It's late on a Friday night and here I sit watching TV on my tablet and staring blankly at the absentee ballot my trusty mail man dropped off while I was gone. There are of course the local vocal issues I can take my trusty blue ball tip pen to or I can leave blank. Same goes for the local diarrhea that call themselves civil servants who need my vote to either continue getting a paycheck or would very much like one. With the diligence of four year old I color in each of the circles where I think either my vote will do the most good or in the case where I'm less sure of which lesser evil I should take I rely on the St. Christopher medal in my pocket for guidance.
Taking it out with the reverence it deserves I flip it in the air and silently call "Heads." It's tails so the other guy wins and so it goes until all my choices at the state and local level have been made. Now that I'm done with the trivial I turn my focus to what matters the US Senate race. There is of course a handful of train wrecks that somehow have dodged their way through the Darwinian adventure of a campaign. None of the names on the ballot evoke strong emotions for my vote. There are however strong logical reasons to not only not vote for any of them, but shake my head in shame that this is the best we could do.
Taking them one at a time and in the order that offends me the most allow me to explain my choices.
Mike Rounds was a Governor who was term limited and had to vacate his seat. To be fair, he let the air from that particular narcissistic balloon deflate quite a bit before it was announced he would be running for the Democratically held seat of Tim Johnson. And full disclosure my first instinct was to cast my vote for him. However the closer we got to November all he offered was then picked over GOP talking points I have heard all over the country. Nothing new nor substantive poured forth. However the nationally funded EB-5 program he ran while Governor did. This is a program that encourages immigrants with at least half a million dollars at their disposal to invest into the state's economy in exchange for a much faster pathway to green card heaven. But the problem winds up being that all that money just vanished. There are of course rumors of Rounds involvement. Whether or not he was for me is beside the point. Because when he speaks all I hear is talking points with no substance. Basically his whole campaign revolves around this easy premise. "Vote for me because I'm a Republican and my opponents are not." Might as well put out a sock puppet in his place because you're getting the same thing.
Speaking of that let me just say this when I watch the national news and they talk about low information voters I know exactly who they are talking about. This is a state where the apathy, disconnection and chasm between government, political races and candidates is so deep and wide it might as well be the highway to the moon. The same people who believe in the tooth fairy and Batman vote for the red candidate because the alternative is to vote for a Democrat and that is akin to getting your ass kicked by a Kardashion.
So voting for him is the same thing as beating off into the face of your favorite sock puppet. The only difference of course is at least you enjoyed it a little bit.
Then there is the Democratic challenger Rick Weiland. Here is a guy with all of the charisma of wallpaper paste. His deliveries are flat and unapologetically uninspired. He's the politician you see on the news during a natural disaster who announces there is no need to fear because the worst is past. You blow out your breath and swear at the TV while at the same time seeking refuge from the catastrophic events playing out in your front yard.
Ricks problem is he purports himself as a man of the people. A guy who will represent everyone in the state. But is immune from the big money interests that sway the many feet of clay in the House of Congress. But you hear he's happily taking outside money to combat the vilipended charges laid against him by his opponents and then there is the whiny, self aggrandizing crapehanger comments made during the trial... err, I mean debating and suddenly you are filled with the knowledge his lunch money was taken fairly often when he was a boy coming of age. And at least the smirk on Rounds face communicates to the audience, Rick Weiland isn't ready for the big time. So voting for him would be like asking the local hoods to frequent my house anytime they were in need of three hots and a cot or if they just wanted a good wank from my ole wife. Either way come big and or stay home because national politics isn't for the weak or the timid.
And then there is Gordon Howie. Oh, what a delight this guy is. He has an advertisement that says 'I'm for God, Guns and Gordon" A died in the wool tea party candidate. His main thrust for voting for him is pretty straight forward. He's for God, guns and the Constitution and Mike Rounds is a crook, he's more conservative than any other candidate and most importantly he's not a democrat. Well hells bells this is an easy one. I might could get past all of that, but when he sent out a tweak asking for prayers that would lift him into the Senate I had to beg off. News flash, if you sincerely think praying is going to get you into the Senate do all of us a favor and just commit yourself as soon as possible.
By the way when you have GOP candidates all professing to be more conservative than your opponents you know you've crossed a Rubicon that there is no coming back from. That's like the jihadist's professing they are more committed to suicide than the next guy. At some point you're just wishing a little for them to prove it so you won't have to listen to it anymore. I mean, do you ever hear Democrats announcing they are way more liberal than Harry Reid? Or independents screaming they are so completely separate from any party that their brains are actually outside their bodies. And just to prove a point that they are neither left of right their belly buttons makes the mark on the ballot for them. When I start to hear a RINO profess how right of center they are I do a mental head slap and then ponder what it would be like to be euthanized right at that moment.
Finally, there is my candidate Larry Pressler. Larry back in the day was in both the house and the senate. He lost to Tim Johnson in 1996. The times I have heard him speak, he delivers plans and points. And I thought this is my guy. He has a presence and ideas. Doesn't seem to be living off of pre planned talking points. Granted, he spent a good deal of time in politics in the 70's and through the mid 90's. But he's never really come back to South Dakota. In fact, he's lived in D.C. and New York since then, but he could be the prodigal son so what the hell. I'll vote for him.
But the money poured in and since he is running as an independent he got none of it. Instead, he was eviscerated by attack ads and his support waned and then fell apart all together. In one of the last debates he confessed to being dead broke and unable to mount a defense against the TV attack ads. I give him credit though, he asked for a grassroots campaign that would bring it home for him. Bad news for him was the debates were on PBS, and who the hell watches PBS?
I voted for him, though. I know it was just throwing it away and he's not electable for the moment. But if Uncle Sam frog marches Rounds into jail, then maybe he has a chance at another comeback tour.
The point though is this, every couple of years we the people allow the train wrecks of humanity to stand before us and plead their case for our votes and in the end we give it to them. But I'm getting a little tired of basing my vote on the lesser evils. We should demand more from the people who represent us. An accountability needs to be established that reads "If you become an embarrassment or the subject of a criminal complaint, then recuse yourself from the office so we the people can go about the duties of being represented with honor and distinction." Or words to that effect.
Either way, get out and vote would you please?