I’ll vote for someone who I think can work the levers of government. A year ago I worked for a major party during election season, and in the early parts of that, the party primary for governor was going on. Some of the people I called would ask who they should vote for in that election, or–more subtilely–who I was voting for.
I was not going to tell anyone the answer to either of those questions. Firstly, my job was to get people out to vote, not to tell them who they should vote for. The primary was contested between three people. There were a couple of men with some very appealing-sounding ideas. Very Bernie-like. And a woman with a boatload of experience, and some ideas not as far along the progressive dimension as the men. This set of options clarified for me my current selection standards.
One of the men appeared, to me, to be an untrustworthy loon. It seemed clear to me that he couldn’t govern his way out of an open shoebox. The other guy had a little bit of experience in government, and would be working with a legislature controlled by the opposing party. I live in a state with term-limits for state legislators, which means that the legislators are ignorant about solutions until they have been in office long enough to be ineligible. The most they can know is how to use the rules of their office to do things. But the things they do is controlled by professionals within the fields they are trying to legislate about. “Professionals within the field” are also known as lobbyists. Or activists, depending on if you agree with them, I suppose.
So, which candidate to choose? The one with good ideas who can outmaneuver the opposition, rather than the one with better ideas who will be stymied at every turn.
Another factor of relevance is this: former legislators have experience with writing laws, which is good. And, in an era when we should dial back the Imperial Presidency, having the legislature performing legislative control over what the executive can do, and having an executive with some sympathy for that, is a good thing
Moving a current legislator into the executive comes with a cost, though. Congress is narrowly divided, and incumbents know the job better than new-comers (and are more likely to hold the seat, in a squinty-eyed partisan view of things).
So, what candidate to choose? It’s not a great thing to lose a current legislator, all things being equal. All things are never equal, of course, so probably “on balance” is a better way of looking at it.
So… look for a series of posts looking at the various Democratic presidential primary candidates. I’ll probably wait until, like, January of next year before making an actual selection, though.
Obviously, in November of next year, it’ll be “not-Trump.” Because that fascistic power-lusting fellow, and–possibly worse–his hangers-on, should be nowhere near the levers of power.
Today, I was sitting in a lobby. Waiting my turn, all cool, like, we’re each going to get our turn at the thing. So we’re each waiting our turn, and it’s going very … calmly.
Then a lady, maybe 70 years old or so, sitting at the other end of the lobby from me pulls out her phone, and, being a modern cell phone, we can all hear the ringing as it waits to connect to wherever she’s calling. Then the robovoice, which we can also all hear, identifies the name of the place where we all are. But we’re at a place with several branches, so whatever. We’re all going to get our turn. Then things go silent, but we’re all sort of watching her pushing icons on her phone. Not the office staff. They’re solving technology problems which appear to be contributing to the fact that we’re all calmly waiting our turns, rather than already being on our way. They’re pretty calm, too. I’m impressed by that.
Then the woman at the far end of the lobby hangs up.
We’re all sitting there, waiting our turn. Then we hear beeping from the office, a different beeping than previously heard. Paper shlides out of a machine, and an office person grabs it.
Silence. Calm waiting. Calm problem solving.
The woman at the far end of the waiting room calls out, “did you get my fax?”
The office workers call back, “yes, thank you!”
The problems got resolved. We all got our turn, and everyone was calm.
And an elderly woman used her up to the minute cell phone to fax her paperwork to the office about twelve feet away from where she was sitting.
I just finished listening to the audio book edition of Alpha and Omega by Harry Turtledove. A tight, unrelenting book, masterfully handling multiple points of view. Turtledove eases you into the world of the book. This is a thriller set in Jerusalem, all right. Then, with a couple of explosive events–one literal, one archealogical–he begins bending the character’s reality, while keeping the reader believably grounded in early 21st Century realities. Turtledove succeeds in his story by fully committing to the miraculous nature of the events of the narrative, and by fully committing to the humanity of all the characters–be they secular journalists, the mashiach, Christian televangelist, or Muslim leader, among many others.
The audiobook reader, George Guidall, keeps things moving, alternating smoothly between the many POV characters, men and women, old and young, and a variety of accents while never being show-offy.
A tough, chewy look at longing, limits, and love. When a medical development allows for extended, though limited, lifespans, the struggles for discovering, and even preserving, what is now normal in human relationships play out on a very small stage. In a lab. On a space station. Staffed by a highly competent married couple in the employ of a powerful company. Michael Blumlein has crafted a gem of a story which shows more than it pretends to, placing the reader in the hearts and minds of the characters, and chooses none of the answers it offers.
To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity. –Douglas Adams