Thoughts on an Election

userpic=voteLast Tuesday was an election in the 45th California State Assembly district 45. Perhaps you didn’t notice. The final results were quite interesting:

Candidate Votes Percent
Matt Dababneh
(Party Preference: DEM)
Susan Shelley
(Party Preference: REP)

Now, what’s interesting here is that the election was so close… in a district where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2 to 1, and Dababneh outspent his opponents 10 to 1. If you listen to Shelley, she always believed the area would support a fiscal conservative with socially moderate views. I don’t believe that.

I believe the problem was complacency.

In terms of mailers I received and signs I saw, Dababneh blew his spending wad during the primary election, hoping to get over 50% and avoid a runoff. I was getting 2-3 mailers from him every day. Once we entered the general election… nothing. I saw no street signs, I recieved no mailers, I got nary a phone call. It was as if Dababneh felt he could coast on the large Democratic margin in the district, and didn’t need to campaign.

Shelley, on the other hand, was out there getting street signs everywhere. I received a couple of mailers from her. I’m sure she won over some of the voters who originally supported Dababneh’s opponents.

Further, look at the turnout numbers. Between 29,000 and 30,000 voted. This is in a district with over 250,000 voters (250,000 in LA county plus one Ventura pct). In short, perhaps 10% voted. With such a low turnout, people were driven by specific issues (e.g., Republicans fed up with Obamacare), and turn out the vote efforts. The complacent voters, who expected a particular candidate to win, didn’t bother to vote.

This election was close due to indifference and mobilization. Dababneh should be worried for next time (although he’ll have the incumbancy advantage), and those expecting easy victories should remember that every election should be fought as if it would be close… because it very well may be.



Election Analysis: Assembly District 45 Special General Election

userpic=voteAs promised, here’s my analysis of the upcoming election. You’re probably saying, “What election?”. In my state assembly district, we’re having a special election because our former state senator, after winning his state office in 2012, opted to run for Los Angeles City Council to start over again. He won… leaving a vacant seat in AD45. Back in September, we had a special primary election.  Neither of the top two candidates got over 50%, meaning we won a special general election. As for all elections, I’m doing a fresh analysis and posting my thoughts.

What’s interesting about this special general election is the dearth of advertising and calls. For the primary, we were deluged with mailers from most of the 7 Democrats, 3 Republicans, and one unaffiliated person. We were getting loads of phone calls and door to door visits. For the general election, there has been nary a mailer or call. The sole publicity has been some advertising signs for the Republican candidate along some of the streets. Could they believe the election is a forgone conclusion given the political makeup of California and this district?

In any case, we’re down to two candidates:

  • Susan Shelly, Author/Publisher (R). Her splash page on her website emphasizes the Daily News endorsement, that she supports Prop 13, and her Republican nature. Her emphasis is cut taxes, cut taxes, cut taxes. This is a bad refrain, and Prop 13 has been one of the worst things for our state because (a) of how it led to corporations not paying their fair share through loopholes, and (b) how overtime it has created significant inequalities in the property tax rolls.  Her bio shows her as a valley girls — El Camino Real HS and CSUN, and the author of some political books such as “The 37th Amendment” and “How the First Amendment Came to Protect Topless Dancing”. She ran for Congress in 2012 and lost. She’s endorsed by a number of Republican Groups and the Howard Jarvis association. Her issues? Prevent tax increases, cancel the bullet train, reduce efforts for renewable energy, protect students, not listening to unions, and reducing the number of smog checks.
  • Matt Dababneh, Congressman’s Chief Deputy (D). His page also claims he has the endorsement of the California Democratic Party (which contradicts Damian Carroll). The answer is that the endorsements are split: the state organization backs Dababneh, the SFV organization backs Carroll. Born in the Valley; UCLA grad (Poli Sci/History). District chief to Brad Sherman. Issues: the same as everyone else: economy, jobs, health care, accessibility, education. Endorsements are Daily News (presumably on the D side), California Democratic Party, Brad Sherman, Mike Dukakis, Grey Davis, Dianne Watson (who also endorsed Badger?), Ed Begley Jr., and a number of other politicians and organizations.

The descriptions above were from the post on the primary. What’s interesting is that both of the candidates are still claiming the endorsement of the Daily News.

Last time, I supported Audra Hoffman, one of the Democratic candidates. She lost. So I’ve revisiting each candidate’s web site to see if there’s something that is either convincing me to vote for them, or (correspondingly) to not vote for them.

I started with Susan Shelley. Right on the top she states “Protect Prop 13”. That’s actually a negative in my book. Prop 13 was good in its day, and it is still benefitting some really older homeowners and those who have passed on their homes to family. Who it benefits most, however, is business that takes advantage of loopholes to avoid paying property tax. It also hurts those of us who have entered the housing market since it passed, as we’re paying current market rates for our assessed values while many others pay artificially depressed rates. It also continues to hurt the schools and the infrastructure, which no longer has the funding it used to. I’d support modifications to Prop 13 to fix the business loopholes, and to periodically adjust the base value for everyone, with a maximum increase per adjustment. Shelley would opposed that.

Looking at some of her other issues: She wants to cancel the bullet train. I can see the issue with the cost, but I can also see the need for some visionary infrastructure thinking such as California had in the 1950s and 1960s. Under her discussion of protecting students, she doesn’t talk about what she would do to protect them, but goes off on the teacher’s union. There’s no mention of what she would do to address gun violence in the classroom — or more importantly, bullying in the classroom and on the Internet, which is what is the proximate cause of the gun violence. She talks about good sense in Government, which is a great idea in concept… but she gives no specifics. She also talks about smog checks every three years… which is a good idea, but is also a minor issue.

Reading through this, she seems to be narrowly focused in her statements on her opposition to changes in Prop 13, and reading through the lines, the main reason to elect her is to eliminate the supermajority of the Democrats in Sacramento.

So what about Matt D, who makes me think of the line in Fiorello of “Nobody wants a candidate whose name they can’t spell”.  My main objection to Matt at the time was that he seemed to be poised to use the Assembly as a stepping stone for Congress… meaning a lack of local attention. I still have that fear, but I don’t see any more of a local attention from Shelley, meaning my concern is addressed by neither side.

What about Matt’s position on the issues? Upfront, he doesn’t talk about what he opposes (“changes to Prop 13”); rather, he emphasizes what he wants to do: “I am committed to setting California on a responsible and sustainable fiscal path. I will work to grow our state’s economy and create new good paying middle class jobs by creating a competitive business environment in California.”. This is good — positive thinking, instead of an objectionist and obstructory attitude. He wants to promote economic growth by reducing the cost of doing business in California, spur infrastructure investment (which is sorely needed), promote the entertainment industry, and protecting the vulnerable. He’s also opposed to changes in Prop 13 ( 🙁 ), but at least doesn’t make it the center of his position. He wants to continue to protect the environment and ensure health care is provided. He also wants to keep higher education in California affordable.

I tend to agree with Matt’s positions. More importantly, I know what they are and can see that they address multiple areas, provide specifics, and cover a broad range. Shelley’s issues seem to be more in what she opposes; there’s very little said on her website about what she wants to do (except in a few minor areas).

So, my conclusion (probably not surprisingly) is in favor of Matt Dababneh.

I’d welcome your thoughts on the various candidates, if you live in the area.


Election Analysis: Assembly District 45 Special Primary Election

userpic=voteActions often have unintended consequences and costs. Quite a few years ago, everyone wanted term limits because it (supposedly) meant you would not have career politicians, and more people would run for office. Did that happen? Not in your life — we have politicians that just run from office to office. In California, what has happened is that politi-critters do their stints in the state assembly and state senate, and then move to the city councils.

That’s what happened to our state senator: Just reelected to the state senate for his last term, he opted to run for Los Angeles City Council to start over again. He won… leaving a vacant seat in AD45, bringing us a special election a week from Tuesday. [BTW, term limits is also going to bring a sea change to the LA County Board of Supervisors in the next few years] We’ve been getting calls for a few weeks from candidates we don’t know, and I tell them all the same thing: I will do a detailed ballot analysis and make my decision shortly before the election.

That’s this post.

So even though you aren’t in Assembly District 45, you’re the lucky winner of my analysis. The primary election brings us 11 candidates: 7 Democrats, 3 Republicans, and one who has no party preference. What factors will I use to determine things. First, I want a candidate that understands California’s problems — in particular, the issues with transportation infrastructure. I’d like a candidate that acknowledges understanding of cybersecurity issues, as I often see bills in the legislature about that. I’d also like a candidate that understands the valley, and (as they say) “shares my values” (which tend to be progressive Jewish values). In particular, regarding the latter, I don’t want a candidate that will push conservative Christian values. I look at who endorses the candidates: that often shows individuals with whom values and agendas are shared. So let’s look at the candidates:
Read More …


Followups: Sexism, Politics, and Garbage

userpic=chicken-and-eggToday’s lunchtime news chum brings together three topics that are all follow-ups to previous posts:

Music: On a Clear Day (You Can See Forever) (Original Broadway Cast – John Cullum): “On a Clear Day (You Can See Forever)”


Election Analysis: Los Angeles Municipal Election 5/21/13

userpic=voteFor the last few weeks, my phone has been ringing off the hook with calls from home remodeling outfits, solar electricity salescritters, offers to reduce my loan rate, null calls, … and pollsters. The pollsters all want to know how I’m going to vote in the upcoming municipal Los Angeles election, and I tell them all the same thing: I start each election fresh, and make up my mind after I’ve received the sample ballot and after I’ve done an analysis of the candidates and their positions. Well this week I received my sample ballot, so it is now time to do the analysis.

Los Angeles Mayor: Greuel vs. Garcetti

This is the big race: electing someone to replace Antonio Villaraigosa, who has been a so-so mayor for Los Angeles (his only real positive legacy is in the area of transportation). After an interesting primary election, the field has been narrowed down to two candidates: Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel. Both candidates are very similar, and truth be told, Los Angeles will have a good leader no matter which of the two wins. This is a good position to be in.

Garcetti is the current council member for District 13 in the Hollywood area. Greuel is a former council member, and current Los Angeles City controller. A recent LA Times article noted they have similar records, but very different styles. Garcetti grew up in the Valley, moved away from LA, and now resides and associates with the hipster communities in Hollywood, Silverlake, and Echo Park. He is a skilled pianist who recently jammed at a fundraiser with Moby; his father is former Los Angeles DA Gil Garcetti. He attended the private Harvard-Westlake High School. Greuel is more down-to-earth. She was born in the Valley, and has lived in the Valley all her life. She drives a hybrid SUV, favors modest skirt suits and marks snack duty for her son’s soccer games on her official city calendar. She enjoys listening to Elton John. Her family has run a building supply store in North Hollywood, and she’s an alumna of Kennedy High School in Granada Hills. I think in terms of personal style and background, I’d have to give the point to Gruel.

Endorsement-wise, they’ve been battling for endorsements. Garcetti has the support of the LA Times and the Daily Bruin, of councilmembers such as Ruth Galanter, Yvonne Braithwaite Burke, Jan Perry and Emanuel Pleitez (both candidates in the primary), a number of unions including the California Federation of Teachers, numerous actors and leaders, and the sole republican candidate for Mayor, Kevin James. Greuel has an equal number of name supporters, including Bill Clinton, Barbara Boxer, Nancy Pelosi, Richard Riorden (the former mayor), loads of congress and assembly people, and most notably, the public utility unions. In fact, most of the unions support Greuel, with the notable exception being the Teacher’s union (so the LAUSD board is behind Greuel, and the teachers behind Garcetti). The troubling aspects here are the LA DWP unions, which have held a bit too much power in the city…. but the teachers are behind Garcetti. Which union wields its power for good, and which for evil. Right now, on the endorsement side, I’m giving the point to Garcetti, but it really is a split decision.

Let’s look at some other issues. Garcetti has had some troubling issues with conflicts of interest, and specifically not recusing or admitting when those conflicts existed. This occurred both in the Clear Channel vote and ownership interests in leases under Beverly Hills High School. Greuel has also had conflicts of interest. I do think Greuel will be more fiscally responsible. Both support tunnels under the Sepulveda Pass for transit (like that will ever happen). Greuel supports the LAX modernization plan that will drastically impact Westchester; Garcetti is opposed to it.  Although I agree somewhat with Garcetti regarding LAX, the other issues here make me lean towards Greuel. Again, a split decision, this time with a leaning towards Greuel.

I think it boils down to issues and vision. Here I’m leaning like I did with John Anderson — going for the candidate that clearly articulates their vision the best. The point here is clearly Greuel’s. She’s sent out a booklet to all voters detailing her positions, and she has a clear summary on her website of all her positions. Garcetti only has a few positions on his website. Further, I like how Greuel is emphasizing jobs and transportion issues, and looks to be emphasizing growing technology jobs.  She has the right ideas regarding schools (and more importantly, has experience with the LA Unified Public Schools). She’ll also, I feel, understand the needs of the valley better.

In the primary, Greuel was initially my favorite, but my analysis swayed me towards Perry. At the last minute, transit issues switched me to Garcetti. Looking again at the two contenders, I’m still mostly in the middle, but leaning slightly towards Greuel. I think she’s more like the people of the city, and less of a hipster looking for status (which was one of the current mayor’s problems).

Conclusion: Wendy Greuel.

City Attorney: Trutanich vs. Feuer

Yet another epic battle, this time between the current city attorney Carmen “Nuch” Trutanich and termed-out assemblycritter Mike Feuer. I remember when Trutanich ran the first time on a strong law and order campaign, and then lost the faith of the city by then running for District Attorney before his first term was even out. Feuer, who has the endorsement of the LA Times, is attempting to stay in politics after being termed-out at the state level.

Endorsement-wise, Nuch has the sheriff, a former city attorney, Riordan, and some councilcritters and unions behind him. Feuer has even more supporters, including all the major papers, lots of local and national leaders, and loads of unions and law enforcement.

Looking at the positions of the two candidates, Feuer has a much more detailed statement of positions on the issues than does Nuch, who really only has three short videos detailing his positions.

In short, I don’t believe Nuch (Trutanich) has proven himself a successful city attorney deserving of a second term. I think Feuer will do a better job. This was my conclusion in the primary as well.

Conclusion: Mike Feuer.

City Controller: Galperin vs. Zine

This contest is between a current city councilman/reserve police officer, Dennis Zine, vs. an efficiency commissioner and businessman, Ron Galperin. The analysis I did at the primary showed that  although Zine is a good man, his focus is not financial but law and order. Galperin has a fiscal focus that is important in the city controller.

Looking at the issues again, I see that Galperin still has the endorsements of the major papers, many congresscritters, former Mayor Riorden, Kevin James, loads of unions, and all the Democratic clubs. Zine’s endorsements are primarily law enforcement unions plus citycouncil members and other political leaders. It almost looks like city leaders are endorsing Zine, and those whose oxen wouldn’t be gored by an investigation are endorsing Galperin.

More important to me is constrasting the background of Zine vs. Galperin. Zine’s emphasis throughout his career has been law enforcement and law and order. Fiscal responsibility and efficiency has been there, but in the background. Galperin, on the other hand, has been focused on the financial and fiscal aspects, looking into how to do more with less. In this era where flat budgets are considered the new norm, we need that financial focus.

Conclusion: Ron Galperin.

Los Angeles Community College District, Seat Nº 6: Pearlman vs Vela

In the primary, there were four candidates: Tom Oliver, Nancy Pearlman, Michael Aldapa, and David Vela. The LA Times endorsed Oliver. Only Oliver and Pearlman had real websites. Oliver is a past college president, but his issues statement focuses on student improvement. Pearlman doesn’t have that focus, and continues to support the problematic building program.

Now it is Pearlman vs. Vela. Vela now has a website, and the endorsement of the Democratic party and labor, among others. Pearlman’s website is much less polished, doesn’t detail her positions, and even pimps her cabin in the woods. She does, however, have an impressive list of endorsements. The Times has endorsed Pearlman, stating that she has better experience and goals than does Vela.

Contrasting their backgrounds, Pearlman doesn’t bring much to the table other than currently being involved in the issues. Vela brings a lot, but little is educated related.

Conclusion: Nancy Pearlman, solely on the strength of the Times recommendation.

Measure C: Resolution Regarding Rights of Corporations

This is an advisory resolution that there should be limits on political campaign spending, and that corporations should not have the constitutional rights of human beings. It simply encourages congress to pass a constitutional amendment.

Conclusion: For.

Measures D, E, F: Competing Medical Marijuana Proposals

The state long ago approved medical marijuana, but left it up to the cities to regulate the cooperatives. Los Angeles has totally screwed up doing this, resulting in the mess we see in the ballot today.  What happened is there was a plan in place before 2007 and a number of coops followed it. Then in 2007 that plan was set aside and pot shops proliferated. The city then tried to close them all down. The CSUN Daily Sundial has a good analysis of the issue.

Measure D basically limits the establishments to those approved before 2007 (about 135), increases the taxes, and defines rules for those establishments. Measure E roughly does the same thing, and the people who supported E have moved their support to D (E was an initiative, D from the city council). F establishes no limits on the number of establishments, but does increase taxes and puts in some quality rules.

Both of the papers have come out in favor of D. My initial thought was to vote yes on all of them. However, after reading more, D seems the best of the three.

Conclusion: Yes on Measure D; No on Measures E and F.


Funding Los Angeles

userpic=los-angelesWhile quickly eating my lunch, I wanted to share a few more election thoughts. One of the measures that failed yesterday was a proposal to increase the sales tax. I personally voted against it because I thought our sales tax was high enough on the heels of Prop 30. But now the wailing and whining has begun about where to cut. All sorts of dire predictions are in place about the cuts. A few thoughts of my own:

  • This isn’t the gas tax. Sales tax revenue should go up with inflation if people are able to purchase things. So the best way to increase the revenue to the city is not raising the sales tax, but making it so more people have more jobs and can spend.
  • Complaining about salary increases for city workers and saying they should be 0 (zero) is wrong. City workers deserve raises for performance, just as any other worker does. The salaries, however, must be commensurate with industry, and raises in hard times should only be sufficient to cover inflation. As part of the effort to address the failure of Measure A, the city needs to do a comprehensive review of all city managed salaries to determine which ones are in line with equivalent industries and which are not — and should correct the discrepancies.
  • Similarly, pension reform is solely needed. Pensions should be a reward for staying with a particular employer for a significant portion of a career. If someone stays with the city for 20 years, they deserve a pension. This length of service means people shouldn’t be able to get multiple pensions, or if they do, they should be prorated for the percentage of their career at that company. Lastly, one shouldn’t be able to get a pension until one actually retires (i.e., has earned income below a particular level or is above a particular age).
  • All the complaints about teachers salaries in all of this are completely misguided. Teachers are not paid by the city; they are paid by LAUSD. LAUSD is a special district, like MWD. Remember your high school government classes. Special districts are independent from cities, and serve a singular purpose. Reforming LAUSD salaries and pensions is an LAUSD concern, not an LA City concern.
  • For as much as the trolls in online news articles want to carp about city employees, they are talking about the exception, not the rule. The media often portrays city workers as lazy, and often it is the problematic worker that sticks in the mind. But the vast majority of city workers are hard-working tasks who toil thanklessly to keep this city operating — from the law and safety professional to the engineers doing building inspections, running the elections, and maintaining facilities. We shouldn’t penalize the good folks because of a few bad apples.
  • Similar to the salary review, there should be an efficiency review to determine if the city can do particular tasks more efficiently (modeling the implementations based on what is done in successful industries). I’m sure this review will uncover outmoded and inefficient systems.
  • Where possible, regulations should be aligned with county, state, and US government regulations. Use US government rules that are applied to contractors for travel (i.e., the GSA per-diem rules). Use US government processes to secure systems. Don’t reinvent something when there is something already existant and working.

Gee, I’m sounding like a political candidate here. Guess I better get off the soapbox.

Music: Capitol Collectors Series (Margaret Whiting): “Old Devil Moon”


Mapping the LA Election

userpic=valley-los_angelesWhile eating lunch, I’ve been staring and playing with this really neat map of yesterday’s election published by the LA Times. Here are some of my observations on this map:

  • It is interesting to note how the electorate split this election, and how it differs from past elections. If you switch to the precinct winner view, you’ll see a very clear split of support: the valley predominantly went for Greuel, the main part of the city went for Garcetti, and south-central went for Perry. Now look at past elections, and you’ll see a very different split: as opposed to Valley/City, the split is East/West (which if you know the city, is a more hispanic/non-hispanic split).
  • In all of the past primaries, including this one, South-Central tends to support a candidate different than the rest of the city.
  • Kevin James was the only avowed Republican running in the race, and if you look at the level of his support throughout the city, you can see why Republicans in general are having trouble in Los Angeles. There are only select pockets in the city where there is Republican strength. It would be interesting if the Times map went back further — in particular, to the election of Richard Riordan — to see how the pockets of Republican strength have changed.
  • The results demonstrate the power of one vote — in this case, mine. At the last minute, I changed my vote from Perry to Garcetti, because I didn’t like Perry’s stance on the subway in Beverly Hills. Look at the vote totals in my precinct, #9006270A. This is the green precinct surrounded by blue (on the N and W) and magenta (on the S and E) in the northern SF valley (near Lassen and Wilbur, if you know streets). The totals were: 64 Garcetti, 63 Greuel, and 62 James. This means, had I supported James instead (as Don W wanted), it would have been a tie for the top three in our district. Even if I had done as originally planned and gone for Perry, it would have been a tie between Garcetti and Greuel. Wow.
  • Turnout in the election was piss-poor, on the order of 16%. C’mon folks — if you want the right to complain about your government, you need to exercise your right to put better people in office. Don’t carp without doing something about it. (Steve Lopez at the LA Times expresses a similar opinion). Oh, and those of you who are apathetic about elections and couldn’t be bothered to vote: do you really want the extremists — on either side — to be dictating your political future? Shouldn’t you be out there making sure your voice is heard? Mark Lacter, over at LA Observed, has some interesting opinions of his own regarding why people didn’t turn out. One of them is that transit should have played a larger role in the discussion. In support of that, here’s another neat interactive map: Average Commute Times in Southern California.

Music: Bark! The Musical (Original Cast): “Dirty Filthy Old Flea Bag”


Election Reminder / A Plea on Political Discussions

userpic=voteFirst, I’d like to use my lunch break to remind my readers in Los Angeles that there is an election tomorrow, March 9, and your vote is very important. I’ve done two posts with my thoughts on the elections and the contests on the Sample Ballot. You can find my analysis of the mayor’s race here; a separate post covered all the other municipal and special district posts, as well as the two local measures. As always, I would like your thoughts on my thoughts.

While eating lunch was was reading about the kerfluffle about a Veterans Monument near Orcutt. As always, I’m reading the comments, and I’m seeing the usual vitriol against liberals. This is something that was bothering me all weekend on Facebook, where I constantly see ad hominem  attacks on liberal spokescritters (i.e., attacking the person, not what they way), and liberals targeted in a blanket way (e.g,. “blood-sucking liberals”). Before you say anything, I also seem similar rhetoric from my politically-active liberal friends against the conservative side, and it also bothers me.

As a result, a plea to my friends who want to have political discussions (this is primarily targeted at the American political spectrum; adapt as necessary):

First, remember the people who disagree with you are not anti-America, anti-American, or hell-bent on destroying this country. On the liberal side, they are not socialists (socialism is, as they say in Princess Bride, something different than you think). On the conservative side, they are not bible-belt thumpers who want to introduce a theocracy. They are people with whom you have honest disagreements, but who are working for the same goal: a strong, united, Nation.

Second, remember that using ad hominem attacks and broad-brush name calling will only serve to further the partisanship, and shut people down from hearing what you say. It may be fun, and it may bring you comments from your side, but it does nothing to help your cause, whichever side you are on.

Third, remember that the goal in our discussions is not to sway the person to your side. The goal for any discussion must be to understand from where the other side is coming.* That doesn’t mean we have to agree with the conclusion, mind you. It means that we must respect the other side enough to listen, understand their chain of reasoning, and recognize that they see it as a valid solution to whatever problem is being discussed. By understanding each other, we can move closer to finding solutions.
[*: What, you have some other goal? What is it? To preach to the converted; to post articles to people already convinced of your view simply to drag the other side through the mud? That’s just being mean and childish. Grow up! I’ll challenge your views, and you challenge mine.]

Fourth, remember that this country was built on compromise, not rigidity. The Constitution and Declaration of Independence are all the results of compromises from different factions. The current hyper-partisanship of “my way or the highway” is not within the American tradition. American tradition means that each side understands and respects each other, and each side gives some to end up with a result that neither is comfortable with, but that both can live with. America doesn’t instantly find the best solution to problems; we wander back and forth from side to side, like a pendulum, slowly closing in on the right answer. We often forget that, especially in the “I want it now!” generation.

Lastly, remember that our political problems were not caused solely by one party or another. It is very rare that both houses of Congress and the President are the same party, and that there are supermajorities in both houses. This means that both parties have been involved in making whatever decisions are problematic. Take the sequester (please!). Last year, there was almost a moderate grand compromise between the Administration, the Republican house leadership, and the Democratic senate leadership. Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor talked John Boehner out of supporting the compromise (this is on the record), and so the sequester was created to establish a game of chicken that neither side would want to lose. Both houses had to pass the sequester legislation, and the President had to sign it. Then, as opposed to solving the problem before the sequester kicked in, neither congressional side was willing to find a compromise the other could accept. Every one shares in the fault. Except, of course, my congresscritter. My congresscritter is doing a great job (and, by the way, that’s the problem: everyone likes their congresscritter; it is the other ones that are scum).

Music: As Day Follows Night (Sarah Blasko): “Sleeper Awake”