Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Tag: 2006 elections (page 1 of 2)

Maybe Not a Tsunami, but Good Enough

It seems the Democrats could actually take the senate depending on late results and recounts in Montana and Virginia.

The pendulum finally seems to be swinging leftward again and the country is moving towards the middle. A place I like to call sanity. Most Americans seem to be socially libertarian and fiscally conservative. Maybe this newly divided government will adhere to those ideals.

At any rate, Bush and the extreme rightward tilt of the Republican party have been repudiated. At least for now. Hopefully it will be awhile before these new bums need a good throwing out.

At any rate, meet the new bosses.

Dems to Take the House

The Democrats will control the house, at least that’s what CNN says.

Wow. Good political news. I can’t remember what to do with that. Ever since my dog ate an entire batch of oatmeal cookies off the counter on election night of 2000, it’s all been bad, bad, bad.

What do you do with good news like this? Perhaps a little fifteen year old scotch? Probably.


Election Day

I love voting. I love the fact that I have the opportunity to fire the crooks, liars and thieves who run this state and this country. It’s a nice feeling even if my ballot did wind up in the trash since I voted strictly for Democrats and Libertarians this time.

They say a wave may be coming tonight. Or maybe not. Rick Perry will win the race for Texas governor and the GOP will sweep Texas. I think the Democrats will take the US House and close the gap in the Senate. Maybe that’s wishful thinking, but the leaves in the bottom of my green tea are clustered on the left side on the mug. At least they are when I hold it in my right hand so I’ll keep holding it that way.

It will be interesting tonight to see if Americans prefer to maintain a status quo of corruption, incompetence, arrogance and lies. I’m hopeful, but not really optimistic. Since 2002 Americans have been betting on crooks and swine, and it’s hard to leave your abusers. They are after all the only ones who can protect you.

If you’ve not done so already, vote. And please vote for Democrats. Throw these bums out. That is, unless you like corrupt incompetent government, then by all means vote to keep one party Republican rule.

Divided Government

Not being a member of any political party, I’ve often argued that divided government is the sanest option available when picking the bums who will one day deserve to be thrown out.

Divided government by its very nature acts as an extra check in the checks-and-balances system, and in these hyper-partisan times, it seems to be the most effective. It forces consensus government from the middle. It forces compromise and policies that have a greater chance of working while having the added benefit of really torquing off a lot of powerful people.

When we have divided government, the two parties are forced to the center of the spectrum where most of America actually lives. The result is that country comes before party (though you’d want hip-hop for a really krunk party) and it becomes harder to legislate without taking into account the majority of Americans rather that the “majority of the majority” which by my calculations has equaled the will of DeLay.

For the past few years, Congressional Republicans in their avaricious pursuit of checks have failed to put a check on the Republican executive, but this unhealthy situation can be changed. By voting for Democrats we can reinstall the check that may bring a degree of balance. This will not move the country into the realm of left-wing extremisim, but move it back towards the center away from the right-wing extremism we’ve been enjoying these last few years.

There’s a great article advocating for divided government (h/t to Crooks and Liars) by the chairman of the libertarian Cato Institute. He argues in favor of voting for Democrats this time around. I couldn’t agree more.

Update: I just found a whole blog dedicated to divided government: Divided We Stand, United We Fall, which just goes to show that there really is a blog for every purpose under heaven…

David Dewhurst Doth Woo Me Everyday

I haven’t gotten much political mail this year, which is a shame, but surprisingly, the bulk of what I have gotten has been from Republican Lt. Governor David Dewhurst. Furthermore, every campaign and get-out-the-vote call left on my machine has been from the Dewhurst campaign.

Most of the fliers are nice, glossy, full-color brochures explaining all of the things Dewhurst will do to help and protect Texas’ children (I wonder if I’m being microtargeted since I’m a teacher or is everyone getting this stuff?) I’ve always thought Dewhurst was one of the few state-level Texas Republicans who really does want to do right by Texas kids, and if I thought Chris Bell would win the governor’s race or the Democrats would get some kind of power in this state, I would consider voting for him.

Unfortunately, he lacks backbone. The Lietenant Governor in Texas, as president of the senate, has the potential to be the most powerful person in the state and yet Dewhurst has balked at exercising this power. If the welfare of kids is truly at the top of his agenda, why hasn’t he used his position to push it through instead of rolling over for Perry and Craddick?

Still, getting all this mail all of a sudden is odd considering that Dewhurst seems to be a shoe-in for reelection and his opponent has very little name recognition. But, could what she lacks in name recognition be off-set by her hispanic name: Mary Luisa Alvarado?

Vince at Capitol Annex theorizes:

Yes, Dewhurst is afraid of something that a lot of political insiders and consultants talk about, but only behind closed doors: that Hispanic surnamed candidates are attractive to Hispanic voters.

Perhaps there’s something to this, but I wonder if it might be something else. I haven’t seen any polls for the Lt. Governor’s race (are there any?) but I can’t help but wonder if the anti-Perry vote (somewhere in the mid-60s) could also be trickling down to affect the Lt. Governor’s race where there are only three candidates instead of five. Could the anti-Perry vote, which despite being massive is so splintered it will keep him in office, actually be moving against Dewhurst?

Political Mail Call

Oh boy, oh boy! My first batch of political junk mail arrived today. Let’s start with a nice crisp folding card stock piece with a matte finish from the Texas GOP. It suggests that I “Vote for Your Texas Republican Team” just above pictures of the very same Texas Republicans who have already demonstrated what amounts to either an inability or an unwillingness to govern.

The inside portion is a handy list of all the early polling locations in my county along with the times that the polls will be open as well as what appears to be a booger (an act of bioterror?) above the name of the public library in Round Rock. Well, that’s helpful (the info, not the booger), I thought until I read the message at the bottom:

By voting early for all Republicans, you can zip in and out and make sure your vote is counted for Texas’ future.

I guess if I vote for Democrats my vote won’t be counted for Texas’ future? Or will I just have to wait in a longer line? Well, I better vote a straight GOP ticket if I want to make sure my vote will count.

Ok, let’s take a look at the next one. It’s from Republican Lt. Governor David Dewhurst. He’d like me to vote for him so that he can lead the effort to pass Jessica’s Law. The flyer ticks off all the ways sex offenders would be punished and has a picture of Jessica Lunsford who was raped and murdered by a previously convicted sex offender. This sounds good to me, and I applaud Mr Dewhurst for wanting to protect kids, but why, Mr. Dewhurst, haven’t you done anything about this already?

You’ve been the lieutenant governor, which means you’ve been in charge of the senate, for the past four years in a state completely controlled by your party. Was redistricting more important to you than protecting kids from sex predators? Well, Sir, I appreciate your concern for this issue, but I think I’ll vote for someone who hasn’t already squandered her time in office, thank you.

Now that the Texas GOP and the Dewhurst campaign have each wasted a few pennies trying to convince me that they care deeply about their party this state, I will apply the final insult… off to the RECYCLING BIN!

<evil laugh>BWAAAA-HAAAAA-HAAAA</evil laugh>

Rick Perry? “Serious Leader”? Really?

Yesterday, The Austin American Statesman gave its endorsement to Rick Perry in an editorial that was, shall we say, less than ardent:

We would be more enthusiastic in recommending Perry’s re-election if we were sure that the governor will follow the direction he set for himself the past 18 months. Our reservations notwithstanding, Perry, 56, is the best of the five-candidate lot.  

The best part of the editorial is actually the headline, which is – get this – “Perry best fits Texas’ need for serious leadership.” After a quick check to make sure I wasn’t reading The Onion, I realized that the Statesman really was endorsing a man whose performance doesn’t exactly inspire the phrase ‘serious leader.’

Maybe I’m missing something here, but the man who sent a budget of 0’s to the legislature, who only truly committed himself to one issue in the past six years – congressional redistricting re-gerrymandering, who only made school finance a priority when the courts forced him to isn’t the most serious of leaders. Leaders, after all, lead, but Perry typically follows, and the people whose orders he follows? Grover Norquist, James Leininger, and Tom DeLay. You can tell a lot about a guy by the company he keeps.

The only thing Perry has succeeded in doing is acting on school finance and only because the courts forced him to deal with it, and ‘deal with it’ is about all that was accomplished. True, the last eighteen months have been better than the previous four years in the same way that a cold is better than the flu, but why not support a candidate who doesn’t have this kind of record of poor leadership, a candidate who would actually work with both parties rather than just the Republican majority?

A Democrat, Libertarian or Independent would have to govern in a bipartisan way. It simply makes no sense to return an empty suit governor to power when there are four other candidates any one of whom could easily clear the low bar set by Perry.

I can’t for the life of me figure out why the Statesman picked Perry unless, perhaps, they haven’t been reading their own paper for the past six years. Of course, they also choose Bush. Twice. Fool me once… oh, never mind, now that I think about it, I’m not at all surprised.

In Which, I Finally Get to Use the Word ‘Dastardly’

The most chilling aspect of the futuristic society imagined in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is the fact that the people willingly gave away their rights and liberties. The thing about firemen going door-to-door burning books always seemed a bit silly, but the larger point, namely Bradbury’s vision of how America could become a totalitarian state is truly eerie.

More interested in being consumers than citizens, more engaged in passive entertainment than in civil discourse, Bradbury’s fururistic populace willingly gave away all their rights and liberties in the name of being kept safe and so long as they were all entertained, had plenty to buy, no one cared or noticed that a war was raging in the skies overhead, that a nuclear apocalypse was fast approaching, or that those who did notice were quietly disappeared.

In short, apathy, much like that which greeted the Military Commissions Act that was signed into law yesterday. We appear to already be on the road Bradbury imagined. This despicable law gives the president the right power to detain anyone for anything for any period of time, so long as he believes that that person is somehow helping terrorists.

Cheney says that debating these issues helps terrorists. Now I don’t think that those of us who don’t support Bush and his policies will be rounded up and sent off to ‘Gitmo, but it should be of grave concern to everyone that nobody knows who the next president will be. Or the one after that. Or the one after that. Bush is incompetent, in over his head and a fool, but I do not believe he is evil and I do not think there is any intention of rounding up political enemies, but even so, sacrificing this nation’s core values for the sake of safety and political advantage is shameful and evidence of a lack of fitness for the office.

At this point the only thing that will give us any balance, any oversight or accountability is to elect as many Democrats as possible to the US Congress. That is the only way we get oversight or accountability. Divided government is the only hope we have now to slow down or even stop the constitutional bleeding, but only we can make ourselves stop being afraid of terrorists and start being afraid of what can be done in the name of safety.

Bradbury’s vision suddenly seems frighteningly prescient. It probably won’t come to pass, but then every people who gave up their rights, their liberties, their values to be safe probably thought the same thing. When I used to teach Fahrenheit 451, we used to discuss whether or not it could ever really happen here. Sadly, I think the answer is yes.

If you haven’t already, check out Keith Olbermann’s commentary on this. He’s the only TV journalist who really seems to be calling it like it is, and his willingness to stand up to the Bush administration and call them on their dastardly machinations is truly inspiring.

Is Kinky Awesome?

That’s what commenter “Kinky is Awesome” seems to think. In fact, this person posted an entire post from the Kinky is Awesome blog in the comments section of my post about the recent debate. WordPress seemed to think that this was comment spam, but since it was on topic, I figured why the hell not? and let it in. Still, I wonder if other blogs have recieved similar comments from “Kinky is Awesome.”

So, what makes Kinky awesome? Well, let’s think about what “Kinky is Awesome” said.

Is it his desire to militarize the border and declare martial law? I wonder if Kinky knows what martial law is, and if so is he really in favor of turning the justice system in south Texas over to the military? Is this how he’ll get Chris Bell out of the way since Bell is apparently a terrorist?

Perhaps Kinky is awesome because he supported Bush/Cheney in ’04 and still supports Bush’s middle east policies? Admiration and support for incompetents and incompetence aren’t exactly selling points. Is this really the best time to be talking up your candidate’s admiration for Bush anyway?

“Kinky is Awesome” then goes on to suggest that perhaps I might be a bit worried that Kinky “showed liberal tendencies by voting for a tree-hugger like Al Gore.” Despite the fact that several recent posts on this blog indicate that that might be a selling point, “Kinky is Awesome” tells me that I needn’t fear since Kinky never voted between 1994 and 2004. I guess his conservative principles are intact even if he sold out his apathy. Awesome.

And, no, I didn’t think he’s a liberal because he’s a Jew, but having religious views (which really means political-religious views) “well to the right of Perry’s” isn’t very reassuring whether it comes from a Christian, Jew or anyone else.

The pitch here is basically that Kinky is no liberal. I guess the idea is to help him pull off some of Perry’s conservative support considering that he’s probably gotten all he’s going to get from Bell. Kinky strikes me more than anything else as something of a libertarian, which I prefer over Republicans so, yeah, “Kinky is Awesome,” you’re right he’s better than Rick Perry, but I’d prefer more tree-hugger and a bit less martial law on the border.

Texas Gubernatorial Debate

It’s Friday night and my wife is out of town. Naturally, I watched the Texas Gubernatorial Debate. Dork? Mois?

Okay, it wasn’t really a debate, it was more of a “debate,” but I watched it anyway.

Since the four way race between incumbent Republican Rick “Go Texas” Perry, Democrat Chris “Who? Huh?” Bell, Kinky “Why the Hell Not” Friedman and Carole “Grandma” Keeton Strayhorn began I’ve been one of the undecideds. I’m sick of Perry and he needs to go. The question is, who can beat him?

I flirted with Friedman and signed for Strayhorn, though I admit I lost the petition before I could mail it back.

In tonight’s “debate” Perry was polished and sounded good; if I hadn’t been reading the paper for the past six years, I’d have been impressed with him. He was most effective in dealing with Friedman’s recent racist comments and in defending his highway plans. I’d say give the devil his due, but there was no stench of sulphur, so I’ll just say Perry was as slick and polished as I expected him to be.

Friedman was all over the place. Willie Nelson in charge of energy policy? Come on. He’s running against politics and while he’s passionate about changing Texas, he has no idea how to do it. My brother said he doesn’t think we need a comedian as our governor. I agree, but I’d still take him over the clown we have. Comedians are funny. Clowns are scary.

I had high hopes for Strayhorn; however, she came off flat and uninspiring. I’d take her over Perry, but only since I know she really is committed to education. She sounded desperate, which is probably what happens when you’re fourth in the polls.

The best line of the night was from Chris Bell when he referred to the competition as his “three Republican opponents.” Bell was knowledgeable and he seemed to have a strong grasp of the issues. At times, Friedman even helped him out, though probably unintentionally. Bell has solid positions on education and has made transparency and clean government one of his signature issues. He gets points for being one of the first to file ethics complaints against Tom DeLay. He’s smart, witty and competent. Call me convinced.

I believe we are doomed to another four years of Perry (actually, two – he’s being groomed as the GOP VP candidate for ’08, God help us all) unless the Democrats come home to Bell. In all likelihood, they will abandon Strayhorn and Friedman and coalesce around Bell, which is a good thing since he’s the best candidate. If the traditional Democrat vote holds and he can pick up enough of the anti-Perry crowd (like me), he should have a chance.

I guess I’m decided.

Update: Thanks to the following blogs for linking to this post: Capitol Annex, Brains and Eggs, Easter Lemming Liberal News, Off the Kuff, and Houston Democrats.

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