30 October 2010

Devil's Night on the Campaign Trail

Just a few Devil's Night thoughts about the upcoming election...

  • Should Mark Kirk be elected to the US Senate from Illinois — and, at present, the race is rather too close to call — I will be writing separately to demand that he resign his commission as a Naval Reserve officer. Officer promotions — and particularly to O-6, the next promotion available to Mr Kirk — are voted on by the Senate. Being a member of the "collegial" body that would approve a potential next promotion is an unacceptable conflict of interest.

    Of course, that would represent a new first for Mr Kirk in any event: Recognizing, and taking action to avoid, a conflict of interest.

  • I already voted. Don't even try to convince me of anything; or ask for whom/what I voted (what part of "secret ballot" do you so-called "reporters" and "pollsters" not understand? you're going to get accurate results in a few days or less).
  • I despise the American take on the "two-party system," for a very simple reason: The two parties are merely slightly different flavors of unacceptable. I say that not just because my own preferences are well to the liberal left of both parties; I say that because the two parties are not partisan in the policy-preference sense, but partisan in the whose-friend-am-I sense (and becoming partisan in Marshall Tito's sense, complete with genocidal acts, but that's a long and complex argument).

    Put another way, when you vote for someone on the basis of party affiliation, you are not voting for that individual; you are voting for his/her friends. On the Heffalump side, voting for a moderate Republican is also an indirect vote for the Mad Tea Partiers who also claim to be Republicans. On the Jackass side, voting for a moderate, urban/suburban Democrat is also an indirect vote for the social-issue-backward neopopulist rural Democrats and Dixiecrats who also claim to be Democrats. If this sounds too much like a Homecoming Court election in which all of the football players vote only for their preselected candidate (almost always the quarterback or a running back), while the student-government types unite behind a future Car Salesman of the Year and everybody disses the band and the nerds... welcome to the reality of twenty-first-century American partisan politics.

  • I do care who you vote for; if you're reading this blawg, you're unlikely to vote too far to the right, but sometimes the candidate whose politics might better match mine is personally unsuited for office. For example, consider the recent governor's race in Illinois between now-convicted-felon Heffalump George Ryan — who, ironically, was probably the more liberal candidate — and Jackass Glenn Poshard — a fundagelical jackass with even more dubious ethics.

    I realize that this is a bit of a contradiction to the "remember that you're also voting for their friends" note above; contradictions, however, are the very nature of partisan politics when the parties are based upon friendship, campaign contributions, and single-issue pressure groups, instead of genuine, considered differences on issues and internally consistent ideologies.