Each Spring at the annual meeting of my golf club, somebody stands up to propose rule changes. In virtually every instance it is because the person proposing and/or his golfing buddies aren’t winning and they believe a change in the rules will either advantage them or disadvantage the groups that are currently winning. It’s as if the $12 they might win at the end of each weekly play means the difference between eating or starving for the week. Everyone in the room knows what’s going on but they nod their collective heads as if this proposal were truly important. It’s ridiculous.
But nothing is quite as transparently ridiculous as when liberals attempt to bias the political process under the guise of “good government.” The latest attempt is found in the Bend Bulletin’s editorial supporting the initiative to make elections for the Crook County Board of Commissioners non-partisan. The Bulletin tips its hand when it begins its editorial with these words:
“In Crook County, where the Republican Party dominates,. . . “
That, in essence is the whole basis of the Bulletin’s complaint – the political process in Crook County favors Republicans – and for the Bulletin, that is just not right. Few Democrats are ever elected in Crook County – there must be something wrong. It couldn’t possibly be that registered Republicans out number registered Democrats by 5,509 to 3,277 as of December 2013. No there must be something wrong with the process according to the Bulletin. And worse yet, Crook County is a conservative county. While Republicans out number Democrats by a ratio of 5:3, they voted for Mitt Romney and against President Barack Obama by a ratio greater than 2:1 and that, for them, apparently is intolerable. (For those of you forced to endure a teachers union dictated education in Portland public schools, that means that the support for the Republican presidential candidate was even greater than the ratio of Republicans to Democrats.)
In order to rectify this mismatch, the Bulletin has seized upon the idea of simply denying voters access to the critical information that allows them to support the party whose principles most closely align with their own. The Bulletin justifies this chicanery by noting:
“. . . the important action often happens in GOP primaries, leaving out voters from other parties.”
Democrats don’t get to help choose the Republican nominees for public office. Wow! How unfair!
And like many liberals, the Bulletin justifies its position by starting with a false premise that is stated as if it were a fundamental truth:
“Advocates say most issues handled by county governments have no partisan aspects, and the party affiliations can alienate some voters.”
That is simply not true. The fundamental difference between the Republican and Democrat parties is their view of government and governance. Republicans believe in smaller, more efficient and less intrusive government. Democrats believe in governmental growth, governmental dependency and governmental intrusions (the Nanny State). How elected officials will approach even the administration of government is defined by these opposing views. Voters should have the ability to know at the outset how the candidates are likely to administer the offices that they seek. By barring acknowledgement of these fundamental party affiliations voters are left to wonder as to how the county government will be administered. The elections become popularity contests (even more than they are now) and name identification becomes more important than governance philosophy.
And just in case that line of illogic fails, the liberal media turns to their other favorite tactic – demean the opponent:
“It doesn’t always work that way, and a good case can be made for the value of opposing parties to provide healthy competition and encourage public examination of differing points of view. In Crook, however, one-party dominance lessens that effect, and switching to nonpartisan elections has the potential to engage another segment of the electorate. That would be a healthy development.”
In other words, healthy competition is good unless the Republicans keep winning elections. There must be something wrong if, at the conclusion of debate, Democrats keep losing. (Please note that the Bulletin doesn’t suggest that their same principles be applied to statewide elections where the Democrats have dominated statewide office elections for nearly three decades.)
There are also a couple of tangential issues. If you are Democrat seeking public office in Oregon it is more likely than not that you support taxpayer funded abortion on demand, the public employee unions and all of their excesses in compensation, benefits and job security, and systematic increases in taxes and spending. It matters not whether the office of county commissioner has a direct vote on any of these issues; the fact that a politician cloaked in the imprimatur of office supports these issues gives undue credence. It is important that voters know the likely conduct of their elected officials in such areas. They can get that in part by political party identification and endorsement.
In the end, this attempt to bias the political process is no more valid than the attempt by golfers to change the rules. If you can’t win straight up then change the rules. I think you can find that in the liberals’ playbook – think Saul Alinsky (Mr. Obama’s mentor).