Showing posts with label Governor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Governor. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

New Hampshire's turn for an Independent?

Looking to both the East and West of the Granite State, there have been a series of successful state-wide Independent candidates. As far back as 1975, Mainers elected their first Independent Governor, James B. Longley. Longley, a center-left Democrat on social issues, left the Democratic Party over fiscal issues. Running as a fiscally-conservative and socially progressive Independent, he struck a chord with more Mainers than either the Republicans or Democrats, and left as his mark a reorganization of the University system. From 1995 to 2003, Mainers again elected an Independent, Angus King, with an eclectic philosophical record but who was perceived as very strong on educational issues, a recurrent issue in Maine politics.

To the West, Vermont sent Jim Jeffords to the U. S. Senate as a Republican three times. But in 2001, Jeffords switched to Independent, and the catalyst was Republican opposition to the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Jeffords would strongly represent a civil libertarian position, opposing the ban on gays in the military and the FCC Decency Act (which would eventually be struck down by the Supreme Court), and opposing background checks at gun shows, the flag desecration amendment, and the use of military force in Iraq. On Economic issues, he supported the Balanced Budget Amendment and Free Trade agreements.

To the south of New Hampshire, Independent candidates are polling ahead of Democrats and Republicans in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Ex-Democrat Tim Cahill is running strongly in Massachusetts, with - surprise, surprise - a socially moderate and fiscally conservative approach. In Rhode Island, ex-Senator Lincoln Chaffee, who was targeted by the conservative wing of the GOP, is positioned as a pragmatic independent who is not as 'mean' as the shrill Republican base, but more fiscally responsible than the chaotic Democratic-lead statehouse. And of course in Connecticut, Independent Joe Lieberman felt ostracized by liberal Democrats, and has almost single-handedly prevented a new socialized health program from leaving the Senate.

One must ask: what traits do all of these Independent victories have in common?

First, Fiscal irresponsibility among Democrats.
Second, capture of the Republican Party by an extreme and shrill right wing.
Third, voter rejection of both (1) and (2) above, and falling party identification.
Fourth, Independent candidates who support fiscal responsibility; social tolerance and civil liberties; and who have strong pro-Education platforms.

Which brings us to New Hampshire, and the 2010 Gubernatorial election.

Governor John Lynch's record of fee & tax increases, free-wheeling spending, and fiscal incompetence will go down in history as legendary. Not in recent history has this state seen such deceitful budgeting, nor so many tax and fee increases. Combined with the national Obama juggernaut of staggering deficits and spending, a growing number of Americans from "the middle" - where elections are won - are pushing back against the Democrats irresponsibility.

Unfortunately, the Republican Party will not necessarily benefit from this anger. The Bush years convinced an entire generation of Americans that Republicans, too, stand for big government and big spending. Worse, the histrionics of right-wing media idols like Glenn Beck have painted the GOP as a party of the lunatic fringe.

NH GOP contender Karen Testerman represents the fringe that the public rejects: a co-founder of the Christianist "Cornerstone Policy Research," in 2003 she compared gays and lesbians to "shoplifters and drug addicts," and told the Nashua Telegraph that she would have to "prayerfully assess" her role in the Republican primary. In the second least 'evangelical' state in the union (Vermont being first), Testerman represents everything that most independents and moderate - and many former Republican voters fear most: a religious fringe candidate who will see the Office of Education and the Office of Health and Human Services as a personal crusade to impose theological opinion.

With the Democrats in disarray over the financial meltdown for which they and they alone are responsible, and the Republicans insisting on pandering to a shrill far-right base, New Hampshire and its swelling ranks of Independent voters may well be poised to elect an Independent who represents fiscal sanity, social tolerance, and a strong commitment to both Jobs and Education.

Now...who's stepping up to the plate?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

NY Governor Eliot Spitzer and a Prostitution ring....

I have never liked Eliot Spitzer. The Governor of New York was too much of a crusader, the kind who dribbles saliva from the mouth as he's torturing Evil Opponents. And for Spitzer, going after anyone who traded Securities or had a large bank account was his passion. He was dubbed "Mr. Clean" for being the Knight in Shining Armor. But no one knew the Knight was riding around bareback with the courtesans of the land.

His is, ironically, a common story.

- Governor Spitzer, "Mr. Clean," found paying a prostitute over $4,000 for a four hour session.

- Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals and anti-homosexual crusader, found paying for gay sex for over three years.

- Paul Crouch, founder of the world's largest Christian broadcasting outlet, the Trinity Broadcasting Network which also espouses a Gay-is-Evil message, currently locked in a tiff with the Reality Show "Lie Detector," as a former employee, Enoch Ford, submitted to a polygraph regarding a supposed gay sexual relationship witn Crouch...and revealing a $425,000 payment made to him after he was fired from the Network.

- Roger Clemmons, baseball hero, dogged and hounded by congressmen determined to know if he used steroids of HGH during his spectacular career.

- Cicero (Chicago area) Police Commander Wesley Scott, a 21-year veteran of the force who sent up many a young man for illegal drug possession, is himself charged with burning a marijuana joint (and a whole bag of the weed) after being stopped by another officer. (The department was kind enough to let him take four personal days before adminstering a drug test, to give him time to clean out his system. The Blue Code lives...)

There are *so many* issues to look at here:

1) WHY are we so obsessed with creating heroes that are unrealistic? "Heroes" are NOT perfect. They are human and fallible. Give me a movie hero who is uncertain, imperfect, and flawed, and you've got a real hero. Give me some self-righteous, pontificating know-it-all, and I want to throw up. Dubbing Spitzer, "Mr. Clean" was an impossible standard to throw at him.

2) WHY are those who are so damned strident in their crusades so often hiding the very vices they appear to want to eradicate? Do they believe that if they ruthlessely pursue all the 'other' bad guys, that they will not have to admit to themselves that, they, too, engage in the same activities?

Find me a man who is strident in his hatred of gays, and who knows every Bible verse condemning them, and is obsessed with preaching it, and I will show you a drowning man who is desperate to avoid the truth of his own orientation.

3) WHY do we revel in disaster? Why do we *love* it when the media build someone up to a point of being worshipped, and then enjoy the gossip, innuendo and tales that accompany their eventual destruction?

Thiry years ago, folk singer Phil Ochs wrote these words in his song, "Crucifixion:"

"And you say you can't believe it,
It's a sacriligious shame,
Now who would want to hurt
such a hero of the game?
But you know, I predicted it,
I knew he had to fall.
How did it Happen?
I hope is suffering was small.
Tell me every detail,
'Cuz I've got to know it all,
And do you have a picture of the pain?"

4) But most of all, maybe we should be looking *not* at the hypocrisy of these guys, or the Build-them-up, Tear-Them-Down sport of the media....but at our own expectations and requirements.

This country has been affected by a knee-jerk Puritanical streak since our inception. We put people in stocks and made them wear scarlet "A's," not because they hurt anyone, but because we didnt like their personal choices and to expose them to public ridicule.

Spitzer didn't steal anyone's money or property. He didnt assault, maim, or hurt anyone. Outside of his family relationships (which is his own private matter), who has been hurt by his dalliance with a prostitute?

No One.

Should Spitzer resign? No.
Should Clemmons lose his place in history? No.
Should Officer Scott go to jail for smoking pot? No.

Instead of pointing at their hypocrisy, maybe we should point at our own: We are a nation where a majority of a generation has smoked pot, and yet we put people behind bars for smoking pot. We are a nation where the majority has had multiple sexual partners, yet we consider it a 'disgrace' when it is brought to light.

Time to cast off our Puritanical ball and chain. Legalize recreational drug use, legalize prostitution, legalize all activities that hurt no one.

And then decide that its none of our business anyway who someone sleeps with or what drugs they take, and move on to more serious issues.