Saturday, August 16, 2008

Voter's Guide: US Congress

The one piece of encouragement that the current White Househas been able to take is that, no matter how low their approval ratings are, they are matched or exceeded by the horrible opinion we have of the US Congress.

And of course, you can see why. Eighty percent of the country is mad at the Congress for not standing up against this administration, and about the 20% left are cheesed off that it is not helping the administration against the other 80%. And the continual scandals that leak out of there - Vitters, Foley, Stevens, and now Edwards never cease to provide grist for the mills of commentators. The current occupant of US Congressional District 8, State of Washington, has made a lot of his ability to look criminals right in the eyes, but I don't think he was referring to doing so during Congressional Prayer Breakfasts.

Yet despite everything, we the people tend to return our congresscritters to office with amazing regularity. Over in the 7th, Jim McDermott has been found guilty of taping phone calls, appealed, got the appeal bounced, and forced to pay out a million bucks. Yet he remains such a dead-on favorite that his most major competition is Goodspaceguy Nelson.

So we have one Republican incumbent, three Democratic challengers, and two independents. The Dems are running against the Rep and the Indies are running against the entire system. Dig in.

Boleslaw (John) Orlinski, noted on his yard signs as B. John Orlinski is an independent a Polish emigre who helped form the first independent party in that nation, Renaissance during the Solidarity years, and was inspired to run by Ron Paul's candidacy. There is a warning that previous sentence, and it wasn't the word "Solidarity".

Richard Todd castigates the failings of a two-party democracy through the lens of The Federalist Papers, which recommends we browse. He is also the author of "Saga of the Polar Star" (What is it with authors this year?), which is published by Todd Merchandise. He argues that only an independent can serve the public interest as opposed to serving the faction that put him into office. I would offer the counter that an Independent would serve the factions that put him into office, it just wouldn't be factions that are wearing name tags.

James E. Vaughn evokes the ghost of Scoop Jackson, who is legendary to the five people who lived here in the 70s. He posts himself as a conservative Democrat who opposes both the extremes of the entire Republican party and the liberal Progressive Democrats. He gets the award this year of Worst Yard Sign, topping out even Jim Wiest's topheavy diamond-shape. Vaughn used the smallest typeface possible to put as much raw data on his signs (including a web site and a recommendation to google), which made them impossible to read from the road. He also used a cheap paper stock, which would have been OK, but it has rained since his campaign put up the signs. Good news - they look like they're biodegradable.

Dave Reichert is the incumbent, and of all the candidates in the voter's guide, remembers to pose in front of a flag, because there's a war on, you know. He wants a strong America with a well-stocked military, low taxes with an improving economy, increased jobs, lowered health costs, improved education, and a protected environment. Oddly, I like all these things, too. Pity we don't have them. Now, if ONLY there was some elected governmental body of capable individuals that could do these things. Hang on, it will come to me ...

Keith Arnold will cure the problems with the 2000 elections by stripping all the power away from the Supreme Court. Lay the voter's guide down and back away carefully.

Darcy Burner is the chief Democratic candidate in a rematch from the close election four years back. She attacks the failed policies of the past seven years, on many of the grounds that Reichert expresses interest. Unlike the Republican, she actually sketches out some plans to make this happen. Maybe he should go to work for her.

And that wraps it - one more thing to do, and then there's the vote itself.

No, I'm not going to do this marathon for the general election. I feel like I've bitten off more than I could chew already.

More later,