Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Hard Ones -- Nov. 7th

Massachusetts is about to get out of its crouch at long last. The excitement of progressive (but still not left enough for me) Deval Patrick has blinded us to the tricky issues down-ticket and on the ballot questions.

As my late mother might have said, "For crying out loud, get to the polls and elect Deval!"

Then what?

We have some serious choices that could have less dramatic, but still far-reaching effects. Consider particularly:
  1. Which offices merit a protest vote?
  2. Those confusing ballot questions, particularly fusion voting.

Just Say, "Somebody Else"

We shouldn't even think about a protest vote for governor. Deval Patrick is progressive change. The paramount good in this election would be putting him in office. Likewise, Tim Murray's the person to champion the revitalization of cities and towns that the platform promises.

However, down ticket presents some conundrums and philosophic challenges.
Good Pol/Untrustworthy: Not statewide, but illustrative of the problems is the Second Suffolk Senate Dianne Wilkerson/Samiyah Diaz contest. Wilkerson has been a strong advocate for marriage-equality/women/poor. Yet she can't seem to tell the truth, pay her taxes or otherwise manage her life. We don't trust her. Diaz, on the other hand, irritated many of us by running both in her Republican slot and in the Democratic primary. She may have cost reform candidate Sonia Chang-Diaz the primary. She has good politics, but nowhere near as solid as Wilkerson's and no one believes she'd be as effective, at least in the short term. Votes for her are for honest politicians. This is a tough call. Wilkerson needs a moral rehab, something she's not likely to get.
Bad Politics/Right Party: Then there's George Bush toady and heavy hawk U.S. Rep. Steve Lynch. He's up against Republican buffoon Jack E. Robinson, who is fabulous at losing elections. Lynch successfully ducked debate with reform/anti-war candidate Phil Dunkelbarger and won the primary over 3 to 1. Lynch should go down flames, but his slot is particularly tricky. He may be a DINO and Bush lickspittle, but on the big issues -- other than Iraq -- he should vote for Democratic Party positions in a new majority House. This is likely moot. He'll crush Robinson. So a protest vote here is in the garbage. The chance to toss the bum came and passed with the primary. Ninth District voters have quite a stigma for supporting his re-election.
Sure Loser/Side Benefits: The Green-Rainbow and Working Families candidates, and to a lesser extent independent Christy Mihos are among third-party candidates who don't seem to have a chance, but who offer that hmm factor of being thought-provoking. Over at Secretary of State, for example, the Green's Jill Stein has a reform platform in contrast to incumbent do-nothing Bill Galvin. He crushed the real reformer, John Bonifaz, in the Dem primary. This contest would have a good argument for a protest vote. From another angle, Rand Wilson says he has no thought of winning, but he asks for votes to get 3%, which would put his Working Families Party on the ballot in the next election.

We'll make some endorsements down ticket and on questions shortly.

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