Friday, October 29, 2010

I'll Vote for Jim Cooper; I Don't Know That I'll Vote for Anyone Else

Whenever election season comes around, I like to make endorsements. This year, I'm having trouble finding people—other than Jim Cooper—to endorse. Honestly, I've never been less excited about casting my ballot.

As usual, I'll be voting for Rep. Cooper as my U.S. Representative (TN-5). I like that Cooper eschews partisan politics and genuinely (I think) strives to act in the best interests of his constituents and the American people. I like that he personally answers my letters; and I like that he follows me on Twitter. Cooper's campaign is also behind the most clever TV commercial of this election cycle (and the only one I can stand to watch). Jim Cooper is a good dude, and I give him my full endorsement.

In Tennessee's gubernatorial election, I can't endorse anyone. I'm not impressed with Mike McWherter's efforts to run to the right of his Republican opponent (though such a strategy is common for Tennessee Democrats); the fact that he sided with opponents of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro during a July debate makes voting for him a non-option. Granted, my feelings about McWherter are irrelevant, because Bill Haslam will win this election by a wide margin. I prefer Haslam to McWherter; I think he'll do an OK job; and I like the idea of electing as governor the mayor of one of the state's largest cities. Still, I can't bring myself to vote for someone with whom I disagree on tax reform, health care, and education (the three issues most important to me on the state level).

Actually, my views on tax reform, health care, and education put me at odds with just about everyone running for state office in Tennessee. I don't think that "fight Obamacare" is a good strategy for insuring that Tennesseans' health care needs are met; I don't think that charter schools are the only way to improve primary and secondary education; I wish that more candidates would work on lowering tuition at state colleges and universities; and I support a state income tax.

That's right, a state income tax. I feel strongly that a state income tax, accompanied by a significant reduction in the state's sales tax, would give Tennessee a more just tax code and better meet the state's revenue needs. (Read all about tax reform in Tennessee here.) As far as I can tell, every single major-party candidate running for state office opposes an income tax, but none of them ever explain why.

So I'm not eager to vote for anyone for any of the state offices. (I'm open to voting for independent and third-party candidates and have done so many times in the past, but I haven't had a chance to do much research this year.) I may vote for George McDonald (the Democrat who's going to lose to Mae Beavers) for Senate; he says so little about the issues that I can't find anything wrong with him (or right with him). Still, a vote for McDonald would mostly be a vote against Beavers, and I'm not a fan of protest votes.

Happy voting!


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