Tomorrow is, of course, the pukefest known as the PA primary. My picks follow.
Lord help us. None of the three frontrunning candidates for this office are even really from the states they purport to represent. It's as if this is the Roman Senate, and next we'll be naming Georgie W. Bush's favorite horse a proconsul.
On the Democratic side, we have a race between two conservative business-friendly suits who dabble on and off with the identity politics vote, always a loser:
Hillary Rodham Clinton is hellspawn, hatched in Illinois but handed the New York seat because the Democratic Party has no respect for its voters in one of their prime states. The woman worked for Goldwater in '64 (presumably attracted by his pro-nuke war platform) and Nixon in '60 and '68, presumably attracted to the campaign by five o'clock shadow, shifty eyes and the continuation of the Vietnam War. President of her college's Republican club, Hillary latched her little red me-wagon to Bill Clinton a bit later in life and has gone about forwarding the causes of Big Business and perpetual warfare as a marriage-of-convenience millionaire Democrat.
She's repeatedly voted for the Bush war plan and PATRIOT Act and is the figure most recently responsible for killing the possibility of single-payer universal healthcare in our lifetime. Hillary is bought and paid for by the worst elements in corporate America. She appears committed to perpetual war in the Middle East. Her healthcare plan at once manages to not cover everyone while requiring taxpayers to fork over money to insurers in a mandatory fashion.
HRC has pretty much expected to be handed the nomination and seems willing to damage Obama enough for McCain to win this time so that she can run against a crazed old man with an unpopular war and tanking economy in 2012. What a harpy.
Her supporters seem to be ignorant of almost all of her actual policy positions, substituting them mentally for a liberal program I could get behind. Feminists eager for a female president might like to contact some single moms in the UK and ask how great it was to be screwed by Maggie Thatcher instead of a dude.
Barack Obama has fallen backasswards into the Democratic frontrunner position largely through not being the widely disliked HRC. He similarly fell backasswards into a Senate seat, running initially against no one at all (Illinois Republicans being completely disorganized) until at the last second they recruited Alan Keyes, a wingnut who was living in Maryland when he began running. Another pro-war, pro-corporate Dem, Obama has been running Big Lie ads that he doesn't take lobbyist money, while filling his war chest more than anyone else with cash from weapons contractors, big pharma, the insurance industry and Wall Street. Who do you think is paying for all those inane "hope" TV ads, single moms working at the Waffle House?
While claiming to be in opposition to the Iraq war, Obama has in fact suggested perpetual warfare in the region, building a troop strength of 100,000 (three times the Bush "surge"), pulling some out of Iraq only to be sent to Afghanistan, and maintaining an Iraq "strike force" in the region only for when things get bad in Iraq, i.e. days ending in -y. Support for his candidacy has completely and totally shut up anti-war opposition in the US based in the argument we have no business occupying the country for oil revenue, the way the Kerry campaign killed those issues dead in 2004 even as it became the majority position for Americans. I'm well convinced the one thing that kept him from voting for the unconstitutional authorization to give Bush a land invasion green light was simply not being in the Senate yet.
Obama is the only candidate who has suggested we might need to bomb Pakistan. He would "take no options off the table" with Iran. His healthcare plan at once manages to not cover everyone while requiring people to fork over money to insurers in a mandatory fashion. B.O. is owned by the ethanol scammers, as are most midwestern senators. (Which is not to suggest Obama is actually from Iliinois in any meaningful way.) Obama's votes to renew the PATRIOT Act, keep funding the Iraq war and (most unnecessarily unless one is a complete corporate lickspittle) strike down changes in the awful Mining Act of 1872 are troubling at best. When you're willing to vote with foreign mining interests against more than 99.999% of the American public in exchange for comparatively piddling campaign contributions for a very safe congressional seat, I worry. When a campaign representative lets Canadian businesspeople know that anything Obama says about dismantling NAFTA is just empty talk to earn gullible American votes, I worry. When Obama takes money from Exelon, the company that owns PECO and produces more nuke waste than any other in America, I worry.
His supporters seem to be ignorant of almost all of his actual policy positions, substituting them mentally for a liberal program I could get behind. Supporters who think things would get better here for the downtrodden if a genetically (certainly not culturally) half-African were to win the office might do well to look at Africa itself. Closer to home, we might review the records of Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell. Years of soft-headed Hollywood faux liberalism seems to have drained critical faculties to the point where many have forgotten that sometimes the non-white are greedy and thoughtless too. The man likes to say CHANGE and HOPE ad nauseum while defeating both for the people who need both most. I feel bad for his genuine supporters who don't have trust funds; oh the screwing that's coming should he win...
Mike Gravel is a liberal former US senator from Alaska so disgusted with the party he's leaving it this year. This makes him its only qualified candidate; write him in. Dennis Kucinich talks a very good talk but always returns the sheep to the slaughterhouse, at the end of the day leading hundreds of thousands of votes to candidates who hate him and his ideas every presidential election cycle. And for what, a seat representing Cleveland and zero intra-party respect, no ability to forward a legislative agenda? They won't even toss the guy a lousy ego-stroke speech at the conventions.
John McCain is a jackass and possibly a bit unhinged by a life of violence and threats of violence. That might make him our appropriate leader in a Shakespearean sense. Born in the Panama Canal Zone and raised by the Navy, he appears to see the country as an empire with an inconvenient civilian population who need to be lied to for security reasons and taxed for weaponry. No doubt he sees himself as temporarily based in Arizona and applying for a DC-based promotion.
Every time he does something temporarily praiseworthy, such as rejecting the Religious Right, he does something which erases that completely, such as groveling back to the Religious Right. McCain's cheerful assessment of a 100-year Iraq war is at once disgusting and far more honest than you get from either Democrat. A pro-corporate, anti-civil rights and otherwise empire-friendly bully, McCain advertises himself as nothing else. If you want that kind of ass in charge, may as well go to the source I suppose.
The worst part of the McCain reality is that independent voters with no party bias realize that their day to day lives won't change much with any of the three top candidates in office, and therefore might vote for him for personality reasons, or because a deranged old white man looks the part.
Ron Paul is the most honest man in US Congress. I don't always agree with Libertarians (having been to the Third World a number of times I've been to Libertarian Paradise; the streets smell like shit and are covered with dead animal carcasses, the lucky beggars have hands, etc.) but they are an honest bunch.
Paul is the only one of these candidates to consistently vote against war, empire and civil rights violations. His attacks on the IRS and similar star chamber-run government agencies are largely on target. He has shown that an honest politician can vote against a war in Texas (where he's actually from) and win re-election. I don't like his anti-welfare stance, but he also extends that to anti-corporate welfare, a level of honesty DLC Dems can't muster.
Ironically, despite ties to outright racists, Paul's opposition to the War on Drugs, mandatory sentencing and government civil rights abuses coupled with opposition to a huge standing army and an interventionist foreign policy would help millions of minority kids far more than anything coming from the so-called liberals.
I don't much like the 15 year old anarchist take on social programs, and the abortion stance is odd considering his other positions. If we're honest, you can't get an abortion in most of the country anyway, thus little would change as a practical matter should Roe v. Wade be overturned.
Paul. Imperfect to put it mildly, but an honest conservative. In a Gravel or Kucinich vs. Paul debate, America itself would win.
"Screw you, America!" We pretty much all live in gerrymandered districts with landsliding non-contests. Bosnia and Honduras literally have more honest elections. Write yourself in. Write your dog in. For the love of all that's holy, just don't pull levers with party functionary names on them, OK? They'll never respect you if you keep doing that.
First District State Senate:
Write yourself in. Write your dog in. For the love of all that's holy, just don't vote for John Dougherty, replacing one crook (Vince Fumo) with another.
I say vote NO on charter changes. Mayor Michael Nutter wants to undermine the Civil Service system and hire hundreds of administrators at high salaries that are political appointees. This is being sold as an "efficiency" measure, but would undermine the 1950s City Charter mandate to move away from firing city professionals when new people are elected. It's extremely shortsighted to fight a civil service system put in place decades ago to help end corruption. The firefighters and other city unions are in opposition to this plan, which has been phrased on the ballot to make it sound like a minor inconvenience which keeps the mayor from doing a good job. I have to stand with union professionals on this one.
Is there any remaining attack on organized labor (their own voters!) the Democrats haven't made? How about instead of this, Bob Brady and Chaka Fattah go after the Taft-Hartley Act? I'm not holding my breath, as that would require growing a spine and going out of one's way for the little guy...