Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Reflections on My 2006 Early Voting Experience

It wasn't exactly like going to the Piraeus with Glaucon to offer up prayers to the goddess, but yesterday, I made my way to the Howard School Building to vote early. These are my thoughts on the event (which would have been more interesting had I been able to recount an Athenian procession):
  • Independent candidate Ginny Welsch was the only breathing candidate in any race garnering my vote this time around.
  • I would have held my nose and voted for Phil Bredesen if he needed me to, but he already has enough Republican votes to destroy his rival. The last thing we need is the captain of the prayer warrior bunker in charge of state government. But I don't think that the man who insured Pacman Jones' arrival in Nashville by bringing the Titans here is too worried.
  • Harold Ford indeed lost my vote. He needed my vote more than I need him in the Senate. Despite the rationale of the party faithful who keep insisting that we need to work on getting a Democratic majority, I don't believe that Blue Dog Democrats would behave any differently with their party in power. In fact, the Republicans have shown us for the past 10 years that power corrupts. Take Ford's vote in favor of the Military Commissions Act and add more power and tell me what you get. Besides, why send a Democrat to the Senate to do a Republican's job of taking away our civil liberties? That only leaves Democrats with bad cred. If Corker wins, then the opposition is clear and unclouded. I also want my Democratic critics to answer some questions: what is your limit? What line does a Democrat have to cross before you say, I cannot in good conscience vote for this poser? Or should we just ignore all heinous records and elect Dems for the sake of electing them? I'm not that kind of Dem. Finally, we're going to be hearing a lot of media comments from now until election night that the results are a repudiation of the Bush Administration and the Republican Congress (the only question being, "Will they be a clear and strong repudiation?"). As long as I am participating in this repudiation, the vote I withheld from Ford constitutes a repudiation of the Bush Administration and the Republican Congress. Believe it or not.
  • I voted NO to both state Constitutional Amendments. In the case of #1, the government should not be deciding who gets special marriage and family tax breaks based on who they sack out with in the privacy of their bedroom. Now if you want an amendment encouraging unqualified monogamy, we can talk.
  • I voted NO to Metro Charter Amendment #1. The property tax referendum amendment is a prescription for taking power out of the hands of the people pressuring their elected representatives and putting it in the hands of special interest lobbyists like Ben Cunningham and all of the horn honkers over at Tennessee Tax Revolt. By making tax increases subject to popularity contests, we become beholden to those groups who can mobilize a critical mass of a minority of voters to sway our city's future. Also, there are indications that this amendment is unconstitutional and would damage Nashville's credibility with lenders.
  • I voted YES to Metro Charter Amendment #2. The Mayor should be giving the state of Metro address in the most public venue. I've criticized Bill Purcell for this before.
  • I voted YES to Metro Charter Amendment #3. We should have an independent auditor, and I'm glad to see that Mayor Purcell's very rigorous self-audits have basically pushed the Metro Council in that direction. But there is a possible flaw in this amendment in the fine print. The audit committee will include the Vice Mayor, Director of Finance, and two Metro Council members. It will also include an accountant. The real head-scratcher for me is the final member, who will come from Chamber of Commerce. Is this committee truly independent if it includes a business community representative without balance from any other special interest? In theory, the council members on the committee are supposed to represent public interests, but we've seen the council at work this year, and if they are in bed with business, where is the balance going to come from?


  1. Thank you for not voting in the Governors race. By decreasing the number of ballots cast in that race it makes it easier for Amendment One to gain a majority of those voting plus one necessary for passage.

  2. Just think, the fate of the ordinance of holy matrimony hangs on my one vote for Governor. Christian conservativism sure has diverged a long way from Christian theology. Thank you for playing your role in showing how ungracious Christians can be.

  3. How far do they have to go? Thats a fair question, Mike. Apparently, you hit the wall already. I understand that. I am actually encouraged that people like you are demanding better from the Dems, I guess I am still adjusting to what a Temmessee Democrat looks like...

  4. The flaws with Charter Amendment 3 are more serious than you note. The Mayor proposed a selection method for the auditor that would have provided insulation from the political process; the Council amended it so that THEY are the ones who choose the auditor, and stacked the committee so they have more votes. This new auditor will be beholden to the political whims of the Council -- and is anyone happy about that? Watch for a Council Member Near You to be handed the auditor position sometime soon if this passes, as political payback.