The candidates debate -- 10/19/08

Ah yes, as Simon & Garfunkel sang...

Sitting on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon
Going to the candidate's debate
Laugh about it, shout about it
When you've got to choose
Every way you look at it you lose

No, I'm not thinking about those candidates...

Since I live in Rhode Island, it really doesn't matter who I vote for because Rhode Island is one of the few remaining states to allow straight ticket voting... that is, a suitably brain dead voter (the kind the Rhode Island political establishment loves) is protected from actually having to think or remember a candidate's name, all they have to do is check the first option on the ballot to vote for the candidates of one party for every single office on the ballot. No, not everyone is lazy and dumb enough to do that, but enough do to keep the state legislature from slipping below 85% Democrat. Various "good government" civic groups keep demanding an end to this and the politicians say they will think about it and nothing ever happens because if they changed it they might not have as many incumbents being able to run unopposed.

But forget the two major party contenders for President. I keep telling myself that they are both honorable and intelligent and experienced and whichever one is elected is more than qualified to be President. A month and a half ago I sort of believed that -- but then they both actually began campaigning and slinging mud and saying stupid stuff and the economy tanked and each of them is trying to say it is all the fault of the other party. Nope. Both parties are guilty of failing to do anything at all useful to avoid the problems -- bills that you can't even get out of committee do not count -- and both parties are guilty of accepting campaign contributions bribes from Fannie and Freddie and the rest of the financial industry. The problem may have started with Jimmy Carter but it continued under both Democrat and Republican administrations and was defended and winked at by Congresscreeps and Senators from both parties. And any presidential candidate of either party who says the fault is with the other party is a liar. This makes it easier to decide my votes for the House of Representatives and the Senate -- vote for the challenger because the incumbents are part of the problem.In fact, rather than worrying about the Presidential race, if everyone just took a vote-the-bums-out stance for Congress, we might be surprised at what a great difference that would make.

Thursday night I turned my attention to the important candidates, the candidates for the town School Committee (what may be called the School Board in your town) and for the Town Council.

The League of Women Voters sponsored a local candidate debate this past Thursday night at the Town Hall.

There are five openings on the School Committee and seven people are running. This is a difficult race for me to decide about. Of the candidates who appeared, I know that I can clearly see voting for two of them -- and for one other who was unable to attend (because he had to work -- teaching a graduate course at a university) but who has served on the school committee for several years and I believe is deserving of re-election. That leaves me with a need to pick two more and I am not sure who to pick. All of the candidates who spoke seemed to be intelligent and none of them seemed to be howling at the moon types. (A few years ago we had one who was absolutely horrible -- our School Committee meetings have been televised live and I would watch and when he would speak I never knew if I should laugh or cry or scream at the television. Fortunately he is no longer on the School Committee; he's now a leading power in the local Republican party. Yes, despite my complaints about Rhode Island as a one-party state, I'm afraid that his candidacy for any office is a good reason to vote for his Democrat opponent.

There are ten candidates running for five seats on the Town Council. That one is some what easier to figure out, at least I can distinguish four candidates who are clearly worthy of my vote and four who are not. One of them is a wacko moon bat, one is totally clueless, and two seem like nice guys but they don't really seem to have any clear ideas about town government (even though I agreed with most of what they had to say about the state government, they are running for the town legislature not the state legislature.) That leaves me with two possibilities for that fifth slot.

Candidates for both the School Committee and the Town Council run at-large, not from separate districts; the five candidates with the highest vote totals win. Thus, if I cannot decide on definite candidates for all open seats, I would just vote for the candidates I want under the theory that in that situation it would be counter-productive to vote for a candidate I did not feel strongly about because my vote for a candidate I didn't really care about might be the vote that brings that candidate to fifth place and defeats a candidate I really care about.

That was Thursday night. I had wanted to write about it on Friday but had no time because of work and then going to class Friday night and Saturday morning I was helping sort donated books at the library in preparation for a book sale next Saturday and then I did grocery shopping and then Jill and I went for a run and.... etc. And I spent many hours today working on homework for that Flash class. And now it is after eleven p.m. and the alarm goes off at 5:45 a.m. so I've got to post this and go to sleep even though could use some editing.

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