Don’t forget to vote. Remember, you can’t complain if you don’t vote…well, you can complain, but I won’t listen.

The Referendum?!

So, we’re all dying to know what’s going to happen. This mid-term election is the most interesting since the Republican tide washed ashore in 1994. This election is turning out to be a referendum on our national government and Republican leadership.

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Question: Will the media hype turn out to be correct?

Will American’s reject Dennis Hastert, George Bush and Bill Frist and openly embrace Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean and Harry Reid? Will the war in Iraq prove to be the President’s political Waterloo? Will a pedophile former Congressman undo a decade of Republican control. Or, will John Kerry prove that he can still lose elections, even when he’s not on the ballot.

Question: Who will prove to be their party’s undoing?

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I’m sure you, like me, are ready for it to be over. Even for political junkies, the rhetoric and hype has gone too far. My snail mail box has been jammed for weeks with negative attack pieces…I took to collecting what I’ve received so far, and it’s four inches deep…out of a quick count, 90 percent of it was disgustingly negative.

Question: Have we, as voters had enough, or will people continue to be swayed by mail that characterizes an opponent as the worst thing since Saddam Hussein?

Here locally, we’ve had our share of the nasty business called negative campaigning…from Bilbray vs Busby to Shirley Horton vs Maxine Sherard it’s been a non-stop torrent of crud. Interestingly (and ironically) these races are considered competitive (two of the very few in California), with the Horton vs Sherard race considered a toss-up. Maybe we need more gerrymandering so we can avoid these campaign unpleasantries.

Question: Is a coherent agenda more important than demonizing the other side?

What’s surprising in all of this is that for all of the openings the Republicans have given the Democrats, there has been no knock-out punch. Being opposed to everything Republicans are doing is not an agenda fortunately for the Dems, the Reps have buried themselves in fiscal irresponsibility, a difficult war in Iraq and high profile scandals.

But still, can the lack of agenda and a nasty national tone produce results…In June, with a tremendous financial push and national attention, the Dems couldn’t bounce Bilbray from the special election. The key message then by the pundits was that a Dem can’t beat a Rep with that kind of registration advantage…..but is that really the case? Was it more about the lack of a credible agenda by the Dems nationally, as espoused locally by the Busby campaign?

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Candidly, shouldn’t we, as voters, as Americans, be looking for our wanna-be elected leaders to put forward a vision for America? Trust me, this isn’t a pro-Republican rant. The Rep leadership has been devoid of anything new and meaningful in years, as well.

Question: Should the leadership of both parties be booted for something (anything) new?

What it may boil down to is party faithful turn-out and the middle…the “Indies” have been split between the parties in recent years, in 1994, Ross Perot’s minions went with the Reps over Clinton’s tax increase and helped create the “Republican Revolution”…will the “Indies” cause the tectonic shift toward the Dems this election cycle?

CRAIG BENEDETTO

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