Thursday, November 4, 2010

Election Returns

Some thoughts from this week’s mid-term elections (and I’ll stay off of politics for a while after this):

The news analysts are going crazy trying to figure out what kind of impact the Tea Party and “Tea Party candidates” had on the elections. It boosted Republicans but also hurt them, they’re telling us. Well, maybe. Ultimately, though, it comes down to – shock of shocks – voter preference.

As I have said before, I generally vote Republican but not always. If I lived in Delaware, I would not have voted for Republican Christine O’Donnel. If I lived in Florida I would have voted for Charlie Crist, who ran as an independent, instead of the Republican Marco Rubio. And if I had been an Alaskan voter, I would have written in Lisa Murkowski’s name. I’m not really too concerned about whether a candidate is part of the so called Tea Party or not, a movement with which I have some sympathies but also some differences.

Like any movement or group, there are strong and weak candidates. But obviously, this is a force to be reckoned with. More important is the fact that it’s the independent voter who is calling the shots in this country. As I read somewhere, “Yes we can” has met head on with, “Oh no you don’t.”


I had been kind of excited about Tuesday night and thought it would be fun hearing the reports coming in from around the country and hearing the pundits babble a bit. Ultimately, though, it was the same tired rhetoric and not that interesting. Whether it was Fox, CNN, or one of the other networks, the talking heads were telling us the same thing with perhaps a different spin here and there. They seemed more excited about the cool special effects – touch-screen poll results, stand-alone graphs that seem to pop up out of the floor, etc. -- than anything very substantive.

And the candidates? Would someone please give them some new material? How many times over the course of my life watching election returns have I heard from every corner and every political persuasion something equivalent to, “The people have spoken and we are taking this country back?” Back from who? Back from what? Again, try something new.


I’m done with rock-star politicians. I had a lot of respect and admiration for Sarah Palin when John McCain picked her as his running mate. I think she did a decent job in the campaign. I realize, especially after reading the book Game Change and other accounts of the 2008 election, that she was in way over her head and of course the media crucified her. In hindsight, she probably wasn’t the best pick for McCain. Still, I think she gave it a good run, and in my continuing quest to believe the best in people, I like to believe she had the best interest of the country at heart. (I even believe that about Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank -- really).

If only she would have gone back to Alaska and finished the job to which she had been elected, I might still be one of her defenders. But I believe that she turned her back on the citizens of Alaska when she resigned as their governor and she lost me as a supporter when she did it. That was the job to which she had been elected and she should have fulfilled her commitment (unless, of course, she had actually gone on to be vice president). When she made the announcement that she was resigning, she said something totally nonsensical about not continuing “politics as usual,” as if that catch phrase was supposed to explain why she was abandoning the people who elected her.

She was barely out of the governor’s office before she was writing a book, touring the country on a bus and signing on with Fox News. I’ve heard that her daughter is on Dancing With the Stars and I don’t know if she’s considered a star or she dances with one (I’ve never seen the show). And of course a run for the presidency in a couple of years is probable. Her style is not unlike that of Barack Obama himself, once the darling of a certain brand of up-and-comers. She’s the darling of a whole different and diametrically opposed brand of them, of course, but the similarities are there.

And this ilk of politics – and politician -- turns me off.


Pencil Writer said...

I think Sarah Palin is an attractive person who makes a good cheerleader. I seriously don't think she is Presidential material. I agree with a lot of what you said. I think George Soros funds any/all sides of the issues and, unfortunately, politicians are politicians. Guess that's why I love the movie "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" with Jimmy Stewart, so much.

I'm too tired right now to say much more right now anyway. thanks, as always for your thoughts, Bob!

quid said...

I am scandalized by the time and $$$ we spend on elections. And the fact that someone would spend all that money on a "first" 2012 political ad, praising what was accomplished in 2010.

The election cycle never seems to end. Don't they want to take time to govern?

PS Tea party candidates won 32% of the elections they were entered in nationally.

Kelly said...

I'm also one who initially liked Sarah Palin and, like you, I've lost respect for her in that she didn't finish her job in Alaska. She's definitely gotten the hang of being a "politician" since then.

To be honest, I was only interested in my state and local races on Tuesday night. I knew all the rest would be rehashed ad nauseam for the next few weeks.