Monday, October 25

Thinking about elections

Early voting has started in the US. The report is that the Democrats are off to a good start so far. Michael McDonald, a professor at George Mason University, asserts that while the numbers are good, they aren't as good as in 2008. He also notes he would have expected to see more Republicans voting early if there is what he calls a "pure enthusiasm gap."

That's all well and good, I suppose, but I also wonder if there remains a voter antipathy for pretty much anyone on the stump. I saw a great editorial cartoon the other day with the Democrats jackass, er, donkey on one side and the Republican Dumbo, er, elephant standing at their respective podiums, pointing at each other and shouting "I'm not him." We have far too many politicians telling me what a horrible, unethical, untrustworthy, and miserable scoundrel their opponents are but no one, NO ONE is willing to say with any absolute certainty what they will do. Of course they won't. Who is that certain? And if they say what they really think might work rather than what they won't do, they probably figure they haven't a snowball's chance in Florida in July of getting elected.

But I think they mostly say nothing about what they'll do once in office because they haven't a clue.

I don't usually watch 60 Minutes, but I watched a bit of it on Sunday, October 24 while waiting for football to start and for The Amazing Race, which follows. Anyway, the bit I watched was a report on the employment situation. Boomers who had been unemployed for about two years. Boomers with college degrees, many with Master's degrees, and a few with doctorates. Most had expected to retire from their companies.

What the 60 Minutes staff assert is that the real unemployment rate is not below 10% but is actually closer to 17.5%, and that the unemployment rate in California is 22%. The reason the real unemployment rate might be scandalously higher than the federal government reports is because the fed doesn't report the people who are no longer on unemployment for a number of reasons.

If this number is true, then I'm even angrier that the primary focus of the Obama Administration seemed to have been health care reform which seems to be causing gradual increases in the cost of health care for me. But I'll set that aside because I'm grateful to have health insurance at all. But what I really want to know is what the politicians and the banks and the big employers are going to do about jobs.

I keep hearing that manufacturing jobs lost to overseas are gone forever. What were those morons thinking when they outsourced all those jobs to companies overseas? Who the heck did they think were going to buy their goods and services? The people overseas? I'm just so irritated that anyone thought that was a good long-term business model.

As for this election, I'm reluctant to vote for anyone. In my state, Illinois, my choices for governor are Pat Quinn and Bill Brady. Lesser of two evils. I look at the rest of the slate and I'm not at all encouraged by anything I hear from anyone.

In April of this year, a town in Wisconsin elected a 22-year-old as mayor. There was a story earlier this month that a 20-year-old girl was elected police chief of Guadalupe. An in August, a 20-year-old was elected as the youngest MP in Australia. Maybe there is some value in electing kids who are barely old enough to have graduated from college. They have fewer preconceived ideas of what "ought" to be. They are not yet dragged about their noses or their balls (thanks to Rush Limbaugh's "balls to the wall" comment in September about getting Christine O'Donnell elected) by corporate, political, party, or other influences. They may not be "wise" enough to make long-term decisions, but I have to think that many of them can't be much worse than those made by so-called career politicians.

So why hasn't there been a throng of people rushing to early election? Seriously? Have you seen our options?

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