Tuesday, December 14, 2010

No Warning Movement

Possibly the most difficult concept for students in my government classes is that of ideology in America. There is an intimate relationship between the ideological view of the proper role of government, the political parties that embrace those ideologies and the slices of our society which identify on election day with a party.

How many times have you heard someone sneer and proudly declare themselves an "Independent"? In most states there is no such thing as an Independent. If you don't identify with a party, you are unaffiliated. The result is that you effectively have no say in the choice of candidates you will face on general election day. You can't vote in primaries in many states and you never participate in caucuses. You choose what is placed before you.

Know anyone who tells you how they vote for the "best man" and not the party? The quickest way to have them give you a puzzled look is to ask who they voted for in their state legislature, their county commission or their state judges. They have no clue who these folks are and therefore either vote for the name they saw most often or they leave most of their ballot blank. "Best man"? Hardly.

A letter to the editor in this AM's Dallas Morning Fishwrap:
My vote sends a message
Straight-ticket balloting is lazy and primarily used by people who are either less educated about the candidates or have an agenda that supersedes the individual candidates. It probably should be eliminated for fairness and more engaged voting. 
However, Dallas County Elections Administrator Bruce Sherbet got my attention with his comments on "ballot drop-off." I generally don't vote for attorneys or incumbents. I don't want politicians in office too long, becoming rich in the process, and I don't mark the ballot for judges or incumbents running unopposed. 
I try to send a message that I don't want Gov. Rick Perry anointed as king or Ralph Halls in office for 30 years. As a conservative, it is difficult that I'm often compelled to vote against those who share my political views. 

He makes a policy of not having his legislation written by lawyers! I wonder if he bans surgeons from his family surgery? Incumbents running unopposed? Maybe because everyone thinks they are doing a good job? Experience from tenure? Can't have that. He is proud of his ignorance.

Are we tired of bickering and partisanship? Of course. Should we discuss issues, policy choices and rational decision-making. One could only hope. But, do we gain some valuable information about a candidate when they affix an R or a D to their name?

Don't Call Me a Dimmicrat!

Will you be a better, more informed voter by eschewing labels? Will you do more good by not knowing who is liberal and favors government regulation, redistribution of wealth, and the end of the free market? Apparently this group thinks so.

Leaders? Well, here are a few from that article:

  1. Michael Bloomberg, "Independent" mayor of New York City, nee Democrat
  2. Jonathan Cowan, former Clinton "loyalist"
  3. Nancy Jacobson, "activist" and wife of Democratic pollster
  4. Charlie Crist, "Independent" after losing FL Republican primary to Marc Rubio
  5. Mike Castle, former RINO Senator of Delaware
  6. Kirstin Gillibrand, Dem Senator of New York
It looks suspiciously like the group seeks to dumb down the electorate. They want to be able to dump a lot of "Hope and Change" on you with speeches that promise candy for you bought by the other guys. They got the message that ideology wins elections and conservative views of the role of government trump their world view. 

We either want big government or we want to take responsibility for ourselves. We want government in either role to represent our ideological perspective. We need help to identify the down ballot candidates who accept most of our preferences. We have a better chance of getting the government we want if we have some helpful and meaningful labels. Calling a liberal a progressive doesn't change their core. Denying the label makes voting down ballot past the major race a hit or miss proposition that won't serve us well. 


Anonymous said...

Hmm. I always wondered if making lawyers into lawmakers wasn't somehow a conflict of interest.

After all, even the poorest state legislature has lawyers on staff to ensure the technical (legal) aspects of proposed legislation are appropriately worded - even if the original bill comes written in crayon from a graduate of the New School for Socialist Research.

I can understand why it would be appropriate for lawyers to run for judgeships - but disagree with the idea that most states bar non-lawyers from such types of public service.

But then, I'm just an Unaffiliated voter - who can choose which party's ballot I will complete during Primaries. Should my state ever permit a Conservative party, I'd register immediately.

Randall said...

Also sounds like a not so subtle, half baked attempt to bleed support from the tea party.