Friday, October 27, 2006

another sign for Christmas in November? | Salt Lake County expands early voting due to high turnout: "The Salt Lake County clerk's office is expanding early voting for the general election.
Due to high turnout, the office is opening this Saturday and next Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and adding more voting machines."

I hope that everyone who can should go and vote, whether you are Democrat, Republican, Green, Liberarian, Personal Choice or what.

Try out those machines this week while the lines are small. Don't go all Diebold tin-foil-hat on me.

Chairman Waxman gets warmed up on Leavitt

Soon-to-be-Chairman Rep. Henry Waxman found this nugget: "Cabinet secretaries — especially former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt — use too many private planes to travel on government business, which has cost taxpayers $1.5 million since January 2001."
Why is Leavitt taking "19 trips aboard a private jet leased by CDC at a cost of $726,048 in order to promote administration policies"? Can't Leavitt fly coach to pimp privatizing social security and Medicare Part D? Waxman makes an outrageous request:
"If Cabinet secretaries are going to continue to travel across the country in the coming weeks, their travel should be economical and comply fully with federal travel regulations"
Waxman and Government Reform Committee Chairman Tom Davis, R-Va., wrote to all the federal agencies in June asking for information on their use of private aircraft.

Waxman also noticed that these trip were four times higher in 2004 to battleground states than in 2001, 2003, and 2005. Former Governor Leavitt, stop using the federal government as tool for the Republican Party. You are a millioniare, use your own damn jet if you want to fly private.

Monday, October 23, 2006

legislative process as a campaign tactic

The Salt Lake Tribune has an interesting scenerio/story that goes something like this
Candidate A: Education is my top issue. I would have scrapped a tax cut in favor of increased funding.
Candidate B: Me, too.
Candidate B: We are in desperate need of health care reform to get coverage to tens of thousands of uninsured Utahns.
Candidate A: I couldn't agree more.
Confused voter: Then why should I vote for you, Candidate A, over Candidate B?
Candidate A: I'm a Republican, and if you want your voice heard at all in Utah, you'd better elect me or you'll be marginalized along with the whole super-minority Democratic Party.
Candidate B: No, you should vote for me because you can't reverse the Legislature's wrong direction by throwing more Republicans into it.

history tells us that almost always, these kind of process arguments don't really matter to voters. Why else would Jim Matheson have been elected in 2000, narrowly won again in 2002, and was relected so overwhelmingly in 2004 (and soon 2006)? Why else would voters choose John Thune over then Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle?

I say that voters either like the candidates or they don't. Sometimes when they don't like either, they go with their ideological ally (see New Jersey 2000-06). Sometimes they just want to throw the bumb out, even if the other candidate isn't so great.

While both the GOP and Democratic arguments in this non-hypothetical have merit, it all is really besides the point if you are looking for the message that will get you votes (and fits you). State Republican party officials claim their arguement is working in some SLC districts (where almost all of the Democratic seats are), but I doubt it will pan out.

Voters get that dumping a Daschle will mean less money comes to their state, but they don't get how the voting for Speaker works, who the Speaker is, or even what the Speaker is (let alone who/what the Majority and Minority Whips are).

What does it say about our legislature and American legislative systems in general that in order to get anything done for the people you represent, you have to claim the right party mantle, even if it doesn't fit you? Dr. Joe Jarvis, at least on health care, sounds like he is from Berkley or Cambridge, not a Utah Republican. But part of his argument I assume is that Scott McCoy is a nice guy, but as a Democrat, he can't get anything done.

Claiming every candidate has to be from one party leads to the Soviet system and really runs a roughshod over minority rights. Since Scott McCoy is an openly gay Democrat he is naturally going to be more attuned to minority rights in all aspects, even if he is a rich, educated, white, male. Empathy through experience, that is something being a white male LDS Republican running for office in Utah will never have.