Tag Archives: primary election

Must…Hang On…Almost Tuesday….

I can’t imagine what life is like for people who don’t have TIVO. Our live TV watching is limited to the evening news–we can skip commercials otherwise–and we are drowning in negative, content-free bilge. Not to mention the colorful fliers in the daily mail–you know the ones I’m referring to: Candidate A would let women who’d been raped abort, and thus is not really pro-life. Candidate X cheated on taxes; Candidate Y isn’t really a Hoosier; Candidate Z once talked to a Democrat and is clearly unfit for office.

There aren’t any Democratic primaries in my district, or the number would undoubtedly be greater.

A few years ago, I told my husband that I was long past voting for someone I actually liked, and even past voting for the lesser of two evils. Henceforth, I would be voting for the people who pander to the people who seem less dangerous.

If my television, email and snail mail are any indication, this crop of candidates is pandering to people they believe to be incredibly stupid, rigidly ideological sexist bigots.

I have yet to view or receive a campaign ad suggesting that issues are complex and well-intentioned people may disagree about them. I have yet to see one defending the belief– deeply rooted in our Constitution and especially the First Amendment–that diversity, especially diversity of opinion, is necessary to the achievement of sound ideas. I am still looking for the ad that respects the candidate’s opponent or the intelligence of the recipient, or one that actually discusses an issue rather than labeling and dismissing it.

I don’t know whether this intensely disagreeable political season says more about the integrity-free candidates willing to indulge in this bile, or the voters who actually respond to it.

I do know, I will be very happy on Wednesday. At least until September…..

Rooting for Santorum

As the interminable GOP Presidential contests proceeds, I’m rooting for Rick Santorum.

Now, I realize that statement requires some explanation.

With the probable exception of Ron Paul, all the other candidates can be counted on to moderate their current positions if and when they cinch the nomination—to pivot from the shameless pandering to the nut-job base that has characterized the primaries thus far—in an effort to woo the sane Republican and independent voters needed for success in a general election. Since the great majority of Americans don’t really focus on the Presidential campaign until a month or two before the election, candidates can usually distance themselves from much of their more intemperate primary rhetoric.

A Santorum primary victory, however, would provide voters with a candidate who is steadfast in his extremism. A Santorum candidacy would be a golden opportunity for the public to really see and understand the fundamentalist Christians who, for all intents and purposes, now control the GOP, and who have recently come together to endorse Santorum in a (probably futile) effort to derail Mitt Romney’s progress toward the nomination.

What do Santorum and his supporters believe? Well, there’s the obvious hatred of gays—a hatred that has often seemed more of an obsession with gay sex than a policy position. There are the well-known quotes comparing homosexuality to “man on dog sex,” the frequently repeated assertion that same-sex marriage will “destroy the fabric of society,” and the “slippery slope” argument that recognition of such marriages would necessarily be followed by legalization of polygamy and incest.

But it isn’t just gay sex. A cursory review of his quotations paints a picture of a man who—not to put too fine a point on it—doesn’t seem too comfortable in the 21st Century.  Consider a sampling of recent quotes:

  • “One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country…It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.” (October 18, 2011)
  • “In far too many families with young children, both parents are working, when, if they really took an honest look at the budget, they might find they don’t both need to…Here, we can thank the influence of radical feminism.” (From his 2005 book, It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good in which he decries working mothers).
  • “All the people who live in the West Bank are Israelis, they’re not Palestinians. There is no ‘Palestinian.’” (On the campaign trail in Iowa, Nov. 18, 2011). (Even the Israeli government doesn’t go this far!)
  • “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them someone else’s money; I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money.” (Iowa again, Jan. 2, 2012).

There is a lot more along the same lines.

Santorum is a poster child for the small but noisy segment of American society that is still fighting science and the Enlightenment—a spokesperson for the contemporary Puritans who reject evolution along with the idea that liberty means the right to live your life in accordance with your own conscience and beliefs. They believe instead that liberty means “doing the right thing” as they interpret their bibles to define the “right thing.”

They believe it is government’s job to legislate their version of  “Godly” behavior.

You have to give Santorum credit: unlike the other candidates, when he’s been challenged about his controversial views, he hasn’t evaded or backtracked. These are his beliefs and he’s forthright about them. He doesn’t “do” complexity, or nuance, and he obviously doesn’t see shades of gray. His views about the past may be ahistorical and retrograde, but he doesn’t let distractions like facts or evidence—or humility—shake his certainty in his own righteousness.

He’s the perfect representation of today’s Republican base.

Now, I don’t think Rick Santorum is going to be the Republican nominee, but what if he were? What if the American public had to choose between that black “elitist” Barack Obama, with his fancy Harvard education, and this anti-woman, anti-gay Christian Zionist who believes global warming and evolution are myths, and black people are taking “someone else’s money”?

Given the number of crackpots we’ve elected to public office, I’ve lost a lot of my previous faith in the wisdom of the American public. But I have enough left to believe that—given a choice between the 14th Century and the 21st—Americans would overwhelming choose the latter.

Wouldn’t we??



Primary Day

Today is Primary Election day, and the party faithful (and very few others) will select candidates for the November municipal elections. The outcomes of the mayoral races are predetermined: Greg Ballard (aka the “accidental mayor”) will be the Republican nominee, and Melina Kennedy (no relation) will represent the Democrats.

Anyone who was sentient four years ago understands how Greg Ballard got elected. (Well, with the possible exception of Ballard himself; I understand from those who know him that he really believes he defeated Bart Peterson, i.e., that people knowingly voted FOR him, as opposed to venting their spleen on the incumbent.) As our daughter said the day after the election, twenty-five percent of eligible voters went to the polls. Twelve percent voted for Peterson, thirteen percent voted against Peterson, and we got whatsisname.

From all accounts, Greg Ballard is a nice man who has been hopelessly over his head. His unfamiliarity with both the actual city of Indianapolis (he was a Marine who served elsewhere for most of his adult life) and the idea of a city–how it works, what elements/policies make a city successful, how it is financed, how it relates to state government, etc.–explains the last three and a half years, during which “advisors” have run the show (and done rather well for themselves in the process).

The Indianapolis electorate tends to support incumbents when they do a reasonable job. In a city that even then had majority Democratic registrations, Bill Hudnut won re-election four times, usually with well over 60% of the vote (and if memory serves, with 80% at least once). On the other hand, they react negatively to arrogance. Goldsmith saw the writing on the wall–and Sue Ann Gilroy, who ran a campaign promising to be  “another Steve” lost badly.

What we don’t yet know is how Indianapolis voters react to well-meaning incompetence. But we’re about to find out.