I rarely get enthused enough about a candidate to give them money, but the last six years have definitely changed my sense of the urgency involved in getting the right people into power. I’m a registered independent. I could give a fig about the Democrats in and of themselves, and I’d be the first to say that the party as a whole remains fairly adrift and confused. Adrift and confused is a massive improvement over the current standard of leadership in Washington, though.
Still, I like the Democratic candidate in my own district, Joe Sestak, quite a lot, and gladly wrote a big check to him. Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings makes the case very well. It’s not just that Sestak seems thoughtful and tough-minded where it counts. It’s also that Curt Weldon, our current representative, is basically everything that I despise in politics. It’s not just what he stands for, it’s the way that he operates, his erratic, unresponsive, unaccountable manner as a public official. Not to mention some of the indecent, mean-spirited conduct of his current campaign. This is a guy who complained about the medical procedures Sestak was using to treat his daughter’s cancer.
Character does matter to me. It’s one reason I never cared for Clinton. I care about respect for process, about fair-mindedness, and about ethical consistency. These are all reasons I’m an independent: I want to commit to whatever candidate exhibits those virtues, and stay miles away from any who flagrantly stand apart from them. I can’t stand the proposition that I’d have to show party loyalty to a complete scoundrel–I think any politician in this state ought to stay a million miles away from Vincent Fumo, for example. (On the other hand, I’m not stupid: Santorum’s attempt to deflect attention from his own K Street complicity by just dropping Fumo’s name in relationship to Casey isn’t fooling anyone, I hope.) For the same reason, John McCain lost me a long time ago: I won’t forget that he was a shill for Bush, and now is showing up trying to help people like Weldon, whom he ought to be running away from.
It would be nice to have someone that I can be proud of as my representative. Fingers crossed!