Sorry for the silence today, but I had to cancel a vacation. And nope, it’s not a cause for sorrow. I was never deeply committed to this trip, so when business matters forced our hands, I was very okay about the whole thing.
It turns out that canceling a vacation is very hard work. This is especially true when a place that told you its cancellation policy was three days in advance suddenly announces, several hundreds of dollars later that, nope, because you booked using the super secret internet handshake, you can’t cancel. Fortunately, I ended up dealing with a compassionate woman who realized that I wasn’t faking it when I sounded halfway between tears and passing out. She’s my angel for the day.
When it comes to my much neglected blogging, I’ve got a few ideas swirling around but, as is always the case with me, the worse the news gets, the more time it takes me to process and post. I could just post headlines, but I’m always a day late anyway, and I do feel that I want to add value to the bare facts, in the form of my own personal analysis. The problem is that, when you’re reading about America abandoning Israel, about rising antisemitism and anti-American Islamism, and about the collapsing U.S. economy, value is sometimes hard to find. I want to whine and sob, not opine sagely.
As for the election results, I’ll just say that I thought it was incredibly funny to see the NYT’s latch onto Blanche Lincoln’s pathetic primary victory, one she barely eked out, and announce boldly that it showed that, in Arkansas, there was no “anti-incumbent rage.” I guess that’s the Times’ version of lemonade.
Here at home, in California, I have to admit to feeling hinky about Meg Whitman. I just can’t get past the feeling that she’s a carpetbagger and, politically, closer to Ah-nuld than to a real conservative. On the other hand, in a contest between her and ex Gov. Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown, there is truly no contest. At the Senate level, while I’m not entirely sure about Fiorina either, I voted for her because I think she can beat Boxer, and I think most of her positions are pretty stable.
And that’s as far as I’ve gotten in thinking following my fraught morning unscrambling vacation eggs.
UPDATE: As you may know by know, California voters passed a proposition that allows for open primaries. I opposed it, of course. Carol Platt Liebau perfectly sums up why it should have lost and why it’s bad for California that it won:
I’m not a big fan of third parties, so from my perspective, the problem with the open primary isn’t the (undoubted) damage it will do to third parties. Rather, the disadvantages of the new system are that it allows political adversaries to work mischief by helping to select candidates for the party they oppose; even worse, it would permit two Democrats or two Republicans to run against each other.
In theory, that system would, perhaps, work to elect more centrists (as the more ideologically “extreme” candidate would cede the opposition and the middle to the other candidate). But in a state as large and liberal as California, where lots of money is needed to fund a viable campaign, what’s more likely to happen is the absence of choice in statewide candidates for those who don’t believe in Democrat/union big government. Here, the unions are so powerful that they may well be able to hand-pick two candidate, fund them, and ensure that they effectively “control” whoever wins.
In addition, especially in state Senate and assembly districts, it means more — not less — political polarization. California is so heavily gerrymandered that one is likely to see Democrat-Democrat races in San Francisco-area districts, and Republican-Republican races in places like Orange County. There, the more likely outcome will be that the more ideologically “extreme” candidate wins — hardly a recipe for more effective bipartisan cooperation in Sacramento.
Finally, elections are supposed to be about exposing voters to a marketplace of ideas so that they may make a meaningful choice. A system that creates one huge open field and then allows two candidates from the same party to advance to the general election fails to fulfill that objective.
The bottom line is that primaries arose as a way by which party rank and file could chose their candidates. With that gone, why bother with primaries at all? Let’s just go back to the old smoke filled rooms, where the party big-wigs chose the candidates and presented them to the voters in November.