05 November 2012

Voting, "Down Ballot."

Much, perhaps too much of the thought and cash spent on a campaign, goes to the presidency. One of the things the ultra-right wingnut quasi-Christians have figured out is that other things matter, a lot, perhaps even more.

The United States Constitution creates a strong legislature, weak executive government. In thinking about the election, voters need to keep that firmly in mind. One of the backers of Mr. Romney has been quoted as saying that all the conservatives need is an idiot who can sign his name on legislation. In fact he has a point and arguably a candidate.

As the Republicans (so-called) have demonstrated in their racist drive to kill anything Mr. Obama suggests, control of Congress is all that matters. Control comes with either a majority or the ability to say, "no." One does not need a majority to filibuster a bill, or block a nomination in the Senate.

In particular however, control of the House is key. Key because only the House can originate tax or spending bills. If one controls the Speaker, one rules a lot of Washington territory. Budgets come from the House, and nowhere else.

The House has not exactly covered the office of Speaker, or itself in glory over the years. Among the slimier occupants of the Speaker's chair is "Beast" Butler who presided over the entirely bogus impeachment of President Johnson in the early days of post Civil War Reconstruction. This shining example of all that is evil in America earned his nickname for issuing a 24 hour curfew for white women in New Orleans on the grounds that any woman who supported the Confederacy must be a whore. That actually was one of his better more honest moments: no one bribed him to do it. A fair number of his contemporaries, and their colleagues over the last 2 centuries have been thieves, drunks, both, or even less honorable.

I doubt Speaker Boehner is a crook. But both Republicans (especially the "tea party" wingnuts) and Democrats consider him a weak sister in the Speaker's office. He is utterly servile to the wingnuts, and unable to deliver votes when he attempts to negotiate with the Senate or Mr. Obama. The only way to get a real Speaker is to elect a Democrat majority.

I do not want to be too harsh, honorable women and men have served in the House. John Quincy Adams served there for years after his presidency.

The current condition of the House however, may account for the large voluntary turnover in each recent election cycle. Some members while neither thieves nor drunks might enhance the House by taking up such activities. Todd Akins of Missouri and Joe Walsh of Illinois come immediately to my mind in that category. In my view, they could only improve if drunk and unintelligible! Mr. Walsh recently announced that there are no problem pregnancies in America. Mr. Akins discovered the auto-immune miscarriage, or something. Both their medical degrees cannot be found.

If you have not already voted, please, please(!) pay attention to the Senate, House, State Legislature and local offices on the ballot. School boards, governors, and most especially Congress matter. If Mr. Obama wins but the Senate can kill all his judicial nominations, if the House can dictate financial suicide in spite of an Obama veto, then the country has lost.

Most States layout their ballots and voting machines so that the presidency is on top. Thus nerds and politicians refer to the other offices as "down ballot" that is, the voter must look down or onto the next page. Disturbingly, many voters do not read below the presidential section. You simply must. Remember Congress can declare war and the president cannot veto it! It matters whom you send to Washington. We simply must get that gavel out or Speaker Boehner's hand before he hurts himself or us.

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