• Jon Tester: Current US senator for Montana, and 2012 candidate for re-election
  • Pam Bucy, running for attorney general
  • Steve Bullock, present Montana attorney general, running for Montana Governor
  • Monica Lindeen, current, and running for, state insurance and securities commissioner
  • Denise Juneau, current, and running for, Superintendent of instruction / education
  • Kim Gillan, running for the US congress seat for Montana

2012 Montana Democrats - CC/attribution: flickr user fyngyrz

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Deb and I had the pleasure of meeting some of the key democratic candidates for office for, and within our state (Montana.) Each spoke for a few minutes about their aspirations, and spent some time "working the room"; I bent a couple of ears, as anyone who knows me might expect, and got some fairly good answers, actually.

I don't normally jump on a soapbox, politically, but this year... here we go.

I think of myself as an independent with constitutional preferences and compassionate leanings. Normally, I try to sort out the issues and pick the candidates that best represent my key positions; this year, sadly, the republicans had no one, nationally or for my state, whom I could even begin to feel I could vote for. I don't know where these republican candidates are getting their agendas from (well, their leadership, obviously, but I mean, beyond that), I hardly recognize them as republicans at all. And I am outright ashamed of the republican behavior in the US congress.

I feel like I have been forced into a corner where the only sane option is voting democrat.

And for a fellow who mostly wants to see the constitution obeyed as if it were written in English, that's a very strange place to find myself.

Oh, I can usually find a democrat to vote for... I think one role of government is to ensure that no one slips through the cracks such that they have no education, or no home, or no medical care. So that gives me an open door, democratically speaking.

But on the other hand, I see no reason for us to be butting in around the world, playing policeman for others, spending huge amounts of money telling people what drugs they can put in their bodies, what kind of sex they can or can't have, who they can marry, and so forth.

Liberty is something that is very important to me, yet I have a strong sense of community and my heart goes out to those who have either slipped through the cracks as I mentioned above, or who society has handed an impossible deal: the growing underclass of those with convictions, for instance, who have absolutely no chance at rehabilitation.

Why do I say that? Because today, a felony conviction is forever. We have millions of people in jails all across this country that cannot, under any circumstances, rehabilitate because they are considered unemployable. Society is telling these people "Once a criminal, always a criminal, and also, get stuffed." At which point, they have one obvious option left to earn money, and it's not the option we'd prefer they take, socially speaking.

I think we're digging ourselves a huge social hole here, and we're going to find the consequences are extremely difficult to deal with before much longer.

Romney, aside from giving me chills when he spews out such gems as "you're entitled to the best education you can afford", has left me absolutely uncertain of what his real agenda is. One day, he's for something, the next, he's against it — or vice versa. He think corporations should be people (I envision a "corporate person" as the guy with the knife in "Psycho"), he thinks it's ok to roof-rack his dog, he wants to get rid of FEMA (!) and... and... he wants to kill big bird. Good grief.

Then there are those horrifying clips from his dinner in Boca Raton where he clearly says that 47% of the country are of no concern to him, and worse. His latest foreign policy as of the most recent debate is a mirror of Obama's, while his earlier remarks cast the Russians (!) as our "main enemy", which demonstrates a level of foreign policy cluelessness I haven't seen since that Pizza Executive was asked about Libya. And you'll recall he thinks Iran needs to get through Syria to get to the sea; here the middle east is a huge hotspot, and he lacks even the most basic geographical knowledge... and this man wants to "lead" us. Oh. My. Goodness.

Do I think Obama is perfect? Oh, no no no. I think he's been an idiot and a puppet in and on the trillion-dollar waste of the drug war; I think the ACA is but a shadow of what we deserve, which is a true single-payer system, rather than the sop to the insurance companies they put together (yet it's a step forward, and I'll still take that rather than the republican's "right to life until you're born, then right to death because you're poor.)

Within my state, Dennis Rehberg is running as the republican candidate for US senator from Montana. This guy... he's like Romney, only smaller minded, colder-hearted, and even more willing to lie. I wouldn't vote for him if they told me it would gain me ten extra years of lifespan. The man would set women back fifty years, destroy our educational infrastructure, and remove the hope the ACA offers to 30+ million Americans who the insurance company actuaries had previously worked right out of their happy little rigged numbers game. As a colorful Kansas adage has it, "I wouldn't cross the street to piss on him if he was on fire."

I've always acknowledged that my political positions provide something to upset just about anyone, and I've been comfortable with that. The most surprised person in the room, though, right now, is me. I voted straight Democrat. You know what that tells me? It tells me we really, finally do need a third party.

The republicans have jumped the shark, left it behind and relabeled it a manatee, and are trying to convince everyone they saw a mermaid. I listened to them this year — I really did! — and I was left with the overall impression that if they weren't lying, they werenuts.

The libertarians... meh. Personal liberty, sure, we need that, but not at the expense of a healthy, well educated society (and no, wealth should *never* be a gateway to education: intelligence and therefore opportunity for our nation's growth is not indexed by wealth. We need to educate everyone as close to their potential as we can get them.) And while I agree 100% with the libertarians that religion has absolutely no appropriate place in government, I can't stand with them on that basis alone.

The democrats... normally, I'm very wary of "mommy laws" that tell us what we can and can't do, particularly between, or as, consenting, informed persons; and I think lines in the sand drawn by age are simply stupid.

But these are minor sins compared to the republicans championing the abandoning of our elderly, degrading our public education system, and kicking the military industrial complex into yet higher gear when we're already over-powered, over-deployed, and in no way in need of more of the same.

And so, this is how I ended up "all the way over here", cornered in the left, though not by them, something I wouldn't have credited even two elections ago.

Your comments are welcome. Issues, ideas and commentary; no obscenities, no outright trolls. I know feelings are running high, just keep it to the issues and your reactions to them, please. You're also welcome not to comment. Please be aware that if you *do* comment, I will assume you have opened the floor for me to answer you.

--Ben

Mr.TinDC and hornbost added this photo to their favorites.

  1. Era: '51 - Gone to Ipernity 29 months ago | reply

    Your reasoned, well-spoken commentary pretty much sums up my angst.
    I have been continuously registered as a Republican since 1972, but I barely recognize the party since the religious right hijacked it. Who foisted Palin (the deal-killer for me) upon McCain? They did!
    The Democrats have, in the interest of self-preservation, been courting the bigger money.
    The result? Their 'brand' is now less distinguishable from the Republicans than it was in the past.
    Third (or fourth+) party? Sorely needed, but the Big Two have skewed the playing field to eviscerate other players.
    All of the above are conducive to a bad attitude toward the Nation / the Republic / Government.
    Add the potential mayhem of that charming anachronism, the Electoral College, and many veer into dismay and hopelessness.
    I recall my father grousing about choosing between Truman and Eisenhower: which was the lesser of the two evils. I understand his quandary.
    ...Lorenzo

  2. jerryfi_99 29 months ago | reply

    Hmmmmm... the last four years haven't ..... oh never mind....

  3. fyngyrz 29 months ago | reply

    Well, thank you, Lorenzo, though I'm really sorry it's come to this.

    I kind of had this sneaking suspicion that Palin was actually the Democrat's secret weapon (unknown to her.) Some sleeper in the republican party pulled her out of the cRaZy bOx and said, hey, look, John... curves! ...and the poor old guy drowned in an unaccustomed flush of hormones, and it was over.

    Ok, maybe not. But geeeez. :)

  4. fyngyrz 29 months ago | reply

    Hi Jerry,

    If by "the last four years haven't..." you were going for "...convinced me to pitch Obama out", well, no, really, they have not. I'll elaborate, hoping that is where you were going. If not, well, ooops. :)

    The past four years have convinced me that the republican congress is acting (on its best days) like intractable children; that, rather than engage in some hearty back and forth, they, as their leader has said, are only focused on getting rid of Obama. I can't accept that; the nation has business to conduct — service people to honor and repay... yet they blocked the vet's job bill, the 9/11 first responder's medical bill, the DREAM act, the unemployment extension, the anti-rape amendment, they played serious budget shenanigans... and more and more and more of the same. Years of it.

    In the meantime, Obama finally slapped the hands of the consumer credit card companies for their usurious behavior; via the ACA, he cut the unlimited margins of the insurance companies back to something manageable and saw to it that consumers got profits above that put right back in their pockets; eliminated the black hole of real death panels, where the insurance companies said, "Hey, look, you got cancer. No medical care for you. You gonna die." He got rid of the unutterably stupid "don't ask, don't tell"; then, surprising the heck out of me, he went further and stood up for marriage as family bond instead of marriage as hetero game preserve. Could have knocked me over with a feather, I did not see that coming. But kudos aplenty from me, for certain.

    As I indicated above, I don't look at him through rose-colored glasses. He's done plenty to annoy me. For a "constitutional law professor", his interpretation of the constitution is horrific. On the drug war, he's clearly no more than a puppet. For that matter, on all wars he's clearly a puppet. I don't think there's a single war we need to be in on the planet at this time. Although I have to say, if we're going to be killing folks, yeah, I'd rather we did it with drones than by putting more Americans at risk. And I'm not saying I'm for letting the Islamists off Scott-free, I'm more inclined to nuke them than leave them alone, I just don't see the point of American boots on the ground, trying to convince a bunch of religious fanatics to change their ways. Has that ever worked? Not to my knowledge. Nukes, though... they work. Just saying.

    So I look at Romney, and even if I could pick out which of his flip-flops is his actual position, I can't see where he'd be any better, at all, in any area I can think of. End the drug war? Can't see it. Pull us out of Afghanistan, etc.? Hardly. He wants more boots on the ground. Stop the egregious violation of the 4th amendment (heck, almost all of em)? Don't see even a hint of it.

    And Ryan... Ryan is this election's crazy person — the male version of Palin — along for the ride. "Life begins at conception"... sure it does, in the very real sense that a germ is alive. But humanity sure as heck doesn't begin until there's at least a nervous system for it to ride on, and probably quite a while down the cell division road from there. Until then, it's not people in any sense of the word, and pretending it is people is just... silly.

    And Jerry, your opinion is welcome, disagree or not.

  5. Mr.TinDC 29 months ago | reply

    Go, Ben! Good thoughts, and nice of you to share them here. I already voted, wanted to get my vote in before the hurricane, and along with probably 90% of my neighbors voted for Obama, but DC only has 4 electoral votes and is reliably Democratic anyway... :)

  6. fyngyrz 29 months ago | reply

    T, Cool. :) Here, we've got a chance, just a chance, of re-electing Senator Tester. His opponent is rolling in money, and the ads... man, there is nothing they won't say. It's amazing. And enlightening.

  7. Mr.TinDC 29 months ago | reply

    I wish I could vote in MD, where I used to live, so I could cast a vote for marriage equality there. I'm proud that DC was one of the first jurisdictions to legalize same-sex marriage but if Maryland, Maine and Washington vote, it will be a great stride forward in equality. :)

  8. fyngyrz 29 months ago | reply

    T, It's still going to be a long road, but I think the direction is solidly established. Someone said it was on "the right side of history" and I think that sums it up just about perfectly. None of my business who someone else wants to set up housekeeping and family with; does me not a lick of harm of any kind, nor anyone else, despite objections to the contrary from various dark corners of the electorate.

  9. Era: '51 - Gone to Ipernity 29 months ago | reply

    That seems to me to be a big chunk of what is being sold to Americans today; distractions.
    Get 'em riled and contorted and combative about what ever flavor attracts and distracts:
    gay marriage, abortion, 'chemtrails', whatever. Not that some of those issues aren't of import.
    In the final analysis, it is/was the money.
    The whole shittaree was manipulated to extract wealth from the populace. Period.
    And they WILL continue to do so in the future.
    Everything - EVERYTHING - else is to distract and divert attention.
    And now back to our broadcast of professional sports.

  10. fyngyrz 29 months ago | reply

    Bread and circuses, indeed.

    With a side order of "Let them eat cake."

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