My California Ballot Picks for Super-Duper Tuesday

MY BALLOT PICKS FOR SUPER-DUPER TUESDAY, 02-05-08

I’m a registered Democrat living in Los Angeles so here’s what my sample ballot tells me my choices are and here’s what I’m doing about it.

First of all I think it sucks beyond the known envelope of suckiness how many good candidates for President have to drop out before all states get to vote on them due to lack of money and negligent non-coverage on the part of the corporate mainstream media. Nineteen states vote on “Super-Duper Tuesday” and if you’re in one of the states that holds primaries afterwards you are effectively disenfranchised even more than we Californicators.

Second, I am determined NEVER to vote by mail unless I’m certain I have no other recourse, i.e. I will be dead by Election Day and need to vote against Republicans as part of my desire to avoid Hell.

(That’s sort of a joke. I’m an atheist and don’t believe in a literal Hell, only the hell that Republicans create here on Earth. But I digress….)

Point is, a bunch of people mailed in their ballots early with votes for people who dropped out of the race between Drop It in the Mail Day and Election Day. No do-overs allowed. Their political statements can now best be summed up as “Oh, look, aren’t I cute?”

That out of the way, here’s what I get to vote on and how I’m leaning:

PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
Hillary Clinton
Barack Obama
Mike Gravel
Five Other Guys Who Have Dropped Out Since This Was Printed

(Let’s come back to this one last.)

NONPARTISAN STATE MEASURES 91 – 97

MEASURE 91 is about amending the state constitution over transportation funds. Somebody did some research and it turns out whatever it was supposed to do had already been addressed to everyone’s satisfaction and now even the guys who fought to get it on the ballot are saying, “Vote against this thing. It’s redundant.” No one’s defending it in California’s very thorough “Official Voter Information Guide” , even though there are Pro and Con arguments for everything else. Since Arnold became Governor there has been at least one such goof-up in every election. I think it’s just a test to see how many voters actually read the “OVIG.” I do and am thus voting NO on 91.

MEASURE 92 is about reducing fees per unit for Community College students to 15 bucks per unit. Advocates say it’ll restore accessibility for broke-as-a-joke Community College students who stopped going in droves after the State Legislature doubled their fees. Critics say the money lost from the reduced fees will have to be made up somehow, like maybe even “TAXES! SHRIEK!!! WE’RE MELTING!!!!” I hate that penny-wise, pound-foolish attitude. Bump up the taxes and get our people smarter already. It’s a good investment of public money. Voting YES on 92. We’ll survive paying a penny more for widgets, I’m sure.

MEASURE 93 is another tiresome term limits proposal. This time the magic number to avoid the corrupting influence of knowing your job is “12 YEARS.” You may have deduced I’m not a fan of any law that mandates throwing someone out of a job they’re good at. It’s all descended from the Original Hurt Republicans who just couldn’t understand how FDR kept eating their lunch and so they passed a law that said the President gets eight years and no more. They almost regretted it when Reagan had to be re-potted outside the oval office, but it saved them from living the rest of their lives under Bill Clinton. Anyway, my idea of limiting someone’s term of office is NOT VOTING FOR THEM. Kind of like I’m doing with MEASURE 93. A big NO.

CHANGE!  Ooops!  I’m voting YES now.  Turns out it was all a joke meant to undermine term-limits, kind of like parental notification and “partial birth” abortion bans undermine a woman’s right to choose.  Voting YES on 93.  Thanks for the discussion, Ken Laws.

MEASURES 94-97 are each about allowing four different Indian Tribes to expand the number of slot machines at their casinos (from 2,000 to 7,500) in exchange for a bigger bribe (I mean “SHARE OF REVENUES!”) going to the Great State of California. Those in favor include the four Tribes and their spokespeople. Those against include the front organizations for competing casinos. I have always believed the Indians should be given every courtesy in appreciation for all this nice land we stole from them and for being such good sports about being exiled to radioactive deserts. Honestly, they could even keep the money they make off of the Tom Hulce character from “Parenthood.” Stage gladiatorial games with captured settlers and put it on pay-per-view. Make a few bucks off this country that owes you so much, you Indigenous Rascals, you! Seriously, the upside is we maybe get a few more bucks in the public till. The downside is the compulsive gamblers have less time to re-think their lives standing in line for the nickel slots. Oh, and a few competing casinos have to put greater emphasis on their whores, booze, and blowing up Robert DeNiro in his car. YES on 94-97.

PROPOSITION “S” is a tweaking of LA’s phone tax. It reduces it from 10% to 9% but it expands the taxable media to include stuff like internet phone calls and other things that are replacing Grandma’s old rotary dial contraption. Lower tax rate combined with more revenue sources equals greater revenues for Cops, Schools, Firefighters, blah-blah-blah. This has broad bi-partisan support from grown-ups and the only person on record as opposed is the inevitable GOP goof-ball waging a lonely campaign to unseat our Democrat Mayor. Seriously, the argument in favor is very well-written and addresses all reasonable concerns to my satisfaction. Voting YES on S with no qualms.

Now lets talk qualms…

The Democratic Presidential contenders remaining have me staying up late thinking about the right vote to cast. I was an Edwards supporter because I believed deeply in his concern about the “Two Americas” and the widening gap between the super-rich and everyone else. After he dropped out I was gratified to hear his concerns acknowledged by the remaining Big Two, Hillary and Barack.

I confess I don’t have an answer that will please everyone but I have one I can give myself when I look in the mirror:

From the start the Dems have had a field of candidates in which there were no bad picks. There was no Al Sharpton or similar self-serving huckster dragging the proceedings into farce.

Either Obama or Hillary would be superb as President. They are brilliant, inspiring people who embody the Jackie Robinson Principle in which a woman or minority must be twice as good to go half as far in an America where racism and sexism are still a reality even if they can only be expressed through code-phrases in polite society.

I lose not a wink of sleep at the thought of either of them behind the desk in the oval office, guiding us out of this Dark Age we’ve endured since the stolen election of 2000.

Could either of them beat the GOP nominee?

Of course, just as the GOP nominee could beat them with enough money, a lazy news media, and a public stupid enough not to have learned from Bush what the Republican party stands for: “Might makes right, every man for himself, and greed is good.”

But I think we’ve learned, the hardcore 28% of Bush voters notwithstanding, that the Reagan-Bush Experiment has failed.

I think any old white man who gets up and tries to convince people that GOP tax cuts for the rich and spending cuts on the poor are good for everyone will finally be dismissed as the fraud the rest of us have recognized since 1980.

I think either Hillary or Barack can make that case in an election year in which Republican policies have nearly destroyed our economy, our military, our middle class, hell, even our friggin’ polar ice caps!

Republicans are not that hard to beat if you’re tough enough to take their hits and smart enough to hit back effectively.

Again, Hillary and Barack both possess that capacity.

So let me take these two equals and admit what troubles me late at night.

Hillary, I worry that we’re one fat girl away from more wasted years listening to bad late-night jokes and Faux-News saying “We told you so.” In a sane country no one would care about such things but we’re stupid and lazy and that’s why Al Gore isn’t finishing his second term. I assume if Bill had screwed up again it would be known by now. I may not trust him completely but I have unshakable faith in our tabloid media to jump at the merest whiff of impropriety. So far so good.

Barack, I worry that the charming, inspirational candidate who represents the promise of the American Dream is gonna get shot by some nut before his promise is fulfilled. I worry the racism the GOP inflames will fail to keep you from office but kill you once you’re there. I worry about what that would do to this country, coming so close to the dream and having it stolen once more. I think it would make us crazy for a long time and we can’t take anymore crazy.

Here’s what I know:

Barack Obama will be President of the United States someday. Anyone who doesn’t see that is blind. But he’s risen very far very quickly in political terms. And he’s got time.

Hillary Clinton is a known commodity. We know she can take the heat. She has survived everything the whack-jobs throw at her and come up stronger and more successful every time. She has beaten them and that’s why they hate her more than anything else.

I write this for myself above all. I am too young not to be moved by the promise and danger of this election, but I am too old not to look at it coldly and say:

Hillary is more experienced and knows how to play The Game.

Barack is only going to get stronger in the next eight years. He will become unbeatable.

What I want is Clinton/Obama in 08, but I’ll take whatever Democratic ticket I get and do whatever I can to see them in the White House.

And on a more personal note, I’m going to have a daughter in May and it would please me greatly to have her grow up thinking it unremarkable that the President of the United States is a woman.

Voting YES for Hillary Clinton.

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