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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Why I am NOT Voting Today

Why should I? The people of New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina got first crack at these guys and they are hardly representative of the country. Even if they were, why should tiny groups of voters get to set the plate for the rest of the country. Now I have to choose between Clinton and Obama or McCain and nobody. It is not my patriotic duty to rubber stamp the decisions of other states or even validate these parties. My prestige and a small wager are on Clinton and McCain winning. It looks like I am going to be half right which would be pretty good if this were baseball.

When they put None of the Above on the ballot, abolish the electoral college and require an absolute majority to win, I'll start showing more interest. Maybe I should move to France.

p.s. If Obama promises Wilder a post in his administration, like ambassador to Mali, I will be hitting the campaign trail.

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Bookstore Piet said...

I nominate Wilder for Secretary of Self-Promotion. Isn't that his top priority anyway?... I am still amazed at his completion ceremony last December in Battery Park, declaring the project complete and my neighbourhood safe. Personally, I think he just found a hole in his schedule and asked himself, 'how can I get people to pay attention to me today?'.

Why do I think this? If the project were complete (3 months ago) I would not be driving by the construction crew working in the big hole in Battery Park every morning nor would there be dozens of huge pieces of concrete pipe stacked up a couple of blocks from my house. Finished? Poppycock I say!!!

Paul Hammond said...

Which is why I prefer competence over charisma. He sure charmed the pants off this town and boy don't we look foolish.

I believe Mayor Doug illegally transferred funds from the Battery Park project to hijack the school board last year. I didn't hear about that in the State of the City address. How many times to you get to do illegal things before it matters?

I think Mali is far enough away. Its a land locked country in central Africa. They would give him a big house and let him make all the speeches he wants to.

Bookstore Piet said...

OK.... I'll go with Mali. But only if he takes Ellen Robertson with him. The only time she returns my phone calls are in the weeks leading up to an election. She's only marginally better than my last council rep, Sa'id El'amin (can't recall the correct spelling and don't want to look it up)....

Paul Hammond said...

The only time Mayor Dougie ever returned my phone calls or email was when I gave him a chance to speak before the cameras. Well, he didn't call, but Linwood did.

Adam Nathanson said...

I agree wholeheartedly, the electoral college and the caucus/primary process present major impediments to true democratic choices. How do you think we can build some momentum on reducing the impact of the above, and eventually doing away with them?

Bookstore Piet said...

I concur. The whole election process is broken and beholden to big money and small interest groups. Direct election of the president would be start. The break-up of the two-party system would also be a help. Allow some sort of representative system that allows smaller parties to be heard and have an impact.

Gotta run. I am sitting in The Jefferson selling Ronald Brownsteins book The Second Civil War: How Extreme Partisanship Has Paralyzed Washington and Polarized America. Let me know if you want a signed copy! :)

Paul Hammond said...

I like aspects of the British system, though we will never be a parlimentary democracy. The main thing I like is the short election season and the ability of small parties to participate. I like the French system of run offs requiring an absolute majority. Smaller parties could definitely influence the final choice.

My bottom line though is to eliminate the Electoral College. It has long ago outlived its purpose. There are scenarios where a small plurality of 40% could take a states entire delegation. If you live in California or Massachusetts your delegation will be democratic, candidates will campaign elsewhere like Virginia, Florida and other competitive states and you are effectively disenfranchised. The same with Alabama, Kansas and other "red" states. If you are a democrat you might as well stay home.

How do we change it? Attack it logically and create a groundswell. Will it happen? It will be difficult, but when nothing is ventured, nothing is usually gained.

Yesterday I just refused to validate a system where the choices had already been made. I'm more likely to vote in November, if only out of spite.

Bookstore Piet said...

With family in Denmark I tend to watch what goes on there very closely. The PM knew that next year they would need some major changes to their relationship with the EU. To ensure STABILITY for this process he called snap elections. 6-8 weeks later they voted.

They have direct election of individual MP's as well as guaranteed representation if a party receives enough support over a certain threshold (5%). Basically each person has two votes. One for their MP and one for the party they support.

This election last November was interesting as the largest growing party in the near past has been the Danish Peoples Party. To make comparisons to the Nazi party would not be far off.

Just prior to the election a number of MP's bolted and formed a new party to counter the need to include the DPP in a future government. For their first outing they did ok. What's interesting is that the DPP was still included in the governing coalition. The Ny Alliance party is annoyed at their continuing influence and may bring the government down sometime this year.

Sorry for the Danish civics lesson but here's my point...

Bush would have called elections after 9/11 to gather his mandate. As the war went poorly he would have then been faced with the possibility of a no-confidence vote. We wouldn't be sitting here with an irrelevant lame-duck president. Our leaders would be more engaged and not hide in the Rose Garden like Bush or Carter.

Obviously I cannot fully articulate here and someone will point out the many flaws in what little I have said here but I believe it to be food for thought.

Paul - Thanks for stopping by today! The author was very interesting to listen too. I may have to actually read his book.

Paul Hammond said...

My opinion is that if mainstream parties don't adequately address items of concern to common people it opens the door to extremist who do. There's always a danger of accomodating extremist who don't accomodate in return. Such is how Nazis, Communists and others often come to power. They are democratic in the sense they support elections until they get elected.

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