Running for Office, But Where Do They Stand?

11/01/2010 01:23 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

After being inundated by countless and misleading television commercials and far too many and unwanted fliers sating our mail boxes, the electorate is exhausted by the onslaught of material and by the lack of substance that comes with them. During these final cam-pain days, the perpetrators are intruding into my household with a titanic amount of computer driven, pre-recorded phone messages including one just received which began "This is Leonardo Dicaprio."

These intrusions come from a myriad of sources attempting to promote their candidates for local, state and national offices. The mainstay of these messages are that their opponent is either a liar, crook, incompetent or goon, and their candidate is the sole savior who can do the job for you since he or she is both on your side and is one of you.

The one vital ingredient that is missing in many of these pleading messages is the paucity of information on what their candidate actually stands for other than truth, justice and the American way. Wasn't that Superman's slogan?

The California Democratic Party (CDP) has overwhelmed us with colorful, glossy fliers listing their choices for all offices, and naturally they are all Democrats. They have also put forth their positions on all ballot issues and at times they either disagree with themselves or cannot make up their minds.

Regarding Proposition 19, the legalizing of marijuana measure, one CDP offering declares that they are against passing it and in another flyer they decided to remain "neutral."

When it comes to endorsements, one flier was replete with all of the smiling faces of all major CDP candidates but not a hint of what any of their qualifications were. They are assuming that if the recipient is either a Democrat or an Independent, that they would unquestionably vote for the smiling faces thrust in front of them.

In frustration, I sent e-mails jointly addressed to both the Democratic and the Republican candidate for Attorney General, for the Board of Equalization in my district, and for Lieutenant Governor. For the latter office, the subject line read "Newsom or Maldonado -- Whom Do We Vote For?" In the opening line of the e-mails for the candidates for all three offices I explained whom my wife and I were and asked, "Why should we vote for you?" I received answers from two of the three offices but none from either Newsome or Maldonado so I votes for James "Jim" Castillo of the Green Party who listed his current occupation as Cultural Spiritual Advisor, a worthwhile position during these confusing times.

I live in the unincorporated Live Oak area of Santa Cruz and for the position of Member of the Governing Board of that school district; there were four candidates for three positions. I looked up their phone numbers, called each of them and asked why they deserved my vote. The most interesting response was from a man who listed his primary qualification as "I am a grandfather," and during our three-minute conversation he repeated seven times "I may not make it." I did what I could to help him not make it.

If incumbents and challengers have earned our enmity with their inane, false and irritating advertising and questionable competence, it's everyone's patriotic duty to help as many as possible not make it.

House and Senate candidates are on their way to spend more than $2 billion this year to buy their way into a public office. That's about $4 million for every congressional seat in play. A mere trifle compared to what has been spent on the California Governor's race between GOP candidate Meg Whitman and Democrat Jerry Brown. With one week to go, the California Fair Political Practices Commission reported the candidates had spent nearly $87.5 million combined since July 1, about three weeks after the June primary. The bulk of that spending has come from billionaire Whitman, a former eBay CEO who has spent $142 million of her own money in her first run for office. Combined, Brown and Whitman have spent more than $188.1 million so far in both the primary and general election. Both of these candidates have either an insatiable desire to be in an ersatz power position, or have a masochistic need to suffer in an allegedly power position that has no real power. Just ask Arnold.

The 2012 GOP Presidential candidate Sarah Palin and the GOP's 2010 Delaware Senatorial candidate Christine O'Donnell have replaced the original Gemini twins Castor and Polydeuces. They are starting to look alike, dress alike, and both have mastered their down-home "You Betcha" way of speaking to the common folk. However Sarah far surpasses Christine as a fundraiser as she fills her coffers using the same canned speech that garners $100,000 for each presentation. It's a bit more than what most of the common folk earn in two years, if they happen to have a job. An election prediction: Tina Fey will soon be working again.