Good Job, Secretary Bowen

Apparently, the Secretary of State, Debra Bowen, forgot to get extra bandwidth for her website and election tracker tonight. So here it is, 8:30, and my website is getting pinged with about ten hits a minute in response to the Google search “Did Proposition 8 Pass?” and I have no way of answering that question with reliable data.

I’ve sort of disliked Bowen ever since she was my State Senator way back when I lived in the South Bay and was dismayed to see her rise to the position of Secretary of State in the 2006 election.

I’ve been saying for a long time that Secretary Bowen is, shall we say, not my first choice for that job. Actually, what I’ve been saying that I think a stalk of celery would do a better job than her, but the nature of the job is so esoteric it’s difficult for the general public to judge. We haven’t had a good Secretary of State since Bill Jones. McPherson was okay.

But this is one thing that the public can figure out — it didn’t take a genius to know that data about Proposition 8 would be much in demand tonight. And maybe this wasn’t really her fault. But I’d like to blame her anyway.

It seems that the most recent information is available from CNN. The initial results — about an hour after the polls closed — are not good. “Yes” looks like it’s leading by about 250,00 votes with 10% of the precincts reporting. That’s depressing to see. No returns yet from San Francisco, Contra Costa, or Alameda County and only about 10% from Los Angeles County. An optimistic poll this morning, but on the other hand this has been a difficult issue to poll.

And turth be told, the “Yes” campaign has obviously done a much better job than the “No” campaign — they had better graphics, more money, more organization, and a broader reach. Oh, and lies. They had lies going for them, too. Politically, they’ve managed to obtain a lot of advantages for their side. What bugs me most, if they win, is that they’ll now be able to add a truthful argument to their side of the dispute should the issue ever arise again — “We already voted on that, and our side won.” It is important for the losing side in a democratic society to accept the result of the majority, after all.

I’m not ready to give up hope yet, despite some early bad numbers. Los Angeles County has over four million registered voters, and turnout has been very high. More than three million more votes are yet to be counted in L.A. county alone. But I’m also an eyes-open sort of guy. That’s why I’ve fretted that Obama’s success will help the chances of Prop. 8 passing — by attracting a lot of Latino and African-American voters, who are heavily churched sorts of folks, the initiative might pass.

Obama’s cowardice in not coming out in favor of same-sex marriage is part of the problem, too. So now I may well have my first big reason to really resent President Obama’s politics. Cheat on the fundraising? Hey, that’s a time-honored political play. Some misdirection and lies and arrogance and naivete? Comes with the territory. Big promises you can’t possibly deliver on. Nothing the other guy didn’t do. But you drag civil rights down, just to win an election, while trying to talk out of both sides of your mouth on the issue, well, that kind of pisses me off. Vero Possumus my ass.

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.