The early voterWritten by Jim Harpen | | firstname.lastname@example.org
It was Election Day, and I voted early. Not early as in “early voting that began a few weeks ago.” I voted early as in “show up at the polls when they open at 6:30 a.m. on Nov. 4.”
I have to chuckle at the people who stood in line for hours at each of Ohio’s counties’ single early-voting locations, proudly boasting that they were avoiding the long lines expected on Nov. 4. It was like watching people who wait in lines at gas stations to save 5 cents a gallon, meanwhile idling away their savings, to say nothing of their valuable time. Tuesday morning I was in and out of my usual polling place at St. Matthew’s Episcopal on Talmadge in 35 minutes. Had I arrived half an hour later, my wait would have been about five minutes.
I don’t like early voting of the “weeks ahead” variety. It encourages people to cast their ballots before all of the information is in. It’s not completely unlike a jury entering deliberations after the state rests its case but before the defense has even presented any evidence.
“Don’t bother me with more evidence! I’ve made up my mind!”
And some strong evidence in this race came in at the eleventh hour. Not that the network news divisions paid any attention.
It didn’t get much traction in the mainstream media, but two days before the election, an audio recording of Sen. Obama’s interview with the San Francisco Chronicle surfaced in which he said his environmental policy would bankrupt any company that decided to build another coal-fired plant. There was nothing ambiguous about what he said. Here it is, word for word:
“So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”
Someone please explain to me how bankrupting an industry that the American economy was built on, and still so heavily depends on, and which provides 56 percent of the country’s electric power, is good for an America that has been bleeding tens of thousands of jobs each week. As I was pondering this Nov. 4, I opened one of my morning e-mail newsletters and read this: “Circuit City to Close 155 Stores, Cut Jobs:
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — … analysts say the moves announced Monday renewed the specter of bankruptcy hanging over the nation’s No. 2 consumer electronics retailer heading into a holiday shopping season that could determine its future.”
Once-thriving businesses are already facing bankruptcy without governmental interference. Keep tying their hands, and you might as well throw the businesses and the jobs they provide overboard.
And here in Toledo, how does a proposal like Obama’s bode for the proposed FDS Coke Plant in suburban Oregon? (FYI, the way you make coke is by burning coal — very slowly). Building the $800-million FDS Coke Plant would, if it happens, create about 2000 construction jobs over two years. And if it ever opens, it’ll employ about 150 people. The proposed coking facility began as a $300 million project in 2004. Costs swelled to $500 million, $600 million, $660 million and now, $800 million, all on account of pollution requirements and related design modifications. Throw in a confiscatory carbon penalty, and the developers will throw in the towel. No coke plant and no jobs.
Obama was endorsed by the Building & Construction Trades Union on June 18 and the Iron Workers Union one week later. The Plumbers and Pipefitters Union endorsed Obama way back in January. These are the three unions whose members would get the lion’s share of the 2000 construction jobs at the FDS Coke Plant.
It would seem the Illinois senator’s environmental proposals would cost those unions a lot of work — right here in Toledo. But by the time the news broke on Obama’s coal-fired penalties, it was a little late for the unions to reconsider their endorsements.
Besides, a lot of people were encouraged to vote three weeks early. Before all of the information was in.
E-mail columnist Jim Harpen at email@example.com.