I want to move off the subject of Japan-side expat, freelance journalists fighting with each other on Twitter, to more important matters.
Like the Republican primary race here in the 37th District to see who will become the Republican nominee for State Representative. (This is like an Assemblyman in New Jersey, where I’m from. Lord knows what in Japan—because you don’t have states.)
I was so surprised to see lawn signs popping up around the boro, because I thought our current state rep, Tom Creighton, was in there good. He seems pretty popular around northern Lancaster, and I visited his office 2 or 3 times on the Temple Japan rent issue.
So, one day, as I said, I see these signs for Fee and Black. Well, it turned out that Tom is retiring, and grabbing that nice-sized pension that Pennsylvania puts out there for elected government officials. “Hey, if you can get it” must be, like, the motto of the early 21st century. But I digress.
So I don’t know anything about Fee and Black. One thing I do know, though, is that Lancaster County has been Republican since Abraham Lincoln—even though Lincoln would go into one of his melancholies if he came back to life and saw what the contemporary Republican party has turned into.
I can give you 50 years of history, or more, about Somerset County, New Jersey; something about Philadelphia. Lancaster is really unknown. And so, to me, Fee and Black were also unknowns. I went down to the Meet the Candidates event, where there were about 60 citizens of the good district, and I listened.
When you are a Republican nowadays, running for something, you just keep repeating about how effen conservative you are. Makes you sick. There is a whole litmus test, like it was ripped out of a prayer book. A Nicene Creed of what you faithfully support. It’s all these friggen social issues that the power people use as excuses to do nothing to fix the economy. Since you’re talking to retirees, they “got theirs” already, so you don’t bring up anything about cut social security and Medicare. Otherwise, you would need police escorts from one meet-and-greet to the other. So you talk up guns and abortion. And gays, too, in the context of “what is a real marriage”. Oh, and don’t legalize pot, like that would really happen in Pennsylvania.
So Ms. Fee and Mr. Black affirm their pledges, and then, finally, it gets to the question that I had: the multiple, full-color flyers that are clogging up the family mailbox. Where is the money coming from, Mr. Black, for all of these mailings? Black gave a standardized answer, saying that most was from inside the county, with some coming from supporter-friends in Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre. But that really was the meat of it, to me. When I got home, I looked up the rudimentary filings that Pennsylvania requires about contributions to candidates. Other “friends”, it turns out, were a big law firm, the local building and construction lobby, and one other big local advocacy group. Not Mom and Pop money, unless you look at near-billionaire Mitt and Ann Romney as a Mom and Pop. After all, she worked taking care of the kids.
I concluded that Black was trying to use direct mailings, funding by special interests and shadow money, to buy the election out from underneath Mindy Fee.
Some people kiss off elections, because they can’t stand the smell around them. But I carefully analyze my two choices—even though the whole election will not be decided by my one, sole, vote. I will most likely vote for the Democrat in the Fall, but for April, I am voting for Mindy Fee. Since the Republicans do well in Lancaster, if Fee wins, it will probably be Fee in office next January.
[Update 4/25/12: It looks like Mindy Fee won.]