Missouri Voter’s Guide

Here are my recommendations for who to vote for, in the 6th Congressional District of Missouri where I live. None of this makes me very happy at all, but I guess that’s life in a democracy (which is really a republic, but let’s not argue, OK?)

U.S. Senate

Jim Talent (R), Claire McCaskill (D), Frank Gilmour (L), Lydia Lewis (Progressive)
U.S. Representative, 6th District
Sam Graves (R), Sara Jo Shettles (D), Erik Buck (Lib), Shirley Yurkonis (P)

At the top of the ticket, its high time for a lengthy rant.

You probably aren’t going to believe this, but I don’t believe that politics should be treated like sports. I’m not a “fan” of the Republicans in the sense that I root for their victory against the other team. I don’t think that’s at all healthy.

I try instead to look at what politicians are actually saying about the issues that are important to me. I can’t tell you how much I crave the emergence of a wing of the Democratic Party that would emphasize the importance of economic as well as personal liberty, that would unabashedly come out for a strong national defense, that would recognize the fundamental challenge to Western civilization from a resurgent, militant, totalitarian Islamist movement headed by Iran.

As far as I can tell, there isn’t one. Instead we get Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Jack Murtha, and Howard Dean.

I do not want to see the next two years wasted in partisan witch-hunts organized by the Democrats, hunting down and assassinating the character of political opponents merely because they have an (R) following their name. The ridiculous overreaching in the wake of the Mark Foley non-sex with non-minors “scandal” (especially in comparison to the silence about the Harry Reid million-dollar profit on real estate he didn’t own) gives any objective observer ample warning of what is to come with Democratic control of either house of Congress.

I do not want to see a former U.S. judge who was impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate for bribery (only the sixth judge in the history of the U.S. to be removed from office)–Alcee Hastings–to be Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Read that again. I do not want someone impeached and convicted of BRIBERY to be Chairman of the freakin’ House Intelligence Committee!!! Yet that is exactly what will happen with a House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

I do not want to see the United States abandon Iraq to chaos and anarchy. Yet this is what Jack Murtha stridently advocates, while ridiculously suggesting that the U.S. troops in Iraq should pull back to Okinawa (which is not quite half way around the world from Iraq. Germany would be closer.)

I do not want to see an ethically challenged milquetoast rising to be the Majority Leader of the Senate. But that’s what will happen with Harry Reid if the Democrats should gain a majority in the Senate.

This year, it really doesn’t matter how good a Democratic candidate looks, or how bad a Republican candidate looks. Neither Talent nor Graves are particularly bad candidates, but this election isn’t about them.

The Democratic Party is a shadow of its once proud heritage. Once, leaders like Truman and JFK could be counted on to defend America and freedom and liberty throughout the world. Domestic politics truly ended at the water’s edge. No more. Now, the national Democratic Party led by Howard Dean and Markos “Kos” Moulitsas, in their single-minded campaign to regain political power by any means necessary, would appease North Korea and Iran, abandon Iraq to the barbarians, and hope that expressions of good-will and friendliness would keep the enemies of the West from again murdering thousands of Americans.

Ignoring, misunderstanding, and downplaying the Islamist threat is why 9/11 happened in the first place. This is not purely a Democratic failing, but it was borne from the “End of History” period following the collapse of the USSR and the defeat of world communism. Those few who saw the Islamist threat coming failed to warn those who could do something about it–Democrat or Republican. But after 9/11, it was the Republicans who realized that the Islamists were serious about challenging and defeating Western civilization. The Democrats, so focused on simply regaining power, show every sign that they are willing to doom millions in the Middle East to tyranny and oppression, and feed the resurgent dreams of Islamic fundamentalists, simply to score political points in the U.S. There can be no more damning indictment of a once noble political party founded by Thomas Jefferson.

This country needs a serious, engaged opposition party. The Democrats are certainly engaged, but they have not demonstrated to me that they are serious about anything but returning to power. With the notable exception of Joe Lieberman, there is no prominent Democrat who appears capable of consistent, sober and thoughtful critiques of the policies of the Republican majority and President.

There are thoughtful Democratic voices out there. A large number of thoughful political commentators and bloggers are Democrats, including Armed Liberal at Winds of Change[*1] , Tammy Bruce[*2] , Glenn Reynolds[*3] , and Victor Davis Hanson[*4] . There are, I’m sure, many other reasonable, thoughtful Democrats–some of whom may actually hold national public office today. But we can’t hear them through the cacophony of the Netroots, Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan, Hate-America-First crowd.

Until rational Democrats re-take control of their party from the likes of George Soros and Markos Moulitsas, it is simply too dangerous to vote for any Democrat for national office.

This is a circumstance where while I’m not completely happy with the Republican choices for the House and the U.S. Senate, a vote against them is a vote for an orgy of partisan witch-hunts and gotcha politics that will make the years since Bill Clinton first was elected look like nursery school. No thanks.

It’s entirely possible that I’m pissing into the wind here, but it’s also possible that the Democrat/Media Complex has peaked too early.

My votes go, with fingers lightly holding nostrils closed, to Republicans Jim Talent and Sam Graves.

State Auditor

Sandra Thomas (R), Susan Montee (D), Charles Baum (Libertarian), Terry Bunker (Progressive)
After looking over the web sites of Thomas and Montee, I’d ordinarily have to give the nod to the Democrat Montee. But I think I’ll indulge my rebellious mood and vote for the Libertarian, Charles Baum.

State Senate

Matt Bartle (R), Jason Norbury (D)
I suspect I agree with Bartle on a number of things – – – so it’s easier to talk about the things with which I disagree with him. Let’s start with human cloning. I just don’t buy the bogeyman aspect of the human cloning debate. I tend to be a libertarian on the subject of sexually oriented businesses. I’m skeptical of campaign finance limits, preferring instead greater transparency of financial support of political campaigns. Generally I think that Bartle gives in too often to his inner busybody.

On the other hand, I don’t really now a damned thing about Jason Norbury. He’s a lawyer, so that’s one strike against him. His Q and A with the Kansas City Star[*5] reveals that there may be some hope for him. But, given the uniformly disgraceful performance of the Democratic Party on the national stage, I’m loath to pull the handle for any Democrat candidate. This will probably be a last-minute decision. I just might go Norbury, to slow down the Missouri religious fundamentalists a bit. Or I might re-pinch my nose and vote for Bartle. But I won’t enjoy it a bit.

State Representative

Brian Yates (R) unapposed
Well, that makes it easy . . .

County Executive

Bob Gough (R), Mike Sanders (D), Richard Tolbert (Reform)

Jackson County government tends to remind you of that saying from the Star Wars movie: “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.” I think much of it spills over from that other hive of scum and villainy–the City of Kansas City. If ever a governmental unit cried out for a “None of the above” ballot selection, Jackson County would be it. It probably doesn’t matter. I guess I’ll vote for Gough.

County Legislature

Bob Spence (R)
Again, that makes it easy.

Missouri Supreme Court (retain in office)

William Ray Price
Mary Rhodes Russell
Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr.

Missouri Court of Appeals W. District (retain in office)
Joseph M. Ellis
James M. Smart
Harold “Hal” Lowenstein

I never, ever vote to retain judges. I’m just funny that way. Throw them all out! Let ’em go find honest work.

Amendment 2: Stem Cells

I am unconvinced by the opponents of Amendment 2 that all the evil horrible nasty things they say will happen, will happen. However, I am also not happy that this the subject of a State constitutional amendment in the first place. If it really rises to the level of public policy at all, it should be handled through the legislative process. My inclination is to vote Yes, but really, do the terms “blastocyst” and “somatic cell nuclear transfer” have any business being included in the text of a Constitutional Amendment? Or, for that matter, a law in the first place? Damn, people make me angry sometimes. Yes on 2, but it really pisses me off.

Amendment 3: Cigarette Tax

“Make it legal, then tax the hell out of it” is my basic prescription for drug, alcohol, tobacco, prostitution, heck, pretty much vice that people really, really want to do despite all attempts to dissuade them from doing them. I’ll be consistent here and vote Yes on 3.

Amendment 6: Tax exemption for Veteran’s organizations

Oh, sure, throw the VFW and the American Legion a bone, I’ll vote Yes on 6.

Amendment 7: Office holders forfeit pension on felony conviction; 2/3 legislative vote required to reject citizens’ committee pay recommendations.

The opponents of Amendment 7 are up in arms about the provision of this amendment where the Legislature would have to vote down the recommendations of the “Missouri Citizens’ Commission on Compensation for Elected Officials” by a 2/3 vote to refuse the commission’s recommendations rather than the current majority vote now. First, did you know there was a “Missouri Citizens’ Commission on Compensation for Elected Officials?” Me neither. Seems like a pretty silly and typically weasely politician thing to set up. But it’s already there in the State Constitions. I’d prefer that the “Missouri Citizens’ Commission on Compensation for Elected Officials” be done away with, but since we have it, I don’t have a problem with making it harder for the Legislature to turn down its recommendations. Yes on 7.

Proposition B: Raise minimum wage

Not just no but HELL NO. Raising minimum wage has been proven over and over again to do NOTHING for the people it purports to help–low income workers. What it does do is reduce the number of entry-level jobs in the economy by making them more expensive. Remember Economics 101? Supply and demand? Make something more expensive and you reduce demand. There’s nothing magical or special about jobs from an economic point of view. Calls for minimum wage hikes are calls for CUTS IN JOBS AVAILABLE. That’s just not a humane thing to do. NO on B.

Lee’s Summit Ordinance–Ban smoking in all bars and restaurants?

I really hate cigarette smoke. It sends me into coughing spasms–it really does. I’ve done my anti-smoking thing by voting yes on Amendment 3. I need to satisfy my libertarian inner anarchist by voting NO on this one.

There you have it. Something to disappoint almost everyone. At least I hope so.