Monday, November 03, 2008

Election eve: who I'm voting for, just for reference

For President: Obama. What he said. And I had a nightmare a few weeks ago involving President Palin. Really, who ever thought she would make a good President?

For governor: tougher. Our gov, Mitch Daniels (R), has done some pretty good things. He's very good at attracting out-of-state (and out-of-country) employers to Indiana, though some of what happened during his term was actually the result of work started by his predecessor. On the down side, he was Bush's former budget director, and it shows. He "balanced the budget" by leasing the Indiana Toll Road for a huge lump-sum payment, then factoring this one-time cash infusion as revenue. It wasn't a financially sound decision; he traded 75 years of steady income for a single sum roughly equivalent to eight years' earning. It's bad math, but it makes it look like he balanced the budget. On the other hand, his opponent, Jill Long Thompson (D) has never criticized this decision (or, while mildly criticizing it, has never threatened to stop it or to not spend the money generated). Who's really interesting in this race is the Libertarian, Andrew Horning. He's been running for office for years, and he's actually in the right about a lot of important issues. He's an intelligent, thoughtful guy, and he never quits. He's in the wrong on only a few issues, but on these he's catastrophically wrong. So I would never want to see him in office. But I really respect the guy. I suspect I'll vote Jill Long Thompson; Daniels has the race locked solid, but I don't want it to be a landslide. That is, I don't want him to think he's got a Mandate From God, or anything. I might even vote Horning, in a moment of polling-place whimsy.

U.S. House, District 7: Andre Carson (D). Multiple reasons here; Gabrielle Campo (R) is straight party-line Republican on pretty much every issue, and her platform looks to be cut-and-pasted from the national platform. The Republicans didn't invest much in her; she's running against an interesting, incumbent Democrat, and they don't see much chance she'll win. Personally, I like Andre, even if he was elected primarily because he was related to the previous rep (Julia Carson, who died in office). So far, Andre is everything Julia wasn't -- he's neither visibly corrupt nor apathetic. And, I think it's interesting to have more Muslims in congress.

Indiana Senate, District 34: Jean Breaux (D). She's been on the right side of a lot of issues so far. But, really, the fact that her challenger, James Rainey (R) didn't even respond to the Indianapolis Star's issues questionnaire is a pretty bad sign. Again, the Republicans weren't trying too hard with him.

Indiana House, District 100: John Day (D). This is an interesting race, mostly because there's no Republican in it. Day, the incumbent, is challenged only by a Libertarian running strictly on a no-taxes platform.

Marion County Circuit Court Judge: James Joven (R). This is an odd one; I normally vote party-line Democrat for judges. But Louis Rosenberg, the Dem running, is a bit of an idiot and a windbag. I read their question/answer in the paper, and I was amazed at how much better Joven did than Rosenberg. One highlight: the paper asked the candidates their stance on an issue relating to prosecutions and the serious issue of jail overcrowding at the Marion County jail. Rosenberg had a lengthy answer; Joven simply said, "this isn't really an applicable question -- the circuit court doesn't handle criminal prosecutions or have anything to do with the jail system." Good answer, and completely bullshit-free!

State Attorney General: Linda Pence (D). This was a tough call. On one hand, Pence really has nothing special recommending her. Neither does the Republican candidate, Greg Zoeller; neither is an incumbent, and on almost every important aspect of the office, they're remarkably similar. Both are "tough on crime" (as opposed to all those mythical attorneys general who are soft on crime). Both are tough on child predators, to differentiate them from the hypothetical pro-molester candidates. I ended up digging pretty deep to find much difference between them at all. My final decision was based on their negatives. While Zoeller was endorsed by the state police union, he's also endorsed by Right To Life Right To Life, which scares me. And the biggest chunk of his political experience came while he was -- wait for it -- Dan Quayle's assistant, both in the senate and as VP. Quayle, a veep so inept he's almost Palinesque. So I'm going with Pence.

My favorite race: Marion County Coroner. I'm pulling for John Pless (R). He's extremely more qualified than his competitor, and he was no part of the corrupt team which just got booted out of office. The current coroner has a 3 to 6-month backlog for death certificates. This means families have to wait up to half a year to start processing life insurance claims, among other traumas. Pless promises to clean up this system. Also interesting, his stated goal is to eliminate the office he's running for, replacing the elected county coroner with an appointed medical examiner. Appointed, and therefore easier to fire for screwing up royally. The recently ousted coroner was scandal-ridden and corrupt; I'm looking for the most radical change possible, which is Pless. He seems honest, and he's documentably extremely competent.

Incidentally, the coroner debacle has been an eye-opener for me. By watching the traumas caused by the incompetent occupants, I finally figured out that some of those silly offices I used to just vote party-line for are pretty important after all. As a result, I've actually been paying attention to races like county surveyor and county treasurer.

No comments: