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.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Postmortems - Part 3 (Pennsylvania/Maine/Rhode Island)

Of all the States, the one about which my feelings are the most complicated is Pennsylvania. I had followed the career of Arlen Specter for many years, beginning in the 1960s when I had a job in Philadelphia and Specter was a young DA uncovering corruption in that city. Over the years Specter developed into the Senator I had my greatest agreement with. So the ideal result for me would have been for Specter to stay a Republican and serve six more years in the Senate. But six years ago Specter was challenged for the nomination by Pat Toomey, a "Tea Party" type before they ever called it that. Given the rightward drift of the GOP, Specter apparently figured he could not beat Toomey in a primary this year, so he went over to the Democrats, which saddened me, though I could understand why he did it. This didn't work, because as far as the GOP primary voters were to his right, so were the Democratic primary voters to his left, and Specter lost that primary to Joe Sestak, so Specter was out of the pictue completely. If Specter had won the Democratic primary, and I had been a Pennsylvanian, I would have been faced with a terrible decision: Support someone who agreed with me on most issues, but whose first vote would be for Harry Reid to lead the Senate? or someone far ro my right, but who at least would help keep the Senate Republican? Sestak's winning the primary made the choice pretty straightforward. And so I wanted to see Toomey win, and was glad to see it happen, even though this was one of the closest races in the 2010 election. Pennsylvania, unlike both of its neighbors New York State and Maryland, was good territory for the GOP this year. Not only was Toomey elected, but a Republican Governor and State Legislature. All I can say is I wish Maryland had done so well.

Both Maine and Rhode Island had independent candidates running for Governor. Maine has in the past actually elected an independent to the office, so there was really a chance, but the Republican, Paul LePage, pulled it out. Maine seems to be the one State in New England which the GOP still can win frequently — it has two very competent Republican women as its Senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, who, with Specter gone, are probably the best representatives of the kind of Republicanism I prefer. LePage is considered a Tea Partier, so we'll have to see what sort of job he does as Governor of Maine. But I congratulate him and wish him well.

It was Rhode Island, however, that actually elected an independent this year. And Lincoln Chafee, Rhode Island's next Governor, is an enigma. He used to be a Republican, but supported Barack Obama's candidacy for the Presidency in 2008. And Obama recognized this and refused to endorse Chafee's Democratic opponent, Frank Caprio. (This led Caprio to say Obama could "take his endorsement and shove it," certainly one of the most impolite things a politician has said about a President of his own party!) Obviously, Chafee got elected mainly by Democratic votes, so it will be interesting to see whether he governs as a Democrat or a Republican. He looks like another Lowell Weicker to me, becoming a Democrat in all but name as Weicker did in neighboring Connecticut.




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