How I Voted

So today was my last time voting as a Floridian. For those who don’t know, I accepted a job as a senior writer for AFL-CIO in Washington, D.C., and I’m leaving the state as a resident for the final time this Sunday. For my final election in the state, I wanted to tell you who I voted for and why. Here goes:

President: This one is easy. There is literally no chance that I will vote for a Republican for president unless we see the kind of sea change in the parties that we saw during the civil rights movement. So, in other words, I’ll never vote for a Republican for president. I also will never vote for a third party candidate while I live in a swing state. I look at elections and politicians in a way that many don’t. I don’t see a vote as an endorsement of every single thing that a candidate does. Nor do I see it as the joining of a movement. I do not now and will likely never look to politicians for leadership and philosophy or perfection or any other big thing like that. A political job is just that — a job. And while I will always do what I can to get the best possible person into office, the reality is that an election is an extended job interview. And like any other job, you don’t hire the ideal candidate except in really rare circumstances. It’s really a decision to take the possible candidates and choose the best of those possibilities. There is literally no question that the person who can possibly be president in 2013 who is best for the job is Barack Obama. He’s been far from perfect and he’s made some significant mistakes, but he’s been moderately successful — or significantly successful if you account for the mess that he inherited. And there is literally no possibility that Mitt Romney could be a good president. While it is theoretically possible that he could be competent in the job (although his campaign suggests otherwise), he’s endorsed an agenda that is so extreme that it has no possibility of doing anything other than making the country worse off. That is 100% likely. If you thought Bush’s economic policies were bad for the country (and the Great Recession proves that he was), Romney would pursue even more extreme policies in that same direction. That’s not just bad for me or the United States, that’s bad for the world. Barack Obama

U.S. Senate: I held my nose on this one. Connie Mack is a horrible right-wing candidate who is one of the more dangerous members of Congress in terms of what he could accomplish long-term. Bill Nelson is one of the more moderate Democrats in the Senate, but his voting record (about 85% progressive), is still light years ahead of any Republican. The Senate is so close that we can’t afford to lose a single seat. Judicial appointments and treaties with other countries have to be approved by the Senate, so it is literally the case that we can’t let the Republicans control that process without doing significant damage to the fundamental rights that we cherish. Bill Nelson

U.S. Representative: I don’t love Al Lawson. He seems to be only slightly more progressive than Alan Boyd was and Boyd was the worst Democrat in the House during his time. But Steve Southerland is both a right-wing nut (worse than Connie Mack) and totally incompetent at the job. Al Lawson

State Attorney: For the second time in my life, I voted for a Republican. I don’t know much about Pete Williams, but I voted for him. The reason why is I know a lot about his opponent, Willie Meggs. Meggs is one of the key members of the Southern, redneck, racist, sexist, good old boy network around the capitol and his public pronouncements and policies have always been at odds with my values. There is also significant evidence that he, along with Sheriff Larry Campbell, are corrupt and frequently abuse the public trust. I have never voted for Meggs and I will never vote for him or his son, who seems to be following in his footsteps. Meggs has to go. Pete Williams

State Senator: My least favorite vote, but one I had to make. Bill Montford is a horrible senator and his policy choices are bad for Florida. But at the legislative level, even the worst Democrats tend to be light years ahead of the best Republicans, particularly in the Tallahassee area. Bill Montford

Sheriff: The other half of the local good-old-boy potential corruption network, Larry Campbell, has been in office way too long and has done a terrible job. I quit working for Lisa Sprague’s campaign against him over differences in how we saw the campaign’s direction (I advised against running NPA, for instance), but everybody in the county who isn’t named Campbell or Meggs will be much better off with Sprague as sheriff. Lisa Sprague

Superintendent of Schools: Jackie Pons has voted against me several times as part of his alliance with party sleazebag Jon Ausman, but Pons has done a great job of superintendent and since I don’t take things like this personally, I fully endorse him for another term. Jackie Pons

Supreme Court Justices: The only real reason I see to vote out appointed judges is if they are criminal or incompetent or are so ideologically-driven that it leads them to ignore the law. I don’t see that from any of the judges on the ballot that I have, at least not in my limited knowledge of them. Plus, one of them is named Ron Swanson, how can you go wrong with that?

County Commission: Mary Ann Lindley isn’t a bad person and would probably be a good commissioner, although I can say that some of her decisions at the Democrat have upset me (concerning endorsements and such). But Akin Akinyemi, who is a friend of mine, has done a good job and deserves to be re-elected. Akin Akinyemi

City Commission: I had some pretty significant problems with the way Scott Maddox ran the state party and I questioned his commitment to his statewide runs for office, but I was always very happy with his work in local politics. On top of that, Steve Stewart is literally the sleaziest politician in Tallahassee not named Rick Scott. Scott Maddox

Soil and Water Conservation Districts: These were the easiest votes for me in the local races. In one race, Ryan Terrell (who I sang karaoke with last night) is one of the smartest, politically sharp minds I’ve ever met, so it’s easy to pick him. In the other, Tabitha Frazier (whose husband has performed with me live on stage) is one of the hardest-working and most dedicated political activists I’ve ever met. These two are people I call friends and am very happy to vote for. Ryan Terrell, Tabitha Frazier

All of the constitutional amendments this year were put on the ballot by the legislature that is filled with Rick Scott’s puppets. Even if some of them sound good, keep in mind that this is one of the most dishonest legislative groups that has ever served in Florida, so you shouldn’t trust anything they say and you should vote “No” on all of them.

Constitutional Amendment 1: Nothing more than a thinly-veiled attack on Obamacare. No

Constitutional Amendment 2: This one sounds good on its face, but it doesn’t really provide any significant help to anyone and it would deprive local governments of much-needed revenue at a time when the economy is sputtering, mostly because state and local governments lack revenue and can’t hire people. As a constitutional amendment, this would also give us no flexibility if it was a failure. No

Constitutional Amendment 3: Nothing more than another attempt at a TABOR-style tax cap that would cripple both state and local governments so much that Florida would become the worst economy in the country. Keep in mind that the first state to enact one of these caps has already gotten rid of it because it was such a disaster. As a constitutional amendment, this would also give us no flexibility if it was a failure. No

Constitutional Amendment 4: This one sounds good on its face, but it doesn’t really provide any significant help to anyone and it would deprive local governments of much-needed revenue at a time when the economy is sputtering, mostly because state and local governments lack revenue and can’t hire people. As a constitutional amendment, this would also give us no flexibility if it was a failure. No

Constitutional Amendment 5: Nothing more than a power grab so conservatives can attack judges that don’t follow the conservative line. No

Constitutional Amendment 6: Another right-wing assault on women’s rights. No

Constitutional Amendment 8: A very tricky amendment, particularly in the way it is worded. This is not about religious freedom at all, it’s about using taxpayer money to fund religious institutions. Conservative religious institutions. No

Constitutional Amendment 9: This one sounds good on its face, but it doesn’t really provide any significant help to anyone and it would deprive local governments of much-needed revenue at a time when the economy is sputtering, mostly because state and local governments lack revenue and can’t hire people. As a constitutional amendment, this would also give us no flexibility if it was a failure. No

Constitutional Amendment 10: This one sounds good on its face, but it doesn’t really provide any significant help to anyone and it would deprive local governments of much-needed revenue at a time when the economy is sputtering, mostly because state and local governments lack revenue and can’t hire people. As a constitutional amendment, this would also give us no flexibility if it was a failure. No

Constitutional Amendment 11: This one sounds good on its face, but it doesn’t really provide any significant help to anyone and it would deprive local governments of much-needed revenue at a time when the economy is sputtering, mostly because state and local governments lack revenue and can’t hire people. As a constitutional amendment, this would also give us no flexibility if it was a failure. No

Constitutional Amendment 12: Seems a lot like a shift of power away from students to unelected bureaucrats appointed by the governor. No

Local Referendum to Maintain .5 cent sales tax to fund education: This one is so obvious it’s hard to spend much time on it, but when the governor and his allies are doing everything they can to cut education funding, this helps offset at least some of those cuts so our children don’t get shortchanged. Yes

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One thought on “How I Voted

  1. Look, you talked me into sprague, but I recuse myself from the US Representative selection. Working for the state, I don’t stand by somebody who doesn’t stand up for state workers.

    No, I won’t complain about it either because it will be the same result in this aspect with either of the candidates.