2006
08.27

I recently discussed the winds of change that I feel blowing across Capitol Hill, causing a chill of fear among normally safe politicians who are facing serious challenges not only in the general election, but within their own party’s primaries.

That wind could not have been any chillier than for Frank Murkowski, the Republican governor of Alaska who not only lost his party’s primary, becoming the first incumbent governor to lose in a primary in 12 years, but lost miserably. To the tone of third place out of three candidates, garnering only 19 percent of the vote from his own registered Republicans.

Why, you ask? Arrogance. And Americans are fighting back.

This is the arrogance that comes with power. The same arrogance that you see with every smirk and chuckle that GW has become famous for. In the case of Murkowski, it was his insistence on having a private plane for travel, as well as his decision to choose his daughter to fill his long-held Senate seat after taking over the seat of governor. Political nepotism at its finest.

American politics is known worldwide among other political systems for its retention of incumbents, sometimes even after scandals and other unethical acts. My master’s thesis studies this trend, and finds that historically, American voters do not punish politicians for their unethical acts, especially if that act is not close in proximity to the next election cycle. People normally either forget quickly, or just don’t care enough.

So, why the change in trend then? My take? I think for the first time, the arrogance of our politicians has manifested itself into policy, particularly foreign policy, that has put us already into two wars and approaching a few more, has made our nation an outcast around the world, and has accomplished nothing over the past 5 years in terms of keeping promises of making us safer, both within our own borders and abroad. our economy is sliding, our education system is failing, our housing market is flailing, our deficit is expanding, the rich get richer and the poor get a lot poorer, the middle class continues to be taken advantage of in terms of taxes, gas prices continue to balloon along with the profits of the oil companies, and all the while, we hear the same message… stay the course. Stay the course. Stay the course.

November 7 is Election Day. Mid-term elections typically experience lower turnout. I believe this mid-term election will be one of the most important in history and will show that the trend of political apathy in this country is changing. Murkowski is proof that Lieberman and McKinney were not just an aberration. Get out and vote, not only on November 7, but in your state’s primary, and hold your elected officials at all levels accountable for their actions.

  1. *smirks* =)

  2. The thing is you’re talking about Alaska. All it takes there is one moose to change it’s mind…

  3. You’re absolutely spot-on. We should be embarrassed as a nation at some of the garbage that we not only elect, but re-elect over and over (paging Senator Kennedy!). Unfortunately, voter apathy is not going away anytime soon, regardless of how bad things continue to get. If the two parties keep tossing up the pathetic excuse for candidates that they have of recent, there’s not a lot of motivation for a borderline voter to go out. A John Kerry, an Al Gore, a G-Dub, a (pre-viagra) Bob Dole… these guys aren’t exactly the invigorating charismatic dynamos to propel Americans toward the booth.

    The most unfortunate aspect of it is that we lose out on having some truly great leaders. Bob Dole would’ve made a marvelous president. Al Gore would’ve made the drastic environmental policy changes necessary to save a dying planet. John Kerry– well, he would’ve sucked…

    Point is, we get caught up in special interest, one-issue political minutia and vote these brainless cowards into office just to prevent the “other” party from taking over and “ruining everything”. The lesser of two evils, they say. How sad.

  4. Ryan Wallace on August 27, 2006 at 8:34 pm contradicted himself:

    A … (pre-viagra) Bob Dole… these guys aren’t exactly the invigorating charismatic dynamos to propel Americans toward the booth…

    …Bob Dole would’ve made a marvelous president…

    Um…

  5. I wholeheartedly agree. People around America are now experiencing the cost of not choosing their politicians carefully and keeping a watchful eye on public policy. I very much hope that this upcoming election comes to represent, as you suggest, a turn-around in public opinion.

  6. John on August 27, 2006 at 10:04 pm said:

    Ryan Wallace on August 27, 2006 at 8:34 pm contradicted himself:

    A … (pre-viagra) Bob Dole… these guys aren’t exactly the invigorating charismatic dynamos to propel Americans toward the booth…

    …Bob Dole would’ve made a marvelous president…

    Um…

    I’ll clarify… we look for a certain shallow charisma in our politicians instead of leadership skills. Was there a single sane person in 2000 who thought that GWB was smarter or more competent than Al Gore? No. But we all thought Bush’d be the most fun to get drunk with. Lo and behold, he blows as president. We need to stop electing people on charm, and start electing them on skill and intelligence, even if they’re dry-ass boring fucks like Bob Dole and Al Gore.

  7. I thought he was more competent than Gore. I also think that dirty ink spot on your shirt is more competent than Gore.

    I think Al Gore is President, the 9/11 attacks happen, and he loses the people’s confidence. I don’t think he would have been strong enough to unite a country under fire. And all this anger he has now, where was this when he was running? The compassion, the fire, the energy… THIS was what people wanted.

    To think, now that he is what the people want, he won’t run again. Go figure.