As you've been seeing in the my previous posts, I thoroughly enjoy posting how I'm going to vote come election day. I've thought very in detailed as to why I'm voting for who I'm voting for, so it may not be right...but it was thought out. Here's my votes and feel free to discuss how you, the reader(s) plan to vote.
President -- John McCain/Sarah Palin (R) - If you know me, you'd know that I was planning to vote for John McCain the moment he locked up the nomination. I was a Fred Thompson supporter in the GOP primary, voted for him in the Conservative Party primary back when I lived in New York. His appeal to me was that he didn't want the Presidency as much as most and his thoughts on federalism were beautiful. When McCain locked up the nomination, I was suprised and happy. In 2000, I wanted McCain to be President. In 2004, I wanted McCain to primary Bush and become President. In 2008, McCain is still the same man and I still want him to be President. He may not have the calm presented by Barack Obama, but McCain has many things that Obama is lacking. McCain has experience in Washington; experience not only as a Senator, but as a man working across the table to make sure things get done. His steady hand at negotiating will be useful with a Congress that will be dominated by the Democratic Party. He'll stand where he needs to stand and he'll compromise where it's necessary. McCain is a maverick, but not in the way he or Palin try to portray him. McCain takes each issue, analyzes it, and comes up with his own conclusion. He doesn't take everything through partisan lenses; that's what led him to come to different conclusions than his Republican compatriots on climate change, campaign finance, and even the War in Iraq. This is an important distinction to make.
Next, there's the fact that McCain supports a spending freeze, keeping taxes where they are, and cutting federal spending which makes him support the fiscal views that those like myself love to hear. Freezing the government and figuring out how to make it leaner is the epitome of fiscal conservatism. I know Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin espouse the same ideal, but I have a feeling John McCain will have better luck making any progress on this than them. Now, the final reason is an important one and one in which some people are beginning to make -- balance of power. With a Democratic Congress, we need John McCain to prevent total domination by one party. I'll be the first to admit that I was fine with a GOP Congress and Presidency, but because of them we saw such ridiculous increases in spending and corruption in our government that we haven't seen in years. Single party rule never works and we need John McCain to counterbalance our Democratic Congress. Fighting partisan branches will create a balance that's more in line with the average American. Letting Obama 100% run the show will create no discourse in our political system. We need that discussion. The other reasons I support McCain are many, including my staunch belief that Obama will make a poor and divisive President, but these are the primary reasons. I won't go into my direct opposition to Barack Obama, I'd rather focus the facts as to why I want John McCain to be President.
Maryland's 2nd Congressional District -- Richard Matthews (R) - This decision was tougher than I expected. I disagree on Dutch Ruppersberger on too much to vote for him, but both Matthews and his Libertarian opponent come up with some interesting ideas and limited government approaches for Congress. In the end, though, Matthews gets my vote. Matthews is a Ron Paul revolutionary who strives for a limited government. He wants a lean, mean Government machine that is limited in scope to the powers outlined in the US Constitution. That's all I want and that's all any fiscally minded individual would want. His foreign policy views are at odds with mine, as I tend to be more of a neo-conservative apologist, but all three candidates disagree with me on foreign policy. What matters most is where this viewpoint came from. Matthews believes that we must uphold the Constitution first and foremost. Our budget should be kept in check and our economy can be fixed through the private sector without a bailout for the very people who screwed the economy up in the first place. Matthews is a young politician who could have a bright future in Republican politics -- and if he doesn't win, I'll be the first to ask him to run for the Maryland House of Delegates or State Senate if his local seats are open. And, if the locals are barely fiscally conservative Republicans, I'd call on him to primary them fiercely. I'd love to see Matthews in Annapolis or Washington fighting the good fight against those who wish to see our government grow exponentially...both those on the "right" and the left. For those interested, I have an interview with Matthews' Director of Operations Gary Matthews. For those of you out there in the 2nd District who are sick of politics as usual, Matthews is your guy.
On the Continuance of Judge Joseph F. Murphy, Jr, 2nd Appellate Circuit Court of Appeals - Support - Murphy has been on the court since 2007 after an appointment by Martin O'Malley. That is a strike against him in and of itself, but I won't hold it as a sole reason to vote against someone. Project Vote Smart has a mini-section on him which clearly states...that he's non-partisan. It says nothing else. I found an interview with Judge Murphy from 2006. In it he explains how the court functions, but not a great deal about judicial philosophy. What I did find was that he helped draft the "Maryland Evidence Handbook" and works on the annual reviews of the document. What is this book? According to what I could find, it's an explanation "...[i]n simple, direct language...[on] how to use evidence rules to present your case in the best possible light." This is actually fairly interesting, a judge helping in plain language people learn how to best present their own cases. I like this. I like a Judge who is willing to help the average person understand the legal process, it shows a connection to the common person that you don't always see in a Judge. For that reason, I plan to vote in favor of the continuance of Judge Murphy.
On the Continuance of Judge Robert A. Zarnoch, at Large on Court of Special Appeals - Against - I found one thing on Judge Zarnoch, his belief that the Equal Rights Amendment in the Constitution of Maryland does not imply that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional. I disagree. I think if there is an Equal Rights Amendment, which I oppose, it does imply that no discrimination is allowed including on the basis of sexual orientation. It requires sameness under the law, not equality. As such, marriage rights need to be listed as the same for two people no matter what their orientation is. I may disagree with the amendment, but fundamentally that's what it says. I disagree with sameness under the law. I think everyone isn't the same and shouldn't be treated as such. I have no problem with laws specifically pertaining to women being different than those laws specifically pertaining to men. They should be different, we are different. But, that's not the argument here. The argument is what the law states...and it states that sameness is required. Therefore, I have to disagree with Judge Zarnoch and plan to vote against the continuance of the Judge.
On the Continuance of Judge Deborah Eyler, at Large on Court of Special Appeals - Against - When looking up Judge Eyler, I found one thing - a donation to Barack Obama. With my strong opposition to Barack Obama for President and my belief that the Judiciary should not be elected and should be above partisanship, I feel this is enough of a reason to vote against her continuance.
3rd Judicial Circuit Court - Up for reelection are Judge Thomas J. Bollinger, Sr and Judge H. Patrick Stringer. I can find nothing on their judicial philosophies as all I know now is that they won both the Republican and Democratic primaries to be on the ballot. Bollinger has been an Associate Judge of District Court of Maryland, District 8 from 1989 to 1990. He was appointed in September to the Circuit Court, which means he was appointed by Governor and former Comptroller of Maryland William Schaefer. H. Patrick Stringer was appointed to the Court in March of 2006, which implies appointment by former Governor Robert Ehrlich. Stringer was not a Judge prior to 2006, he was a lawyer. In both cases, I don't know their judicial philosophy which determines how they will decide upon the many issues facing Maryland. For Zarnoch I was able to find something and Eyler I found to be partisan. These two, I'm unsure. I remain undecided on the two of them and will decide when I get to the voting booth whether my vote for the only two candidates on the ballot will matter or not. Anyone who can help me understand either of their judicial philosophies, please let me know.
Statewide Ballot Measure 1 (Early voting/voting outside district) - Against - To me, early voting measures have always seemed like a waste of money and a waste of time. All states already have existing early voting measures, in fact -- you can vote from home! It's called an absentee ballot. If you know you will be out or not able to get to the polling place on election day, you can request an absentee ballot. Why then do we need to spend resources to establish new polling places prior to election day? Also, as part of the measure, it will allow people to vote outside of their district. This is foolish in that it requires everyone to have ballots for...everyone. If you live in the 2nd district and decide to vote where you work, say in the 1st district -- they'll be required to have ballots for you in addition to ballots for those who actually live there. It would be costly and the fact that it's not very well defined in this Constitutional amendment makes it pretty easy for me to vote against it.
Statewide Ballot Measure 2 (Constitutional Amendment to legalize slots in specified locations) - Against - For the record, I could care less about slots. I could care less if a person wants to waste their money gambling. I would never do it, but that's just me. Now, onto the more important measure of whether I think it's worth amending the Constitution of the State of Maryland to allow slot/video gaming machines to be installed in limited quantities at very specific locations. That's what the amendment does; it restricts where they can go and it restricts the quantities...inside of the Constitution. This isn't merely another referrendum, this is a Constitutional Amendment. It's not worth amending the Constitution over this, just pass the appropriate legislation and move on from there. That's it. The Republicans in the State Legislature are trying to push for just that...and their measures will become unconstitutional if this passes, as the Constitution will define exactly where and how many slot/video gaming machines will be allowed. Again, I'm indifferent to slots...but I'm against warping the Constitution to limit it's legalization.
Baltimore County Questions - No on A, C, and I - Ballot question A would change the law such that it would "...amend the County Charter to remove the prohibition on qualifying or serving as a member of the County Council while holding employment with the State." I disagree. Working for the state government could qualify as a conflict of interest. Also, the way it's worded a State Senator or Delegate could hold dual office as an employee of the state and the County. Unless there's a prohibition otherwise, this could become allowed by this amendment. I know it's a bit of a restriction on who can run for what office and there's a number of non-political positions where a person could work for the state, but I don't think it's worth amending the County Charter to allow. Now, County Questions C onward are all budgetary measures. I plan to vote in favor of all but C and I. I looked at the previous budgets and the previous time we voted for these ballot items. What did I find? Both C and I, both school related (public schools and community colleges), increased by 45% and over 70% respectively. I have yet to see any tangible reason as to why these budgets had to increase by such large amounts. If a reason can be provided, my mind may be able to be changed. Until that happens -- I'm voting against them.