10.30.08 Annual Voter Guide – Montgomery County, Maryland
For President of the United States – Barack Obama
The historic opportunity of this election is only partly about the impending election of an African American president. History is also being made because we are poised to break the stranglehold that GOP know-nothingism has had on our body politic for two generations. (Sorry, you Bill Clinton fans: his terms represented a victory for tactical triangulation within conservatism, rather than any departure from it.)
Barack Obama has the potential to be a truly great president. Will he fulfill that potential? Given the magnitude of the disaster he inherits, it would be foolish to count on that. But not as foolish as it would be to select a candidate without such potential.
And if you have ever suffered from susceptibility to the idea that John McCain might have such potential, the disgusting campaign run by this truly despicable man should have laid that to rest. As I have said before, I can think of few people in recent history who have so richly deserved the fate that has befallen them: to be universally despised by their countrymen across the political spectrum. McCain is excoriated by the right for his incompetence as a candidate and by the center/left for who he has shown himself to be.
To those who would consider casing a protest vote for a third-party candidate because Maryland is a safe Democratic state, I say: let’s help drive up Obama’s popular-vote totals in order to enhance the mandate for change that his victory represents.
For US Congress, MD District 8 – Chris Van Hollen
Local lefties have been struggling with this one: whether to vote for the establishment Democratic figure or the Green candidate (Gordon Clark), especially since Van Hollen is a sure winner, so there is no “cost” to voting Green.
I haven’t followed Clark’s campaign, but am confident that I would agree with him on most issues.
I have followed Chris Van Hollen closely since 2002. It makes me uncomfortable that he is so tied to the party establishment, which my readers know I have no love for. On the other hand, I’m not exactly sad that Democrats, with help from Van Hollen, are about to increase significantly their hold on the US House of Representatives. Also, I have found Van Hollen to be extremely responsive to constituents’ concerns and a reliable, liberal voice on Capitol Hill.
I can’t argue against my friends who want to cast a protest vote to send a message to Van Hollen and the Dems, in general, that the left is watching them. But I too happy with Van Hollen too much to join in.
For US Congress, MD District 4 – Donna Edwards
We are so, so blessed to have this capable, progressive leader serving us in Congress. This is an absolute no-brainer!
State Ballot Question 1: Early Voting – Yes
Anything that makes voting easier is good for democracy. There are no credible arguments against this measure. It is time for Maryland to join the 34 states that allow early voting.
State Ballot Question 2: Slot Machines – No
Shame on Maryland and so many of our so-called Democratic leaders for going down this low road. Maryland Slots join the Inter-County Connector and Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars as examples of measures that not only are extremely harmful on their merits, but also that don’t do what they are advertised to do!
Slots will steal from the poor and let the rich off the hook. They will support out-of-state wealthy owners of a dying industry (horse racing) that deserves to die. They will result in significant increases in health care problems and (likely) crime. And no, they will not provide a dime of additional money to education or anything else we care about. All that the additional, small amount of revenue will do is to marginally close the general fund deficit and won’t even do that for four to five years.
County Ballot Question B: Property Tax Limit Votes to Override – No
This provision would require unanimous consent of the County Council to raise property tax rates, giving one irresponsible lawmaker veto power over common sense government. (Currently, a 7-2 supermajority is required to raise tax rates.)
Here goes perennial tax-cut freak Robin Ficker wasting our time again with another of his incessant efforts to turn Montgomery County into Alabama by crippling our local government’s ability to bring in the revenues necessary to operate. Given the dire budget outlook, we already face large cuts in necessary programs. If Ficker were to succeed, we could kiss Montgomery County’s quality of life goodbye.
Judges, School Board & County Question A
It is my policy neither to vote on, nor advocate on races and issues I know little or nothing about, which explains my silence here on judges and Question A. As for the school board, since I have no children, I do not follow school board issues closely. I do care very much about the quality of education in the county though, so I generally turn to others I trust for recommendations on how to vote. In this case, I will be turning to Progressive Neighbors and their Voter Guide.
Update: see my post of November 2 for information about two judges to vote against.
©2008 Keith Berner