Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The GOP steps up: Pros and Cons of a possible takeover

The Wall Street Journal Opinion: Can Republicans win the Senate?
The Sacramento Bee: Even in liberal bastions, GOP sees election chance.
The New York Times: Half-dozen NY races may help GOP win House.

With all the talk lately about a Congressional regime change a few weeks from now, I decided to finally see for myself what kind of chaos we're talking about here.  Being the hyper-moderate, reform-minded citizen that I am, I can see both positives and negatives in an imminent Republican power grab.

Respect for the Constitution, states' rights, and conservative government spending are just a handful of the "right-wing" values which I hold dear, and I think these are also qualities in legislators that the public truly wants to see, especially in the context of what our nation is going through right now.  There is definitely a good chance that more moderates will vote Republican this November simply for the sake of reining in the economy and not so much for the party's position on various policies.  However, one of the things that I am truly excited about is the prospect of environmental policy reform.  If the Republicans take either house of Congress, it will no longer be so easy for the super-liberal to pass their costly and overregulating "green bills" through the system.  This amazing article from POLITICO is (hopefully) a forewarning of what is to come, especially since EPA official Lisa Jackson came clean that "the EPA is not required, and they do not consider, jobs or economic impact when evaluating permits".  So much for economic recovery!  Environmentalists seriously need to account for the whole political picture, instead of guilt tripping the populace with pictures of baby polar bears and swinging of hammers on the businesses which employ us and run our economic sphere. If it takes a Republican Congress to make that happen, I'm all for it.

The reasons I'm also a little apprehensive of this change are pretty justified in my opinion.  Some of the Republican party's current platforms are pretty questionable, not to mention some of the radicals they have running for office this year.  The party's constant damnation of anyone who falls outside of the white, Christian, hetero, middle-class prototype has made them extremely unpopular with the younger and more moderate voter set, me included.  For example, Carly Fiorina (running for Senator against Barbara Boxer in California) is uncomfortably pro-life, which doesn't exactly mesh well with the party's de-regulatory stance on everything else.  It's just rooted in religion, something the Republicans should be careful with in the future if they want to keep their advantage over the Dems.  As far as other frightening GOP politicians go, I think the following articles speak for themselves:
POLITICO: Christine O'Donnell questions First Amendment, separation of church and state. 
The Washington Post 44: Sharron Angle tells Hispanic students: "Some of you look a little more Asian to me".   

I think it's apparent that so far, human beings have failed at creating the "perfect" political model, and will continue to fail for at least several more decades.  Policies, issues, and pundits come and go, but one thing that stays the same in our system is the inevitability of change, and I think it might just be time for another one here in the US Congress.  It all depends on the attitudes and convictions of the voters this November.   Fortunately for me, I won't have to bang my head on the wall either way, since I already voted for all Libertarian candidates!  After all, they say if you don't vote, you can't complain--and in all seriousness, I just really don't want that kind of silence forced on me.  Especially since I will most likely end up needing to do some complaining in, oh, about 2 weeks.  Probably sooner.    

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The First-Ever, Totally Righteous, Mysteriously Thought-Provoking KultureshoK Voting Guide

Gimme a sticker, folks: I VOTED!  The bubbles have been filled and the envelope sealed.  I can't believe this is only the second election in which I have been eligible to vote, but I have nonetheless been more invested in this particular race than I ever expected to be.  I have made my final decisions on each California ballot proposition and take immeasurable delight in sharing the end results with you, my noble readership.  Take offense if you must, but these are the decisions I felt to be in the overall best interest of our economy, our government institutions, and more specifically, my young peers here in the Golden State, waiting patiently for adequate education funding and the chance to make a buck someday.  Enjoy!   

YES on Proposition 19— Control and Tax Cannabis in California!  I truly hope you weigh the facts as much as you can before voting on this one.  Politicians don’t know where to turn to fix California’s problems…deficits, high incarceration rates, unemployment…Prop 19 is projected to GENERATE $1.4 billion in tax revenue, REDUCE law enforcement and prison spending and save tens of millions of dollars while STREAMLINING police operations to solve more violent crimes, and CREATE 60,000-110,000 brand new California jobs.  Some call it crazy.  I call it common sense.

YES on Proposition 20— VOTERS FIRST Act for Congress!  In 2008, voters passed Prop 11 to create an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission to end gerrymandering and backroom politics during CA state legislature redistricting.  A YES vote will extend this Commission’s power over California’s federal congressional redistricting process as well, so our elections and representation by our lawmakers will be more fair.  

YES on Proposition 21— Establishes $18 vehicle license fee surcharge to help fund State Parks and Wildlife Conservation!  Kind of a no-brainer for me…this is actually the Proposition with the least dramatic fiscal impact, and hey, it’s for a good cause, right? 

YES on Proposition 22—Prohibits the state from taking or borrowing certain local government funds!  Didn’t know too much about this initiative, but looking back on the financial crisis we just survived, I would be a little uncomfortable allowing more insider borrowing, especially within our government.  This may backfire on me, but as always, I am prepared to take the heat.

YES on Proposition 23— Suspends AB32 (Global Warming Solutions Act) until unemployment rate drops to 5.5% for full year!  I have received so many dirty looks for this one already.  Although the polling for this Prop is sketchy, I will not back down from my belief that our economy is too fragile for AB32 at this time.  I’m all for efficiency, but voters must face the reality that our “green” industries are simply oversubsidized by the government and our “green” policies are just dragging the rest of our economy down. 

NO on Proposition 24— Saves recent business tax reforms!  One word: JOBS.  No matter what your opinion is about “big corporations”, I hate to break it to you, but they are the ones creating the shiny consumer products you use every day and employing tens of thousands of California workers.  If we repeal the 2008 tax reforms, these powerhouse companies will be double-taxed for each new employee hired.  In other words, they're not going to hire, and instead they're going to pack up shop and skedaddle to Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. 

NO on Proposition 25— Keeps the legislative vote requirement to pass the state budget at 2/3 majority!  This was the toughest Prop for me to decide on…on one hand, I would love to take away our legislators' pay every time the budget is late, but on the other hand, it’s way scarier to give them an “easy way out” by dropping the vote requirement to simple majority.  The problem isn’t the voting system—the problem is the legislators!  They need to learn how to do their jobs and compromise the old-fashioned way…or get booted out of office. 

YES on Proposition 26— Requires state and local “fees” to be voter-approved by a 2/3 majority!  Sooo…whose idea was it to start calling taxes “fees” in order to weasel his/her way out of asking our approval?  Not cool.  A tax by any other name would still smell just as bad, sneaky legislators, and the voter still has the last word on that subject!  YEAH AMERICA!

NO on Proposition 27— Keeps the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission!  (see Prop 20) Sneaky legislators again!  They must think they’re really funny, trying to get their redistricting power back so they can once again draw funny shapes on maps in order to discriminate based on locations of racial neighborhoods and party opposition within their district.  We can’t allow our lawmakers to abuse our institutions and our trust in this manner, or democracy will surely fail.  

Hope this gives you a little insight, whether you love me or hate me!  But either way, please, please, PLEASE, if you live in California, register to vote by October 18 and get out and VOTE November 2nd!