I believe that voting is the most important privilege we can exercise as citizens. Of course, we have the right to not vote, but I hold the honor of voting in such high regard that it is almost inconceivable to me that I wouldn't.
Except now. I have never been less interested in the outcome of an election than now.
I often counsel that we should vote for the candidate or position we favor, not simply in opposition to those we don't. That's why John Kerry lost the presidential election in 2004. No one wanted George Bush to win a second term, but no one really wanted John Kerry to win, either. So, people either voted for Bush, or against Bush, or stayed home, and Bush won his second term.
This election is even worse. This is a mid-term referendum on Barack Obama. The problem is, there are no viable candidates on any level. All of them are weak, and none of them interest me in the least.
With this disclaimer, here are my endorsements for 2010:
US Senate -- John McCain (R) vs nobody
I actually voted for John McCain for president twice, in 2000 and 2004 as my write-in choice. I admired his maverick approach, that he voted his conscience and let the chips fall where they would.
But that is not the John McCain who ran for president in 2008, nor is that the John McCain running for re-election to the US Senate now. This John McCain is a political veteran fighting for his career by pandering to those who he thinks will support him. He's a compromiser, a flip-flopper, saying things now that he would have condemned 10 years ago.
He's a shoe-in, however, as there is really nobody running against him. I had to look up on the Internet (thank you, Al Gore!) to find names I've never heard of. His only real opponent was in the Republican primary, for which McCain sold his soul to win.
So, do I vote for McCain because I supported him before? I guess I do, hoping that once we get past this election, the man I admired in the past will put politics aside to be the leader he used to be.
US Representative -- Ben Quayle (R) vs nobody
The AZ Election Guide lists Qualye's qualifications as "Venture Capitalist, son of ex Vice-President Dan Quayle." Young Ben is famous for his line, "Barack Obama is the worst president ever." If so, it is only because we had the good fortune that George Bush the Elder did not die to elevate Dan. Young Ben may be the only politician in history with less qualification than his father.
Young Ben won the Republican primary with something like 23% of the vote, which means that approximately 4% of the residents in my district actually think he's qualified. That seems about right.
My district includes the wealthiest part of the state (not my neighborhood, mind you). Not that wealthy people automatically vote Republican, but the Republican party tends to be more favorable to wealth and wealth builders. As such, the Democrats typically will run only a token candidate, preferring to spend their resources where they can be more competitive. Which is too bad because I think this year, the car that Young Ben drives could run against him and have a shot at winning.
Unfortunately, the Libertarian candidate does not have enough money to even register a web domain. Dude, you can set up a free Facebook page!
I'm voting for Young Ben's car.
Governor -- Jan Brewer (R) vs Terry Goddard (D)
Brewer was elevated to governor when sitting Governor Janet Napolitano was picked by President Obama to head the Office of Homeland Security. Brewer inherited a disaster. The state was out of money and the economy was in free-fall. Brewer was in over her head and she knew it, which gave her the political courage to propose the unthinkable -- a one-cent sales tax. Her rationale was basic: even if the state eliminates every dime from the budget that was not mandated by the federal government or by voters, we still would not have enough money to balance the budget. With the state economy relying almost exclusively on construction and tourism, and Fender Guitar, we simply do not have the revenue base we need. We have to raise taxes. The Republican-controlled legislature stalled for two years before punting the issue to voters, who promptly voted for the increase. Still, Brewer, a Republican, faced fierce criticism.
And then came SB1070, the anti-immigration bill. Brewer knew that it was a bad bill, that it was unenforceable, that it is unconstitutional, and that it does nothing to address border security. She initially didn't want to sign it. But perhaps because she knew that it would eventually be found unconstitutional, she did sign it (on a Saturday, the last day before the bill would die). And, found that she had grabbed a tiger by the tail. Over night, she became a leading spokes-person for the conservative cause, even being flown to Washington for a private meeting with the President. Which is hilarious because I watched her speak once at a breakfast meeting for a Phoenix City Councilmember, where Brewer was upstaged in both eloquence and content.
Suddenly, the Brewer that I kind of liked disappeared to be replaced by a lying, scheming opportunist, claiming to have always supported the bill (she didn't), falsifying information (the infamous claim of mass beheadings in the Arizona deserts that no one has ever found), and completely misrepresenting the intent of the bill (to harass legal American citizens).
I cannot and will not support someone who so completely misrepresents the truth.
Fortunately, Democrat Terry Goddard, the current Attorney General, is a viable candidate. Goddard opposed SB1070, but swore to uphold it as the duly elected officer (Brewer "fired" him, another unconstitutional move); he focuses on the real issues of the economy while Brewer focuses on the imaginary horrors of illegal immigration.
Interestingly, 75% of Brewer's Candidate Statement focuses on Goddard, which any marketing expert will suggest is often the desperate strategy of the number two brand. Goddard never once mentions Brewer of her failed policies.
I support Terry Goddard.