Oct 29, 2010

2010 voting roundup, state

If I thought the ballot initiatives and federal positions were a dismal lot then it gets worse the further down the food chain we go. At the state level we’ve got the governor, lt. governor, and several other even less interesting positions up for grabs. Except for the governor’s seat, many don’t have a full showing from all the major parties let alone minor and/or independents.


To start, the most interesting at the state level. We’ve had a democrat since Huckabee left to run for pres. (quite unsuccessfully, so far).

Mike Beebe – Democrat

As the incumbent he’s got a pretty good chance of winning re-election. I don’t follow polls much but that’s my gut feeling, whatever its worth (not much). I see a lot of Keet (see next below) posters up, though, so maybe it’ll be close.

Having the most money (he makes a pretty penny as gov. you know), his campaign site is impeccable (compared to many of the others I’ve covered so far; shocker: Arkansas isn’t usually chosen to appropriate a lot of major party funds). Not surprisingly, with the money comes much better writing and images. This makes his issues/platform sections all the more suspect. The poorer candidates often can’t afford to hire great publicists to sugar-coat everything. The richer they are, the more you have to go elsewhere to get an honest appraisal.

Cato’s bi-annual governor’s report card was this year. I read it when it was published earlier this year, but just for the record here’s their very brief overview:

Governor Beebe signed into law reductions in sales taxes on groceries in 2007 and 2009. But he has also supported tax increases. In 2008, he approved a large increase in severance taxes on natural gas companies; in 2009, he hit cigarette consumers with a tax increase of 56 cents per pack. On spending, the governor’s budgets have promoted larger increases than typical in the other states.

They rate them like school kids: A-F. Beebe got a D, which is, not surprisingly from a libertarian source, the average for most governors. Which means ol’ Mikey is about middling average. And that’s exactly been my impression of him these few years since I’ve been paying more attention.

So my basic impression is that he’ll be unremarkable, which is probably better than I can realistically hope for. I wouldn’t cry if he was re-elected but… well, it’ll certainly be a big whoop-di-doo.

Jim Keet – Republican

Like Tim Griffin before, this guy’s site ain’t too bad, though it’s very cookie-cutter copy & paste Republican stuff, complete with American Family™ photos all over the god damn place. He’s got a bit of a weird history and there’s questions over residency requirements (apparently he’s been a Florida voter since at least 2003) but, as I’ll someday rant about I really could give a shit about residency requirements.

His issues section, like his site, is extremely typical Republican fare. It’s so boring I won’t even cover them here. Suffice to say, I forgot if I was on his site or Tim’s.

Frankly, though, I can hardly tell the difference. Both Jim here and Mike both say basically the same damn things in their campaign promises. Either they really are hardly different (probably) or they’ve used publicists to word things just vaguely and generically enough to still sorta sound like they fit their respective parties but also appeal to the widest audience. Or both are the case, and I stop caring even more.

Jim Lendall – Green Party

Unlike Jim and Mike, whose sites are both Politician Blue (it’s a Pantone official color, I think), Lendall here’s site is… surprise! It’s green! He’s not quite your typical crackpot GP candidate. I mean, he is on issues, but… well, shit, just check him out. He’s a real life hippy! (And a children’s hospital nurse!)

And actually, while he’s as progressive as all get out, his issues read really well. In fact, they’re awesome. Of course, I disagree with almost everything, but they’re so honestly written. It’s actually quite refreshing from the mind-numbing substanceless crap from the previous two guys. Just to prove my point, here are some painfully out of context pull-quotes taken from his site.

  • Chickens or children... which is more important for the families of this state?
  • It is easy to wax nostalgic over tiny school districts, as it is longing for the fictional 1800's as portrayed by Disney.
  • Cap incentives at $35,000 per job

And lots lots more extreme-left garbage. Hey, he’s pro medical marijuana and immigration, so I suppose we can be chums on some things.

I kinda like the guy, especially his campaign button (see it in the upper left on his site from the link above). Too bad, too, because he’s such a socialist. (Tea party folk like to accuse Obama of being a socialist [he’s not] but the POTUS pales in comparison to real hard-core liberals like this dude.)

Write In

Last but not least, apparently they left a write in spot for us. Well, hey! Looks like I’ll be voting for Penn Jillette for Governor of Arkansas this year.

Actually, there are only three people you can write in that will actually be counted. One is a mechanic with a boring Facebook page (go get ‘em!), another is a no kidding neo-nazi Nationalist Party freak (hot damn!), and the last is Elvis. And yes, every damn news org has already made all the jokes.

Lt. Governor

Things really begin to break down from here on out, so I won’t bother profiling them individually anymore.

The position itself is a bit odd as is, and it is made more so by the weird fact that we could, potentially, have a mixed party Gov-Lt. Gov pair.

Our only choices are Rep and Dem. The Dem is a bit sparse on issues, but many of his talking points sound more like a Rep. The Rep is garden-variety as usual. I was a bit disappointed in him, though, since his site only had one measly American Family™ token photo in the rotator. His wife is a MILF but he’s got a butter ball of a daughter… how does that work?

Anyway, yawn. Not voting on either loser. Provided that the Dem sticks to his talking points, he’ll probably be middling okay just like Beebe. They’ll make a perfectly unremarkable pair.

State Secretary

Got a Rep vs. Dem here. Neither are incumbents (the current Sec. is trying for a different position below). The Dem campaigned for Obama. Each’s website lists issues that… well. They’re written with different tones (the Rep’s is more personal/letter-like, the Dem is more standard campaign) but they both basically want to do the same thing. So again I’m stuck without much to go on.

The Rep seems to want to hammer in on the Dem for claiming that he might campaign for Obama again even while serving as State Sec. Our State Sec. manages elections in the state, so the Rep feels this is a conflict of interest. He’s right that it’s probably not in good taste or image, but I’m not sure I have much of a problem with it.

Since I’m so short handed with good points, I’ll just toss the Rep a vote. His name is the same as a famous Nascar driver (yeehaw Nascar, woo!) so how could you go wrong?

State Treasurer

Now here’s something half-way entertaining. The current incumbent is seeking re-election basically unopposed save for one lone Green Party crazy who has no chance. The incumbent is an exceedingly boring career pol. That’s not what’s entertaining.

What’s entertaining is the shit on this guy’s “campaign site”… It’s basically a smear site with nothing but laughable MS Paint jobs on his opponent the incumbent. There’s practically nothing in the way of substance about him or his platform (I’m not sure it even mentions his GP status). It’s a hoot but… in the end, I have no interest in voting for kooks that seek to garner support by stripping it from the other.

Nobody here getting a vote from me. Not that it matters since the incumbent is sure to win. Relax, your job’s safe, Martha!

Attorney General

Only a Dem (the incumbent) and a Green Party to pick from here. The incumbent Dem already said (shocker!) that he wasn’t going to join the other states in bringing suit against ObamaCare. Not that they have a chance of repealing it, but it’s the principle of the matter I suppose.

The incumbent will almost certainly win (no one votes for GP, right?) since there is no major party opponent. He’s passable, at best. I suppose it’s not too terribly with another four years of him.

The GP candidate is interesting, though. Not a nurse this time, this one is a young chick (only like six years older than me) who’s kinda nerdy and boring. She’ll fail miserably against the WASP incumbent, though.

She’s also been with the Arkansas ACLU quite a while and, as AG, that would be a good background to have! Of course, as a GP she’s a nutso on things like universal healthcare and the like, but since she’s running for AG she won’t really have much influence there thankfully.

What’s really got me interested is the convergence of position and platform. As you’ve heard a lot since I started this roundup, the GPs to me are batshit-crazy extreme lefties. I disagree vehemently with them on the super socialist stuff (healthcare, taxes, etc) but… BUT… they’re not too terribly on some other stuff.

As AG, she’d mostly be over legal issues and corporate criminal cases/suits. She’s anti-war, anti-jail, anti-death penalty, pro-drugs, pro-choice, and pro-gay. These are all A-OK in my book and these are much more likely the sorts of things to come us as AG. Did I mention she’s a long time member of the ACLU? She has little chance of winning, though, but I think I’ll toss her a vote. If she were running for anything else more broadly political, though, I’d have to pass just like all the other GPs.

State Auditor

I’m not even sure what this position is for and I don’t feel like looking it up because it probably doesn’t matter much as evidenced by neither candidate having a campaign site of any sort (or even Facebook groups). Got a Dem (who’s trying to swap from State Secretary to this) and another Green.

The GP is sparse on details but appears to be basically just some lady running. She’s got no real experience for this and, based on her responses, I think she has about as much idea what the auditor does as I do.

The Dem is a career politician. Been in various positions since Reagan was in office. I think I’ll toss the GP candidate a vote here, too, if only because I hate career pols, this lady has no clue (which is fine as hopefully it’ll mean she won’t do much), and I doubt seriously the auditor can really push all that much of a Green agenda. Or can it? Either way, the lady has no chance in hell, so what the hell!

Land Commissioner

Yeah, not a clue what this one is for, either. And it’s got just a standard Rep and Dem running. Apparently it has to do with property taxes, or rather the collecting (and marking delinquent) thereof.

The Rep is kinda nerdy and seems focused on showing off a plan of some sorts. The Dem is goofy and endorsed by the Democrat-Gazette, which is reason enough for me to say “Eh” and move on.

I dunno. I’ll probably toss the Rep a vote. He claims the Land Com. has been a Dem for over a hundred years. Since I don’t care too much about the position, that’s got me sold.

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