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"Write out of love, write out of instinct, write out of reason. But always for money."
Louis Untermeyer

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 part.

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 explain.

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.

More muses

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.

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