Monday, November 05, 2012

TPWK 2012 Endorsements

My Endorsements... All in one place.

Gay Marriage Amendment – Vote No

First, let me put my cards on the table. I do not support the concept of gay marriage. I do not think my church should recognize it, and I would leave my church instantly if it did.

That said, I do not believe government should be involved in marriage at all. Any hope we might place in the notion of government properly instituting marriage has been dashed by virtue of an accommodation called at-will divorce.

Under at-will divorce, children are fatherless, single mothers are struggling, and the “institution of marriage” has been rendered farcical. Ostensibly, then, I have no horse in this race. However, any Constitutional amendment defining marriage invariably leads to MORE governmental involvement in marriage.

That means more tax code idiosyncrasies, more benefits (courtesy of taxpayers) inuring to married couples, and more quasi-ethics masquerading as good governance. That is precisely the ethos that has left us with a 16 trillion dollar deficit.

My solution? Take government out of the marriage business. Eliminate any and all recognition for any living situation. Want to share a house with four sisters, two brothers, and a goat? Draw it up. Hire a decent attorney.

I say this recognizing the gay rights movement has behaved badly over the past year. For that reason, I have found myself coming to the defense of Christians who have been accused of bigotry, ignorance and worse.

To the gay rights movement, my message is this: This was a winnable race in a state known for bucking tradition. Know that your actions and message have made this amendment a winner. Was socking it to a fast food chicken establishment worth losing a historic state-level victory?

Decide for yourselves. As for me, I’m voting no on the merits.

Hennepin County Water and Soil Commissioner 1 – Eleonore Wesserle

Everyone likes to make fun of this. The jokes on you. These people make million dollar decisions.

At any rate, per the incumbent Haefs: “I oppose the efforts of politicians to eliminate the Soil and Water Board through arguing for the need for consolidation of localized governments.” That’s pretty much the best case he can make for himself, when prompted. He should be elected because his position should exist.

His entire response is at once austere and didactic. How about an appeal to an accomplishment? His silence on his record only makes further mockery of the board he promotes.

Wesserle concedes: “But, if you’re like me, you probably have no idea how decision-making around these issues works.” That may sound pedantic, and it is, and I recognize the ideological dangers of paying heed to youthful exuberance. But I’m willing to roll the dice we’re not looking at our next dictator, and hope some genuine curiosity will save taxpayer dollars.

Soil and Water Conservation District 3 – Marjorie Holsten 

Yes, I have to vote twice* on the Soil and Water issue. Government bloat anyone? Holsten would probably say yes. Whereas her challenger has offered nothing (by which I mean, literally, nothing… He has made no public comments whatsoever regarding his candidacy) Holsten promises to take a limited government approach.

Again, these decisions are about our tax dollars. Insofar as none of the people running seem to know anything about what they are supposed to do once elected, I’m voting for the person who is going to spend the smallest amount of my money.

School Board Member At Large District No. 1 – Carla Bates 

In my interactions (yes, I often literally find myself talking to these people...) with Bates’ challenger, Green Party Candidate Doug Mann, I have found him to be incapable of defending his strident challenges to her positions. His meme is to run around to every online forum he can find, and accuse Bates of opposing teacher tenure.

First of all, I very much doubt this is true. Bates is DFL endorsed. Second, insofar as it speaks to her willingness to consider real reforms, that is more than enough to earn my vote.

Supreme Court Chief Justice – Dan Griffith 

I am on the record opposing Griffith’s quixotic mission to unseat Gildea. He will lose again, but his cause, the right of citizens to elect judges, carries more and more weight in a political climate where judges are appointed based on political affiliations.

All of which is to say I’ve had a change of heart. If nothing else, this is damning: “Arne Carlson gave judgeships to his chief of staff, a campaign attorney, his sister-in-law and his attorney in the governor’s office.”

Associate Justice 1 – Barry Anderson 

I get where Dean Barkley is coming from, but I don’t trust his judgment. Barry Anderson has defended Voter ID, and generally taken a conservative stance on issues coming before the court. Based on his public statements, I would say this is the only reason Barkley is running at all. I wish he’d tackle a more left-leaning judge, but I’m not his adviser.

Supreme Court – 4 – David Stras 

In a nod to credibility, Tingelstad has ditched the faith clock on his website. However, he’s challenging Stras, a Pawlenty appointee who clerked for Clarence Thomas. Stras has a conservative judicial philosophy, and especially deserves for his dissenting in State v. Crawley, which wrongly held that a statute curtailing criticism of police officers does not violate the first amendment.  

If Tingelstad and friends care so passionately for the cause of holding judges accountable, why don’t they run at the appellate or district level? There are countless incompetent judges (ask any cop) who are not being held accountable, and an organized campaign might actually be successful. 

4th District Court

Judge 44 – Marc Berris

Here, the decision is more clear cut. Lois Conroy has earned endorsements from the same people (Sharon Sayles Belton, anyone?) who have helped make the city of Minneapolis one of the most crime-ridden cities in the nation. Oh, and she used government computers for a DFL fundraiser. Berris has earned support across the aisle, and deserves your vote.

Judge 22 - Steven Antolak

In this race, we get to choose between not one, but TWO labor endorsed candidates! Of Liz Cutter and Antolak, the latter has endorsements from the chamber and at least pays lip service to fiscal accountability.

Voter ID – Yes

I’m not fond of expressing my own political viewpoints in talking point form, but in this case, the talking point pretty much makes the case. In this state, you get carded at the movie theater, when you buy cigarettes, when you want a job, when you apply for government benefits, etc…
In other words, it is common sense. Alas, even the minimal requirement of getting an ID is too much for certain people to bear, and those people tend to lean Democratic, so common sense is now a partisan thing. Here’s the deal:

Under present law, voters (often party organizers) can take up to fifteen people to the polls and vouch for their identity with no additional ID or verification required. The amendment would require poll workers to check for ID. Those who do not have ID can obtain one for free.

Opponents have taken to making stuff up, so let’s dispel some rumors. First of all, this will have no impact on military voters. None. Every member of the military has a government issued ID. The military is really well organized. If you know a member of the military, ask them if it is hard to show an ID in order to do something.

Others like to cite the fact that 11% of voters will be disenfranchised under Voter ID. This is a number the AFL-CIO made up in Pennsylvania. The AFL-CIO is a very partisan organization, and certainly known for election skullduggery, and so take their assertions with a grain of salt… That grain of salt being the correct assumption they are simply lying.

The game is to take the entire population that does not have an ID, or has an expired ID, or has an ID with the wrong address, and then simply divide that by the overall number of voters. By that standard, I could take everyone whose polling place has changed divide it by the number of voters, and declare that merely changing the polling venue has disenfranchised half of voters.

Others pretend there is no voter fraud. There are hundreds of cases in MN alone. When pressed, Voter ID opponents pretend that the type of fraud being perpetrated has nothing to do with an ID. The language of the amendment itself ties Voter ID to voter eligibility. This is a sensible step to ensuring we have a standardized system for determining eligibility.

Once they are out of facts, Voter ID opponents will simply call you a racist.

Remember, for every person who fraudulently votes (and for every one who gets caught, you know there are hundreds more who don't...) another voter is disenfranchised with no recourse for reclaiming their vote.

I’m voting YES.
Hennepin County Commissioner – Blong Yang

Linda Higgins has decided she wants to stop simply failing the north side, and bring her wares to the county at large. Yang isn’t likely to be much better, but he is an alternative to the DFL political machine that confuses motion for progress. That Yang brings real diversity (economic as much as racial) to the table is a feather in his cap in a race between two ideologically similar candidates. 
State Representative – District 59 – Cindy Lilly
State Senator – District – 59 Jim Lilly

Aww, husband and wife sacrificial lambs. As much as North Minneapolis residents rightly complain about the problems facing our neighborhoods, they sure do get excited to head to the polls and re-elect the status quo.

Not this guy. The Lillys are conservative, which is a no-no in the district, but the policies they advocate would better serve the north side in the long run.

Minnesota Senate – Kurt Bills

Sen. Klobuchar has leveraged weak opposition to cast herself as a relative moderate within her party. This reputation is entirely unearned. Klobuchar has a perfect rating from every pro-abortion group, a 0% rating from Citizens Against Government Waste, a 0% rating from the NRA, a 100% rating from the Teamsters, an A from the National Education Association for her opposition to education reform. She votes with her party 94% of the time (consider that Jim DeMint, who is allegedly an arch-conservative, votes with his party only 75% of the time).  

So, no, Klobuchar isn’t just out in Washington scoring victories for wounded veterans and car dealerships. What’s worse, she is a co-sponsor of PIPA, the extremely unpopular internet censorship act moving forward at the behest of the recording industry. What is the point of being a Democrat if you are going to support crap like that? So she’s a sellout, to boot.

Kurt Bills has mounted a non-existent (though not necessarily cheap) campaign, which has allowed Amy Klobuchar to define herself. That’s too bad, but just because he doesn’t campaign well, that doesn’t mean we should be saddled with a lousy Senator.

Minnesota House of Representatives – Chris Fields

Rep. Keith Ellison got to play the victim card when Michele Bachmann accused him of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, even though he literally does. But Bachmann said it, and so it can’t be true, and must also be raaaaacist.

Either way, Chris Fields would make a far better representative. Ellison has gone along with the Obama agenda in its entirety, and should really be held to account for high unemployment in his district.

Unlike most lambs, Fields has mounted a fairly aggressive campaign. As a marine who was born in poverty in the Bronx, he has a great story to go with solid positions on issues across the board. It’s a pity my district unthinkingly propels Ellison back to D.C. on its behalf. We could use some real leadership.

President – Mitt Romney

The best argument Obama supporters can muster on behalf of his re-election campaign is that it would have been much worse had McCain been elected. The argument goes that Bush’s policies were SO catastrophic that a sustained recession throughout half a decade was inevitable.

Of course, none of these people predicted we would have a sustained recession as the product of the Iraq war. Nor did any of his supporters predict, prior to Obama’s election, that the economy wouldn’t really get any better during his term. I had friends ask me if I would support Obama WHEN the unemployment rate was at 6%.

Things are terrible right now. There is a reason why it is so, and it has to do with ideology. Centrally planned governance, insofar as it works at all (I’ll grant you Norway) certainly doesn’t work in a geographically diverse country of 300,000,000 people.

Especially grating is that, even within the context of his ostensible political philosophy, Obama has been an essential failure. If you believe government can turn around the economy, why not focus on the housing market, the collapse of which caused the recession. Frankly, I’m not sure turning around the economy has been a priority for this president.

If George W. Bush’s intervention in the Middle East caused the recession, why was Obama so eager to press on, and get involved in Libya? So he could look tough? What was his motivation?

I do not regard Mitt Romney as the great conservative-Libertarian hope. He is a skilled politician, and will forge compromises as need be, and I am fine with him doing so. His tax reform plan, while non-specific, demonstrates he essentially understand the appropriate way to reform the tax code.   

Beyond that, perhaps the most important task of the executive branch is to appoint Supreme Court justices. The next president will appoint at least two. I want justices who stand for liberty, property rights, state’s rights, the right to life, and adherence to Constitutional principles. With Obama, those qualities formulate the litmus test for rejection.

In terms of temperament, Mitt Romney has demonstrated himself to be well-spoken and authoritative with or without the use of prepared materials. I get the sense he understands these issues, whereas Obama merely has opinions on them.

As for third party candidates, the Constitution Party is simply not ready for prime time (to put it mildly) and the Johnson/Gray ticket features pro-choice Republican retreads whose advancement was limited within the party, and so they split.

As for me, I’ll be voting Romney, both because I love this country AND out of revenge for four crappy years under Obama.  


Blogger Andrew said...

"In terms of temperament, Mitt Romney has demonstrated himself to be well-spoken and authoritative with or without the use of prepared materials. I get the sense he understands these issues, whereas Obama merely has opinions on them."

That is excellently put.

5:05 PM  

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