DEWmocracy

Mountain Dew is promoting three new flavors and asking people to try all of them out and vote for their favorite one on DEWmocracy.  The flavors are: White Out, a “smooth citrus Dew”; Typhoon, a “punch of tropical Dew”; and Distortion, a “lime blasted Dew”.  The winner will become the next permanent Mountain Dew flavor.  Much to my annoyance, the only places where I could find the flavors individually (rather than in huge 12-can packs) were at gas stations.

 

To be honest, they ALL taste at least a little funky.  Mountain Dew, while good, already tastes very artificial, so to add even more artificial flavors makes the resulting combination a little too much.  The worst is White Out, which tastes not just artificial, but like nastily sweet artificial sugar, like diet cola.  Typhoon is better because it has some tropical punch flavoring so it tastes slightly more natural, but I was still disappointed in how jarringly weird it tasted.  The best – or I should say the most tolerable – is Distortion, as it had a lime flavor that made it taste like a mix between Mountain Dew and Sierra Mist (my favorite soft drink).  It still doesn’t taste super good though.  What’s interesting is that this is the flavor closest to regular Mountain Dew, so it doesn’t add much if you’re looking for variety.

 

I voted for Distortion.  Hurry and try them yourself – voting ends today, June 14 2010 at 1159 PM EST (859 PM PST) (apparently you can vote up to three times).

JUNE 14 2010 UPDATE: Unfortunately, I forgot to vote my extra two times…

 

So voting is over and I think White Out, my least favorite, is the likely winner.  The website is not posting the national totals but according to the map, White Out is ahead in nearly every state.  Typhoon has carried eight states: Alaska, Utah, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Delaware, New York, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.  In most of the states the margin of victory for either White Out or Typhoon is very close, and Distortion is a very far third (in the teens or even single digits) place.  The one state Distortion carried was Oklahoma, and even that one very narrowly: 34-33-33.  Glad to see that the state that’s elected such epic morons as Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn is able to get one thing right.

 

White Out carried California by 49%, with 40% for Typhoon and 10% for Distortion. (Where’s the other 1%?) They also have county breakdowns, and it looks like Typhoon won in most of Southern California and the Central Valley whereas White Out carried the Bay Area and a few other pockets of the state.  SoCal should have more people than NorCal, so what happened?  Maybe fewer people total in SoCal voted.

Distortion won just one county: Del Norte County, a rural county of about 27 000 people in the far northwest corner of California.

 

The winner will apparently be announced on Tuesday, June 15.

SEPTEMBER 11 2010 UPDATE: Results are in (actually they have been for awhile; just never got around to updating).

 

White Out won with 44%, followed closely by Typhoon at 40%, with Distortion lagging at 16%.  Distortion carried only Oklahoma, and only by a one-point margin. (Yeah Oklahoma!) In California, White Out beat Typhoon and Distortion 49-40-10 (again, where’s the other 1%?), with Typhoon carrying San Diego County and Distortion carrying Del Norte County.

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2010 California Senate Election, Democratic Primary

First off, let me say that I have no problems whatsoever with incumbent Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer.  She’s a great liberal Democrat, one of the few true liberals in the Senate, with a virtually perfect progressive voting record, and I value her being there.  That said, I’m always looking to vote for the left-most candidates, especially if they won’t win (so I can get away with it without endangering an already-good candidate), so when I learned there were two challengers to Boxer in the June 8 primary, I decided to investigate and see if either were running against her from the left.

 

The first challenger, Brian Quintana, was easily ruled out by his weak ass Issues page.  The second challenger, Robert M. “Mickey” Kaus, was a different story.  His website is incredibly detailed and pleasantly frank, straightforward and detailed – which is what I would expect from a professional blogger.  He doesn’t beat around the bush or dumb down his positions – he states exactly what he believed in, and expresses admiration for others who do.  And believe me, I greatly appreciate that.  That said, I do need to evaluate what he says and judge him on those merits.

 

On the positive side, Kaus actually talks ideologically about the role of government: “What Reagan didn’t admit–and as a Republican, couldn’t admit–was that in order to achieve this American type of equality, we need an active and effective government. (emphasis his!)”  He relishes being open about defying orthodoxy, which as a principle I always appreciate.  He clearly states why he’s running, as so few candidates do.  Many of his issue positions are wonderfully simple and liberal: for the public option and open to Medicare Buy-in (though also for Obamacare and silent on Medicare for All), for a WPA-style jobs/public works program, for a simple carbon tax instead of cap-and-trade, for marriage equality, and against offshore drilling.

 

That said, unfortunately it doesn’t seem like Kaus, a self-described neoliberal, is running on Boxer’s left so much as on her right.  His much-vaunted rebellions against Democratic Party orthodoxy are all on the right.  His two biggest issues are reducing the influence of labor unions and preventing any kind of immigration amnesty until the borders are secured.

 

While I’m sympathetic to Kaus’s arguments for border security and against amnesty (I’ll write about that in a future entry), what makes me uncomfortable about Kaus is that he’s taken it to extremes such as downplaying the recent Arizona immigration law and taking a wait-and-see position on it, which I think goes too far.  As for the unions, I think if anything they don’t have enough power, and have been in decline for the last several decades.  What percentage of the workforce is unionized now compared to back in the 1960s and 1970s?  And I don’t see how Kaus, as a Senator, could immediately act on his beliefs about unions aside from opposing the Employee Free Choice Act (which he does oppose, and I support).

 

Much to his credit, Kaus went on Huffington Post to try to woo liberal support by defending his positions and couching them in liberal, pro-government terms.  I appreciate the effort, assuming he wasn’t just pandering, but I didn’t find his reasoning on the unions thing to be terribly convincing.  As for immigration I’m already mostly on his side.

 

There are other things too.  He’s for means-testing Social Security (here and here) because he thinks it’s too expensive.  While I do think we should make Social Security more financially sustainable, I don’t think means-testing is the way to go.  He voted for Jane Harman in 2006, saying he “like[d] her” and that Harman was “moderate and responsible”.  Which part of Harman is “moderate and responsible”, the part where she voted for the Iraq war or the part where she approved of the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping?

 

The worst strike for me, though, is Kaus’s support for the 1996 welfare reform law.  Not only am I strongly against that law, I see that law as a defining one for how liberal you are: mainstream, DLC/neoliberal-ified Democrats were for it, and true leftist liberals were against it.  For that reason, I celebrate the 21 Democrats who voted against it, which included Boxer.  On this very important issue Boxer was clearly on the right side, and Kaus is clearly on the wrong side.

 

All in all, I appreciate and praise Kaus’s strongly pro-government rhetoric (something I’m always looking for in campaigns), his willingness to defy orthodoxy (something I always appreciate, but won’t reward unless it’s in the right direction, and it’s not in Kaus’s case) and his honest, transparent discussion of his positions on the issues (which is always good).  However, simply put Kaus is too conservative for me, and Boxer has always been a strong liberal who’s right on the issues.  I strongly endorse Barbara Boxer for the June 8 2010 Democratic Senate primary.

 


Barbara Boxer.  Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

I tried digging around Boxer’s website to find pro-government rhetoric to match Kaus’s, and sadly I couldn’t find any (let me know if you can find any!).  She does have strong positions on jobs and the economy, though.

 

General Election: For the general election this fall, while I normally would be fine with voting for Boxer on the merits, I feel that I have to lodge a protest vote against Boxer (and all Democratic Senators, in fairness) for not filibustering the public option-less health care bill, as I would have.  So unless the election between Boxer and Republican nominee Carly Fiorina is particularly close, I will most likely vote for a liberal, Medicare for All-supporting minor party candidate in November 2010.

2010 California Gubernatorial Election, Democratic Primary

Several years ago, I predicted that every elected Democrat and their mother would be chomping at the governor’s race in 2010.  Instead, every major contender except one stayed out, and we’re stuck with Jerry Brown.  Am I voting for him in this primary?  HELL NO.  Why?  Well this article pretty much says it all – basically Brown’s a pussyshit moderate who couldn’t stand up for anything if his life depended on it (but he would if his election victory depended on it!  Too bad it doesn’t.).  (For a more comprehensive list of Brown’s drawbacks and history, see here.)

 

My #1 priority in this race is getting a Governor that will sign SB 810, the bill that would establish a single-payer health care system in California.  The California State Legislature has passed it twice (and the State Senate passed it again in January) only to have it vetoed twice by Governor Schwarzenegger.  Which means, yes, the Governor’s office is the one remaining obstacle to passing this.  So whoever is our next Governor had damn well better support single-payer.  Unfortunately, as that Union-Tribune link above (and the Calitics post it references) show, Brown isn’t on board with single-payer (despite having been an explicit supporter of it in the past).  Single-payer means so much to me that this is the closest I’m ever gonna be to being a single-issue voter, so if Brown doesn’t support it, fuck him.

 

So it was off in search of an alternative!  Unfortunately, the field of six candidates competing with Brown for the nomination were, to put it frankly, like a gang of political circus freaks.  I mean, look at Lowell Darling – is this some kind of joke?  I guess it is – when you’re running as a long-shot challenger to Jerry Brown, no need to take politics seriously!  And check out the robust platform of Chuck Pineda!

 

It took all my patience and open-mindedness to not reject Vibert Greene solely based on his chaotic mess of a website.  I mean, it really looks like someone vomited Fruit Loops all over the screen.  His issues page was vague and didn’t include single-payer.  He does use pro-government rhetoric here (at the bottom), so props to him for that.

 

Joe Symmon had a more detailed Issues page but made no mention of single-payer and instead declared his support for “Obama health-care plan” and says he “would adopt” it.  Um, does this guy not realize that “adopting” Obamacare for California makes little sense, considering the whole country will get it anyway in 2014?

 

Then there was Richard Aguirre.  He had a much stronger website and – yes! – he supports single-payer!  But health care and most other issues seem to be peripheral to him – his main focus is on what he calls the “New California Prosperity Plan”.  Basically, the idea is to install solar panels in everyone’s home to provide power, use the money from the excess power to pay for desalinization plants, sell the extra water from the desalinization plants to Mexico, Arizona and Nevada, and MAKE SHITLOADS OF BANK!!!!  If it sounds like a scam, that’s probably cuz it is.  And how do I know that’s all Aguirre cares about?  Because that’s literally the entirety of his candidate statement in the Voter Information Guide.  His statement is like one or two lines about solar energy – that’s it.

 

And then there’s Peter Schurman, the founding executive director of MoveOn.org.  He entered the race explicitly to be a liberal/progressive alternative – the liberal/progressive alternative – to Jerry Brown.  His main message was that Brown wasn’t bold and progressive enough, and that by contrast he (Schurman) would be as bold and progressive as California needed, and then some.  He came on to Huffington Post and brilliantly laid out his positions on the issues and the case for his candidacy.  His website didn’t look like garbage.  In fact, perhaps the best part about him was that he was the only one of Brown’s challengers who actually appeared to be sane.

 

His issue positions were strong, clear, and plenty liberal.  And look at them!  Raise taxes on the rich and legalize/tax marijuana!  Create green jobs and protect government services!  Invest in education and roll back university tuition increases!  End the 2/3 budget requirements! 

 

Oh, and health care?

 

          Californians deserve health care that works: simple, affordable, accessible.

 

The answer is Medicare for everyone.

 

[…]

 

This simple solution is within easy reach.  California’s Senate has passed SB 810, the California Universal Health Care Act.

 

I will sign it into law immediately.

 

OH GOD.  When I read this it was like having an orgasm.  This guy is like a dream candidate – he’s perfect!  Just one small catch… he had already dropped out of the race and endorsed Brown.

 

WHAT?!  That’s right – plastered proudly on the front page of his website was this:

 

Endorsing Jerry Brown

 

In the weeks since I launched my campaign, Jerry Brown has begun to demonstrate the kind of leadership we’ll need to win in November and to get California working again.

 

With two weeks to go in the primary, I am withdrawing from the race and endorsing Jerry Brown.  I urge all Californians to join me in supporting him.

 

WTF???!!!  In fact, at first I had totally dismissed Schurman based on this statement while skimming the candidates’ websites – it wasn’t later until I stumbled across his HuffPo editorial that I went back and looked into him and had my whole political euphoria thing.  Why the hell would he do this?  What exactly did Brown do to “demonstrate the kind of leadership” blah blah what the fuck?!!  Just to be sure, after I voted I went back home and did another Google search on “Jerry Brown single payer”.  NOTHING, just as there had been NOTHING months ago when I first decided that Brown sucked.  What is Schurman thinking?!!

 

So you can imagine my dilemma as I drove to the local polling place, still undecided as to who I would vote for Governor.  The only other candidate who endorsed single-payer was Aguirre, and so it was down to him or Schurman.  On the one hand is a guy who had some fairly substantive issue positions and favored single-payer, but whose entire candidacy revolved around a crackpot scheme reminiscent of those Nigerian check-cashing scams.  On the other hand is a guy who was perfect, perfect, perfect – except that he wasn’t even running anymore and was telling all his former supporters to vote for the scumbag that I swore not to support.

 

I was undecided right up to where my uncapped black marker was hovering uncertainly over the bubbles on the ballot for the gubernatorial candidates.  I then took a deep sigh and decided that if I was going to cast a protest vote, it will be for my ideal, dream candidate – Peter Schurman, before he was corrupted and turned to the dark side, saying ridiculous things about how Jerry Brown was terrific after all, and was demonstrating leadership (must be the invisible kind) or something.  Yes, that Peter Schurman.  I proudly endorsed and voted for Peter Schurman for Governor of California.

 


Peter Schurman.  Source: The Oakland Post Online

 

I walked out of the voting booth feeling pretty good about myself.

 

General Election: My #1 priority for the gubernatorial election remains finding and voting for a candidate who will sign SB 810, the single-payer bill.  The only thing that would make me even consider voting for Jerry Brown is if he promises to sign SB 810 or some other genuine single-payer bill.  Absent that, I will NOT vote for Jerry Brown, even if he and Republican nominee Meg Whitman are neck-and-neck on Election Day.  I will most likely vote for a liberal minor party candidate who does support SB 810 and single-payer.

June 8 2010 Primary Elections

I voted at ~750 PM at Doyle Recreation Center in University City, San Diego.  Any race I didn’t discuss here, I either abstained out of apathy or because I didn’t have time to research it (e.g. the Attorney General and Insurance Commissioner races).

All results are through the Secretary of State’s website, except for Propositions B and D which are found at the San Diego County’s website here.

Governor: I didn’t want to vote for the moderate, “pragmatic”, neutered piece-of-shit-of-a-Democrat called Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown, as I explained at the end of “My Thoughts on Health Care, Part VIII”, so I hastily shopped around for an alternative.  After some fast but intense soul-searching and mind-wrestling, I settled on progressive challenger Peter Schurman, despite the fact that he had already withdrawn from the race and endorsed Brown.  To read the whole story of my decision-making process, go here.

Results: Brown 84.1 – Richard Aguirre 4.1 – Chuck Pineda 4.1 – Vibert Greene 2.3 – Joe Symmon 2.2 – Lowell Darling 1.7 – Schurman 1.5

Lieutenant Governor: This was the hardest choice of several hard choices for me to make.  I don’t really like San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom – I think he’s a slick, unprincipled showboat who’ll say what he needs to get attention/elected.  Eric Korevaar sounds like a fiscal conservative who’d be happier in the Republican Party – his front page talks about “fiscal restraint”, “reducing spending to match revenues”, and how he’s “Pro Business”, and his entire Issues page is – literally – “Balance the Budget!”  That left Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, whose Issues page was nice enough.  The problem was, I really wanted to cast a protest vote against Newsom, but I didn’t feel comfortable doing so by voting for someone (Hahn) I barely knew about and wasn’t really excited for.

 

Earlier, I had been lamenting to my sister that there wasn’t a “None of the above” option like Nevada voters have.  This was in the context of the Governor’s race, before I made my final decision.  But now I found that it applied much more to the Lieutenant Governor race.  Since the option wasn’t provided to me, I literally wrote-in “NONE OF THE ABOVE” as my vote.

Results: Newsom 54.6 – Hahn 34.3 – Korevaar 11.1

United States Senator: I flirted with voting for Robert M. “Mickey” Kaus, who uses strong pro-government rhetoric (as I wish all Democrats did), but after an exhaustive study I found him to be too conservative for me.  Meanwhile, I’ve always supported incumbent Barbara Boxer, who is one of the few true liberals in the Senate, and so I voted for Barbara Boxer.  To read the whole story of my decision-making process, go here.

Results: Boxer 80.5 – Brian Quintana 14.2 – Kaus 5.3

United States Representative, 53rd District: Incumbent Susan Davis was running in the primary unopposed, and at first I was just gonna vote for her, when on a whim I decided to lodge my protest against her “mainstream-ness” (i.e. she wasn’t a true liberal, just a mainstream one) and her failure to vote against a public option-less health care bill, by writing-in Mike Copass, the true liberal who ran against Davis in the June 2008 primary.  I wasn’t able to vote for Copass at the time, but in retrospect I would’ve and I decided to write him in this time as my way of making amends.

Results: Davis 100.0

Proposition 13: This one, to create an exclusion on property reassessments for earthquake safety upgrades, seemed to make sense, though I suppose one could argue that such upgrades add value to the property.  But I see how having an exclusion could incentivize earthquake safety upgrades (as if there wasn’t enough incentive already!).  Also, no one submitted an argument against it in the Voter Information Guide.  I voted Yes.

Results: Yes 84.5 – No 15.5

Proposition 14: I opposed the idea of creating a jungle primary where everyone would vote for everyone on the first ballot and the top two vote-getters would advance to a runoff.  I think party members should be able to choose their own representatives for the general election ballot.  Furthermore, this would most likely exclude minor party candidates from general election ballots.  I voted No.

Results: Yes 54.2 – No 45.8

Proposition 15: This one would start the path towards public financing for elections, through a rather convoluted setup.  I’m strongly supportive of public financing of elections, though I don’t understand why this proposition directly created such a system only for the Secretary of State office.  The opposition’s arguments in the voter’s guide made no sense.  I voted Yes.

Results: No 57.5 – Yes 42.5

Proposition 16: This one would require two-thirds voter approval for electricity companies to use public funds to start new agreements with each other.  I don’t necessarily see the need for voter approval for this (there isn’t much of it currently) but I really don’t see why it has to be two-thirds approval.  The proposition in the voter’s guide was unpersuasive, and they really lost me when they said at one point that “the last time government thought they knew more about the electricity business than the electric utility companies, we had the 2001 energy crisis.”  Um, no: the 2001 energy crisis was the last time electric utility companies thought they knew more about the electricity business than the government.  It didn’t help that the ones making the arguments in favor were the California Taxpayers’ Association and the Chamber of Commerce.  I voted No.

Results: No 52.4 – Yes 47.6

Proposition 17: This proposition would have allowed auto insurance companies to offer discounts based on continuous coverage history.  I didn’t really understand the arguments for and against it; the arguments against it sort of got my sympathy as they claimed that insurance premiums could go up if it passed, especially for people who had otherwise perfect driving records, and that it was opposed by a bunch of consumer groups. (It was supported by a bunch of business groups.) Ultimately, though, I didn’t feel like I knew enough to vote one way or the other, so I Abstained.

Results: No 52.0 – Yes 48.0

Proposition B: This measure would institute term limits for San Diego County Supervisors.  I strongly oppose term limits as being undemocratic and I voted No.

Results: Yes 68.98 – No 31.02

Proposition D: This measure would make permanent the strong mayor form of government in San Diego.  I like the strong mayor system and I voted Yes.

Results: Yes 60.53 – No 39.47

 

JUNE 10 2010 UPDATE: Updated with results.

2010 Arkansas Senate Election, Democratic Primary

The Democratic primary race on June 8 2010 between Senator Blanche Lincoln and challenger Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter is a crucial one for deciding the future of Democratic politics.  Lincoln is a centrist-to-conservative Democrat who has not only taken conservative, pro-corporate stances on a number of issues, from taxes to financial sector policy to the public option, but even more damningly, has lied, numerous times, to numerous people.  She’s also deeply unpopular and unelectable, as Nate Silver explains:

 

Perhaps we should ask this question about Blanche Lincoln first. Although it previously appeared that she might have a chance to hold her seat in Arkansas because of the weak field of GOP candidates, she faces very, very long odds now that incumbent U.S. Rep. John Boozman has entered the race. Boozman, in fact, has 56 percent of the vote in that PPP poll to Lincoln’s 33 percent. That’s pretty much off-the-charts bad; no incumbent in any Senate or gubernatorial race in 2006 or 2008 faced anything like that kind of deficit. Lincoln’s approval rating in that poll is also incredibly bad: 27 percent approve and 62 percent disapprove, which is pretty near to David Paterson territory. This is a poll of registered voters, by the way — the numbers among likely voters might be even worse after accounting for the Republican enthusiasm advantage. Lincoln would need a miracle — or for Boozman to have a major scandal or somehow not to be the GOP nominee — to pull this one out.

 

Bill Halter, by contrast, is a mostly mainstream Democrat – he supports the public option (and potentially a Medicare Buy-in), raising the minimum wage, investing in education, and tough regulations on Wall Street.  He has been running to Lincoln’s left, but in mostly conservative Arkansas, has wisely couched that position as the more populist, I’m-on-your-side one, and has sought to cast himself as the opposite of Lincoln, whom he correctly depicts as a selfish corporate tool.  He also has significant support from organized labor, who are among the many groups that have been backstabbed by Lincoln, and has some pretty good TV ads too.

 

The reason why this race is so important is because Lincoln has made backstabbing liberal groups into her favorite sport.  Furthermore, she’s one of the most conservative Senate Democrats, and a constant vote for corporate interests at the expense of the people’s.  Of the four who killed the public option last year, she’s the only one up for reelection this year. (The others, for our future battle plans, are Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman (both up in 2012) and Mary Landrieu (up in 2014); all our unlikely to win reelection.) This is our one chance to hold her accountable and send a message to other conservative/corporatist Democrats that if they fuck with the people, we will fuck with them back.  If Lincoln loses, it’ll send notice to the other conservative/corporatist Democrats that liberals do have power and are not afraid to exercise it.  If Halter loses, that message may still be sent, but the conservative Democrats will take comfort in knowing that one of their own still survived.

 

Thus, while I usually much rather be voting for someone than against someone, this is a lot about Lincoln.  In this sense, as long as Halter is saying the right things, he’s good.  It doesn’t matter, for instance, that Halter might actually be a closet conservative.  Where Halter actually stands and what he’ll actually do once in office are almost irrelevant, because if Lincoln loses no one is going to think it’s because liberals thought Halter was too conservative.  What matters is that Halter has staked out a liberal, populist position in contrast to Lincoln’s corporatist one, and the optics of his victory would be an enormous boost to the liberal/progressive cause.  We can worry about Halter himself later.

 

That said, I don’t believe that Halter is really a closet conservative; I think he’s a mainstream liberal – not a true liberal like Bernie Sanders, Marcy Winograd (vote for her on June 8!), or Tracy Emblem (vote for her on June 8!), but a mainstream liberal Democrat like most Democrats serving in elected office.  He is at an acceptable level of liberalism and would be a significant improvement over Lincoln even beyond the pure politics of the race.  I thus endorse Bill Halter for the United States Senate.

 


Bill Halter.  Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

Unfortunately, while the latest polls have Halter with a slight lead (1-4 points) over Lincoln, there appears to be no depth to which Lincoln will not sink to hold on to power.  For some reason, the idiot elections commissioner in heavily pro-Halter Garland County, Charles Tapp, decided to reduce the number of polling stations in that county from 36 to two, ostensibly to “save money”.  In this rural county, it can be very difficult for people to get off work and drive miles and miles to vote.  To compensate for this already disastrous situation, Tapp opened a polling place on Saturday, but without any warning kept it closed because he made a last-minute discovery that apparently you’re not allowed to open a polling place without giving five days’ notice to the public.  What kind of fucked up law is that anyway?

So hundreds of voters who made it out on Saturday were turned away.  This could cost Halter the election, which could actually be the point.

JUNE 10 2010 UPDATE: And just like that, Halter lost, 48.0-52.0.  The Garland County voter suppression is outrageous, though it’s not clear that it was what made the deciding difference in the race.  What were probably decisive, though, were all the votes Lincoln got from black voters who mindlessly follow President Obama and, thus, mindlessly supported Obama’s favored candidate, Lincoln.  It’s stuff like this that makes me sick:

 

For all the millions that both sides spent on the bruising Arkansas Senate Democratic primary race, Yvonne Thomas admits she went to the polls not having much of a sense about the candidates.

 

What she did know, and what turned out to be the only thing that mattered in her decision to cast her ballot for the embattled incumbent Blanche Lincoln, was this: “Obama wanted us to vote for her,” said Thomas, who is African American.

 

Not just blacks though – liberals can be stupid too:

 

Where former president Bill Clinton’s endorsement also carried some weight with blacks, it was more crucial in rural Arkansas among white voters, said Arkansas political consultant Stacy Williams. He estimated that Obama’s imprimatur may have added as many as six percentage points to Lincoln’s total, by reassuring African Americans and white liberals.

 

So ignorant liberals support Obama because they don’t realize how un-liberal he actually is.  Un-liberal Obama supports very un-liberal Lincoln.  Therefore, liberals support un-liberal Lincoln.  Ah, I see.  God, what will it take to get people’s heads out of their asses?

 

We, the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, tried taking on the corporations and the Democratic establishments and we narrowly lost.  It remains to be seen what kind of effect this has on conservative Democrats.  Some gamely argue that, even though Lincoln won, the narrowness of the victory and the difficulty and expense she had in doing so will still produce the sort of chilling effect that we desired.  While I’d like that to be true, I’m of the opinion that the conservative Democrats, having put the left wing in its place, will go back to business as usual.

2010 California’s 50th Congressional District House Election, Democratic Primary

California’s 50th Congressional District includes Carlsbad, Escondido, Solana Beach, and the northern parts of San Diego as well as Clairemont and inland La Jolla, and adjoins my own 53rd District.  For this year, two Democratic candidates, Francine Busby and Tracy Emblem, are competing in the June 8 2010 primary for the Democratic Party nomination to challenge incumbent Republican Representative Brian Bilbray.

 

Tracy Emblem is a solid true liberal/progressive who supports Medicare for All and offers some strong progressive rhetoric on her website.  For example, her “Winning Message”:

 

MY WINNING MESSAGE

 

I represent the positive politics of  “Yes we can!” not Congressman Brian Bilbray’s negative politics of “No we can’t.“

 

My winning message of strongly supporting working families and Labor Unions, creating new jobs, rebuilding our economy, strongly supporting public education, developing real solutions for fixing healthcare, protecting our environment, and strongly supporting President Barack Obama’s economic recovery program will resonate with voters.

 

On her “Welcome”, which is strangely hard to notice despite being linked from her home page, she actually tries to tie her politics together into a liberal narrative (emphasis is always mine):

 

A VOICE FOR THE PEOPLE – Our founding fathers believed in a government that was of the people, for the people, and by the people.  It is “we the people” who are the government. That is why I’m running for Congress – to be a voice for everyday people in my district.

 

The times we face demand dynamic leadership. That is why California nurses, teachers and school employees, seniors, veterans and working families are among my most ardent supporters.  Please take a stand today to return our government to the people by voting for me in the June 8th Democratic primary. You can help our grassroots campaign by volunteering to make calls from your home, contributing to help me get our message to the voters.

 

I believe in our country and the greatness we can accomplish when we work together for practical solutions.

 

It gets better…

 

PUTTING AMERICA BACK TO WORK – Some say government should not be in the business of creating jobs. They are wrong. We must keep our jobs in America and not ship them overseas. Government helps promote jobs or eliminate jobs by implementing policies. Our country must bring our manufacturing base back to America. I support responsible corporate actions that aid in developing or helping smaller business which in turn creates jobs in local communities.

 

Our nation’s workers and small businesses help build the local economy from the ground up. When the nation is employed, income enters the stream of commerce, and in turn money is spent in restaurants, at car dealers, and other businesses, creating economic prosperity.

 

Government is and should be in the business of stimulating the economy to help its citizens achieve national goals like putting people back to work including rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, schools, hospitals and transportation systems and retrofitting our existing buildings for energy efficiency.

 

I believe a strong America starts at home in our local communities. We must spend our tax dollars at home to stimulate our local economies and rebuild America. I support good policies that help keep Americans healthy, safe and employed. 

 

Tracy Emblem, Your Candidate

United States Congress, CA50

 

Wow, a Congressional candidate writing positively about active government’s role in the economy!  That’s like something I would write.

 

One downside to Emblem is that her Economy page has language suggestive of repealing the estate tax:

 

The government needs funding to provide public health and safety services.  However, we should evaluate how many times we tax a person’s income and possessions and encourage economic prosperity by preserving estates.  We should work in a bipartisan manner to restore tax fairness for all Americans.

 

It’s concerning, but not a dealbreaker, especially for something written so vaguely and for someone running in a slightly Republican district.

 

Francine Busby, by comparison, is decent but both her rhetoric and positions seem tame and underwhelming in comparison to Emblem’s.

 

I hereby strongly endorse Tracy Emblem for the June 8 2010 House primary election for California’s 50th Congressional District.  If you join me in support of the Emblem campaign, please contribute to her here.

 


Tracy Emblem.  Source: Del Mar Times

 

No real polling that I know of exists, but I would read this interesting profile to get a feel for this race.  Busby is the establishment candidate, and it seems like establishment candidates usually win primaries (with the exception of Arlen Specter, but even Joe Sestak isn’t exactly a true liberal).  Let’s help Tracy Emblem win on June 8!

 

JUNE 11 2010 UPDATE: Sadly, Emblem lost, 34.1 – 65.9.  I hope she runs again in 2012.

2010 California’s 36th Congressional District House Election, Democratic Primary

The liberal group Blue America chose Marcy Winograd, running for the United States House of Representatives from California’s 36th District (Venice, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Torrance) against incumbent Jane Harman, as its first endorsement of the 2010 election cycle.  I would have too, but I didn’t get around to do it before the May 4 Ohio primaries, so instead that honor went to Jennifer Brunner, who was very much worthy in her own right.

 

Winograd is a real deal, true liberal/progressive who will fight for the working people in the House.  She would be a much-needed breath of fresh air.  She champions Medicare for All, a government-intensive “Green New Deal” for jobs, infrastructure and the environment, and has defied the Israel-centric Democratic political establishment by speaking out against Israel’s human rights abuses, resulting in a rhetorical tussle with senior Representative Henry Waxman (see here and more recently here).

 

Winograd’s positive attributes would alone would be more than enough to secure my hearty endorsement, but a sweetener is the fact that her opponent, incumbent Democrat Jane Harman, is a moderate Blue Dog who is tepid on most issues, except on financial regulation and national security, where she fights her heart out for big banks and big defense contractors, respectively.  She has also endorsed all kinds of civil liberties crackdowns in the name of homeland security.  Winograd would be head and shoulders above Harman and a significant improvement.

 

I hereby strongly endorse Marcy Winograd for the June 8 2010 House primary election for California’s 36th Congressional District.  If you join me in support of the Winograd campaign, please contribute to her here.

 


Marcy Winograd.  Source: Winograd for Congress

 

Winograd ran against Harman in 2006 and lost 37.5-62.5.  While polling on this race has been sparse, with only one poll showing Harman having a 43% approval rating, Winograd stands to do much better this time, having gotten into the race sooner in the cycle and making a bigger investment into the race.  Let’s help push her to victory on Tuesday June 8!

 

JUNE 10 2010: To my dismay, Winograd once again lost, this time by 41.2 – 58.8.  That doesn’t seem like much of an improvement from 2006, despite a considerably greater effort, investment and exposure this time.  I think we need to do a serious postmortem on what happened so we know what to do in order to make a better effort in the future.  And, I really hope Harman just goes away (run for Senate in 2012 if Feinstein retires?) so Winograd can do better in an open seat race.