One of my sisters consistently votes Democratic, but she has become weary of the way that President Barack Obama seems to have never stopped campaigning. At first I defended the Obama, believing that he was circumventing Republican blowback by taking his efforts directly to the people. Then, after a while, I thought maybe my sister was right and that the President was in fact taking too many road trips. Now, after two quickly passing years, I worry that one Obama isn’t enough: To fight what America is up against we should probably clone him and send the public appearance drone out 24-7, hitting every mall and state fair until the drone fatigues and we can send out a fresh Obamanoid to keep pitching.
The need for constancy of message has never been more urgent, and that includes the commitment of voters. Those who would defeat our President and his efforts to dig us out from under the last administration are slowly succeeding at equating apples with oranges. Keeping health insurance companies from literally and figuratively killing the middle class becomes “too much government.” “Jobs” means approving any measure regardless of its environmental impacts. Any effort to keep the world economy from collapsing is “socialism.” Cue Lee Greenwood and send out Palin with Trig in her arms.
Tuesday, November 2 arrives none too soon to give all of us a chance to turn some of the doublespeak around and recommit to what we started two years ago. Electing Obama was a national referendum, and the people spoke. For months now, media has spun a story that “the people” are angry and somehow disappointed. Then you learn that the Tea Party has mostly been a creation of (and employees of) conservative lobbies, and less than two weeks from the election the media starts buying back its poll spin. You consider selling your TV or using it as a terrarium.
That doesn’t mean we can sit this one out. California has two races and two measures that should logically worry voters enough to boost turnout on Election Day. I have my favorites for Santa Monica City Council races, and I applaud this newspaper for its efforts to give voice to all of the candidates and trust that with the wealth of good choices available those races will maintain a level of quality in City leadership. Where I’m sensing the presence of a dark cloud are the contests for governor, the Boxer/Fiorina showdown, and Measures 19 and 23. Help me with my level of dread and let’s talk about these one more time before we go to vote.
Politicians have to come from somewhere, and Californians know that can even include the dream factory in Hollywood. First Reagan, then Schwarzenegger. Which qualifies a person best to be governor of the state having the fifth largest economy in the world: Pretending to kill scores of stereotyped Arab terrorists in a bloated movie blockbuster like “True Lies,” or running the Ebay digital garage sale until you get bored? I think it’s neither one, especially if voters aren’t quite sold on exactly why that person wants to be governor.
Whitman has the money to buy the job, but that’s not a qualification. “Whitman imposed MBA-style order on eBay’s nerdly culture…” according to Michael Hiltzik of the LA Times back in February of 2009. In that same piece, however, Hiltzik reminded readers that history “tells us that it’s very hard for a successful CEO to morph into a successful politician.” One means of demonstrating your potential for honestly representing the needs of the people might have been to run a clean and honest campaign. If you actually like how Whitman smeared Jerry Brown while failing to present any ideas of her own, demonstrated a rubbery grasp of the truth, and failed to get an endorsement from the major newspapers of our state, then I can’t stop you from voting for her. Just remember that regardless of who you are, Whitman has never voted for you, since Whitman doesn’t bother voting.
Carly Fiorina suffers the same affliction as Whitman in believing that her recent past has nothing to do with what she’s saying now. You almost swear you hear a child shouting “Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks on you except for good things.” Never mind the bonuses and the layoffs… Fiorina represents change. Yes, she does. If elected, corporations will now be able to phone in their demands to a central number in Washington rather than having to hunt Carly down on one of five HP executive jets.
That’s if you’re not too stoned to dial the phone. Proposition 19 is an administrative mess. (Who keeps legal pot from your kids, the dudes working at the 7-11?). It only argues one point successfully in its favor: apparently all of California should be an enabler. Please show me front pages from any five big city newspapers evidencing that the answer to our current problems is more and easier inebriation. Prop 19 doesn’t speak as loudly to the war on drugs as it does to the war on sense. Ask a school teacher struggling to get kids to learn if she’s eager to have more pot added to the challenge.
Of course, to inhale you have to be able to breathe. Some have compared Proposition 23’s oil company-sponsored effort to roll back environmental regulations to the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_American_streetcar_scandal” t “_blank” conspiracy among oil companies, tire companies, and the auto industry in the 1950s to destroy public transit. Technically 23 would effectively get rid of the state’s carbon regulation law, known by its bill name AB 32. Prop 23 would suspend AB 32 until unemployment falls below 5.5 percent, something that has occurred only sporadically in the last few decades. What has been more consistent in the last few decades is the direct manipulation of government by corporations and former corporate leaders.
Vote on November 2 in such a way that we’ll all breathe easier.