I learned a lesson on Election Day 2004: never get overly excited about what you think is going to happen. I'm getting nauseous just thinking about it. I spent the ten days prior to that election blogging my brains out about why America had to send W back to his ranch in Crawford, and as the election dawned I really thought that it was going to happen. I was not in the best of moods when that did not happen.
So as Election Day 2006 arrives I am reminded that things don't always go as planned. I am optimistic that the electorate is going to slap Bush good and hard today. I expect that the House will go to the Democrats for the first time since 1994, and I think there is a 50-50 chance that the Senate will go for them as well. The Senate doesn't bother me much, but if the House stays Republican, I will never understand what the people of this country are thinking.
As I have gotten older, I have become more of a moderate. In my younger days, I'd vote straight Democratic, no questions asked. Those days are long gone, but I could live to be three hundred years old, and I would never vote for anybody who could be seen as allied to George W. Bush. It's not a question of him being a Republican. It's the fact that he is the worst president in the multi-century history of this country. It's not even close. I've wasted enough space here listing his mistakes and won't do it again.
It's not red vs. blue. It's Bush vs. red, white and blue. I hope to God we get it right.
I've made my preference for governor of my home state clear, and I'll vote for him even though I know he has no shot of winning. There's no Senate race in Illinois this year. My incumbent representative is a democrat who is finishing her first term and has gained a reputation as a moderate independent. She'll probably be re-elected and she has my vote. I wish I were living in my hometown's congressional district. It's one of the races that is being watched by the entire country. I grew up in a solidly Republican area, one of the more dependable GOP areas in the US. They've had the same Congressman for thirty-two years, Henry Hyde, who's claim to fame is leading the impeachment hearings against Bill Clinton. Of course, immediately afterwards, it was revealed that Hyde had an affair with a woman who worked on his staff when he was in his forties, which he chalked up as a "youthful indiscretion."
Anyway, Hyde is 82 now and has decided that it is time to retire (don't let the door hit you on the way out, Henry). The race is between Peter Roskam (R) and Tammy Duckworth (D). Roskam has been in the state senate for a while. This is Duckworth's first venture into politics. The fact that the race is a toss-up shows just how fed up people are with the incompetence of Republican leadership. Normally, you could run a sock puppet against a Democrat here and darn it for its inauguration.
Duckworth is a war veteran who lost both of her legs when the Apache helicopter she was piloting in Iraq was shot down. This fact did not stop Roskam from running ads on TV stating that Duckworth wanted to "cut and run" from Iraq. Satire, perhaps. The ads ran for about a week until someone with a measure of taste saw the irony. Then there was John McCain here last week campaigning for Roskam. He mentioned that Roskam will support or troops, and McCain also went on about how he visits soldiers who have lost limbs, yet did not mention Duckworth. Classy.
Roskam ends all of his messages with his approval because he will "bring change to Washington." Every time I hear this I want to scream "how?" Roskam is a Republican, running to succeed a sixteen-term Republican in the most heavily Republican area in the state. What exactly will he change? No one seems to know. I'd vote for Duckworth if I could. Roskam is full of it when he says he will bring change. All that would change is the nameplate on the office door.
I will be casting at least one Republican vote today. Perhaps icicles just formed in hell, but my vote for commissioner of the Cook County board is going to Tony Periaca. Voting for a Republican in Cook County (where Chicago is) is like getting permission to have a bachelor party in church: very infrequent, if impossible. This race is decided in March, when the primary is held. This year, 77 year old incumbent John Stroger won the primary, less than a month after he suffered a serious stroke. He hasn't been seen in public since.
Of course, for the first three months after the primary, we were told that Stroger was fine and that he would be recovered in plenty of time before November. Then, just after the Fourth of July, he resigned, citing his health, and the Cook County Democrats announced that the man to replace Stroger on the ballot would be his son, Todd.
Like father, like son. The voters had no say. They do today, though given the demographics of the county, Todd Stroger will win. I hope he doesn't. I have no problem with a Republican collecting my property taxes over a nepotistic Democrat.
And that's really it for races I care about. I'll watch a good deal of coverage tonight (may I suggest you watch Keith Olbermann on MSNBC? You won't regret it.) and might have something to say about it later.
Not voting? You can't complain about anything for the next two years.