The Dennie Voter’s Guide for Fools

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With a couple days to go before the midterm elections, the huddled masses await my deep insights, seeking direction before they trudge to the polls. And so, this idiot, who feigns to be far more informed than he actually is, hereby weighs in.

I’m hoping the Republicans get control of the House. I always favor divided government. Controlling everything didn’t do any favors to either Bill Clinton or George Bush. The country is better served by divided government, as long as the two sides are willing to actually work together.

I’m not opposed to Republicans also gaining control of the Senate, but I don’t see it happening. In fact, I hope it doesn’t happen, mainly because it means some questionable candidates, like Ms. O’Donnell and Ms. Angle, will be elected. Washington is not in need of more incompetence.

“Anger” elections sweep both competents and incompetents into office. After the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, voters who were outraged over the treatment of Anita Hill sent a record number of women to the Senate. They included capable senators like Diane Feinstein, Patty Murray, and Barbara Boxer, but also Carol Mosely Braun, who was a joke.

Likewise, the Tea Party candidates are a mixed bag. Linda McMahan, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul (among others) are quality candidates. Sharon Angle and Christine O’Donnell are jokes–fit for the House, but not the Senate. Joe Miller is somewhere in between. Scott Brown, who won Ted Kennedy’s former seat last year, has acquitted himself well, I think (though concrete-shoed Tea Partiers feel betrayed).

I’m a bit amused by Tea Party antics. Joe Miller’s goons handcuffed a reporter carrying out his First Amendment job. Rand Paul’s goons manhandled and stomped a protester asserting her First Amendment rights to assemble and protest. And Barack Obama is the Nazi? If anyone’s wearing jackboots, it’s the Tea Partiers. (But let’s be real: nobody is jackbooted. Nazi comparisons are stupid and ignorant of the enormity of actual Nazi history–which does say something about the intellect of those who make the Nazi comparisons.)

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My conservative friends are wretching over my earlier positive statement about Barbara Boxer. Understand: I don’t like Barbara Boxer, and never have, and I hope she loses this election to Carly Fiorina. HOWEVER…she is no Christine O’Donnell. Boxer has shown herself to be a capable representative of the left, and of her state. She has shown strength and leadership. I would rate her at least as bright as, and certainly better informed than, Sarah Palin (though several rungs down the ladder from her fellow Senator, Diane Feinstein). I don’t have to like Senators, but I do want them to be of Senate caliber.

Carly Fiorina, as far as I know, isn’t a Tea Party candidate. I like her. I remember following her when she was CEO of Hewlett-Packard. I kept up on the HP dramas via BusinessWeek, and because at the time, HP made Macintosh clones. She was not an effective CEO, but it was a huge corporation in a time of transition. Fiorina is a high-quality person and I’d love to see her elected. But it’s not looking good at this point.

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Sharon Angle is a real nutjob, but she actually has a chance because Harry Reid’s negatives are so low. However, assuming Democrats retain control of the Senate, I would rather have Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader than a formidable guy like Chuck Schumer. Think about it. It’s the difference between Pee Wee Herman and The Rock. If the Republicans must continually bump heads with someone, I’d pick Reid over Schumer any day. At the same time, in the interests of competence: Reid has been a terrible majority leader, and Schumer, despite being such a media-whore, might be pretty good. So I’m torn.

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I’m hoping Lisa Murkowski wins in Alaska, as much to poke Sarah Palin in the eye as anything. At the same time, there’s some childishness on Murkowski’s part–she did lose the primary fair and square. But her sense of entitlement worries me less than Miller’s right-wing views. As far as splitting the Republican vote–it ain’t happening; both are trouncing the Democrat. If the returns do show Murkowski as the winner, I’m betting Joe Miller challenges the write-in ballots (spelling, legibility, etc.) in the courts, and we have a big mess.

Speaking of childishness and sense of entitlement: Charlie Crist.

I like Linda McMahan and would love to see her elected. She’s too right-wing for a moderate like me, but she’s a serious candidate and would be an asset to the Senate. She, unlike professional wrestling, is worthy of respect.

I don’t like Rand Paul, but he would bring different viewpoints to the Senate, which is good. Unfortunately (or fortunately), his idealistic views would never gain traction in the Senate; he’ll become an isolated fellow constantly talking about the sky falling, and nobody paying attention. I figure he’ll last two terms, then leave in frustration.

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I lived in California under governors Ronald Reagan and then Jerry Brown. Now it looks like Jerry Brown will return as governor. I groan over that. And yet, all things considered, he might actually be the right person to begin fixing the California mess. Brown is an insider with an independent spirit, and at his age has nothing to lose–just the right combination, perhaps?

However, I’ve always cheered for Meg Whitman. Looks like the election is getting away from her at this point, and I’m not sure she could have fixed California anyway. Plus: the fact that she spent $140 million of her own money, and Brown ran a barebones campaign–you gotta love Brown on that point.

As you can see, I’m all over the board. Certainly not a party person. I’ve given up on political parties.

The Tea Party people will not be compromisers, which means we’re looking at a great deal of gridlock. We already have too much of that. But then, many of these people are being elected precisely to continue gridlock. I don’t view that as a good thing.

It’s interesting how so many local elections–especially senate and governor elections–have been nationalized. Across the country, people are informed about races in Alaska, Florida, California, Nevada, and elsewhere. This is nothing new, but I don’t think we’ve seen it on this scale before. But then, the 24-hour cable news channels need stuff to talk about.

So there you go, the Dennie Voter’s Guide. Consider yourself enlightened.

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