I'm annoyed at Barack Obama's latest long-form ad. Given Arizona's solid-red-state status, which means my vote has exactly zero effect on the outcome of the election (though I may reconsider if this poll gets some corroboration, since I'd dearly love for McCain to suffer John Howard's fate), I'm still up in the air about voting for him versus Cynthia McKinney. I was starting to lean a bit toward the Obama side after reading this interview, in which he made as clear a statement as I've seen from a mainstream politician about the connection between solving the climate-energy crisis and fixing our economy. After all the talk from Very Serious People about how we'll have to give up on creating a green economy in order to patch up the gray economy, it was refreshing. Then I saw the ad, in which he retreats back to the standard-issue economic talking points. His only reference to environmental issues is to give a nod to the "dependence on foreign oil" nonsense. We need to reduce our dependence on all fossil fuels, period. The "foreign oil" thing appeals to the DC cocktail circuit because it makes you feel clever to use a right-wing, jingoistic framing to sell progressive ideas. But in fact if you make "foreign oil" your target, then expanding domestic coal, oil, and gas sounds like a great solution. But those "solutions" are environmentally backwards. He then goes on to name-check the standard litany of Washington bogeymen like "partisanship," "special interests," and "divisiveness." I realize that these kind of things may appeal to low-information voters who don't appreicate the existence of actual ideological differences. But I can't decide whether it's worse if Obama actually believes "partisanship" is the biggest problem in DC, or if he's smart enough not to buy that but shameless enough to try to use it to win votes.
I'm annoyed at Ann Kirkpatrick, the Democrat running for Arizona's 1st congressional district. I have to give her a little credit -- in the latest of the long string of mailers she's sent us (we've been getting them since the primary because my wife is a Democrat), she actually has new photographs of herself talking to happy, wholesome Arizonans (and nearly all, as far as I remember, white, even though this district has one of the highest Native American populations in the country). But then there's the text accompanying the pictures. First, she hits the "foreign oil" thing -- and she's not shy about putting "drilling" in giant letters. In the second panel, she says we need to "get tough" on illegal immigration and ramp up enforcement -- and maybe then start thinking about the possibility of comprehensive reform. She has it exactly backwards. First you fix the system, then you make sure that the new, better laws are well-enforced. In any event, Kirkpatrick has more money than she knows what to do with and both parties have withdrawn their spending from the district because they think it's a foregone conclusion. We do have an independent in the race who talks a lot on his website about sustainability, but not a lot about other issues, which makes it hard to judge if he's a true progressive.
I'm also annoyed at mailers from any candidate, party, or initiative-backer that are addressed to "the Danielson family." I could understand that if there were several Danielsons registered to vote at this address and they figured they could save money by sending us one joint mailer on the not-infallible-but-close-enough assumption that we were a family. But since the only registered voters at my address are myself and my wife, who has a different last name, the senders of these mailers must be either: 1) assuming that my wife can be subsumed into my name -- not a cool assumption if you're looking to win our vote -- or 2) thinking I have some unregistered same-last-name relatives living here and hope to persuade them to commit voter fraud.
Finally, I'm annoyed at the mailer from the Yes on 102 (marriage discrimination) people, but that's less from the content of the mailer specifically and more because I find their whole ideology and purpose for existence as an organization offensive.