Thursday, November 02, 2006

One more long weekend and Election 2006 will be one for the books. It's been interesting, if annoying, and I don't understand why it's been interesting. The Chows and I don't pay too much attention to political issues except for the light rail, of which we are four-square in favor. But we've talked about this election much and from everything we read, we don't believe that very much change is afoot, either on the federal level or on the state level. Whatever each party hopes to gain, there is likely to be corresponding loss. So what is the hysterical chaos that's in the air in an off-year election?

Locally, is it because the housing market is in the tank? All the developers, builders, designers, financial institutions smarting about their numbers and uneasy about their future? They should be. They have not made just a hog in the last several years but a razorback and the technical correction their market is now experiencing can't make for a cheery Christmas and Happy New Year. Happens with each market that experiences dizzying gains--except of course, petroleum and health care. Those two industries are allowed to reap outrageous profits at the hands of the consumer and skip merrily on their way with no accountability. But their day is coming. Has to.

Is it the sharp contrasts in candidates? Here in the county, we have a seasoned pol running for reelection who is the sort of man who sees no conflict of interest as his three sons hold jobs with the municipality he seeks to represent. again. Everyone here is disgusted with this man yet he likely will be reelected; his opponent is a political and intellectual lightweight but a really nice person. Is the kinetic energy around this race born in the details of the incumbent being ethically vacant and the challenger being functionally vacant?

My personal outrage might lay in the efforts of the local utility, publically held, quietly campaigning in key places against an initiative that would mandate energy conservation. Unbelieveable. This is a no-brainer yet I have been lobbied on several occasions to vote no for conservation because it will have a bad impact on the company, one of the area's largest employers.

And of course, it's a known fact that I never have forgiven the voters of Eastern Washington for letting loose of Representative Tom Foley, the 57th Speaker of the House of Representatives. After they voted him out, many folks thought that the 5th district would retain the Speaker position just the same and that George Nethercutt, a Ginrich republican, would be the new speaker. I still hold that grudge and it's been 12 years. Newt Ginrich of course, that beacon of virtuous principle, succeeded Foley as speaker but later fled in disgrace as an ethical and moral train wreck. So Tom Foley became the first sitting speaker since the Civil War to taste reelection defeat, fed by the hands of my neighbors and friends here in Eastern Washington. Mr. Nethercutt challenged Foley primarily on the basis of term limits, righteously proclaiming he would self-limit his service to three terms. He, of course, broke that promise, rerunning not once but twice after those three terms and the voters here were SHOCKED, shocked! I tell you. Fortunately, after five terms his greedy ambition led him to a Senate race against Maria Cantwell, who soundly beat him.

So we sit here now with a Congresswoman who is perky and cute, newly married, holding some pretty stiff religious values. She herself committed a minor ethical violation, using the membership data base of a local group to which I belong to send follow up emails after she spoke at lunch this fall. And this is politics in the New Age, when the off year election can be genuinely frantic for no real reason, where the people running ought to secure a copy of the rulebook and give it a good read, where self-preservation and self-aggrandizement are the order of the day. It's now dark on election day and I am not referring to the November gloom.

The Chows and I have exercised our rights and privileges as citizens and mailed our absentee ballots. We will observe Election Day this Tuesday by remembering the many good and honorable who have served by the vote of the people, starting with Washington and Jefferson, through Lincoln and TR and with a shoutout to our personal non-American favorites Sadat, Ghandi, Churchill and Blair. We will give each other a good bump in the name of freedom and take our carefully preserved Tom Foley yard sign to our front yard, where we will plant it as we solemnly recall the words of Alexis de Toqueville : The surface of American society is covered with a layer of democratic paint, but from time to time one can see the old aristocratic colours breaking through.

Especially on the second Tuesday in November. Power to the people.

The 'Kan EWA


the psycho therapist said...

Well, see, now this is probably why I'm relegated to the end of the link list--I just do not much care. Oh I care about you, mind you, and in spades, too, you know that, and I find your writing to be well-crafted and insightful and all but I was looking for something in orange and this must be the wrong place.

/sound of hand hitting head

Oh my god, this is must be Belgium.

Excuse me, won't you.

Hey girl. Nice post.

jb3ll3 said...

Baby, the links are sorted as to affinities. I can see though, because I have had some recent excellent feedback, that I do not issue enough words of love. I need to reorder my links. I also need to scare up a resplendent orange Hermes scarf for my friend who challenges me ever onward and ever outward. xoxo

the psycho therapist said...

HAH! YOU are an f-ing goddess.

Your post really is outstanding. I am undone and will remain silent so that others with politically-oriented minds may step forth into the light and partake of your bounty.

/walking back to her seat in the bleachers again

jb3ll3 said...

Honey, they want to see you. That's why they are here.

toadman said...

I'm not a very political animal, as you probably know. I recoil from politics when it gets out of hand, but I do maintain my opinions in silence. I get annoyed at the advertisements, the phone calls and the mailings. I get angry at the politics of priveledge as well. Because politics leaves such a bad taste in my mouth, I usually forget the business altogether. However, I'm in favor of light rail, as you are. I esspecially would like it to run from Spokane to Four Lakes, but I know that's not on the table for many years. But it would help me in my commute to work in Cheney.

I suppose I'll have to see which local candidate is in favor of light rail and send in my ballot on Monday, or at least find somewhere to vote on Tuesday. Other than that, I'm clueless about who else I should vote for, mostly because I haven't liked any of the commercials or mailings I've gotten...and I hang up on the phone calls. All I want is the facts, not the fluff or the anger or the "he said this" or the "she did this" b.s. that I'm constantly being fed.

jb3ll3 said...

Read the SR editorial page endorsements this morning; they are actually endoring 'no' votes on light rail. sigh. missed their piece on it but will follow up in the morning with our colleague from on the SR editorial board. Foley sign looks awesome!

dr.amazing said...

Nice sketch of the morass. sheeze.....for the last week, I've been tempted to answer the phone with "I've already voted" instead of "hello." I'm glad to hear that someone else has a well-preserved Foley yard sigh. Cheers to the Chow Nation!

Tivish said...

Many of us in North Idaho considered Tom Foley our real congressman and could not (and still cannot) understand why our neighbors displaced him. Alas.

I read over the weekend that his health is failing (he cancelled an appearance at a dinner in Seattle due to heart problems). I moved him up on my prayer list.

Only I can appreciate how you've grown.

My Mom used to tell a story about teacher conferences when I was in the 3rd grade and how the teacher (dear, dear Verna Driessen) exclaimed when Mom entered the southwest room at Central School, "Thank God! Finally a Democrat...I've had nothing but Republicans all morning!"

And Kennedy beat Nixon a few days later!

Vote early (and often) !!!!

jb3ll3 said...

hmmm. It's possible I might allow you to patronize me but not for long....

green libertarian said...

Well, I suppose it's true that you can fault the voters of E. Washington for Foley's defeat, but don't forget how MUCH MONEY the National GOP put into that race, I mean Foley was TARGETED, BIG TIME. And with the term limits folks hammering him as well... outcome was predictable.

Nethercutt was hand-picked by the National GOP to run against Cantwell, had he is druthers, I think he'd of stayed on in his Rep. position. Course I can't believe McMorris beat Don Barbieri... and she is useless and a Bush toady. What's rather exciting is that Goldmark might just beat her, now that would be hoot!

Feel that wind out there, Jbelle? Winds of change. I know Bonnie isn't that dynamic, but she's pretty darn knowlegable. I hope the wind sweeps out the nut Harris, I hope, I hope, I hope.

I do believe the renewable energy/conservation initiative will pass, and it won't have any impact whatsoever on Avista's employee count.

the psycho therapist said...

I'm just stopping by to wave hello...and rub, scratch, hug and kiss the dogs...