Busby LOST, okay?

You know what really grinds my gears?  When idiots try to parlay a clear LOSS into some kind of “moral victory.”


Remember in 2004 when the Democratic Presidential candidate, Senator John F. Kerry (Mass.) lost the popular vote by some 3 percentage points?  Republicans were rightly crowing about how President Bush (R) was the first Presidential candidate in sixteen years to win a majority of the popular vote.  A bunch of Democrats made a rather feeble counterpoint: Kerry still won 48 percent of the vote and 100 000 votes in Ohio would have put Bush out of a job.


So what?  Kerry winning 48 percent of the vote doesn’t give him 48 percent of the White House.  And those 100 000 votes DIDN’T go our way – that’s the point, and let’s face it, we LOST, plain and simple.  I know some people need and want to be comforted in a time when Democrats seem to be unable to do anything but lose, but by patting themselves on the head and telling themselves that they almost won, they’re blinding themselves to the grim reality – we’re a party of losers.


History repeats itself today as the special election for California’s CD-50 is won by Republican Brian Bilbray after both sides put incredible amounts of money and energy into what would’ve been otherwise an obscure and unnoticed race.  Democrat Francine Busby was leading in the polls at several points during the race but ended up losing to Bilbray by 49.5-45.  Now Democrats are in comfort-thyself mode once more, patting themselves on the back for keeping the race so close in what should’ve been a heavily Republican district. 




What should’ve happened was that Busby should’ve won!  Heavily Republican or not (President Bush won the district in 2004 by some ten points) the previous occupant of this House seat was a Republican who resigned in disgrace after being convicted on bribery charges, and Bilbray showed no signs of being squeaky-clean.  What should’ve happened was a popular revolt against the current party of corruption: the GOP. 


Instead, their man won.  Again.


What’s even worse is that this race was looked on as a “bellwether” for the bigger elections this fall.  If what happened last night is any indicator of what’s going to happen on November 7, then we Democrats can forget about taking back Congress.  We’ll probably end up picking up just a few seats and then start mindlessly congratulating ourselves again for “ending Republican dominance in Washington.”


On a happier note, my pick for Governor, State Treasurer Phil Angelides, won the Democratic primary and is going mano-a-mano with Governor Schwarzenegger this fall.  Looks like I don’t always pick losers.  I’ll discuss the other election results later.


JULY 4 2006 ADDENDUM: As noted above, my choice for Governor, State Treasurer Philip N. Angelides, won the primary, narrowly edging rival State Controller Steven P. Westly 47.8-43.4.  Here are the other results from the June 6 Democratic primary, as compared with my vote:


Lieutenant Governor:

My vote – Insurance Commissioner John R. Garamendi

Result – Garamendi wins over State Senators Jackie Speier (Hillsborough) and Liz Figueroa (Sunol) 43.3-38.6-18.1.


Secretary of State:

My vote – State Senator Deborah V. Ortiz (Sacramento)

Result – Ortiz loses to State Senator Debra Bowen (Marina del Rey) 60.9-39.1.



My vote – State Senator Joe Dunn (Santa Ana)

Result – Dunn loses to Board of Equalization Chairman John Chiang 53.0-47.0.



My vote – State Treasurer Philip N. Angelides

Result – Unopposed candidate Attorney General Bill Lockyer wins 100.0.


Attorney General:

My vote – Los Angeles Attorney Rockard J. Delgadillo

Result – Delgadillo loses to Oakland Mayor Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown 62.8-37.2.


Insurance Commissioner:

My vote – State Senator Jackie Speier (Hillsborough)

Result – Lieutenant Governor Cruz M. Bustamante wins over John Kraft 70.4-29.6.


United States Senator:

My vote – Colleen Fernald

Result – Fernald loses to U.S. Senator Dianne G.B. Feinstein 86.8-8.0, with Martin Luther Church picking up 5.2 percent.


United States Representative, 53rd District:

My vote – Representative Susan A. Davis (CA-53)

Result – Unopposed candidate Davis wins 100.0.


State Superintendent of Public Instruction:

My vote – Grant McMicken

Result – McMicken loses to State Superintendent Jack O’Connell, Sarah Knopp, Diane Lenning, and Daniel Bunting 52.0-17.3-14.2-8.5-7.9.


Proposition 81:

My vote – Yes

Result – Yes loses to No 47.0-53.0.


Proposition 82:

My vote – Yes

Result – Yes loses to No 39.2-60.8.


(San Diego County) Proposition A:

My vote – Yes

Result – Oddly enough, I couldn’t find the results.  But I didn’t try very hard – I’m tired.  And I’m sure it passed.


(San Diego County) Proposition B:

My vote – Yes

Result – Ditto.


So out of the 14 contests here, I got my way on only 3 of them (Governor, Lt. Governor, United States Representative), and didn’t get my way on 9 of them (Secretary of State, Controller, Treasurer, Attorney General, Insurance Commissioner, United States Senator, State Superintendent, Proposition 81, and Proposition 82), with 2 contests (the county props) in the “I don’t know” category.  While this might seem to be cause for disappointment, it’s actually pretty good given my history of supporting losers, and I put more weight into the Governor race than all the others.  The Angelides-Westly contest was really close and I was elated to see my candidate come out on top.  Let’s hope that happens again in November.


The Lt. Governor, U.S. Representative, Treasurer, Attorney General, Insurance Commissioner, United States Senator, and State Superintendent contests were no surprise, as most of those contests (with the possible exception of the LTG) were Huge Name vs. No Name.  The Controller race was pretty tight and I thought it could go either way.  I thought the Secretary of State race would be much closer.  The biggest surprises were the Props.  I thought both would pass – who doesn’t like libraries and preschool? – but for some reason, Californians don’t.  Anyone care to explain?


As for this November?  Obviously, I’m gonna vote for the Democratic nominees for Governor, Lt. Governor and U.S. Representative.  I’ll be happy to support the Democratic nominees for Secretary of State and Controller as well.  I’m uneasy about our picks for Treasurer, Attorney General, and Insurance Commissioner and I’ll have to think about it and shop around for alternatives.  I refuse to vote for the U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (and I’ll explain in a future column as to why) and will most likely cast my vote in November for the Green Party candidate, Todd Chretien.

June 6 2006 Election


Today, June 6 2006 at approximately 7:40 PM, I filled out and submitted my Democratic primary election ballot at Gallery B in UCSD. Here’s how I voted:


Governor – I voted for State Treasurer Philip N. Angelides. Angelides has been the most consistent advocate of Democratic values and opponent of Governor Schwarzenegger and the day I knew I would support him was the day he was virtually alone in opposing two Schwarzenegger-backed budget propositions in 2004 while all around him his fellow Democrats were tripping over themselves to help the props (which I opposed) pass.


Phil Angelides (center, pointing) with wife Julie to the right. Source: Sacramento Bee/Brian Baer.


George Skelton of Los Angeles Times’s Capitol Journal encapsulated one of my main reasons for supporting Angelides when he predicted that he “would be more activist, more aggressive in pushing a policy agenda. The man is tenacious.”


This is not to say that Angelides’s major rival, State Controller Steve Westly, is a bad guy. I went to a Westly campaign event on Friday and overall he gave a pretty good impression. My vote was a positive statement for Angelides, not a negative one for Westly, and I’d be happy to support Westly in the general election should he win the primary.


Lieutenant Governor – I voted for Insurance Commissioner John R. Garamendi. This was definitely one of the toughest choices I had to make since Garamendi and the other two Democrats, State Sens. Jackie Speier (Hillsborough) and Liz Figueroa (Sunol), were all good candidates with few real differences on the issues. I ended up voting for Garamendi because I felt at the end of the day that he was the most forceful advocate of active government and Democratic values.


John Garamendi. Source: Sacramento Bee.


Secretary of State – I voted for State Senator Deborah V. Ortiz(Sacramento). Ortiz and her opponent, State Sen. Debra Bowen (Marina del Rey), were mostly similar, the main difference being on Diebold voting machines: Bowen doesn’t trust them; Ortiz does, and I ultimately didn’t use that as a factor to decide. What tipped me towards Ortiz was a Sacramento Bee article talking about the two candidates that stated that Ortiz “would reach out to potential voters through new-citizenship workshops to ‘demonstrate to people who think that government doesn’t work for them that it does, indeed, have something to offer.’” One of my greatest political priorities, along with having an active government that works for people, is to show people the good that government has and can do.


Deborah Ortiz. Source: Sacramento Bee.


Controller – This was by far the toughest choice for me, not the least because I was rather uninformed about the differences between the two competitors. I voted for State Senator Joe Dunn (Santa Ana) because I felt he had the edge over Board of Equalization Chairman John Chiang due to his record of fighting Enron and his emphasis on audits to root out waste, fraud, and abuse. However, I have every bit of confidence in John Chiang, who seems like a strong liberal, and I would be happy to vote for him in the general if he wins the primary.


Joe Dunn. Source: Sacramento Bee.


Treasurer – This was supposed to be no contest as Attorney General Bill Lockyer is running unopposed, but it was for me, because Lockyer had supported Schwarzenegger in the 2003 election and I don’t exactly trust the man to fight for Democrats. So I considered either abstaining or writing someone in. Finally, I decided to write-in – guess who! – Philip N. Angelides because I felt he had done a superb job as State Treasurer and I wanted to give a positive endorsement to the best person I knew of in California politics for the job. So yes, that’s how much I support Angelides – enough to vote for him twice on the same ballot.


Attorney General – Quite frankly, I didn’t really like either candidate, but I voted for Los Angeles City Attorney Rockard J. Delgadillo because I thought he was more qualified, having a record of tackling polluters. But I voted for him with the greatest of reservations because of his touting of his record on driving gangs off “their home turf” (which sounds like a fishy infringement on civil liberties) and tackling drug houses (I’m pretty liberal on recreational drug use). I didn’t read the Wikipedia article linked above until just now but it seems like he also tried to ban gang membership, something I’m tentatively opposing on constitutional grounds. I don’t feel great about this vote but I didn’t feel like abstaining/writing-in on this one and I thought that Delgadillo was hard-working and qualified enough to get my vote. I don’t know if I’d vote for him (or opponent Jerry Brown, for that matter) in the general.


Rocky Delgadillo. Source: Sacramento Bee.


Insurance Commissioner – Both of the candidates were jokes. John Kraft is a nobody who has a one-line campaign statement in the voters’ guide. Lt. Governor Cruz M. Bustamante is a sleazy politician who’s running on a platform of his effort to lose weight (his reasoning is that poor health drives up insurance rates). So it was back to the old write-in. I was still feeling bad about not voting for Jackie Speier for Lt. Governor and I remembered reading that she had taken on the HMOs and other insurance powerhouses during her career, so I went ahead and voted for State Senator Jackie Speier (Hillsborough), even if it was for the wrong office.


Jackie Speier. Source: Sacramento Bee.


United States Senator – I absolutely refuse to vote for incumbent Democrat Dianne G.B. Feinstein at any point this year (I might vote for her in 2012 depending on how she behaves from now till then, but by then she might be retiring (at least I hope so)) because of her trifecta of transgressions: her vote for the 2001 EGRRTA tax cuts, her vote for the 2002 Iraq war resolution, and her vote for the 2003 Prescription Drug and Medicare “Improvement” Act. Plus, as a moderate (by Californian standards, anyway) she might have committed a few other transgressions that I don’t know about or can’t recall. All in all, she votes fairly consistently liberal Democratic and I probably would’ve voted for her in 2000 to reward her for, among other liberal votes, her stellar vote against the odious 1996 welfare reform bill. But I can’t stand the idea of voting for her again after those aforementioned three awful votes. So I set about looking for an alternative and there were two Democrats running against her: a religious nut (retired program manager Martin Luther Church) and an environmental nut (artist and entrepreneur Colleen Fernald). I went to both of their websites and was NOT impressed by the political silliness I saw. But I voted for Colleen Fernald because I felt she was far closer to me ideologically and more likely to push to keep domestic spending strong, unlike Church who suspiciously sounded like he was ready to cut domestic spending.


Colleen Fernald. Source: Sacramento Bee.


United States Representative, 53rd District – I voted for incumbent Susan A. Davis because 1.) there was no one running against her 2.) I felt she was a good liberal Democrat who should continue to serve in the House.


Susan Davis. Source: Wikipedia.


State Superintendent of Public Instruction – I have every bit of confidence in incumbent Jack T. O’Connell, but I voted for high school teacher Grant McMicken because of his bold and innovative proposals to abolish local school districts and have schools report directly to the state and to have a statewide database of lesson plans. After I voted, I read the Sacramento Bee profile (available only to registered members) and he was quoted as saying, “I would change the mission statement of the California Department of Education, make it not an agency where you gather data and run the finances but make it a support agency for teachers and children”, a sentiment I do NOT support.


Grant McMicken. Source: Sacramento Bee.


Proposition 81 – I voted YES on this measure which would provide a $600 million dollar bond for new library construction and renovation. I support public funding/action of libraries (and most everything else).


Proposition 82 – I voted YES on this measure to provide and fund a new voluntary preschool program. The benefits of preschool have been documented and it’s important for every person to have the chance to go to preschool, a goal this proposition would allow to become a reality.


(San Diego County) Proposition A – I voted YES on this measure to “clean-up” outdated provisions in the San Diego County Charter. Seems like common sense to me.


(San Diego County) Proposition B – I voted YES on this measure to disallow write-in votes in runoff elections. The whole point of a runoff is to have just two candidates so as to ensure that the victor will win a majority of votes.


Because of personal ignorance on the candidates and relevant issues, I abstained from voting on the other offices, mostly county and judicial seats.