. Overly dramatic statements about moving to Canada or even about the world coming to an end came unbidden to my lips, yet they died there.

The world is NOT coming to an end. I am not moving to Canada. (Probably. Yet.)

It occurred to me about an hour ago that a significant number of great moments in my life have occurred during the last four years. During Bush’s presidency, I went from being a frequently-depressed, heavy-drinking youth to being a happily married man with a great deal more self-respect. In that time, friendships have begun that I would not trade for anything.

The fact of Bush being president didn’t stop me getting my green card. It didn’t block me from studying in the States. It didn’t keep me from living my life like it was worth living, and that’s the sort of thing we need to remember.

We all have temporary setbacks, things that don’t go our way. We lose jobs, we spend more money on gas. For all we know, all the same crap might have happened during a Gore presidency, or even a Nader presidency.

I won’t claim that I’m not disappointed.

I’m disappointed in the American people for being taken in by a lot of religious talk rather than focusing on the actual issues at hand.

I’m disappointed in the youth of the nation for not turning out any more in this election than in the last one.

I’m disappointed in both candidates for running such negative campaigns.

I’m disappointed in John Kerry’s apparent inability to convince… well, anybody very much.

I’m disappointed in George Bush for disregarding anything that doesn’t ultimately come down to oil and/or religion.

I’m disappointed in Ralph Nader… really just for running. At this point, I don’t think it’s even a matter of principle, it’s just an ego trip. Not that Nader dropping out would have helped Kerry any, because, well, see above.

I’m disappointed in the states that opted to ban same-sex marriages. Perhaps one day I’ll understand how two people wanting to marry affects anyone other than those two people themselves, and thus why anyone should have the right to tell them that they can’t.

So it’s over, and now we get to go back to our regular lives. Which would have been true regardless. From the cradle to the grave, our lives are filled with hopes and fears. Had Kerry become President, it would have been a different set of hopes and fears, that’s all. I liked the idea of a Kerry presidency because I fear a regime based on religious principles that not all Americans hold. On the other hand, I was not particularly looking forward to watching Kerry try to make the nation’s most important decisions, since the man would likely get chapped fingers from trying to figure out which way the wind was blowing on any given day, and thus nothing worthwhile would be likely to get accomplished.

Bush is not trying to fuck up the entire world here. If a US President wanted to fuck up the entire world, he wouldn’t need four years. He might need four minutes, and that’s a generous estimate. It could and would have been done if it were on the cards.

I believe that Bush wants stability in the Middle East. Stability wherein all parties provide abundant cheap oil to the US perhaps, but stability nonetheless.

I believe that Bush wants to see an end to large-scale terrorism worldwide. I do not agree with his methods for achieving this, but I believe that he’s trying to get there.

I don’t think Bush is fundamentally evil. I think he’s a man capable of getting himself elected to an office more powerful than I trust him with, but I do not believe that his agenda is actually malicious toward Americans.

I don’t like him; I’ve made no secret of that. However, I think we’ll survive a second term of his presidency.

Kerry’s concession speech, though, I applaud heartily. The United States of America is a divided nation, with a wound that can only be healed with time and due care. Perhaps now politicians on both sides will begin to act as themselves again instead of as representatives of their party. Maybe they’ll even remember that, now that their jobs are secure again, they owe a debt to the people, one repaid by serving the people’s interests to the best of their ability.

Or maybe the Northeast and the West Coast will secede, or become provinces of Canada or something.

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