The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Postmortems - Part 2 (Maryland/California/New York)

A local weekly newspaper in this area printed a headline, following the election, saying "GOP Wave misses Maryland." Yes, it certainly did. As I said in yesterday's post, the most important observation to take from Tuesday's election is that every State is different. Maryland is sandwiched between Pennsylvania and Virginia, both of which were great states for the GOP this year. (Virginia was already so red that there was not much to go redder, but the GOP took 3, or possibly 4, House seats away from the Democrats there. I'll say more about Pennsylvania in a subsequent post.) But in Maryland, as I said in my October 12, 2010 post, the GOP made hardly a dent in the blueness of the State. One House seat, which should have been Republican anyway, but which went to Democrat Frank Kratovil in 2008 because of an internecine split in the local GOP, came back home. A few more seats in the lower house of the State's legislature went red, but in the upper house, a couple went the other way. And a good former Governor, Bob Ehrlich, certainly not a bizarre "Tea Party" type, lost by 10 percentage points to the sitting Governor, Martin O'Malley. In the Senate, one of the most liberal members of the chamber, Barbara Mikulski, had no trouble winning by a much larger margin, over a pretty uninspiring Eric Wargotz, who was pretty much unknown outside his home county. As I said in that post on Oct. 12, it seemed strange to see the GOP winning all over the place, while seeing nothing but blue here at home. It may be because so many Marylanders are Federal Government employees, and thus unsympathetic to a "smaller Government" GOP, and rather sympathetic to a President Barack Obama who the rest of the country was rejecting. As I said earlier, O'Malley even invited Obama into the State to campaign for him, something most Democrats were certainly not doing. Pretty dispiriting, though I'm happy for the rest of the country.

New York didn't look much better. As a native of that State, I tried to follow it; the GOP didn't help their cause very much by nominating a lame excuse for a gubernatorial candidate, Carl Paladino. They elected a Democratic Governor and two Democratic Senators; most of the time you don't see two Senate seats filled in the same election in a State, but here there was one term expiring and the other seat vacant because Hillary Clinton had left to become Secretary of State, with Kirsten Gillebrand only appointed to an interim position. Both Gillebrand and Chuck Schumer easily won re-election, and Andrew Cuomo, son of a previous Governor, won the gubernatorial office.

While New York State elected the son of a governor from the 1980s and 1990s, California was restoring a governor who had served even earlier, in the 1970s and 1980s, Jerry Brown. Like New York and Maryland, California seemed to be bypassed by the GOP wave. And this one was even stranger, because in California, the GOP had some excellent candidates. Meg Whitman, running for Governor, and Carly Fiorina, running for the Senate, were well qualified, very desirable candidates, and both put millions of dollars of their own money into their campaigns. But Jerry Brown beat Whitman, and Barbara Boxer gained reelection to the Senate over Fiorina. I guess California voters just couldn't see what was best for them, but that's how democracy works sometimes.

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