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Thursday, November 09, 2006

My Vote

Thought I'd put up a quick post about how and/or who I voted for, why and how I feel about the results of the election, the last mostly from a local perspective. I intend to write about the national results soon.
I put my vote where my mouth and keyboard have been all along. I voted a straight anti-incumbent ticket by voting for independents, with the exception of races where people ran unopposed. You all know why I did that; I've been saying it all along. I wanted to send a message that I'm not happy with the purely-partisan two-party system. I encouraged my readers to have the courage to do the same; that en masse we vote wasters would become message senders. If you look at the results from the Maine election, I think we did just that.
For instance, look at the governor's race:
John E. Baldacci (D) 200666 38.05%
Chandler E. Woodcock (R) 158275 30.01%
Barbara Merrill (U) 112571 21.35%
Patricia H. LaMarche (G) 51341 9.74%
Phillip Morris NaPier (U) 4527 0.86%

Incumbent Democrat John Baldacci is fairly popular but he couldn't carry even 40% of the vote. Now I understand here in Maine we have much more of a tradition of voting for independents than elsewhere, but that doesn't explain the vote percentage of the winner nor does it explain how Merrill and LaMarche together received more than the Republican. Barbara Merrill, who I voted for, received over 21%...a relatively unknown independent a year ago. She ran a great campaign and hit a nerve with voters because she had the courage to lay out fresh ideas, something someone from the 2 major parties are always afraid to do. It didn't hurt her either that her fresh ideas made a lot of sense.
Look at the US Senate race:
Olympia J. Snowe (R) 384507 74.04%
Jean M. Hay Bright (D) 106642 20.54%
William H. Slavick (U) 28152 5.42%

or the 1st Congressional District race, particularly again at the vote percentage of the independents:
Thomas H. Allen (D) 162600 60.41%
Darlene J. Curley (R) 84491 31.39%
Dexter J. Kamilewicz (U) 22089 8.21%

Over 5 and 8% are enormous independent percentages in any other state. That would be headline news, even in this current climate.

So I'm pleased that voters came out and obviously voted based on something other than pure party lines. Now, no incumbents here were toppled (all 3 plus Mike Michaud are IMO justifiably popular) but I feel the message was sent nonetheless.

I apologize for this obviously being hastily thrown together but hopefully I made some rational points. Your thoughts on my vote? Please feel free to say as little or as much as you'd like about your vote and your local election results.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Purely Partisan Blogs Are Idiotic In My Opinion

What follows is another guest blog, this one from Brent at A Dakota Democrat. I think you'll find much to agree with here.

I voted on Saturday morning, and I was the 696th person inside the city limits of Jamestown, ND to vote early by going to the county auditor's office and doing the American duty of voting. After I voted, not a straight party ticket by the way, I spent about 2 hours reading blogs from both sides of the political spectrum. I came up with one very clear observation. The majority of Americans that blog on politics are too partisan to be of any value to us free-thinkers.

Now let me explain that last sentence.

I read on a right-leaning blog about everything that the Republican Party had done wrong in the past 6 years of holding power in congress. This person wrote about 60 different things that the Republican Party or it's members had done wrong in his eyes. Then at the end, he said that even though the Party had abandoned it's principals and had done everything wrong, that Americans should vote for Republicans. The reason why? Democrats would raise taxes. That is it. That is the only reason that he gave. Now, I understand that lower taxes is important, but is it more important than the federal deficit? How about the corruption that has been seen in congress? What about the Iraq war? How about illegal immigration? I just don't understand that statement about Democrats would raise taxes. Maybe they will, but how do you know with 100% certainty that they would? How would you measure that?

I was reading a left-leaning blog and how the Republicans are trying to steal this election like they stole the 2000 & 2004 elections. Now if you are going to say this as fact, please give me facts that are proven, not conjecture and opinion. Couldn't do that. This writer also said that Republicans would start the systematic detention of people that didn't agree with the Republican Party platform. Again, I want facts and proof that is what the Republican Party is planning. Couldn't get facts again.

Of about the 30 blogs that I looked at, there were many of them that were purely partisan. That's great if you live in a world where everything is a life and death struggle between ideology. The real world isn't like that. Neither Democrats or Republicans are purely evil and though there are differences on how to improve the country, not one party has the correct answers on everything. The one way that you cannot improve the country is to totally shut out the opposing view from yours. The Iraq war is a great example of this. Most people from the Right would say that the Democratic idea is only cut-and-run. I know that is false. There have been many proposals from the left that haven't been cut-and-run. From the left, comes the slogan to President Bush's Iraq invasion, Lie-and-Die. Most Republicans are against the way that the President have handled Iraq, but they are all lumped together like the Democrats.

I am tired of the way this game is played. What happened to the exchange of ideas? What happened to agreeing with people that aren't part of your party? What happened to the civility of politics? What happened to actually admitting that your opponent for political office actually has a good plan for whatever they are running for? If you continuously preach to the choir, doesn't your truth become a self-fulfilling prophecy? If you hear from everybody that thinks the same way that you do, you don't hear anything that challenges your perceptions and might broaden your horizons. Everything could change if the American public told both parties that we don't want all this partisan garbage. Until we decide not to reward partisanship, we will be stuck with this he said, he said game of politics that no one likes.

Thanks Brent, as usual your thoughts are fair and even handed.