Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Tarnished franchise

I voted in this election a week ago.

And, no, Rush, I didn't pull some sort of vote-fraud trick. Oregon elections are now done almost exclusively by mail. I don't think I've gone to an actual physical polling place for years. The ballot shows up, you spread it out on the kitchen table, scratch your head with the eraser end and you fill in the little ovals, then stuff it in the envelope and stick the stamp on (you think the State of Oregon is gonna pay for the postage? Shame on you, you tax-and-spend liberal, you) and you've exercised the franchise. You don't get the little sticker, but nothing comes without a price.

This year's ballot was notably free of freaks and whackos (unlike last year's special election where the idiot factor went to eleven). And, as always, there was no real "race" in any sense of the word. The Oregon Republicans are an utter shitshow; in thrall like the rest of their party to the Teatards and Christopaths in a state where oligarchic fucktardry and bible-belting are about as popular as the clap. Outside of the unpaved parts where the Morlocks clutch their Rugers and their Bibles it's a blue, blue Oregon, so I never feel like my vote really counts for much.

Another grain of sand on the beach, maybe. At least I voted against the piss-poor anti-GMO measure.

Thninking about this election perhaps the most depressing part of this entire electoral season here in the Beaver State has been the Strange Tale of Monica Wehby.

The linked article does a good job of detailing how this woman's candidacy - which, given her vita, should have been a strong one - fell apart. She seems like she had some real personal flaws that her party should have picked up on. But they're a shitshow, remember? So, yeah.

That's not the depressing thing. Here's the depressing thing; Wehby's stand on the "issues".

They are, per her website and in order:

"Jobs" - which are, apparently, a problem but not a problem because of the rapacity of financiers and rentiers, regulatory and fiscal policies that favor capital flight, offshoring, and outsourcing but because of "...needless red tape, mindless regulation, tax increases...top-down, government bureaucracy...and mandates that come out of Washington D.C." Republican, right? Plutocracy, good! Regulation, bad! To grok these gomers you gotta think like a damn third grader.

But that's the good part. Things go downhill from here.

"Term Limits" - since the best solution to a Congress that has largely either given away its authority or is paralyzed by Dr. Wehby's party's insistence that no government is better than letting the Kenyan Usurper actually govern is to ensure that the Congress is packed with political neophytes. Can't see how that'll go wrong.

"Guns" - This one is actually labelled "Constitution/2nd Amendment" but since the only specific part of the document specified is the one about the bullet-launchers I thought I'd just correct the header to reflect what this is supposed to say to the guntards.

"Health Care" - because our emergency rooms are SO Awesum, we don't need no Obamacare negro welfare handout!

Yeah, the actual text that's in there is different, but the actual text is so bizarrely freaking meaningless that it might as well be written in cuneiform. Here's the good doctor's position on "health care":
"Monica was a prominent opponent of the ACA in 2009, when Obamacare was rolling down the legislative track. She was enlisted to be in a television commercial that ran nationwide, warning people about the dangers of that bill. Monica got a lot of hate mail for that ad campaign and had to change her home phone number, but her warnings have come to pass."
Try and figure out what the fuck that means, if you dare. You note the lack of actual ideas on, you know, "health care"? Yeah, me, too. Basically it seems to mean that "Doctor" Wehby's position on "health care" is the GOP bog-standard issue; if you have no insurance, don't get sick. If you do get sick, die quickly.

I can't make anthing else out of that hot mess. Moving on...

"Veterans" - are SO Awesum! SO Awesum that Dr. Wehby will put the "needs and care" of these "brave men and women front and center". Absolutely, positively no kidding but did she mention that not to the point of unbalancing the budget (see below). Sorry, Joe, sorry, Molly, we have to "live within out means". Because...Greece!

"Balanced Budget" - because "(i)f we don’t do something to end this fiscal insanity our entire country will end up like Greece or Detroit!" Never mind that neither one has any similarity to the federal government (which this person is supposedly wanting to get involved in running) in that in the EU Greece doesn't control its financial destiny and neither does Detroit in the US...unlike the, you know, actual US.

More GOP nonsense, like comparing the US government - that can change its income by law - with a "household" where trying that with your employer would get you, like, fired. This is third-grader economics and the second-worst zombie idea in fiscal policy but beloved of GOP rank-and-filers so, there.

"Education" - abolish the Department of Education! Again, there's a bunch of other goofy verbiage, but Doc Wehby pretty much just wants to complain about the Feds getting all up in the grille of local schools telling them that they have to educate those damn negroes an' retards an' stuff. Oh, and Common Core!

"Foreign Policy" - Big Stick.

Seriously; Doc Wehby quotes Teddy as a way of saying that our troops are So Awesum! that we need to throw them large amounts of taxpayer cash. That's it; we're not even talking third-grade level here, we're down somewhere in the preschool years or on the backside of the planet Mongo or something. Based on this the woman needs to be kept away from anything even faintly resembling foreign policy, or foreign food, for that matter. What the hell she'd do with falafel is a horrifying thought.

"Natural Resources" - drill, baby, drill!

Again, the cuneiform reads
"We know how to strike the proper balance between meeting both our economic needs and our environmental responsibilities. But for some time, however, the natural resource policies coming out of Washington have been seriously out of balance and the result has been tragic for the state we love."
but you know as well as I do that for a Republican the "out of balance natural resource policies" that have been "coming out of Washington" are the ones that keep you and me from clearcutting the damn trees and damming the damn rivers and, shit, man, God gave us the fucking stewardship of Mother Earth and what the hell good is "stewardship" if you can't bend ol' Mom over when you're feelin' frisky and sink some shaft into that hot, gooey, natural resource-y goodness, amirite?
And that's it. That's all our supposed-Republican-Senator will do if we send her to D.C.; cut the funding for everything but aircraft carriers and petroleum subsidies and make sure that your basement arsenal is safe from the BATF.

Any concern about the going-to-hell condition of Oregon's highways and public buildings? Any interest in figuring out how Oregon's rural counties manage to stay in business? Any mention of Senatorial responsibility for keeping the nation out of fucking land wars in Asia? Or any other foreign affair other than hitting dusky heathens with a Big Stick?

Not just no but fuck no.

Of course not; the woman is a general-issue Republican. She could no more stake out a thoughtful position on things like taxation, inequality, public policy, foreign affairs, and social issues than she could show up at the New Century Club naked and do the haka.
This candidate's policy positions should have made her untouchable outside the lunatic Bircher Right and a handful of Oregon plutocrats. Given what she says she believes in she should legitimately get no more than, say, 12-15% of the vote - 20% at the very absolute outside, the same level of support that the really off-the-wall nutbar got last November.

But she won't. I'll bet you right now that she'll get damn near 45% of the popular vote; nearly half. The looney and filthy-rich 20%...and another damn-near-quarter of Oregonians who should know better than to vote for this lunatic Bircher.

Tomorrow we'll see if I'm right, but that means that damn near a quarter of adult Oregonians who should know better will have voted someone whose published beliefs would make their lives harder, meaner, and more chancy.

Mind you, it could be worse.

Hell, it IS worse - in Iowa the idiots there are going to elect a moron pig-deballer who believes that the UN wants to take away our golf courses and the climate change is a scam to make us wear sweaters.

Seriously. And that is the state of our nation circa 2014 where the best lack all conviction, while the worst are fucking bull-goose-looney whackadoodle nutbars who have not just their own opinions but their own facts. Even in Oregon, where the worst are among the best of the worst, they're still the worst.

And so many of Us the People insist on trying to make them our Masters.

We. Are. SO. Fucked.


FDChief said...

Good work, Oregon! Only 4 out of 10 of you - about 38% - voted for this plutocratic lickspittle. My confidence in democracy is restored.

Wait. Joni Ernst WHAT!?

Oh, well, fuck it then...

Ael said...

You know, what I find most puzzling is that this blather *works*. I mean, a lot of clever people over hundreds of years and hundreds of thousands of individual elections have attempted electoral messaging in every shape and form.

The results have been tested in actual elections and boiled down into a practice of what works and what doesn't. And what you see is state of the art effective electoral messaging.


Big Daddy said...

According to the daily fishwrap's electoral maps http://gov.oregonlive.com/election/2014/general/maps/ the voting for Merkley roughly lined up with the voting for legalized ganja, since the teatard drug of choice is apparently meth.
Fortunately for our statewide voting, the entire population of one of the red counties on the right is less than the population of a single precinct in Portland.
Elsewhere I am still deeply disappointed that the Republican lizard brain and idiocracy grade thinking let whack jobs like Ernst win an election.
I just hope Harry Reid can apply all the gridlock lessons McConnell Boehner and Dole taught him to minimize the damage until 2016.

FDChief said...

It's hard to express how thoroughly disgusted and furious I am with the ignorant fucktards that have now made me subject to the rule of the insane.

For the next who-the-hell-knows how many years - six, at least - those of us in the moderately-sane parts of this goddamn country are going to have Joni Fucking Ernst trying to reach down and saw OUR balls off, voting for every fucking idiotic TeaTard nonsense; repealing Obamacare, bombing everything browner than a sheet of copy paper, ripping apart the social safety net that is what has kept us from the goddamn Freikorps and the Red Guards and the Brown- and Blackshirts marching in the fucking streets since 1932. These people are not "people" as your or I know them. They are goddamn true-believers, fanatics of the Arnuld-Amalric breed, who would happily see cities burn in ruins than let those they loathe and despise rule for a day. They don't believe in anything but the stories they tell inside their own heads, and the brutal failures of their barren and regressive policies mean nothing to them. They've got theirs, see, and it's not their problem if their acts ensure than no one else ever gets what they have.

Camarillo is empty because all the lunatice bug-fuckers are here.

And those of us who would gas them like roaches? Are helpless to do anything about them.

GodDAMN but I'm angry.

Ael said...

And yet, minimum wage hikes were voted into place in Arkansas, the home of Walmart! I really don't understand American politics.

Anonymous said...

Ael, there's big enough $ in campaigns to make winning elections insignificant

>>Vote For Me And I Will Improve Your Life By ______


“We have a huge problem: People do not think the recovery has affected them, and this is particularly true of blue collar white voters,” Lake said. “What is the Democratic economic platform for guaranteeing a chance at prosperity for everyone? Voters can’t articulate it. In the absence of that, you vote for change.”

“Our number one imperative for 2016,” Lake concluded, “is to articulate a clear economic vision to get this country going again.”

I suggest we fill in the blank with "enacting commonsense bipartisan solutions." That'll work!

by Atrios at 12:47 <<


Anonymous said...

Chief, as much delight it would be to meet you in the flesh, stay the fuck outta Kansas!

I would certainly fear for your health.

More on elections, there's a delicious political soap opera, which I would not dismiss out of hand, about Harry Reid and friends diddling in the S. Dakota Senate campaign and sinking the chances of a decent Dem winning.



FDChief said...

Basil: I gotta say, of all the results from Tuesday Brownback's reelection may be the single most infuriating.

I mean, WTF, Kansas? Here's a guy that EVEN YOUR REPUBLICANS admit cratered your state. His TeaTard lunacy has fucked Kansas like a 10-dollar-a-go Yokohama waterfront hooker. And you punish him by...giving him four more years to bend your state over?

That's...I'm not sure what the term for stupid-beyond-the-normal-range-of-stupid is but whatever it is, this is that.

FDChief said...

Ael: I think the big deal here is the disconnect between the many places where people voted for "liberal" measures like increased minimum wage and legalizing weed and yet elected the sort of people LEAST likely to support those sorts of measures.

I'm not sure how that happens...unless somehow you manage to convince people that either 1) a politican's beliefs don't matter, or 2) there's no relation between what a politican believes and what he/she does.

Frankly, to me there's NO excuse for electing a nutjob like Joni Ernst who believes that the sitting President should be impeached, that what poor people need is less insurance and more plutocratic knuckling, that climate change is a hoax, and that the UN has an "Agenda 21" that nefarious groups (probably liberals, undoubtedly black...) want to use to undermine U.S. society - UNLESS you either 1) agree with Ernst in which case YOU are also a nutjob, or 2) you think that what she believes won't make her do the things she says she'll do.

I want to believe that there are not enough nutjobs in this country to elect someone like Ernst so the answer needs to be some variation of the latter...

Ael said...


I respectfully disagree with your analysis. Ms. Ernst is not a nutjob. To all appearances she is a normally operative human whose actions are well within her societies natural variance. Similarly with her proven large quantity of supporters.

Rather than blame the individuals for having broken wiring I think it more useful to attempt to understand how a society could be organized such that normal human beings would be making these foolish choices.

(Another possible hypothesis is that I am the one with the broken wiring. I cheerfully ignore that possibility.)

FDChief said...

Ael: Sorry, but man, she's a nutjob:

"We don’t want to see a further push with Agenda 21, where the Agenda 21 and the government telling us that these are the urban centers that you will live in; these are the ways that you will travel to other urban centers. Agenda 21 encompasses so many different aspects of our lives that it’s taking away our individual liberties, our freedoms as United States citizens. So I would adamantly oppose Agenda 21. I don’t believe it is responsible, not for United States citizens.”

She's all in on "nullification", a doctrine that pretty much started the Civil War and was repudiated therein. She's a climate change denier and a gun-fondler. She pretty much defines "right wing nut" by any definition of the term.

You can try and spin this stuff as "...well within her societ(y's) natural variance" but if you're gonna stretch acceptable behavior that far you're gonna end up taking in the antivaxxers and flouride freaks and the chemtrail loonies. That's just TOO far.

She's a loony and her supporters are loonies, too - in the same sense that the antivaxxers are loonies; they have not just their own opinions but their own facts. Their beliefs and actions are based on things that exist only in their own minds.

I'll be the first one to admit that there are a LOT of these goofy fuckers running around. But the problem with that isn't that they're NOT goofy, but that there are so many of them.

Ael said...


Yes, the antivaxers, floride freaks, jihadis, born agains and banderites are all part of our shared normal human condition.

I often get into debates where I discover that I have unexamined and uncritical beliefs concerning certain matters of my upbringing. My feminist daughter is good at spotting them.

Clearly then, we all have our own set of "facts" which are not facts but nevertheless guide our decision making. What I'd like to understand, however, is how this mechanism works and how it enables people to be persuaded.

I mean, I watch the usual electioneering drek (and all candidates produce this drek) and am unimpressed. But (and it is a big but!) this drek wins elections. Big money is spent on it and *it works*. Furthermore, often the stuff I find least persuasive is the stuff that appears to work the best.

This worries me.

Furthermore, there are all these highly trained individuals shaping and shipping this drek to their great profit and my dismay. They must have, at the very least, some rules of thumb to guide them. But nobody ever seems to honestly talk about what is going on and how to understand what machinery is in motion.

I mean, I sorta understand how the dorks on Wall St are rigging the game so as to maximize their return, typically off the backs of small folk like me).

But as far as politics goes, its all chicken blood and voodoo dolls to me.

Lisa said...

Here in FLA, Charlie Crist (D./Repub Light) lost to incumbent Rick Scott (R./Hardcore), 47 to 48%. IMHO, I'd be happy with Repub Light.

I got an e-thank you note from Charlie which ended, "God Bless America, FLA, etc." He just never found his groove.

In FLA, I understand the terror of not being out-loud Good Ole Boy in these parts, but Mr. Scott's business interest pockets were simply deeper. Certainly neither of them exist in the echelon to which they were pandering.

FLA suffered 101 political spots/hour of t.v. time, according to a pre-campaign poll.

(Oh, and the pix of the nekkid male celebrators is fairly shocking :)) Poor things.

Barry said...

FDChief, one thing to explain Kansas, on top of the fact that's it's Tea Party Central, is that it's also Koch Central, where they live and a lot of their business interests are. They pumped an ungodly amount of money into those elections, and I'll bet that they pulled every string that they had.