Sunday, October 17, 2010

Done Voting!

Thanks to the miracle of the absentee ballot, my wife and I are done voting.  I'll tell you who I voted for and why.  I won't call these my "endorsements" because I don't think that any of these candidates probably need or even want the endorsement of some nutty blogger banging away on a keyboard in his pajamas.

Iowa Governor:  I voted for Eric Cooper (Libertarian).  No, he's not going to win the governorship, that's Terry Branstad's job... for some reason.  Cooper and his Lieutenant, Nick Weltha (and the rest of us Iowa Libertarians), will define victory as getting at least 2% of the vote.  If we achieve that benchmark in a statewide race we will achieve "major party" status under Iowa law.  Then, it is hoped, we can become a big enough fly in the ointment for the two major parties that they will adopt many of our policies just to get rid of us.  To see the plan, go to Cooper's website and read the section titled, "We need 2%."

Secretary of State: My vote went to Jake Porter (Libertarian). Although he's only 22, Porter is already a heavy-lifter in the Iowa Libertarian Party. He and a handful of others do all the work while the rest of us sit back and watch (or blog about it as the case may be). In addition to his work for the party, Porter works full-time in retail, is working on his degree in Business Administration, and owns the Des Moines Free Press. I wish I had his energy!  The Secretary of State, among other things, oversees Iowa's elections.  It would be nice to have an impartial third-party referee in elections between the Republicans and Democrats. 
US Senator:  I voted for John Heiderscheit (Libertarian).  I used to like Chuck Grassley but the guy is bragging about being the one who wrote the Medicare Part D (prescription drugs) bill.  Social security and medicare are going to bankrupt the country and the Bush-era Republicans poured gasoline on that fire when they were in charge.  Now they're criticizing Obamacare?  The difference between Medicare Part D and Obamacare is a matter of degrees not principle.

US House of Representatives, District 1:  Although there's a Ben Lange sign in front of my house, I voted for Rob Petsche (Libertarian).  (Certain others in my house may have voted for Lange however, hence the sign.)  I like Petsche and agree with him on the issues, unfortunately, as a third party candidate he lacks the political big guns to unseat incumbent commie Bruce Braley, only Republican challenger Ben Lange has any chance.  So I voted for Petsche just out of quixotic principle, but secretly I hope that Lange kicks Braley's butt.

Attorney General:  I voted for Brenna Findley.  Although I voted for a few Republicans for Secretary of this or that and for some of the county-level dog catcher-type positions out of a lack of options, Findley was one Republican that I was actually excited to vote for.  Findley was one of the few Iowans who thought highly enough of the Second Amendment to show up at the Second Amendment March in Des Moines in April and spoke at the event.  Although numerous other states have signed onto a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare, our current AG has refused.  If elected, Findley says she'll get Iowa in on the legal action against this unconstitutional federal usurpation.  You go girl!

Iowa House, District 31:  I voted for Lee Hein.  I'll admit I don't know much about the guy.  I heard him speak once at an event.  He didn't rattle the rafters with some Pattonesque speech like I crave, but he seemed like a common, competent farmer running for office, and that's fine with me.  Although it wasn't the determining factor, the incumbent Ray Zirkelbach's comments equating the Tea Party movement to the KKK didn't help earn my vote.

Retention of 3 Supreme Court Justices:  Since I'm not opposed to gay marriage, it might surprise some that I voted against all three judges.  Incumbents in the legislative and executive branches are taking hits in what hopefully will be "The Great Voter Revolt of 2010," so why not the judicial?  The message is simple:  If you're in a position of governmental authority, be afraid, be very afraid.

Iowa Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund Amendment:  I voted no.  According to, "If the measure is approved by a simple majority of Iowa voters, the next time the Iowa Legislature approves a sales tax increase, the measure would allow 3/8ths of one cent to be used in support of the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund. This would establish permanent revenue for natural resources and outdoor recreational programs in the state."  If the state legislature raises the sales tax to fund some urgent need, a certain percent will automatically be syphoned away to the DNR, whether they need it or not.  That doesn't make sense.  As we've seen at the federal level with Social Security and Medicare, putting programs on budgetary "autopilot" is not a good idea.

Iowa Constitutional Convention Question:  The question is simple: "Shall there be a convention to revise the constitution, and propose amendment or amendments to same?"  My vote was, "Yes."  I explained why here.


  1. I am surprised that you voted against retaining the Iowa Supreme Court judges. Iowa historically has removed very few SC judges from the bench, and has normally removed them for unethical behavior, not unpopular decisions. If these judges are ousted in retaliation for a decision that is unpopular with a vocal and well-funded group, the job of justice, and the decisions they make, will become increasingly politicized. Judges who want to remain on the court could start considering the political ramifications of every decision they make. They would also start seeking funding, becoming in some sense dependent on contributions, most likely from groups such as insurance companies and trial lawyers. We already have two branches of government who make most decisions with a finger to the wind of lobbyists and public opinion. Judges are supposed to interpret the law, and sometimes that means making unpopular decisions--allowing neo-Nazis to rally in a Jewish suburb, integrating schools in the face of popular resistance, or allowing an obnoxious church group to protest at military funerals. Judges at this level face incredibly difficult decisions, and making them accountable to ever-changing public opinion. I hate to see Iowa open up this can of worms, and all because some people feel icky about people of the same sex getting married.

  2. I voted against retaining all the lesser judges on the ballot too, which I always do.

    Iowa hasn't removed a single Supreme Court Justice since they went to this retention system in 1962. I think it would be quite a coup to fire three of them at once. I understand your concerns, but the God's honest truth is I like to the people buck authority for any reason, even one I might not agree with.

    I think it's unrealistic to think that voters WON'T vote against judges that tick them off. Knowing that, it's unrealistic to think that they won't organize for that effort.

    If the only "correct" vote is FOR retention, why bother putting it to a vote? (Or why have a "No" option?)

    The present (supposedly model) system appears to be the people rubberstamping the retention of judges they've never heard of most years and being scolded by the elites when they don't. I'd like to see it scrapped and allow calling for recall elections for all officials, needing perhaps 55 or 60% to remove legislative and executive officials and 70% to remove judges.

  3. Would hosting parties for underaged drinkers be a good enough reason to boot a judge out?

    Chief Justice Marsha Ternus was the hostess with the mostest.

    Her defense? She was fast asleep. Sshhh

    I vote against retention for all judges based on the principle that no one should have a lifetime appointment to any office. Period.

    I like the recall option. Maybe that should be introduced at the new convention, Ben. For all office holders.

    For the record, I'm against the state issuing marriage licenses. It's a form of taxation, it's asking the state for "permission" to marry, and a form of control over a person's right to associate with another.

    Also, to this day, there is no law in Iowa Code to "allow" homosexual marriages. Only an order by the court and atty general to make it so.

    That's my only beef with this mess.

    To imply that judges are politically pure under the current system would be naive at best. Human nature as it is, a liberal judge will have a liberal slant and a conservative judge will have a conservative slant. Generally speaking, of course.

    Look at the 5-4 decisions from the US Supreme Court like the recent McDonald decision.

    Sometimes they get it flat out wrong (Dred Scot) and they need to be held accountable. (Impeachment, anyone?) And if the legislature won't do their job, thankfully, Iowa has a method to get rid of them.

    Again, I don't give a crap about gay marriage.

    Our republican form of government was set up so that each branch can determine what was Constitutional as a check on the other two. Not to have courts the final arbiter of what's Constitutional. (You know, that checks and balances speel you read about in grammar school?)

    Sorry for the hijack, Ben. If I'm wrong, let me know. And thank you for performing your civic duty by voting. I'll wait until Nov 2. I'm a traditionalist.

  4. All good points as usual, stranded.

  5. I agree with just about everything and will be voting the same way in the races where we share a district. But I have 2 caveats - 1. unless the law has changed, only the governor's race qualifies a mid-major party for the ballot and 2. I secretly hope Braley kicks Lange's butt, if only so we can come back in 2012 and say, "see we should have run Johnson" and set ourselves up for a stronger primary.

    Regarding the judges, I too am voting no on the SC, but not because I hate my gay friends as BVP does. SC judges also have an administrative role and if they don't get the budget they demand, they throw tantrums at the expense of local courts. So they're really just another big-government incumbent that needs to be removed.

  6. You're right Steve, for some reason I was under the assumption that 2% of any statewide race would work, but it's just governor or president.

    I also hope I didn't seem too dismissive of anon's point. Those ARE valid concerns. But I don't think it will all unravel.

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