Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Man of Steele

The scariest thing about elections, even more than whether your vote will get counted, or if you’ll even be allowed to vote, is the people voting. Recent election results, and current polls, leave little choice but to conclude the American voting public consists of a large number of mouth-breathing drunks and/or drug addicts, unable to hold more than one idea in their minds at a time.

Remember the movie Fifty First Dates? Drew Barrymore has a brain injury that prevents her from remembering anything that happened before today. It’s cute, but not one of Adam Sandler’s best. (Drew Barrymore has no bests.) That’s how Americans vote. Like nothing happened before right now.

Take Maryland senatorial candidate Michael Steele. Steele has been a lifelong Republican, one of three black Republicans in Maryland. This appears to have been his unique party qualification, as he has virtually no accomplishments other than being Maryland party chairman and the current lieutenant governor. If his middle initial is T, it must stand for “Token.”

Steele has run his entire campaign without any reference to being a member of the Republican party. I encountered him at my Metro station a few weeks ago, and asked several of his supporters why that was. “Party shouldn’t matter,” they said. “He’s his own man”

I asked them about the hundreds of thousands of dollars he’d accepted from the Republican Party, and about his recent, well-publicized request for more. That’s when they got a little snippy.

So here we have a do-nothing hack who is a recent party chairman and lieutenant governor to one of the most partisan governors in the country, with hundreds of thousands of dollars of indebtedness to the Republican, running as – what can I call it? – something other than a Republican. Not a Democrat, and he’s certainly not an independent.

And he’s kept the election close. Maryland is essentially a one-party state. Republicans aren’t even running in most of our local races. Yet Steele runs TV ads that show him as a nice guy, as his opponent as a career politician. Like Steele’s not. Cardin actually has forty years of accomplishments to run on. All anyone remembers is that Steele would be someone nice to sit next to at a ball game.

We have another local candidate, who lost the Democratic primary decisively, probably at least in part because he’s a self-aggrandizing egotist. (Saying a politician is such a self-aggrandizing egotist that it distinguishes him from his peers is going a ways.) He immediately switched parties, welcomed with open arms by the Republicans. I guess the Shameless Whore Party didn’t have time to get their ballot petitions together.

These guys get votes, They lie and cheat and (some of them) steal for anywhere from two to six years, then tell you how things are going to change as soon as you vote for them again. “Are you going to believe me, or your lying eyes?” they say. And they get away with it! Your vote can only be construed to mean what they’ve done during their term is okay with you. So why should they change?

This may be a good election for protest votes. My congressman is running opposed by only the Green Party candidate. He’s the Number Three Dem, and will have quite a bit of pull if they take over. I’m voting for the Green, and sending my guy a letter if the Dems win. “Be careful what you ask for,” I’ll say. “Now you’re in charge, and accountable. If things don’t get better, we’re coming for your ass next.”

Anyone with me?

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