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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Party time

I just got back from a celebratory party thrown by someone I met doing MoveOn.org telephoning in October and November. I decided to go to the party, partly to celebrate and partly to make our victory seem more real - it had all been feeling a bit unreal in the days after the election. It was really nice to see a group of Democrats so happy, and I didn't get any sense that they were out for blood - for example, no one mentioned impeachment. These lefties, like many Americans, would like to see America get out of the war in Iraq as soon as possible, and then have our government turn its attention to fixing our many domestic problems. It was also a breath of fresh air for me to talk with so many simpatico people, after spending these last few suburban months with people who are mostly politically apathetic.


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Politicans as role models

I was extremely annoyed tonight when Tucker Carlson expressed puzzlement over the fuss about Nancy Pelosi as the new Speaker of the House. In answer to his own question about what the big deal is, he said, "Is she going to govern like a woman?" Of course he's missing the point, no doubt intentionally. What does he care - almost all the elected representatives looks like him! The reason it's a big deal is that she provides a very powerful role model for women - standing at the front of the room, with the gavel in her hand, telling others what to do. Not to mention, third in line for the presidency! As the mother of a daughter, I'm thrilled to think that she's looks over at the TV screen while I'm watching the news and sees a woman in charge, a nice ordinary looking woman. It's a nice counterweight to Brittany Spears, with her pantyless partying, and Paris Hilton, with her designer clothes and empty expression.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Blinded by the Right

I've been reading this memoir by recovering neocon, David Brock. It's both fascinating and revolting to read about the evolution of the Republican party and the conservative movement during the late 70s, through the 80s and 90s - when the Cold War ended, they had to pick a new enemy and some new tactics, and we have all seen the results. As I read, I can only hope that the newly empowered Democrats don't resort to the same approach to getting and holding power.

ADDENDUM 12/2/2006

I realize once I finished the book that although the political information was fascinating, there was a different reason that I was supposed to read this book, a much more personal one . . . I've been feeling somewhat beleaguered out here in the suburbs, surrounded by people with less than no interest in politics, and especially by a new friend who has been somewhat dismissive of my political passions, and I feel like the take home message from the book is the conclusion that DB comes to after his own rejection of conservatism, both the philosophy and the movement, which was that you must be true to yourself and your beliefs, and although you may feel alone at times, like-minded people will ultimately be drawn to you. This really resonated for me and helped me to remember that it may take time to find "my" people, but I will, and then I won't feel so out of sync, and even wrong, anymore.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

The best birthday present EVER

I can't remember ever being pleasantly surprised by an election! Today is my 29th birthday (AGAIN!) and this is the greatest gift I could have gotten - the good news just keeps coming:

The Senate also went to the Dems.
NO incumbent Dems lost their seats.
Record number of women in Congress now.
The mother of all good news: Rumsfeld resigned!
Highest number (24%) of young voters (under 25) participated in 20 years.
Two states (Oregon and California) rejected abortion parental notification measures.
My home state of Arizona was the only state that didn't pass the gay marriage ballot issue.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Election day aftermath

Besides the fact that the local Congressional candidate that I worked for (Dan Maffei) lost in a very close race, and gay marriage bans passed in at least five more states, the results of the mid-term elections are mostly quite positive. Among the highlights:

  • Abortion ban struck down by voters in South Dakota; stem cell initiative approved in Missouri.
  • Senate gains include Bob Casey in Penna, Sherrod Brown Ohio and Claire McCaskill in Missouri.
  • House gained at least 29 seats, many defeating incumbents (as opposed to just filling open seats, which is much more common).
  • In local races, Jeff Brown, a Santorum clone, lost his bid for state Senate, and his open Assembly seat (my district) was won handily by the Democratic candidate, Al Stirpe.
  • Cynthia Granholm held onto the Governor's manse in Michigan, despite a strong challenge, and now the majority of Governors are Dems (which is very important during presidential contests).

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election day

As election day dawns, I'm feeling rather discouraged. If the Dems win the House, but not the Senate, they won't get anything done. And more to the point, if the Dems can't get some traction in the current political climate - record low approval ratings for the Prez and widespread dissatisfaction with the majority party in Congress - what the hell is it going to take? Clearly, the Dems are not offering a compelling vision for change or even for governance. If they were, these contests would not be down to the wire the way the are.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Election Day minus 1

I'm off to do some "canvassing" - going door-to-door, telling people to vote. I did it in 2004, and honestly, it felt like a waste of time - I don't think one additional person voted due to my efforts. But this is how the Repugs do it, and they're considered a great success for it (though frankly, I can't imagine how this works - everyone I talked to in 2004 had been pestered to distraction). But I have to do *something* - turnout will make or break a lot of races this year, including the Congressional race and the State Assembly race in my own district.

UPDATE 4 p.m.

Well, as with my previous experience, that seemed like a waste of time. There were more people home than I expected, but most are not too enthusiastic about the civic encouragement that I'm offering. In fact, most people act like I'm casing the joint, maybe planning to steal their lawn furniture. It's a bit discouraging. I had to keep reminding myself - This is how it's done! On the positive side, it's an absolutely gorgeous day, so it's nice to be walking around outside, and there's more lawn signs in that neighborhood than in mine, virtually all for Democratic candidates. In my neighborhood there are none, not even for candidates I oppose. My neighbor, Steve (who's a doll, despite being a staunch Republican), claims voter turnout around here is about 20%. That is so appalling.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Election 2006

My friend Mary wrote the following, and it's like she pulled the words right out of my own brain:

I'm on pins and needles here - my stomach is churning. I can't take another disappointment. I've heard so much stuff that gives me hope . . . but I had so much hope in 2000 and again in 2004. I wish it was Wednesday - I just can't take any more of this!!!

My cousin, Alan, asked me if I was "excited" to vote on Tuesday, and I had to admit, NO! But only because I'm so afraid of being extremely disappointed.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Is this guy qualified?

I'm going to pull the Democrat lever, as I do every year (or touch the screen or whatever we're doing now), and I'm familiar with all the relevant races in my area. But I was curious about any ballot measures or minor races I may have overlooked, so I picked up a copy of the local paper's "Decisions '06" pull-out section, summarizing all the people and issues. I read through a few of the politicians' answers - I was especially interested in their views on "reforming Albany." I was struck by the poorly-written responses of William Meyer, the Republican candidate for the (open) local Assembly seat (my district). I'm sure these guys don't write their own stuff - they have an aide do it, but someone should have done some editing. Here's part of what was written for Government Reform:

I also believe there needs to be additional reforms to the way business is conducted in the state capitol. By enacting additional reforms like those in the Brennan Report, the legislative process in New York will improve.

It's not that bad, but he doesn't say much and what he says, he doesn't say well. And, believe me, it's noticaby less articulate than virtually every other set of responses. If I were undecided, I might pick the other guy just because Meyers seems unable to communicate well (and that's a fairly important part of the job!)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

More gay scandal

Yet another megachurch minister, Ted Haggard, is being outed. He denies it, of course, but someone is lying. It's not beyond the realm of possibility that the "escort" is lying, but I somehow I doubt it. Those religious conservatives just love them some gay sex!


I barely got this posted and now the minister is saying he *was* involved with Mike Jones, but only for a massage, and he threw the drugs he got (meth) away (like Clinton saying he didn't inhale!) Man, these people are ridiculous. Kudos to Mike Jones for sticking his neck out.

On the other hand, on CNN, Candy Crowley was asked if these scandals (mostly, Haggard and Foley) are going to impact evangelical turnout and she said, they're more upset that the White House and Congress hasn't been addressing THEIR ISSUES. Of course, that aspect is always ignored by the press. People actually care about the REPRESENTATION they get from their elected representatives, but that's hardly a story the news can bother with, when they can whip up viewers with S-E-X.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

John Kerry and the 2006 election

I feel a bit embarrassed for misunderstanding, along with most of America, that he was referring to GWB, not the soldiers. I get it now. But even though it was a minor verbal slip, I'm still annoyed that he gave the Repugs ammunition. Of course they're desperate enough to milk this for all it's worth. Though who knows what it's worth.

There are so many close races and the polls can be so wrong. Voter turnout will be so important, and it's impossible to know who will really be more successful with that effort. It's almost becoming too much for me - I can hardly stand to listen anymore, my nerves are stretched to the limit. I want to be optimistic so badly, but I was burned so badly in 2004, this time around, I hardly dare to hope.