Parade politics

We went to the 4th of July parade here in our small northern Virginia town.  I love the way such institutions usually include politicians marching down the parade route, waving and smiling to voters no matter how hot it gets.  It is a sign of American liberties that we don’t have to kiss up to our rulers–our rulers have to kiss up to us!

Anyway, Virginia is one of those battleground states, a toss-up that will help determine who wins the presidential election.  There are many polls, which are inconclusive.  I will offer political observers a bit of evidence from the parade.  When the Democratic Party contingent came by with their cool cars, pro-Obama signs, and supporters handing out Obama tracts, NO ONE CLAPPED.  The crowd was pretty boisterous otherwise, with everybody applauding each float and firetruck and antique car.  But when the Obama people marched by, an ominous silence accompanied them up and down the parade route.  I felt embarrassed for them.  I at least waved.

Now when the corresponding group of Republicans with their pro-Romney signs marched by, there was some applause, though it seemed notably unenthusiastic.

My impression is that, based on the parade sampling, Virginia voters a aren’t wild about Romney, but they like him better than Obama.

We’ll see how that stands up on election day.

Help me decide for Super Tuesday

The state where I now live, Virginia, has its presidential primary on Tuesday, joining nine other states in a delegate extravaganza that constitutes Super Tuesday.   As I’ve complained earlier, the only candidates to get their act together so as to come up with enough names on petitions to get on the ballot here in the state that has provided more presidents than any other are Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.

Now I wasn’t going to vote at all, since, as I have also complained, the state Republican party was going to try to keep Democrats from voting in this open primary by requiring a loyalty oath, making voters promise to cast their ballot for the Republican nominee in the general election no matter what.  I oppose that on principle.  But, I’m happy to report, the loyalty oath will not be required after all.  So I feel my patriotic duty to cast my vote.

But for whom?  Another of my numerous complaints has been with the Republican field as a whole.  I’m uncertain anyway, but now I only have two choices.  Write-ins are forbidden by law and will not be counted.  So should I vote for Romney or Paul?  The Mormon or the Libertarian?  Which is the lesser of two evils or the greater of two goods?

I am very much open to persuasion and I will take your recommendations very seriously.   Who knows?  A number of these primary elections have been ridiculously close, and my vote may tip the balance to one candidate or another, which in turn may have national implications!

So who shall it be?  Mitt Romney or Ron Paul?

Virginia’s Republican loyalty oath

First, Virginia prevents everybody except Romney and Paul from appearing on the Republican primary ballot.  And now this:

In order to cast their ballots in the GOP nominating contest, Virginians will have to sign a form that says, “I, the undersigned, pledge that I intend to support the nominee of the Republican Party for president,” according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which first reported the move.

On Wednesday, the state Board of Elections approved the pledge form, as well as signs that will hang in polling places advising voters of the state party’s policy.

The pledge has no legal weight — voters are free to sign the form and then disregard it if they choose — but it is meant to discourage mischief-making by non-Republicans. Virginians do not register to vote by party, making it possible for Democrats and independents to show up and vote in the Republican contest.

Not everyone in the GOP is on board with the idea. Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William) said in a press release Thursday that he was opposed to the pledge.

“Virginia’s Republican leadership wants to mandate a loyalty oath when Virginia’s Republican officials are in court fighting the Obamacare mandate?” Marshall said. “This sends the wrong message.”

Marshall noted that the pledge would even disqualify Gingrich, a McLean resident, because the former speaker has said he could not support Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) if Paul secured the nomination.

via Virginia Republicans to require loyalty oath for primary voters – Virginia Politics – The Washington Post.

To bind voters’  conscience or to encourage people to perjure themselves is beyond the pale.  (I know it’s no legally binding, but, as I keep saying, promises are morally binding.)  I guess I won’t be voting, which I bitterly resent, since voting to me is a high civic privilege.  I’m thinking I’ll quit being a Republican.

Good, but not perfect, night for conservatives

In yesterday’s elections, two states that voted for Barack Obama elected Republican governors and Maine voters repealed in a referendum that state’s previously passed approval of gay marriage. The only bright spot for Democrats was in New York, where they picked up a previously Republican congressional district, turning back a conservative insurgent who drove the Republican out of the race.

What do the Republican victories mean? It isn’t necessary to see them as a repudiation of President Obama for these elections to have big political consequences.

Virginia’s Republican landslide will put the blue dog Southern Democrats on notice that their constituencies may turn against them very quickly if they perceive them as too liberal. This can only have an inhibiting effect on their support for controversial liberal proposals, such as health care reform.

The Republican win in New Jersey shows that even liberal Democrats in an overwhelmingly liberal Democratic state will not tolerate corruption, constantly rising taxes, and administrative ineptness and are capable of turning against the party and electing a Republican. This sends a message to Democrats that they can take nothing for granted, and it sends a message to both parties that they had better have competent candidates who can do a good job in the offices to which they are elected.


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