Two Little Political Theories

I am sitting up tonight waiting to go greet a guest at the airport who was supposed to arrive around 3:30 this afternoon, but is currently scheduled to get in at 2:30 AM instead, a mere eleven hours later. Ah, the “convenience” of modern air travel. Oh, the “efficiency” produced by our many competing airlines. Sigh. I really feel bad for our visitor, though, since he left Oakland, California at Zero Dark Thirty this morning, and is now looking at his second day of sitting in airports if the weather doesn’t clear in Denver.  So while I am waiting and killing time, I offer two completely non-scientific political theories, based on my own recent observations, for your consideration:

1. Based on parallel reviews of political yard signs and dry leaves on the ground in Des Moines, I conclude that Republicans are better about raking and bagging their leaves than Democrats are.

2. I also conclude that two Republican parents are more likely to produce a Democratic child than two Democratic parents are to produce a Republican child.


10 thoughts on “Two Little Political Theories

  1. Wow, an ex-Libertarian voting for a Green Party candidate? Maybe a guest post at IndieMoines to explain that one?! 🙂

    Can’t speak to the leaves, Eric, but as the fiercely liberal Democratic daughter of two fiercely conservative military family Republican parents, I can speak to #2: too true. Can’t imagine my liberal, earthy-crunchy (and proud of it) college freshman daughter ever voting Republican. It was easy enough to move away from my parents’ views, after I moved away for college and was exposed to all of those liberal elite college types…


      • First off, some background/qualification/etc., because that road is long and full of potholes.

        1. I started out in re: political awareness sometime in the early eighties, long before I was old enough to vote. I can’t pin down an actual time, but mock elections in the pseudo-military-academy where I spent seventh grade (they had previously been a military academy, had stopped being one a couple of years prev but hadn’t quite finished the transition to “pseudo-exclusive private institution”) were a definite factor–the headmaster’s kid and his pals and their “I’m voting for Gus Hall!” refrain was probably my first intro to third-party politics, and a friend’s parents in 1982 explaining the difference between “liberal” and “Libertarian” to me a couple of years later was definitely another formative piece–friend’s mom was a registered Libertarian, the first one I knew (or was conscious of knowing). Third-party politics has been a steadfast friend to me since, and I have never, at least on the Presidential level, voted for a One Big Party candidate–either in mock elections or real ones, once I was old enough to actually vote. (I was the sole person to participate in Washington and Lee University’s 1988 mock election to vote for a third-party candidate–and I’d be willing to bet I was the only person there who voted for one IRL as well.)

        2. I was never a big-L registered Libertarian–I don’t agree with the non-aggression pact, and signing it is a prerequisite for being on the payroll, as it were–but I voted Lib every year from ’88 through ’04, even as I got less and less comfortable with the fact that the Libs were basically becoming another religious-wingnut arm of the Republican Party, just as the Constitution Party were. By 04, when they floated Badnarik, who’s only slightly more religious than Pat Buchanan, I had some sort of hope that the mainstreaming of the crazy-religious would pull all the nutbags back into the Republican party. That sure as hell didn’t happen in 08, and I landed (thanks to reading his books) on Mike Gravel–I was prepared to, for the first time in my political life, vote for a yellow-dog Democrat for president. Gravel is a lot like Dennis Kucinich, from where I stand. Kucinich is a guy I proudly voted for every time I lived in his district (every election I lived in the Cleveland area between 94 and 12–I moved out of the area now occupied by the evil, evil Marci Kaptur, who’s as much a “democrat” as Joe Lieberman, in July); he runs as a Democrat, but he’s as hardline a social Libertarian as I have EVER encountered when it comes to politics. He voted, and spoke out against, every major restriction on social liberties that’s come down the pike for the past seventeen years, even–especially!–when those policies were introduced, and in some cases co-authored, by Ohio’s “small-government” Republicans (Mike DeWine was a co-author of UIGEA, for example). Kucinich, of course, throws his name in the Democratic ring periodically for President, and the way the Green Party even got on my radar is that they traditionally extend an invite to Dennis! (you can’t say his first name in the district without the exclamation point…) to run under their banner. Had he ever taken them up on it, I’d have voted for him as a Green, because his social Libertarianism outweighs his terrifying financial policies (if anything, he’s gotten WORSE than he was financially when he bankrupted the city of Cleveland in 1980). In 08, the Greens offered the same deal to Mike Gravel when he dropped out of the Demo race, and he, too, didn’t take them up on it.

        3. fast-forward to 12. Obramney are the same guy, as is usually the case with the candidates the One Big Party floats. When the main substantive difference I can see between the candidates is whether they want to spend untold millions of war dollars overseas (Romney’s “get tough on China” silliness and his constant sabre-rattling against Iran) or domestically (Obama’s firm beliefs that the idiotic War on Terror and even more idiotic War on Drugs should be permanent pieces of American legislative policy), there’s no reason to even consider either.

        4. I am strongly considering abandoning my stance of “screw the masses and vote for the issues”, which I’ve had my entire life, because the One Big Party has moved to consolidate their power at the state level in an even more naked power-grab than they did in ’04, when Republican corruption magnate Ken Blackwell didn’t even try to hide the fact that he was attempting to rig the election in Ohio. Oddly, not even the third-party press is reporting this other than in passing, but there is new legislation on the books that will auto-block any party that fails to get 1% of the vote in a given election from fielding a candidate in the next election for that seat in Ohio, as well as a number of other states. The Libs are relatively assured of making it–even Badnarik, the worst candidate the Libs have fielded in recent memory (possibly in history), managed to scrounge up 3%. Given that no other party, even the Alan Keyes-fielding Constitution Party in 2000, has even come close, this legislation is aimed specifically at the Greens. And, bluntly, as much as I like Gary Johnson, whom I have followed during his governorship in New Mexico for years, Jill Stein has balls. She’s been arrested more times during this campaign cycle ALONE for disturbing the peace than most candidates have their entire lives, for anything (well, except W for drunk driving). I’m about 99% certain I’m going to throw my vote towards Stein this year because nudging the Greens closer to the 1% threshold in Ohio is the closest thing to a guarantee that my vote WILL make a difference in this election–1% of the population of Ohio is, give or take, 116K. Needing to be one of 116K is a lot more likely than needing to be one of 150M, especially when the chance that Gary Johnson will nab 150M votes is nil–even if, if the entire country voted just on the issues, one could make a case that Johnson could nab 150M. (I could be convinced to buy that for a dollar, but could never be convinced you could get every voting American to actually vote on the issues.)


        • Wow, that’s a great exegesis on your political evolution . . . nicely done!!!! I wish I could be so thoughtful, but as a general rule during my 18 years in New York, which has a lot of third parties on the ballot, I generally voted for the Democratic candidates who were co-listed on third party lines, just to help keep the third parties on the ballots, since there were minimum vote counts required for them to maintain that privilege. I guess my high point (no pun intended) in third party New York voting was marking my ballot for Tom Leighton of the Marijuana Reform Party in 1998 . . . . I have no desire to spark one up myself, but I was (and am) violently opposed to locking up the friendly neighborhood pot head in prison under the terms of the Rockefeller drug laws of the day . . .


  2. I should note that it occurred to me in re Theory Number One that the leaf-to-politics correlation might be a function of Republicans being more inclined to clear-cut all the trees on their property . . . OR that Democrats are actually very, very good at raking the Republicans’ leaves for them, and then redistributing them into their own yards.


  3. #2 falls under the heading “if you’re a Republican before the age of forty, you heave no heart, and if you’re a Democrat after the age of forty, you have no brain.”

    Which makes me wonder what they say about forty-three-year-old ex-Libertarians who are voting for Green Party candidates this year.


    • If you are an ex-Libertarian who is voting for Green Party candidates before the age of forty, then you have too much weed in your stash. If you are an ex-Libertarian who is voting for Green Party candidates after the age of forty, then you can’t remember where you put your stash, or what was in it. Or something like that. Pass us a brownie, sparky.


  4. Funny that I read this as I sit in the airport, which is now a fairly rare event for me. To be sure I could be on time for a 6:00 flight, had to get up at 3:40. To be sure I could make a 6:00 train (which is, granted, much closer to my house), have to get up at 4:45, but really, if I slid that by half an hour I’d still make the train. And no one at Amtrak yells at me for failing to not following their slate of confusing rules, because they don’t have them. But, hey, with air travel, there’s free radiation!


    • Fr. Thompson ended up not getting into Des Moines airport until about 3:30 AM . . . so I spent MUCH more time at the airport than intended, even while not flying. I wasn’t bullied by TSA though, since I was outside the security perimeter. I did have aggressive cleaning folks banging their floor buffers into the chair I was (trying) to sleep in though.

      I’ve had to make three air trips this month and, yeah, the worst part of it is how early you have to be there to jump through all of the hurdles. I have a 7:00 AM flight Saturday morning, so figure that translates to a 4:50 wake-up or so, and I only live about 20 minutes from the airport. But that is peak crunch time through security, and the parking lots are often filled so you have to get from economy lots to terminals, etc.

      As often as I was annoyed by Amtrak during our time in New York, I do miss the ability to jump on a train on short notice, getting there right before it heads out, and (usually) be in Penn Station less than three hours later. Our nearest commuter train station (also Amtrak) is about 75 miles southeast of Des Moines, and you can get to Chicago or Omaha, but that’s pretty much it . . .


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