Monday, November 06, 2006

First Time for Everything

In other words, tomorrow I will be voting for my first Democrat. An alternate title for this post could have been "Why Utah Republicans are Generally Stoopid".

Some of you might know I have a pretty well established political philosophy, and that the Republican party generally embodies those beliefs. One aspect of those beliefs is that national governments tend to become bloated, power hungry and inefficient, so money is best spent as close to the local level as possible. That is why I favor low national taxes and spending.

Some people, including most Democrats and apparently most Utah Republicans, think that that means the Republican party is not interested in funding education, public transportation, and other public services. They are incorrect. It simply means that to be a Republican is to believe that those services are most efficiently provided when they are provided at the local level. Things like national defense, interstate commerce, and other things that affect the nation as a whole are the issues that should be left to the national government.

For those of you who have lived in Utah, have you noticed that Utah Republicans tend to be against taxes at ALL levels, and are generally against raising local funding of education, transportation and other services? I don't mean to lump all Utah Republicans in that group as I know there must be a few "real" Republicans in Utah, but it is a general trend I have noticed.

Which brings me to why I am voting for a local Democrat. He is running for the state legislature. My first reason for wanting to vote for him is because he came to my house and asked for my vote. His Republican opponent has sent out about 7 different expensive mailings in the past few weeks, but has yet to appear on my doorstep. My second reason is that on the most recent mailing the Republican sent out, she says that if you want the status quo in Utah, then vote for her Democratic opponent. I had to double check the mailing to make sure it was the Republican who sent it. Does she realize how stupid she sounds? Does she realize that the Republican party has had a supermajority in the Utah legislature for many, many years? How does voting for the Democratic candidate support the status quo? The letter really made me question her intelligence, such that I suspect she might be one of those "fake" Republicans I previously mentioned.

On a related note, there is a chance the national Republican party might lose control of congress tomorrow. Usually I would be appalled at the idea of the national Democratic party controlling congress again, but having the Republicans lose power might be beneficial to the party itself. It would give it a chance to realize what they're doing wrong, since they've been blind to self criticism and immune to self control in the past few years. I don't believe the other side will do any better in terms of controlling national spending, but it will get the attention of the Republican leadership such that when they come into power again in a few years, they might remember what got them kicked out.


JonnyF said...

A few comments Nick:
-They fake Republicans are perhaps more correctly called Libertarians.
-Bishop Quesenberry is a Democrat. Katie considered herself liberal while she was a BYU student. My point is many liberal Utahns can pass for conservatives in other states.
-I have also had the experience of being less likely to vote for a candidate after being exposed to a political ad of some form for that candidate because the ad makes me question their intelligence. Quite often actually. It generally happens about equally for both candidates and it leaves me right where I started. I'm sorry if I already ranted on this.
A good example was last week when I heard an radio ad for the Democrat Michigan Attorney General challenger criticizing the incumbent for "refusing to go after the oil companies and insurance companies." I imagined thousands of white collar workers, mostly having had some kind of business education and/or working for insurance companies (not so much oil companies in Michigan), listening to this light rock radio station on the way home from work and collectively wondering, "I don't get it. Why is that a bad thing?"
-I am also voting for some non-Republicans for my state legistlature.
- Your comment about hoping a loss of power for the Republicans will be a good thing for them in the long run is interesting. I too have that hope. Though, that situation hasn't seemed to help the Democrats so much.

erin said...

I have also backed away from the Republican party...or maybe they backed away from me. I still consider myself to be conservative, but I don't think Republicans are conservative anymore. Around here, they're also not very polite. For example, our Republican representative (in Wyoming we only have one representative at all) has sent out a lot of expensive attack ads this season--in fact, that is the only kind of ad she has sent. I don't know why she thinks that I would vote for her if she can't get along with other people. We need problems solved in DC, not a perpetual catfight. I am definitely voting for her opponant...not just because I heartily disapprove of her, but because Gary Trauner, her Democratic opponant, seems to be a great voice of reason and I think he'll be fantastic. I wish you could have all seen the debates between the two of them. I also think there will be great benefits if the Republicans lose the majority in least for now. Hopefully it will slow down the out of control spending of our president. Republicans are NOT conservative anymore. Maybe I'll start my own party called the Compassionate and Conservative party...I do think you can be both. I'm really hoping that this election will help to change the bitter and petty partisianship that seems to control the highest levels of our government. It's not only disgusting to me--it's downright scary.

morgan said...

This is an interesting post. I can't wait to see what happens in Congress. I wonder how the Democrats would handle things if they were in charge.

One thing that annoys me about Utah politics...taxes. Nick, you mentioned Republicans being against taxes. I'm not sure if you meant just in general or just here in Utah. But I don't think we need any more taxes here. It kind of bothers me when they talk about raising taxes and yet at the same time celebrate the hundreds of millions of dollars of "surplus" that they have. The "surplus" is just another word for "overtaxing". Taxes in general are good, and I support them. They're necessary for the government to run. But is the government trying to support itself or to just simply get all the money it can? I think if the government was willing to spend some of that surplus we wouldn't need any new taxes.

On a related note, it also bothers me that we spend so little on education here, and yet we're sitting on a bank account full of cash(speaking proverbially of course). The state is at its wits ends trying to figure out how to keep its teachers, so much so that they're offering incentives for people not to retire. Did they ever think about paying the teachers a little more? Maybe then people prospective teachers wouldn't have to move out of state to get a job. How about letting go of some of that money you took from me that you didn't need and give it to the teachers?

Anyways, sorry about that little rant. I fell better now. I think I can hear my dad laughing somewhere off in the distance.

morgan said...

One other interesting as this election will be, I think the Presidential campain in 2008 will be even more interesting.

Nick said...

Well, Morgan, as long as we're ranting... I can't stand it when people say we can't "pay" for a tax cut. You don't pay for tax cuts, you adjust your budget to be able to meet your financial obligations. Not that all tax cuts are good, but they aren't something you buy.

Well as of now, it looks like the democrats will (barely) control congress. It will be interesting to see if
a)they are able to stay unified on any platform given that many of the democrats that beat republican incumbents are conservative democrats.
b)they actually change the atmosphere in congress like they've claimed they will- ie, will they give republicans any committee chairmanships or invite republicans to the bill writing conferences and so forth. I doubt it.
c)they balance the budget like they claim they will- and not balance it by waiting for revenues to go up because of the strong economy, but balance it by cutting spending.
d)How long will it take for them to get kicked out. I predict 2-4 years, I mean come on, we're only talking a majority of 5-10 seats.

What this does do for the republican party is give it a chance to purge itself of its Lincoln Chafees, Mark Foleys, and its Bob Neys.

JonnyF said...

I've seen several articles talking about the Democrat takeover of the House and Senate and many of them had quotations from various politicians and/or commentators saying something to the effect of, "America has spoken!" or "Americans have made their frustration with Iraq evident." I think this is a little overdramatic.
Yes, the number of seats changing parties in both chambers is significant and will have a significant effect. However, the majority is, as Nick said, slim. I understand that the Democrats have control 229 of 435 House seats and 51 or 52 Senate seats. (Of course the exact number is dependent on how many independents vote with the Democrats...) Anyway my point is that the Democrats have something like a 51% to 53% majority in each house. This is not major national shift. It represents a few million voters out of more than 100 million voters that have changed their minds about the Republicans.
The Democrats should be aware that their majority is slim and fragile and that they have to deliver on their promises if they are going to keep the majority. My guess is that they'll actually keep it for 6-8 years before they get complacent and alienate enough marginal voters to give the Republicans the slim and fragile majority again.
Katie thinks that the drama comes from the media wanting to get the best sound bytes and that it probably was the same in 1994. I think I agree with her.