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Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.

Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.

Observations from the Big Fat Middle

Politics-Other, Politics-Tosa, Public Policy, Random Musings and Idle Chit Chat, The Big Fat Middle

How about that Massachusetts election, eh?

Now before you Tea Party people get too full of yourselves it is instructive to note that in the past twenty years or so Democratic recruitment has shrunk from 48 percent of the Massachusetts electorate to 37 percent.  Even though Republican representation is smaller it was only until recently that Massachusetts had elected Republican Governors for sixteen years in a row.   So it was pretty hard not to see this upset coming.

Unless you are Martha Coakley. 

What I find interesting is that it was the independent voters – that pesky Big Fat Middle - who made this happen.  And my takeaway is that they were fed-up over the Democrat’s preoccupation with healthcare instead of this wretched mess of an economy. Maybe they were thinking - jobs first – healthcare later? 

Furthermore - Scott Brown might just have a wee bit 'o RINO blood flowing through his veins.  Go figure.

Yet I don’t think the Democrats were listening to the little people.  They might have a touch of tone deafness don’t you think?

So let’s see - Governor Races in Virginia and New Jersey are snagged by the GOP with support from the middle.  A moderate GOP Senator wins in Massachusetts and endorsements from Sarah Palin are conspicuously absent. 

Anyone see a pattern unfolding?

The GOP might take a lesson from this and add it to their mid-term election playbook.

Tom you are off-base.  Mixed-up and confused.  You are clueless.  You’re confusing independents with moderates!

Yes, gentle reader I have heard this before.  Allow me to explain.

I think of myself as a moderate sort of fella. Neither liberal nor conservative.  Depending on a given issue I could fall into one or the other ideological extreme.  I don’t affiliate with either party.  And according to the polling organizations me and my compatriots make-up forty percent of the electorate. 

That is the Big Fat part. 

(That means we are the majority.  But let's just keep that little secret to ourselves. OK?)

Pollsters also suggest that roughly two-thirds of independents are moderates – but our ranks are growing more conservative.  Which makes sense as I'll explain in a bit. 

Speaking for myself I generally lean Republican.  But not always.  I happen to think that this style drift is because the lunatics that have overrun the GOP’s asylum have been feverishly purging their ranks of intellectuals, naysayers, detractors of the Governor from Alaska and general dissenters.  I sometimes wonder if they aren’t seeking a cult-like state of ideological purity. 

My conclusion?  If you are going to fashion for yourself a proper cult you need a proper deity. 

Joe the Plumber just doesn’t cut it. 

I digress.

The bottom line is the GOP is bleeding moderates and the Democrats cannot attract and retain independents.   And it is this population that inhabits The Middle.

So there you have it - The Big Fat Middle.  And everyone needs our votes – RINO or otherwise. 

Speaking of the wretched state of the economy, chronic joblessness and healthcare – certain Tosa Council members want to continue to grow the size of local government.

Yessir.  We’re going to spend big money to fill the new post of Economic Development Czar.  And next on the list is inflating the pay of our future Mayors.

At first blush an annual salary of $22,500 for a Mayor might seem stingy and cheap.  But if you think about it we have a professional city administrator and a vast bureaucracy of department heads, managers and pencil pushers who are already paid to make sure our infrastructure is maintained, neighborhoods kept safe, snow plowed and the garbage trucks run on time. 

If one of our Mayors went missing so as to go fishing for a month I would be willing to bet that we would not slide into chaos and social collapse.

When you get down to the essentials some might suggest that the job of our Mayors is to basically preside over the Common Council - and you know - look ceremonially mayoral, issue proclamations, ride in an occasional parade and maybe deputize someone just for kicks.

Yet for all of the foregoing we’re not as stingy as you may think.  Our Mayors also enjoy a generous fringe benefit package. 

I performed a bit of ciphering and I’ve calculated the annual cost of those fringes to us subjects at the present to be upwards of $21,235*. 

So that would make the whole shebang (salary and benefits) currently worth $43,735.  With roughly half of it deliciously tax-free.

It is worthy of mention that if we elected exclusively single Mayors we would save about 60% on healthcare outlays.   

By the way – that’s a Cadillac health plan.  My healthcare plan that is courtesy of a real world business sucks by comparison.  Of course I’m just one of the Kingdom’s little people.

Still look cheap and stingy?

Why anyone would go out of their way to spoil an envious (and working) model for small government is a puzzlement to me.  I just don’t get it.

Maybe certain members of our Council are tone deaf too.

If any of this interests you - come back here tomorrow afternoon.  Hopefully I'll have the details on the next scheduled meeting of the Committee on Employee Relations.  That way you could mosey on over to the Palace and take the opportunity to listen and add to the discussion.

Edit:  Committee on Employee Relations is meeting next Tuesday, 1/26 at 7 PM - rear of council chambers.

In closing, I’d be willing to bet that some of you periodically have an opportunity to listen to Arianna Huffington.  You know - the liberal commentator who runs the Huffington Post.  I usually see her with a collection of similar talking heads babbling endlessly on Sunday morning press interviews.  From time-to-time I catch her droning-on about something on the car radio.

Does her voice drive you crazy like it does me?

Every time I hear it I get a scary flashback...

 *$16,084 to $17,679 (depending upon specific plan) for family health coverage, $921 for family dental, $47 for group term life insurance and $2,588 pension contribution. These figures are net of any employee contributions.  Actual figures may vary slightly due to rounding. 

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