Principle Over Process

Today is election day! Celebrate! Many will tell you that today is about America rejecting Obama’s liberal vision for America. More reasonably it’s about the fickleness of the American voter. Two years ago people thought the Republicans’ antics were to blame for the bad economy. Now that the Democrats are in power it’s their fault. Maybe I’m wrong, but I wouldn’t credit the American people for correcting mistakes made in the 2008 election.

The point and title of this post is about Christine McDonnell. Fox News commented, and probably rightly so, that…well allow me to let this guy explain it…

This is good. All the polls say she [McDonnell] will lose to the Democrats, whereas the Republican she beat to the nomination would have won handsomely.

The Tea Party probably have until the votes are counted in November, when the Republicans at large will realize they are a liability and a threat, not an asset. And that will be the end of Palin’s pretensions and hopefully Murdoch will have the good sense to fire the moron Beck.

The point is if the Republicans had elected a moderate they could have picked up this seat. I dare say that it doesn’t matter. You vote for the best candidate available. The most constitutionally fit, conservative candidate who would help America the most. If they don’t win the general election so be it, but what does it say about Democracy when you intentionally vote for a mediocre candidate because you think they’ll beat a candidate that is even worse.

Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”
— John Quincy Adams

What do you think?

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11 thoughts on “Principle Over Process

  1. First of all, I agree with Tommy’s sentiments. I have always dreamed that one day, candidates would simply state why we should elect them, and not not elect their competitor. A truly wonderful, and honest (which is why we will probably never see it) means of running a campaign would be to simply state the facts. State all the issues and where you stand on them. That’s the whole point! People will then align themselves with the candidate that best fits their views.

    Another despicable tactic is the random support group with the oddball name like “Americans for Freedom” or something like that – the name seldom connects to the cause – that further muddies the waters by exaggerating facts. Personally, I would like to see an election season run by candidates only, with no giant donations from mega corporations, no comments from the peanut gallery of special interest groups, and no baloney. Elections, like almost everything else, have become commercial. People will do anything for power.

    Two solutions for the above mini-problem: limit the terms of a Representative or Senator to 2. Here in Virginia, our House Representative was going for his 15th term. 15th! We’re approaching Congressional inbreeding here! Increase the turnover rate in Congress, and you will limit corruption and back room deals. Second, lower the salaries of government employees to something under six figures. How about the average income of a household in their district? That alone will spur a focus on jobs. Your representative wants a pay raise? Increase the standard of living in your district.

    There is a saying about what happens when mud hits a fan – everybody gets hit. After this election, I think Americans are sopping wet in mud, and still no better than where we were two years ago.

    Sorry for the rant, but I am appalled at how candidates behave, not just for this election, but for all elections. Our founding fathers are spinning in their graves at this.

    • I skimmed over the first 2 paragraphs though I agree with them to get to your “solutions” paragraph.

      I really enjoyed the solutions you suggested and think that they would greatly help with the problems we see all too often in Congress.

      The staleness and lack of congressmen turnover is a huge problem that results in a lot of unnecessary legislation and spending. My family all lives in West Virginia, except for myself, mother, and brother, and their dear beloved Senator Byrd just recently exited congress due to his timely death. He was serving his 13th or so term AS A SENATOR! That is ridiculous! Granted I am all for the people electing those they want to see in power and stay in power. I do this with my choice in food stuffs, music, video games, sports teams, etc… but at least in the Senate’s case how would limiting their terms to 2 or 3 hurt? I agree that it would ultimately help everyone involved.

      Limiting representatives terms would be tricker since it can be argued that 2 year terms already provide enough turnover and limiting someone’s service to 4 or even 8 years as a representative would be asinine since they are the closest representative of the actual people in EVERY state.

      I LOVE your idea on their pay being tied to their constituents’ pay and also limiting it to something decently moderate.

      I was glad to see some cool ideas.

  2. Chris, unfortunately you probably know a campaign like you are calling for can never happen. The best that can be done is a “issues” tab on the candidates website. People are generally uninformed and unengaged and respond best to emotional appeal with little substance. Think of the 2008 election. Most people credit Obama’s great speaking ability, and all his cutsie hope and change slogans to his victory over a more experienced and moderate McCain (for the record I’m not a huge fan of either). Commercials like this probably actually work fairly well…luckily Rand Paul won anyway. http://bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com/2010/10/16/jack-conway-questions-rand-pauls-religious-faith-in-new-ad/ You gotta check out that commercial. It’s pretty wild!

    The real point of the post was about this: http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_upshot/20101103/el_yblog_upshot/tea-party-offers-gop-a-mixed-bag
    I think you vote for the best candidate in the primary regardless of their projected changes to win.

  3. Ryan, you disappoint me.

    I’ll admit that I didn’t read Chris’s comment, but when you say, “Chris, unfornately you probably know a campaign like you are calling for can never happen.” to know that your flat out wrong.

    You sound like another one of those pundits on television, who by the way didn’t listen to people tell them that their dreams couldn’t happen. But yet they just sit there and tell the country exactly that. Were not supposed to just settle for whatever we can get and we should know that it’s not going to just be easy to get this country where it should be on a governmental level.

    Please do not be just another person that wants to settle when we could try the best we can get. And I’m tired of listening to people like yourself say that such and such a person isn’t electable because of whatever reason when they went ahead and put their name on the ballot, not you. I’ve put my name on the ballot several times, so I know that anything is possible. The question is do you have those same kind of guts? or are you just another member of the crowd?

  4. If you just read my comment, you missed the point.

    The article is about how Americans should vote for the best candidate in the primary regardless of their chances to win in the general election.

    My comment was in reference to Chris saying campaigns should be issue focused. Unfortunately the American electorate is not engaged enough for that approach to work. It is sadly effective to call people witches and atheists.

  5. Well, it has been one crazy November – I haven’t had time to think of an appropriate response really until now (forgetting doesn’t help either….oops). That being said, allow me to attack the three new replies in order:

    Ryan: I know that we will probably never see an election like this – read my comment in parentheses. However, a guy can hope that one day the percentage of concerned and educated voters will outweigh the percentage of knee-jerking buffoons that panic over homosexuality, one’s middle name (Hussein! He MUST be a terrorist! Please…), gender, the color of your skin, or, worst of all, RELIGION. My comment sought to highlight the breakdown in the democratic process – long ago it stopped being about what is right for the people, and became all about winning. This is why I feel that if we made the positions less enticing, people who just want fame will either be partially deterred, or more focused on what democracy should be about. If candidates focus on the issues, the people will.

    Phil – Thanks for backing me up there. For the record, I CANNOT STAND the talking heads of political TV. To me, despite how educated, connected, and informed they claim to be, they always seem to be way off to me. I chuckled when they hypothesized that this past election would be anti-incumbent. No, really? I don’t need a pundit telling me that I’m mad at Congress. I know that already! But all this talk does is gear people to voting anti-incumbent just as a means of channeling their anger. If we put a brain-dead squirrel (had to think of a neutral animal there) into office just because it was the ONLY anti-incumbent option, is that really a good thing? Kind of extreme, but I hope you get my point.

    Ryan (again) – Kind of funny how you chastise Phil for not reading your comment when you clearly didn’t read mine all the way. Just sayin’. As far as the topic of the original article, I feel that if we stick to the fundamental system of democracy, then the best candidate will be determined by their positions on issues. If primaries work right, each party’s offering should be their most capable person to get the job done. Given that, we can (hopefully; in an ideal world) assume that each is competent to a degree. What other barometers are left to judge their worthiness for the position they seek? Issues.

    Finally, if it is so ruthlessly effective to focus on matters WHICH SHOULD HAVE NO BEARING ON AN ELECTION (See First Amendment, also principle of Separation of Church and State), why is it not considered immoral? To me, such actions are incredibly unethical and frankly, are not qualities I want my future representative to exhibit. Mention of opposing candidates’ heritage, religious beliefs (or lack thereof), ethnicity, and gender should be outlawed from campaigns. Why? Because in addition to trampling on the First Amendment and everything this country is based on (“All men are created equal…” etc.), such acts are designed to specifically trigger that knee-jerk reaction in the American people, and distract voters from the true issues at hand. Again, it’s despicable, and frankly, I am tired of it.

  6. Chris, Phil was saying that a election like the one you dream of can happen and that I am wrong in saying it’s unrealistic.
    At least that’s how I read it.

    I also want to point out something that I find absurd. This is kinda random, but I want to throw it out there. So they have all this crazy new body scanning and pat down business going on in the airports now. Some group asked for exemption for Muslim females, due to religious reasons I guess. Now I doubt they get it, but Janet Napolitano said something along the lines of were not sure what we’re going to decide on the issue yet. Israel on the other hand has a complex profiling system THAT WORKS! They don’t frisk 3year olds. Instead they look into foreign born males from nations with terrorist connections.
    Thoughts?

  7. As far as airports and the security at them are concerned, I find the whole system absurd. It is absurd to pay so much for an airline ticket for mediocre service, delays, and the joy of sitting with a bunch of smelly, disgruntled people for a couple of hours. This is compared to back when flight was still novel – you would get treated like royalty. This and several other factors have all but eliminated flying from my lifestyle. I avoid it as much as I can, but I really can only drive 12 hours in one direction. Luckily, I don’t have to travel that far on a regular basis.

    I know that ticket prices have almost nothing to do with the TSA’s regulations. Personally, I think this is a case of paranoia run amok, that encroaches on our personal rights. Though at the same time, it is not unfounded paranoia, as terrorist attempts in the past have proven. What annoys me the most about the whole scenario is that we say that we will not let the terrorists and crazies affect our lives, but here we are subjected to searches every time we want to fly. OK, the amount of radiation received from the X-Ray machines at airports is minimal. There really is no reason to refuse it, unless you are pregnant. Recently, complaints of a lack of sensitivity from the TSA personnel have surfaced. Having dealt with them firsthand, I completely agree.

    Imagine getting pulled over, and you sit there as the cop who nailed you goes on a power trip (better yet, have a judge do that to you….don’t ask how I know). You sit there and take it, because you don’t want to worsen the situation, but all the time you are being insulted, disrespected, and humiliated. It is like being bullied in the third grade. This is what my dealings with the TSA have been like. I am of dark complexion – Italian decent, darker skin (especially in the summer), brown hair, and brown eyes. I make it a point to shave before flying because of the times I’ve been subjected to a “random” search at the airport when I had some scruff. Not to get into a discussion about racial profiling, but I do not get much respect from these people. My thinking is, if they are going to embarrass you that much, the least they could do is be nice about it. I get the impression that if they have to pat you down, they already think you are guilty, reversing the assumption you are (supposedly) granted in a court of law. Furthermore, they do not try to hide it. Because of the actions of a few extremists, we have had to lose some of the trust we were originally granted by the government.

    Screening only foreign born people would help to an extent, but it would overlook the “homegrown” terrorist. I can see the rationale for screening everybody, but I don’t agree with it. Unfortunately, I can not think of a logical alternative. Here are some radical (emphasis on RADICAL) ones: Close the US border to regions of the world known to harbor terrorists. Sever all connections with the Middle East (oil, military, etc). A common claim is that we are invading the Muslim holy lands and as such our country is a target. Let’s strip that reasoning by leaving. Eliminating our oil dependence (and any other resource dependencies) will reduce our relationships with these countries to one of pure diplomacy, with no “quid pro quo” conditions.

    I am basically approaching this from the standpoint of a bully or a shmuck – If they don’t listen to reason, ignore them. Now in the case of a bully with nuclear weapons, I would institute the MAD principle – Mutually Assured Destruction. OK, so if we get bombed or attacked by a crazy dictator or renegade government, we WILL wipe them off the face of the planet. End of discussion. In the meantime, use the money we are not spending fighting a war halfheartedly (not the soldiers’ fault – I blame leadership) to improve intelligence gathering and missile defense systems. Keep an eye on them, but do it in a covert fashion. I could go on, but I think I’ve digressed enough.

    To conclude, yes, I think the measures taken at the airports are excessive. However, screening only a select demographic will open the door to a) racial profiling suits, and b) homegrown terrorists. The irritating thing about today’s terror attacks comes from the concept that they can come from anybody. That being said, TSA personnel could try to be a bit more respectful of American citizens.

    You could probably take this whole thing into another thread….

  8. Chris, thanks for all the comments. We appreciate it. So the radiation is small enough that it doesn’t matter? I don’t care about the privacy issue, but if there’s a 1/200,000 chance it causes cancer I’ll opt for the pat down.

    My sister also gets “randomly” searched on the way back from beach vacations.

  9. Airlines charge high prices because they can. They’re a monopoly. As for the treatment of American citizens, I agree; there is simply no excuse.

    As far as the cancer goes, it’s all a crapshoot in the end–everything supposedly causes cancer these days. Pretty soon we’ll be hearing that water causes cancer.

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