Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Governor Who?

"We'd all like to vote for the best man, but he is never a candidate."

-Frank McKinney

I read something in the newspaper yesterday (Monday) that truly put my nerves on edge. According to an article, in the Daily Review (Alameda Newspaper Group ) it might be likely that our next governor will be voted into office based on his being recognizable rather then on their merit as a politician. The article explained that the two men currently running for the top position on the Democratic ticket, Phil Angelides, and Steve Westly are relatively unknown to most California voters despite the fact that currently, Phil Angelides holds the office of State Treasurer and Westly is State Controller.

Recent polls have found that while California Democrats are quite vocal about their general displeasure in the job performance of Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, they have at the same time been somewhat lacking in indicating who will be chosen in two weeks, at the upcoming June 3rd primary, as a Democratic alternative. Both men have been running political ads for a few months now, and the heat is certainly being turned up as far as the political dirtiness that inevitably takes place. Both men had promised to not run any negative ads, but it didn't take long for that to change. Angelides is accusing Westly, a dot.com millionaire of trying to buy his bid for office, while Westly is countering by attacking Angelides's tax plan for California. According to the article, political analysts believe the attack campaigns, on both sides, will be getting worse over the next few weeks. I don't think I needed an analyst to tell me that.

The thing I have been trying my best to do, since the beginning of the year, is to figure out who will be the best person to put my faith in as a candidate. I tend to ignore, or sometimes completely block out, all campaigning commercials when they air on TV or the radio. I got burned out on all the mudslinging back when Reagan was president. I am sure I am not alone in that revulsion, so maybe I am not alone in the practice of tuning them out. Maybe that is why so many Californians seem to be taking an apathic approach to the upcoming primary. I can certainly understand it, and yet at the same time, it leaves me a bit perplexed.

I hear a lot about how important it is to get out and vote, and yet the same people who embrace that ideal apparently don't take a lot of interest in the election that places the alternative to the sitting governor on the ballot. If we end up with a lackluster candidate on the ballot, against someone we also don't believe in, who do we have to blame? I find it hard to believe that in the computer age, we don't have time to research who may be in charge of decisions involving California's environmental concerns, it's education budget, and it's taxes, just to name a few issues. What better way to deal with politicians, then to send a clear message about who and what we will tolerate in a candidate?

Tell me, do you feel a certain amount of voter apathy as the mid-term elections approach? Do you feel that the almost daily onslaught of negativity in the media regarding the Bush administration and the other various scandals involving elected officials in the news, adds to the general feeling of malaise regarding voting? Do you do any research into the candidates in an election, separate from news reports, either in print, or on broadcast news? If a candidate represents at least most of what you are looking for, yet begins running highly negative ads about his opponent, would you change your mind about who you voted for, based on that negativity? Tell me your thoughts.

"California Capitol Building"
Sacramento, California
November 2005

California Elections and Voter Information
Alameda County Registrar of Voters
Angelides For Governor
Westly For Governor
Rock The Vote

1 comment:

fdtate said...

Well sure Ah-nold has an advantage because everybody knows who he is. Hopefully, by the time the primary is done and it's down to him and one challenger, it'll work out.

I think there's going to be a lot of voter apathy about the midterms. The Repubs are sleazy and the Dems aren't doing a good job at getting their message out. Hopefully, that'll work out too.

Negative ads? It would depend on how nasty it got. I think it's okay to go negative if you're accurately portraying you're opponents political views. If it got real nasty and personal, I'd probably just skip that race on the ballot.