Monday, November 1, 2010

The Big Vote

One of the appealing characteristics of Scott McAdam's senatorial campaign (and in person) is his self-effacing sense of humor. That'd probably be one quick way to appeal to the cartoonist demographic, besides being much easier to draw than the other candidates. But it's in marked contrast with the total fear-based approach promoted by his opponents in the race. Not to mention honesty. It also informs perceptions of his campaign, to say nothing of how it's reflected in the little details. However, candid and humble image marketing isn't merely enough to vote for someone: fortunately there's as many reasons to support McAdams as there are reasons to not vote for the other candidates.

More mullings below the fold... 
Over the past few weeks I've had good debates with many sincere folks, whose opinion is well-informed and I respect, some of whom are at this point really concerned with the prospect of Miller somehow beating both McAdams and Murkowski, and are pleading with fence-sitters to cast their lot behind Lisa.

I gotta disagree: while I'm not particularly partisan (hell, I'm still a registered Green - worse than a Democrat - like an Independent with a conscience), and so the argument sounds a lot like the fiasco with Gore/Nader/Bush selection ten years ago, where Democrats somehow missed out on the overarching fact that above & beyond blaming the spoiler effect, they conveniently overlook the wholesale failure of roughly half the voters who didn't even bother to vote period. To me that was the overwhelming factor, and it's a matter of perspective. And I think that'll be the case here in this election too, people just won't give a shit one way or the other, at least enough to vote. 
Either way we'll get what we deserve. I do agree with the point that there is a valid, real, and scary difference between Miller and Murkowski - claiming that there isn't, is about as sane as the mantra that there wasn't one between Gore and Bush. Thousands of innocent dead people would beg to differ.
Now even if my 2000 vote in Alaska was irrelevant courtesy of the electoral college, it was a gesture, in defiance or for hope, that I'm still making in this particular election. None of the other candidates running now that I like will probably win either, and it's not too much of a stretch in strategic defeatist logic that says my voting for Diane Benson, Bob Miller, Harry Crawford et-al is as much of a "lost cause" as McAdams. Doesn't particularly matter to me that they might or probably will lose, or have just as much or even less of a chance as McAdams does: even if the writing on the wall spells out I might as well just stay home, it ain't gonna happen.

Case in point, if all the registered Dems in AK vote for McAdams, he'd win over the split vote on Murkowski. Additionally, if all the voters in AK who went for Obama also voted for McAdams, he'd win. It'll definitely be a self-fulfilling prophesy for him to lose if Democrats vote for Murkowski, that much is guaranteed. Even so, the Independents are the one's holding the last call here. The statistical improbability for McAdams winning pales in comparison to the data we were all reassured with in regards to Miller winning the primary. Eh, that didn't work out so well either. Then again, Bush was re-elected, which forever tarnished my already jaded opinion of the electorate. And if Alaska hasn't yet learned anything from the Palin fiasco, well... there you have it.

But still the core of the argument seems to hinge on fear of Miller, which I can certainly empathize with. Except normally I respond to fear-based motivation with about as much enthusiasm as I do for folks who try and convert me because I'll go to Hell if I don't. As I always say, you first. And Miller would definitely turn up the heat in that regard, and join the ranks of many enshrined and esteemed Alaskan right-wingers. But I honestly think the fanatic base is exhausted: he's hemorrhaging support,
the campaign's imploding and he's essentially now an also-ran, what with all the recent revelations and the hornet's nest of counter-crazies - hopefully - stirred out of lethargy. Conversely, there's no denying McAdam's surge... though, as mentioned above, I trust poll results about as much as I trust Murkowski. Who I don't.

Speaking of whom - Murkowski doesn't represent or champion a single progressive, liberal or Democratic value, especially seeing as how she is... well, a Republican, and further evidenced by an oft-cited 84% record voting the party line ideology (50% would maybe be a bit more convincing). She will continue to join with her colleagues in knee-jerk opposition to virtually everything the Obama administration is trying to do to correct and counter the Bush era damage. Especially contrasted against McAdams, who has definitely gone on the record in supporting positions I strongly agree with. For example he isn't afraid to flatly, openly state his positions with regards to abortion and gay rights, whereas Lisa either waffles or is silent. Then there's her voting for the war (remember that?) which has unfortunately been overshadowed by "look at the monkey" moments, and lost amidst everything else fighting for voters attention. I ain't a single-issue voter, but that still comes closest to forever damning someone in my eyes, Murkowski has effectively dodged responsibility for one of the greatest and most horrific actions the United States has done since I started paying attention. 

And all along, I haven't liked her positions on the vast majority of other issues either - her EPA initiative for example is right in line with her being in the pocket of industry. *Update: a timely post over at Wickersham's Conscience reminded me of her crusade to sacrifice polar bears & belugas on the alter of extraction. So what if she's not far-right enough for some people, that doesn't by default make her anywhere near liberal or even non-partisan enough to merit a sympathy vote. I still haven't had any nose-holding impulse to endorse a lesser of two evils, not even for the sake of an ultimately losing strategy, or the potential result of politically idealistic thinking. Why give benefit of the doubt to someone, when there is a choice for someone else that I don't have to doubt at all? Mind you, that idyllic optimism is coming from one jaded, cynical bastard.  
Regardless, people might wanna carefully think about and weigh their options in this particular race. Whoever does win, it won't change my satirical targets one bit, even though Miller would be great for job security, for at least editorial cartoonists, at least until they no doubt would start mysteriously disappearing. But I'm all for drawing McAdams for a few years.

Not that this post or even any of my editorial panels are ever an attempt to change minds, maybe just open 'em up a little. That includes my own, as every panel drawn usually has hours of research behind it. Still, I have enough conviction to cast my lot with here with the only candidate that represents me far more than the others (all 160 of 'em). I think that's the fine line between compromise and capitulation, which never gets anything done. And this is an rare opportunity to capitalize on to make change happen up here in Alaska. 

Scott's gotta shot.


  1. Well, I never felt McAdams had a realistic chance, but in the end I voted with my principles just because I couldn't live with myself if I did otherwise... I wanted to be able to look myself in the mirror.

    At the same time, one of my biggest gripes about the "Left" (qualifying with scare quotes becaues the true Left hardly exists anymore, more a kind of drunken centrist leaning) is that they are, as a rule, terrible at playing the political game strategically... as I think the results of this past election very clearly demonstrate. Then again, if they were good at that game I'd likely be less inclined to vote for them. Catch-22.

  2. Have you seen this little bit?

  3. Yes: Beautiful Loser syndrome has set in... and once again the majority demonstrated their true "Voter Intent" by staying home for the election. I think I recall recently reading AK is something like #3 or #5 nationwide with voter registration, FWIW, which ain't much.
    Still, I have to be impressed with McAdams bagging 24% in a state with 16% registered Dems - we'll never know how many Indies bailed at the last minute, and it'll be weeks yet of lawyering factions duking it out before figuring out the "winner" (the "losers" have already been determined).

  4. Re: Lieber’s “Underground” comic – caught the success story on Boing-Boing, and one comment in that thread sums it up… “the more you squeeze your fist, the more sand escapes through your fingers...” and how many artists either embrace the potential, run away in fear or just ignore the whole on-line scene.
    That story I think dovetails quite nicely with a post that’s been in draft for over a year now about the “1,000 True Fans” meme: similar premise on the interactive power of the internet with creative endeavors. Figure it’ll be appropriate when I finally get around to unveiling the Print-On-Demand project that’s also been simmering in limbo…