The mid-term elections are on Tuesday. Can it really be two years since Barack Obama gave his stirring victory speech in Chicago’s Grant Park and Oprah cried tears of joy on a stranger’s shoulder? (I wonder if that guy got a free car.)

Oprah will likely be shedding tears of a different type on Nov. 2 as it appears that the Democrats are going to get trounced with a capital T. The voting public apparently wants to return to the policies of George W. Bush. Hello! Do we all have collective amnesia?

I’m not saying that Bush was a colossal failure, but if his administration had been in Japan, there wouldn’t have been enough hara-kiri knives to go around. (OK, so I am saying it.) W gave us two wars: one totally unnecessary, based on lies and likely to cost $4 trillion by the time we leave; and the other, Afghanistan, so compromised by Iraq that we’re still there nine years later. Some of my conservative friends say they liked Bush, just not the Iraq war. That’s like saying you like Eminem, just not his lyrics.

And, as a parting gift to the country, W handed over an economy on the brink of total collapse. But where were the Tea Partiers when Bush was setting record deficits?

This year the T-Baggers’ pin-up girl is Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell, who makes Sarah “Refudiate” Palin look like a Rhodes Scholar. O’Donnell’s U.S. Senate campaign seems to be, “I’m not a witch so vote for me.” Even worse, if that’s possible, is Rich Iott, an Ohio congressional candidate who has a penchant for dressing up in Nazi uniforms (what a quaint hobby).

Meanwhile, in New York, the anti-gay gubernatorial candidate is Carl Paladino. But in 2005 Paladino reportedly rented two of his Buffalo properties to gay bars (one co-owned by his son). It turns out that Paladino also has a 10-year-old daughter out of wedlock. Apparently, he’s so “pro family” that he has two.

In California, billionaire Republican Meg Whitman, the GOP “law and order” candidate for governor, wants to crack down on employers of illegal aliens. I suppose she should start with herself as Whitman had an undocumented woman working for her for nine years. Whitman also acknowledges that she was so busy getting rich that she didn’t have time to vote … for 28 years! Meg, two words: absentee ballot!

In pursuit of the governor’s job, Whitman will likely shatter all records by spending $160 million ($140 million of her own). Assuming she gets 4,000,000 votes, that’s $40 a vote.

Our City Council races in Santa Monica aren’t exactly in the Whitman price range, but they’re not cheap. In 2008, the winning candidates all had budgets over $55,000, this for a job that pays $12,000 a year. Go figure.

In 2008, Susan Hartley ran for council with $9,060 and got 9,924 votes, or about 91 cents a vote. (She should run the Whitman campaign and save Meg $156,000,000.) Susan is back this year as one of 15 candidates seeking the five council seats up for grabs.

Susan’s been endorsed by the Daily Press and also has the backing of Oscar, the famed golden retriever owned by a friend of mine. (Go to Facebook, type “Susan Hartley For Council” and you’ll see Oscar on the campaign trail.) Susan’s for limited growth, reduced traffic congestion, having the council tighten its financial belt and actually listen to the residents. (What a novel concept.)

This year’s election is historic as there are five council seats up for grabs. They’re divided into two-year and four-year terms. Ten candidates are running for the three four-year terms and five are seeking the two two-year terms.

This sounds so complicated it reminds me of the late Buddy Hackett’s immortal “Chinese waiter, one from column A, one from column B,” stand-up routine. At age 9 my Aunt Amelia took me to see Hackett in Las Vegas and I spent much of pre-puberty doing my imitation. (Some say I still am, here every Friday, happily across from the breast augmentation ad.)

This year’s council candidates are a rather “eclectic” group. An example is the outspoken Jon Mann, who’s running for a record 10th time. One of Jon’s more controversial ideas is to convert the Santa Monica Airport hangars into giant medical marijuana farms. (That just corralled the youth vote.)

Candidates Jerry Rubin and Linda Armstrong have also run on numerous occasions, as have incumbents Bob Holbrook, Kevin McKeown and Pam O’Connor. The fact is, my hat is off to anyone who runs for council, as the process is exhausting. There were almost as many council debates as there are candidates.

With the national elections appearing grim for progressives such as myself, I’d like to TIVO the whole thing but I don’t have TIVO. (Slight problem.) For Santa Monica City Council, for the two-year term, I bet you can guess one person I’m going to be voting for. (And it’ll be with Oscar’s blessing.) Susan Hartley, you go girl.

If Jack isn’t too busy fretting about the upcoming election, he can be reached at

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