Primary Voting, The Protest Vote

As a citizen and registered voter, I feel as beat up as the candidates this presidential primary season.  While the Democratic party quietly polishes up for a re-election race, the Republican’s berated us with nearly two dozen “debates” before the first votes.  Then the SuperPAC’s eviscerated each Republican candidate.  While everyone has failings, I did not need these directed at me like projectile political vomit.  Then, less than half way into  the primary election season, Romney claims inevitable victory, Santorum stands for true values, Gingrich’s empire files for bankruptcy, and Paul lurks in the shadows.  And, now, May 8th, West Virginia’s primary election is upon us.  I take my civic duty seriously.  How shall I vote?

Years ago, I recall a friend who was running for a local office saying that the election is won in the primary.  I have voted in every election since I could register… That first presidential election offered Carter vs Reagan.  West Virginia’s primaries allow you to vote only for the party to which you are registered.  I am registered Republican, though the stalwarts would call me a RINO (Republican In Name Only).

My RINO status has less to do with my political opinions changing than shifts that have occurred over my 30 years of voting.  I have always thought that less government is better than well-intended but poorly administered government programs and ever expanding mission-creep of bureaucracies.  When I moved from CA to NYC, I went from being middle-of-the-road to a wildly conservative anti-government sort, in contrast to my bleeding-heart-liberal co-workers and friends.  When I moved from NYC to VA, I became an NPR-progressive-feminist-gay-loving-Unitarian-minded guy.  When I moved to WV, I realized that freedom of speech was risky business if you want to get along with your neighbors.  At the same time the Moral Majority, Christian Coalition, CATO institute (a.k.a. Koch brothers) and now TEA Party took over the Republican party.  I have not changed much in my stance.  If I became a RINO, it is because the Republican party has RETCHED (Republican Elections Taken Control-Hold by Extreme Directions).

But, my option to exercise my right and responsibility to vote is to select one of the willing candidates.  Here is my analysis.

Gingrich: I discounted him as soon as I heard that he had filed to run.  I did not like his conquest-and-destroy attitude in 1994.  I was appalled at his moral hypocracy, when I heard that he was having an affair with an office staff member (whom he did eventually marry), while spearheading the muckraking of Clinton’s sexual infidelity.  I am unimpressed with his file of 1000 ideas.  From what I can tell, he starts projects but does not manage them.  The results is his run of bankrupt organizations (after he has cashed out).  He would start 1000 government agencies, which would fail, leaving us the tab, after he has taken his cut.  No Vote.

Santorum: I did not pay much attention to him, until other debaters began disappearing from the podium.  I knew that he was the favorite among the Christian republicans.  As far as I can tell, he is mostly interested in making the USA into a theocracy for Christians.   Anyone disagreeing with his strict, tightly knit set of rule has the option to go elsewhere. His economic policy appears to be to employ men, and keep women busy at home bearing, rearing, and home schooling children.  His foreign policy appears to harken back to Ferdinand and Isabelle in 1492 (expulsion of the Jewish and Muslims from the Iberian Peninsula, unless they converted), John Winthrop’s vision for the Puritans leaving England to establish the Massachusett’s Bay Company not for religious freedom, but for the freedom of their religious views, or of W. Bush’s “crusade” against the Islamist before his handlers shut him up about such religiously charged phrases.  I’m ready to move to Rhode Island, along with Roger Williams. No Vote.

Romney: In the last round of presidential primaries, I preferred Romney. He seemed squeeky clean, as far as potential scandals go, and hardly a war-monger.  He had the appearance of business and political background.  He came across as someone stepping up to what he considered his civic duty to hold public office.  While, I still see those as his plusses, I have doubts about his leadership style.  His business “success” hardly seem to be a model for governing a diverse country: a CEO/chairman of the board attitude toward sending down mandates that obedient middle managers follow, inheritance as the primary start of his wealth, and running an investment firm that used leveraged buyout and tax advantages to accumulate wealth.  I cannot see the President “telling” congress what to do and coping well with the “No Way” response he is likely to get.  While many of us receive a windfall from inheriting our family’s assets, most of us should not count on living on this largess.  We go to work; do our shifts; get our quarters into Social Security; and hope that our 401k’s outlive us to pass on something to our heirs.  I cannot envision how the leveraged buyout model applies to government.  Let the Chinese government, the largest owner of US Treasury bills, buy up the EPA, or Health and Human Services, or Department of Defense, to “re-organize” them by laying off all of the bureaucrats, with the option to reapply for their jobs?   Then if the agency fails, just close them up, or pay for them with capital gains from the success of … the USPS? No Vote.

Paul: I do not see Ron Paul as having any sexual, financial, or back-room deals going on.  His libertarian positions are generally in  line with my ideas of how governments do not work.  He does not appear to be beholden to any larger financial donors.  I do not not know how he played the political game to get to Washington, nor stays there.  I cannot see him having a secretary in his bed, a brief case of cash in his freezer, or insider-trading schemes filling up off-shore bank accounts.  He could not possibly get elected.  He could never get his agenda, to shut down most of the federal government agencies with the option for states and private companies to re-employ all the laid off bureaucrats to run 50 state level EPA’s, education departments, health care agencies, etc.  No one talks to him now.  Inside-the-Beltway success is based on negotiations and deal making.  Sounds like my kind of Protest Vote.  Make my statement, but not risk that the candidate would actually get elected.

Charles “Buddy” Roemer:  I had not heard of this candidate until I looked at the sample ballot in the newspaper.  A quick internet search revealed that he is a Republican, though he used to be a Democrat, or maybe he is an Independent or an on-line Americans Elect… well, I’m not sure, but he is on my WV ballot.  He served in congress in the 1980’s as a conservative Democrat.  He served as Louisiana’s governor for one term.  There may be some dirt there, as he switched parties to run, and his opponent, Governor Edwin Edwards is rumored to have tossed the election to Roemer as “pay back” for his father taking the fall, when he served as Edwards administrator, for some questionable financial transactions.  He is reported to tout a family-man line, but also to be married three times.  He supports states rights to determine gay-marriage issues, but NIMBY… California is close enough for him.  He would not eliminate many federal agencies, as Paul would, but would change them to advisory panels of experts in each field… ideas without authority to enforce.  He definitely would be a Dark Horse Protest Vote.

How do you decide whom to vote for?

P.S. Driving home, I had the local radio on with WV Metro News giving election analysis.  At 7:30, when the polls closed, the had their first “candidate guest speaker” on.  It was John Rasee, the Republican candidate to run against Joe Manchin for Sentate.  Rasee happens to own WV Metro News… politics as usual.


About hermitsdoor

Up here in the mountains, we have a saying, "You can't get there from here", which really means "We wouldn't go the trouble to do that". Another concept is that "If you don't know, we ain't telling." For the rest, you'll have to read between the lines.
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19 Responses to Primary Voting, The Protest Vote

  1. Barneysday says:

    Funny that your first vote was Carter/Reagan. As I recall, mine was FDR/Hoover, but my memory is getting hazier by the day.

    Enjoyed your post, and would like to believe that at least some of your conclusions were influenced by Mountainperspective. All kidding aside, this is going to be a very difficult election. I am not a huge fan of Obama, and believe he has dithered away at the periphery of the issues instead of challenging them head on. Along these lines, he has dithered away his base by ignoring them for 3 years. His efforts at reinvigorating the youth are almost sad.

    Having said that, I think its clear that Romney scares the hell out of me. His vacillating on every topic clearly indicates his willingness to say or do anything to move into the White House. But with such a lack of backbone, if he does achieve his goal, he will end up a pawn in the hands of the RepubliCANT leadership in Congress, and the K street lobbyists. His cowboy attitude towards beginning a war with Iran sounds fearfully like GW Bush 10 years ago. Can’t these right wingers learn from the disastrous middle east wars that we’ve been muddied in these last years?

    So with all of that, this might be an election of the “least of two evils” with the known Obama taking on and defeating the still unknown Romney.

    Good post

    • hermitsdoor says:

      I have to give Charles “Buddy” Roemer the best campaign slogan award so far, “Everyone needs a Buddy for President”. One plus, that I did not mention, if you wish to believe his website, is that after being a one-term governor, he has been running a community bank in Louisiana for 10 years. During the mortgage crisis, he claims that his bank restructured all loans that were are risk of default to avoid foreclosing on local folks. Linda suspects a money laundering operation, though… this is Louisiana politics, you know!

  2. Barneysday says:

    Buddy for President is great. I do remember the name in politics, and Linda’s conclusions about Louisiana politics is likely, and unfortunately, right on.

  3. Vicar's Dad says:

    Considering the least of two evils, Romney is much more likely to do a good job than Obama, whom we know has never done much of anything, other than give good speeches with his teleprompter. Another four years of Obama will result in much more socialism in our government, greater deficits, financial disaster.

    • hermitsdoor says:

      I shall wait until after the conventions to discuss the candidates when they are officially selected. In our county, at least, Obama did not even get the majority of Democratic votes. As I could not vote on the Democratic ballot, I did not investigate who the other Dark Horse candidates were. Your turn to vote in the CA primaries comes up in about a month! Let your voice be heard.

    • The Vicar says:

      I’m still looking for a verse in the Bible that gives instruction to pick the
      “lesser of two evils”.

      I have often voted for the candidate I considered the best candidate in an election even if there was little chance they would win. It’s hard not to be cynical when religious convictions are touted in elections, but seem to be nothing more than window dressing after the election. If a politician claims to be an apple tree, but the only fruit hanging from the branches appear to be grapefruit, judge by the fruit rather than the well polished rhetoric.

    • Barneysday says:

      I know you are a friend of “Hermit” and I mean no disrespect, but I’d be very interested in some specific examples you have in mind of Obama’s socialistic programs. Fox News et al regularly attack this administration on socialism, but are remarkably short on specific examples.

      • hermitsdoor says:

        Barney, as you have addressed in your blogs, the talking-heads on TV and the internet say just about anything without details to back up the conclusions. As “socialist” is a knee-jerk word in our society, branding a politician as a socialist, without analyzing either the legislation or attitudes of that politician is a way of swaying public opinion. For instance, the Health Care Reform legislation which Obama advocated and signed, is often linked to the idea that his administration is trying to make the USA a socialist country. However, working in health care, most of what is in that legislation is standard practice in the industry (e.g. digital health care records) or items that congress/states attempted to pace piece-meal (e.g. per-existing conditions denials). A lot of those standards have been advocated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which puts out lots of regulations. The Health Care Reform bill just put it all together, rather than strung out here and there in the Federal Register. This is not socialism. If someone what to raise an alarm, they should be railing agains the advancing bureaucritization of the government. Not too flashy. Few would get it.

      • Barneysday says:

        Totally agree, and that really was the underlying point of my query. I tried to send u a separate e-mail to explain that the question was directed at “vicars dad”, but it came back as undeliverable. My mistake.

        The terms are bandied about, but I maintain 9 of 10 people can’t define it, and no one can come up with an actual, true example of Obama’s socialistic program. And you’re correct, obamacare is not socialism.
        That’s why I enjoy politics and doing these blogs–I get to learn many things and occasionally stick a pin in an overinflated balloon.

        Tks for the comment, and sorry for the mix up.

  4. walkingsmall says:

    I rooted for Ron Paul for a long time, mostly based on your analysis (though you hadn’t written it and I hadn’t read it yet!) Hubby- who had fled the states and is now in Nicaragua, so you don’t have to take him seriously – says it’s a throw-away vote.
    I think you’ve just coined a new phrase, maybe the new title of a sidebar in your blog: projectile political vomit – so nicely descriptive, so applicable to both parties…

    • hermitsdoor says:

      Hmmm. What is the difference between “throw-away” and “protest” vote? I would like to think that a protest vote at least made a statement, even though, as I suggested the candidate could neither get elected nor be effective in that office. I think a throw-away vote might be more in line with voting for “anyone but…”, such as the 41% of WV democrats who voted for the other candidate democratic candidate other than Obama: a convicted felon, Keith Judd, serving a 17 year prison term in TX, and offical member of the Super Hero Society… I’ll have to research how he even qualified to be on the ballot.

      • walkingsmall says:

        I think he meant ‘throw-away’ as in it won’t make any difference in the outcome of the election, so it’s more like your protest vote. I agree, though, it sounds like it has a touch of arggghhh in it!!! Ah, politics

      • hermitsdoor says:

        I think by this definition, what I would consider a “throw away vote” is one that is not cast. Part of the political game is to rally the loyal voters while getting the swing voters so disgusted with the whole process that they stay away. The point of negative advertising is not just to sway the undecided against your competition, but to get them to stay home. Then you decide by voting.

      • walkingsmall says:

        you are an eternal optimist, aren’t you?

  5. Barneysday says:

    As I understand it, in WV all anyone has to do is file and pay the $2500 fee. Thats how Judd did it.

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