The Occasional Muse
My humble opinion on current events
November 8, 2002
Muses on the Election
As the election unfolded this past Tuesday,
several pundits and talking heads said that it was historic. Well, it was
and it wasn't.
Few expected voters to give Republicans the
majority in the Senate. I heard someone say Tuesday night, I think it was
Brokaw, that only twice since the Civil War had the party that occupied
the White House won the Senate in an off-year election. Or something like
that. Needless to say, it was a big deal for the Republicans to gain seats
in the House, and a shock that they took the Senate. That's the historical
However, a short-term view shows that
Tuesday's results were in fact no surprise at all. Not that I expected
them, of course. But in hindsight, it should have shocked no one. Let me
In 2000, the voters selected another
Republican Congress. The Senate was split 50-50, but Republicans retained
control because of Vice-President Dick Cheney. And please, no hysterical
ranting about the Supreme Court and Florida - President Dubya won every
count that was conducted.
The Democrats seized control when Jim
Jeffords bolted the Republican Party and became an
"independent." I place that word in quotes because he's really a
Democrat. It's important to remember that voters did not pick a Democrat
Senate. In fact, Jeffords had just won re-election as a Republican.
The Democrat majority in the Senate was,
democratically speaking, illegitimate. Tom Daschle was an illegitimate
majority leader. Tuesday's mid-terms were the voters' first chance to
remedy that situation, and they did just that. For whatever reason, voters
want more Republicans than Democrats in the Congress. Jeffords deprived
them of that wish, and Democrats paid for it. I hope it was worth it.
It's interesting that the New
York Times advised Republicans to remember how close several races
were when exercising their power. I don't recall them advising Democrats
of the same when the whims of one man gave them power.
Here in Arizona, the results are not yet
in. Democrat and trial lawyer butt monkey Janet Napolitano leads Matt
Salmon by about 20,000 votes, with 160,000 left to count. Those are all
mail-in ballots. The complete results are expected Monday. Someday, maybe,
the government will realize that they need people to count all the votes
on election day, not just those cast at the polls. Taking a week to count
votes seems ridiculous.
Arizona voters showed their usual mix of
wisdom and stupidity (and yes, I voted, so I include myself). They
approved a proposition that raised cigarette taxes sixty cents. The funds
will go toward health care programs and similar feel-good tasks the state
government is not very good at. The vote won big, so many people of
different political persuasions voted for it, but it's usually liberals
who push higher tobacco taxes. That's interesting because a tobacco tax
hits the poor the hardest - wealthy smokers have no problem paying an
extra sixty cents. I thought liberals were against raising taxes on the
poor. I suppose they're not.
The tobacco tax is stupid because it has
two conflicting goals. The funds are supposed to pay for all these
wonderful things, yet the tax is also aimed at reducing smokers. But if
fewer people smoke, how do the wonderful programs get their money?
Arizona rejected welfare
for potheads by a sizeable amount. That proposition would have, among
other things, required the state to distribute weed. Good riddance.
The Arizona state legislature showed its
concern over this years $500 million budget deficit by proposing a pay
raise, from $24,000 to $36,000. That also went down in flames. It must be
mentioned, though, that you get what you pay for.
Nationally, the most odious proposition was
in Berkeley (no surprise there). It required all coffee sellers to buy
their beans from organic farmers. The Berkeley brown shirts who placed
this fascist excrement on the ballot were no doubt disappointed when it
lost badly, showing that some common sense still exists in the Bay Area.
If only it would show itself more often.
Finally, Frank Lautenberg won in New
Jersey. He replaced Robert Torricelli, who quit because he was losing. The
move violated state law, but who cares about that when the New Jersey
Supreme Court licks your boots? The Supreme Myrmidons* approved the move
and Democrat party bosses, perhaps after huddling in a smoke-filled room,
imposed a candidate on the state that no one had voted for in the primary.
This, we were told, was a triumph for democracy. Last
month, I urged New Jersey voters to reject such a blatant power grab
and vote for anyone but Lautenberg. Alas, they ignored that advice -
befuddled old Frank won big, though the Dems still lost the Senate.
That'll teach them! Anyway, a word for all New Jersey residents who voted
for Lautenberg. Don't whine about corruption in politics. Don't moan about
cynical politicians. You've just participated in one of the most cynical
power moves in recent history. You sold yourselves for political power -
don't you dare utter a peep when some politician does the same.
*Myrmidon - A faithful follower who carries
out orders without question.