Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Primaries and n'at

I was reminded last night that the primaries are coming up soon. I think I have mentioned this in the past, perhaps concerning past primaries, but it is worth mentioning again.

We never get perfect candidates, we rarely get great candidates (Obama might fall into that category, there is the issue of how race affects his Presidency; a topic for a different post). Researching positions is always educational and thus worth it on some level. But an informed voter is only one vote, an informed voter who talks to his or her five closest friends is perhaps six votes (and an informed blogger is probably smug and annoying). So if you approach the touchscreen (which is already programmed to change your vote anyway) with a lot of knowledge or only a good working shorthand knowledge of who is in the race, either is OK.

My view (to get to the point) is that if you support specific causes, then I think we should use the primary to register one more small voice for those causes. Since I support liberal causes, I say vote Hoeffel for governor and Sestak for Senator. If Wagner or Onorato win the Democratic primary, as is likely, well, neither is a bad man. If Specter wins his primary, as is likely, yeah, he's old and should have taken his pension a while ago. But he is helping the Democrats basically. In the general I believe you have to grit your teeth and vote for a Specter over a Toomey or a Wagner/Onorato over a Corbett. But the primary can be for making a quixotic statement, a shot at a windmill.

One more thing, David Brooks had an interesting column yesterday in which he unintentionally neatly characterized the the problems of the economic class structure in the US today. What Brooks intended to tell us is that most policies designed to help the poor don't work very well, although he was careful to couch that in neutral language. He compared the success of ethnic groups such as the Swedes and Asians in America to, first, their success in the lands of their ancestors and then to other ethnic groups. What Brooks failed to mention is the role played by the deeply and these days subtly held racist views in the success or failure of any given ethnic group. Brooks also mentioned, toward the end of his column, a theory that if you doubled the income of the poorest in America, it doesn't seem to have a very positive effect. Well, preparing taxes for the poor, I can understand that point. When you double ten grand for a family of four, you do not create Rockefellers. Let me also point out this is someone's calculation, not an actual study. If you given parents a minimally decent job and give kids a decent education, you might just be creating the next group of Swedes in America, even if they have more color than the Swedes usually do.

Just another reason why I see David Brooks as a reasonable sounding snake in the grass.

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