Home > 2006 elections, Montana > The election

The election

Less than a week to the election. I haven’t talked about it much, I suppose. That’s because other MT blogs do an excellent job already. My contribution is unlikely to be original. Oh well.

I have to confess, I often vote against candidates rather than for them. I would rather not do this, but I’m apparently somewhat lazy. I have to say, though, I’m not worried about doing that in the Senate race this year. Burns is awful. There’s simply nothing to make me even consider voting for him. It’s not even ideology. He trades votes for money in the Senate and on the campaign trail. The man claims to be a conservative, but is running on pork. I’m not a conservative and my blood doesn’t boil when we get federal money, but come on. The man can’t even stick to a fundamental tenet of his claimed ideology. He then completely fails to realize that we have to pay for his pork and supports tax cuts for the rich. Say what you want about “tax and spend” Democrats, they at least realize they need to pay for their spending. Burns continues to support failed policies in Iraq and defend the Patriot Act. He claims he and the President has some secret plan for Iraq. The list goes on and on. There’s a impressive case just for voting against Burns. Actively against, not just abstaining.

The second reason is that Tester is actually a good candidate. He strikes me as smart and honest. I actually like him. I don’t honestly like many politicians, including Democrats. I try not to let that influence me and judge the candidates on their ideas and positions, but I’m not perfect. Tester’s against the Patriot Act, which while I’m not as against it as he is, we need people to push back and get it fixed. My position on what to do in Iraq is as on the fence as ever, but I think Tester’s assessment of the situation is basically correct and I can respect his position. He’s pro-choice and pro-stem cell research. He’s solid on health care issues. He’s not in favor on gun control, which I’ve become increasingly opposed to. Which is sort of odd, I guess, since I don’t own a gun nor do I ever plan to and I despise stereotypical “gun nuts” (and don’t understand non-stereotypical ones). Of course, he’s taken a hard line on meth, which I find ridiculous. Perhaps oddly, as I’ve never done a drug (other than alcohol, of course) in my entire life and generally despise drug use. I like to think I’m rising above my biases, but perhaps that’s just my ego. I’m not a fan of single issue voting, so I look past that. Tester says good things about the separation of church and state, but that’s a very muddled issue to some, so I’m always wary. I can’t find any actual positions he’s taken on the issue.

So that’s that. The other races are less interesting. I will probably vote for Lindeen, but I’m hardly enthusiastic about it. Rehberg makes my skin crawl, but Lindeen is a pretty bad candidate. Why oh why can’t we find someone good to run against Rehberg? The local races are not my cup of tea, but I like Lynea Seher and Mike Phillips. I wish I lived in HD 70 so I could vote for Vincent and get Koopman out of office. Actually, it’d be embarrassing to have Koopman as a rep, so maybe I don’t wish that.

So, make sure to get out and vote. Encourage others to do so. It’s an important election.

Categories: 2006 elections, Montana
  1. November 3, 2006 at 10:15 pm

    Say what you want about “tax and spend” Democrats, they at least realize they need to pay for their spending.

    I challange you to prove that statement. Use any tools you like – history for example.

  2. November 4, 2006 at 1:07 am

    The insult would be “borrow and spend” rather than “tax and spend?” :P

    The average budget deficit under Democratic presidents since WWII is .83% of GDP while it’s 2.37% for Republicans. Neither party has balanced the budget consistently, but it looks like Democrats have done it better. Perhaps my statement should be more qualified, but I think it still stands.

  3. November 4, 2006 at 3:01 pm

    Jeff,

    I don’t think it stands at all – especially since the power of the purse is held by the Congress. In the last 50 years there has been a Democrat majority in all but 13 of those years. The “best years” for deficit reduction were under a GOP Congress in the 1990’s. During times when the Dems held both chambers (think Johnson and Carter) fiscal policy was (almost) as reckless as the current one.

    What this all says is that the best fiscal policy seems to avail itself when we have gridlock. But if you think Democrats are better by showing statistics of only the executive years you’re not only leaving out the much greater importance of the legislative branch in this discussion but you’re denying history.

    I am not, if your think I am, endorsing the GOP as better fiscal conservatives – especially not now. But take the wish list of things progressives want to make law – full time day care, single payer health care, expansion of the Medicare Rx program, etc. and the bill goes up. I need also remind you that as discretionary spending has gone up roughly 7% a year under the Bush administration, the Democrats have not only called for higher “taxes on the Rich” but have complained that we haven’t spent enough on their programs. One last note – the tax cut that the Dems want to repeal constitutes about 25% of the deficit. So if you’re buying into the meme that by repealing that tax cut we would solve the continued deficits you’re quite wrong. The problem is spending and I have to laugh when a cohort that has and does embrace Keynsian economics complains about deficits seeing there is much more politics than concern.

  4. November 4, 2006 at 11:17 pm

    Certainly Congress has control of the budget, but that doesn’t explain the stats I cited. If gridlock results in the best fiscal policy, we would see the number be higher for Democratic presidents because, as you said, they’ve controlled Congress for most of the time period we’re discussing. Statistically, the Johnson and Carter years are closer to the later Clinton years than to the last 5 as far as deficits.

    If I take The Republican controlled Congress of the mid to late 90s out, the number only goes up to .9% for Democrats. Why is the number for Republican presidents so much higher? Democratic presidents with a Democratic Congress results in a more balanced budget than Republican presidents with Democratic Congresses. Republican presidents with Republican Congresses are even worse (though we have much less experience with that). So, again, I think my statement still stands.

    My opinion on deficits is this: I’m not a deficit hawk, but I want them to be reasonable. I will sacrifice the spending I want to get to that point. I want fiscal policy to be somewhat logical. Massive tax cuts combined with spending increases is not logical fiscal policy, even if rescinding the tax cuts and cutting discretionary spending wouldn’t close the gap.

  5. November 5, 2006 at 1:24 pm

    Republican presidents with Republican Congresses are even worse (though we have much less experience with that).

    Which was my point. I don’t see how you make an actual comparrison since the real outier is the anomaly of a GOP executive and GOP Congress. Apples v Oranges. In the last 50 years there has only been 7 years of that mix. Add on top of that what taxes have done to growth in GDP, inflation history, etc. and I stil think your argument falls flat. You can’t prove it to me with the statistics you’ve proffered. They seem meaningless statistically.

    I guess we’ll have agree to disagree.

  1. November 3, 2006 at 5:28 pm

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