If any of our elected positions lend itself to "litmus test" voting, it would appear to be the House of Delegates. I curb this suggestion, in accordance with the suggestions of my conservative compatriots, to say that the evaluation of a candidate for this position involves the application of multiple litmus tests at once, with a final tally that helps you decide your vote. For those that like baseball, numbers, and quantified politics, litmus tests are great. For those that prefer ideology, "good guys/gals", and "He/she-remembered-my-name-so-they-get-my-vote", litmus tests are worthless.
I say this after reviewing WB's endorsement of Warren Miller and Jon Weinstein. There doesn't seem to be any particular issue in front of the legislature that is "grinding WB's gears", so he made his choice based on business experience. A very non-litmus test approach, but one that you really can't disagree with (unless you want to get under-the-hood with regard to the business-sense of Maryann Maher and Gail Bates).
District 9A is my District. Therefore, when Delegates Miller and Bates vote, they are voting for me. If that vote doesn't represent my views or concerns, I have an obligation to research the alternatives, and adjust my personal vote accordingly. Said otherwise, I don't just get to pout on this little blog.
Nonetheless, my entire system of evaluating Delegates is "screwed up" in this regard. Gail Bates is a family friend. Warren Miller completely passes the "guy-you'd-like-to-have-a-beer-with" test (which is my second choice, after the litmus test). I am concerned with their coziness with the Tea Party fringe. Very concerned. I am concerned that Warren Miller will always be a "No" vote on the Economic Matters committee against Direct Shipping of Wine to the Free State. I am concerned that both Delegates Miller and Bates will always be "No" votes against Civic Equality. These are all votes that I will have to own as a voter, despite being adamantly against such decisions.
But, on the other hand, they remember my name and...I generally like them as people. I find both to be incredibly intelligent and good with constituent services (despite the fact that they sometimes are reporting back on votes that I disagree with). Both are reliable votes against any form of tax increase. Most important for me, they provide some balance to an overwhelmingly blue Annapolis.
I'm still in deliberation mode, but I wanted to let you all know where I am, in case you are facing similar dilemmas. I can tell you straight up that I will not be voting for Ms. Maher. The bottom 2/3 of her Issues page reads like a liberal activist manifesto.
It comes down to Jon. I look forward to meeting Mr. Weinstein sometime over the next two months, but I was admittedly perturbed that he didn't take a stand on the Day's End Farm debate when he was on And Then There's That. I don't vote for fluff. I also disagree with Dennis's characterization of Jon as being a moderate in the mold of Courtney Watson. I just don't think Jon will be "ruffling the feathers" of any Democrats in the way Courtney has tried to do in order to maintain her "moderate" bona fides. Whether anyone is going to admit it, when you lock in with Ken Ulman, you are locking in with party loyalty...and if you aren't, he will crush you. (Not to mention the endorsement of Deputy Majority Leader in the House of Delegates Dan Morhaim, M.D.).