Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day - My choices, my opinions

Tomorrow - well, today, as it's already past midnight here - is Election Day. According to most pundits, the GOP will retake the House, and fall just short of that goal in the Senate. That's music to my ears, but I'm not as gung-ho about it as I would have been in the past. I've seen too much to believe a GOP victory will mean the dawn of a stunning new era in politics, any more than I bought into the media hype that 2008 was the death of the Republican party.

Sure, if the GOP takes the House I believe this country will come out the victor. But even with the best of intentions, they willl still be facing a Democratic Senate, a President with a suspect agenda, a news media manipulated from within by the Left, and the momentum of the last two years.

It's a long road back to sanity. Hopefully we'll have enough time to make the trip.

Plus, let's not forget a midterm election defeat could give Obama new life in '12. {shudder} The 1994 midterm debacle forced Clinton to move from the Left to the Center. That, along with a new foe to blame ("Look what Congress has done to my agenda!) gave him six more years in the Oval Office.

But that is then, and this is now. Here in Wisconsin there are three major contests that have drawn my attention.

First, the race for Governor between current Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D), and Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker (R).

I think both Barrett and Walker have a genuine love for Wisconsin and have its best interests at heart. Unfortunately, in his time as Mayor Barrett seems to have done a whole lot of treading water, and little else other than raise property taxes each year he's been in office. If that seems like a political tagline, save your voice; my taxes have soared in the last three years, even while the bottom fell out of the housing market. It isn't easy to make a living here in Milwaukee (one City employee, a Democrat to the core, told me we are ranked behind Detroit and Buffalo in economic health), and Barrett's done a lot to ensure it's not easy to own a home here either.

I'm not in 100% agreement with Scott Walker, and I find the crisis at the County Mental Health complex an abomination (forced integration of the sexes, leading to assaults and rapes that were marginalized as 'acceptable risks'). I'm not claiming he should have known of the day to day events inside the hospital but I do wish he'd cleaned house sooner, and with more gusto, once even a hint of the allegations came to light.

I think he's done a fine job of restoring integrity and respect to the County following the pension scandals of his predecessor. While I disagree with some aspects of how the County is run I acknowledge it is a cumbersome, largely underfunded behemoth and I believe he's done as well as anyone can given that fact.

I don't have to agree with him on everything. The only time you should agree completely with a candidate is when the name on the ballot is your own.

He's got my vote.

I'm also voting for Ron Johnson to replace current Senator Russ Feingold. Feingold, a self styled maverick' has voted the party line far more often than not. When he's stepped outside the lines, such as on the Iraqi War vote, it was done for effect, knowing his vote wouldn't decide the outcome.

If you want any more evidence that Feingold has gone native in D.C., note that his political ads have become more and more aggressive and bitter. Change was the buzzword in '08; true change will come in 2010 by getting Feingold out of Washington.

In the 4th Congressional District I'll be voting for Dan Sebring, the friend of a good friend of mine. I've met him, and while he's far and away my choice over incumbent Gwen Moore, Sebring's campaign is underfunded and largely ignored above the grass roots level. I wish him well.

If I was in State Assembly District 20, I'd vote for Molly McGartland, the mother of one of YaYa's classmates and the only candidate to have their sign on our front lawn this fall. In State Assembly District 19, please vote for Krista Burns, not because of her party, but because a district that encompasses Bay View should have a rep with an address in, gosh, I don't know, BAY VIEW.

{btw, at this hour I truly can't remember if the Sheriff's race is on the ballot. If it is, my vote will go to incumbent Democrat David Clarke}

Lastly, I'd like to express one last opinion: except in cases where the obvious exceptions apply (illness, travel, deployment, handicap) absentee voting is absolute BUNK. Getting off your butt & showing up at the polls is a sign to the world of how much you value YOUR voice being heard. It's also a great way to teach kids the same lesson. If you reduce the act to something akin to filling out a sweepstakes form or voting for American Idol, all the more shame on you.

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