Most of you that have been hanging out here for a while know this already, but a lot of people have dropped in recently, what with all the talk about Marvel Super Heroes and Ghosts of Ascalon and Guild Wars 2, but this is first and foremost a personal blog, which means we get into such things as collectable quarters and restaurants and most of all political races, in particular local stuff in our neck of the woods in the state of Washington.
And yet another election season is upon us, as we prepare for a primary on 17 August. Actually, the ballots have already gone out, the yard signs have blossomed on public lands, and blogs and newspapers have made their recommendations. I'm starting this year behind the curve.
So let me lay my cards out on the table at the get-go.
Long-term readers know me to be a leftie, a progressive, a liberal. I plead guilty to all such accusations. I'll go further: I am also a goo-goo, a Chicago term for a Good Government type who wants competent people in office doing good things, regardless of party or faction. I'm willing to be pragmatic, and will support a capable conservative over a questionable liberal or libertarian. Long ago, Nixon broke my civic heart, and I tend to view the GOP with a suspicion that only gets confirmed at regular intervals.
All that being said, let me lay out three laws of politics that I've picked up in my short blogging career - advice to offer candidates for office and incumbents alike. Here we go, in a nutshell:
1) For God's Sake, Don't Embarrass Us
2) All Politics Are Local
3) Be Well, Stay In Touch
Don't Embarrass Us: The ability to doll out firebombing soundbites may get you space on Fox and Friends, but it doesn't wash much out here in Seattle. We don't care much for personal scandal, but we absolutely HATE being made to seem like chumps for electing the malfeasing bozo in the first place. By the same token, we (as a state) are willing to forgive folk that are upfront about their failings as opposed to those that double-down on their errors.
All Politics Are Local: A pundocracy seems to dominate the media, old and new, where everything is cast in larger terms - sage heads declare that everything is a referendum on someone or something, usually something that is not currently being voted on. People who win suddenly have a mandate, unless you disagree with them, then the most vocal minority must be cozened and comforted. I remain dubious of national trends in local elections, and believe that at the end of the day people vote their own comfort level as opposed to the blaring of the political machines.
Stay in Touch: We are seeing the beginning of the deluge that will continue right into fall with ads, appearances, mailers, and calls. And in general, that's a good thing, as far as explaining what you've done and why. Seriously, the better equipped people are to explain the good things you've done, the better they are to resist the relentless assaults of the opposite side (like, you know, blogs). Communication? Good. Information? Even better.
My politics are that of the yard sign and the mailer (the Lovely Bride knows better than to recycle them before I see them). If I get push-polled I will pass that along. I look at political races as a consumer advocate, with the ultimate goal of getting a workable system. A system more progressive than otherwise, but then, I stated my bias a few paragraphs up. Your local paper should be as up-front about it.
I have been writing about politics on this blog since its first year in 2003, and, going back to the earlier entries, it seems that if anything I have mellowed over the years. I've been at this long enough that I can now do the "see, told ya" kinda entries when I warned against certain guys that got elected anyway.
So strap in for the next couple weeks, or take a vacation (I always get back to the little stuff in my life here after the craziness). I wouldn't say its going to be a bumpy rides - I've seen worse. But it is going to be a ride.
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