November 09, 2006

Post-Election Analysis

My favorite new member of the Senate, hands-down:


Senator-elect Jon Tester (D-Montana)!

The flat-top itself would be enough to make him a good guy in my book, but a few weeks back I happened to see a debate between Tester and the man he defeated, Sen. Conrad Burns, on C-SPAN. (Yes, I actually watched a debate between two candidates I couldn't vote for, in a state I'll never live in. My social life is fine, thanks.) Tester made a very positive impression on me: he seemed comfortable, cheerful, friendly, and well-versed on the issues. His friendly persona is apparently more than just an act; in fact, as the race tightened in the final days, some Democrats groused that Tester was too nice a guy, and that he might lose because he was too unwilling to say nasty things about Burns. In a year filled with negativity, cynicism, and overblown rhetoric, Tester's ability to be a good guy in a close race was very refreshing.

On the other hand, while I'm happy about Tester, I am deeply saddened to report that one of my other favorite Democrats didn't quite make it:


This is Darcy Burner, who narrowly lost in Washington's 8th District to Rep. Dave Reichert. Reichert seems like a decent enough guy, but come on, 8th District voters: Look at that picture again. What were you thinking? You could have had the most attractive Representative in America (though Rep.-elect Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona is pretty easy on the eyes, too), and you blew it.

Hang your head, voters of the 8th District. Or better yet, convince her to move to Virginia. I'd certainly much rather look at her in Congress than Jim "Knuckles" Moran. For many reasons, really.

UPDATE: Here's one guy I'm not sorry to see go:


It's our old friend, Rep. Ernest Istook (R-Oklahoma)! Veteran readers may recall that Istook was master"mind" behind the threat to cut Metro's federal funding unless Metro stopped running in-car ads in favor of marijuana legalization. In 2004, Rep. Istook inserted a provision in the omnibus budget bill allowing members of Congress to read everyone's tax returns. Despite a record containing no shortage of items like these, Istook had a safe seat in Congress, and looked likely to hold it until death, if not longer.

But no, he had grander ambitions. This year, Istook ran for governor. Though incumbent governor Brad Henry is a Democrat, Oklahoma is a very Republican state (65.6% for President Bush in 2004), so Istook figured to have a pretty good shot.

Yeah, not so much. As it turned out, Henry beat Istook. Not by a little, either. Istook lost 66.5% to 33.5%. That's right, he lost by a 2-to-1 margin in an overwhelmingly Republican state. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

By the way, the "On the Issues" Web site describes Rep. Istook as a "Libertarian-leaning Conservative", which is quite possibly the funniest thing I've ever heard. Either they don't know much about Istook, or they don't understand what "Libertarian" means.

Apart from the departure of my own beloved Senator Macacawitz, Istook's ignominious defeat is the best thing that happened on Election Night.

UPDATE #2: In response to my fawning over Darcy Burner, loyal reader PG makes the case for Linnea Noreen, who ran as an independent in Washington's 7th District (against Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott). Let's consider the evidence:



Yowza. That's a tough call. Rather than trying to pick between the two, let me just say: voters of Washington state, shame on you! Had you elected Darcy and Linnea, you would have had, collectively, the most attractive Congressional delegation in the history of America. (Sen. Maria Cantwell is quite attractive, and Rep. Cathy McMorris and Sen. Patty Murray aren't bad, either.)

Posted by Mediocre Fred at November 9, 2006 11:31 AM | TrackBack

I remember when Conrad Burns first ran for office back in the late 80's. He was one of the "throw the bums out" candidates... strongly in favor of term limits. He promised to get term limit legislation passed or, at the very least, serve only two terms.

Now I find myself glad to see him defeated in his bid for a fourth term, even if I no longer live in Montana.

Posted by: Huindekmi at November 9, 2006 06:03 PM

For attractiveness among Washington State Congressional candidates, I prefer Linnea S. Noreen of the 7th District.

Of course, I also had a lengthy disagreement with someone last month about whether it was shallow to care about candidates' attractiveness. (I think it's shallow; the Republicans with whom I was arguing thought it was a sign of my being a Democrat that I put a contemptuous label on something many voters take into consideration. Inasmuch as Democrats are marked as rather being right than happy -- i.e., in power -- I suppose I've been a Democrat even when I thought I was a Republican or libertarian.)

Posted by: PG at November 9, 2006 10:43 PM

Huindekmi: Welcome! Yeah, isn't it a scream how many "reform" Republicans seemed to believe that power corrupts... until they were in power? It reminds me of a quote from my college government professor, "Jefferson was opposed to executive power until he got it."

PG: Yes, voting for looks is shallow, what really matters is what the candidate would do in office, etc. I agree. That said: Linnea, move to Virginia! I'll be your campaign manager. I'd much rather have cast a protest vote for a smoking-hot woman than for an excessively earnest kook with fried-up hair.

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