Hey, switch-hitters!

The Republican Party is going down in flames, but it’s not too late to join the winning side

Let’s get it over with. Forget the election. Burn Gov. Sarah Palin at the stake. Push Sen. John “Bumpy Face” McCain that last lonely step into the grave. Toss the Republican Party and everything it has stood for during the past three decades into history’s dustbin. They’re all going to be buried in a landslide of historic proportions this Tuesday, anyway.

McCain’s selection of Palin was the last desperate act of a doomed campaign. Democrats and progressives nervously wrung their hands while the least-qualified person ever chosen as a vice-presidential running mate enjoyed her moment in the sun. Alas, poor Icarus! Not even a $150,000 wardrobe could sustain such wild flight of fancy. Now, even McCain’s own aides admit she’s a “total disaster.”

Not that every right-wing rube in the country has given up on Palin. This morning I got an e-mail from former KFBK talk-radio host Mark Williams, who’s currently promoting the Stop Obama Tour for a political-action committee billing itself as Our Country Deserves Better. “Sarah’s a fighter!” brags the PAC’s Web site.

It’s a deeply paranoid organization, chaired by Howard “Recall” Kaloogian and featuring former Reagan administration confidant Sal Russo as chief strategist. The best these fossils can come up with? TV commercials portraying Obama as an unpatriotic tax-hiking terrorist.

But what else can you expect from a movement that’s bereft of ideas? The conservatives are gonna get buried, and I feel Williams’ pain. No doubt the balloon-faced wing nut will be among Sacramento’s walking wounded next Wednesday morning, relegated to the pasture of irrelevance, looking for a new gig.

There’s always talk radio, although from the look of Williams’ Web site, he’s a bit out of practice. The “on-the-air” link leads to WROW News Talk radio in Albany, N.Y., where Williams is no longer listed in the lineup.

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Like I said, it’s going to be a Republican blood bath. Obama-Biden will crush McCain-Palin like a ripe grape, and the Democrats will ride their coattails to vast majorities in the House and the Senate. A second Great Depression is coming, and soon Congress will be doling out the stimulus packages. The last person you want representing you is a conservative Republican who’s spent his entire career railing for financial deregulation and against government handouts.

Nevertheless, that is what the denizens of the 3rd and 4th Congressional Districts appear to be on the verge of doing. Rural counties to the east of Sacramento, I implore you: It’s not too late to join the winning side.

Don’t believe Republican Rep. Dan Lungren’s claim that he single-handedly reined in the housing bubble. Lungren has been a champion of financial deregulation for his entire political career, and only law firms have contributed more money to that career than the real-estate industry. For that reason alone, vote for Democrat Dr. Bill Durston, emergency-room physician, Navy combat veteran and, unlike Lungren, a Geneva Conventions supporter.

For residents of the 4th District, the choice is even more clear-cut. As The Sacramento Bee’s Shane Goldmacher recently pointed out, conservative candidate Tom McClintock prides himself on being an obstructionist. During the past two years, he hasn’t sponsored a single bill in the state Legislature. In other words, McClintock has excelled at getting exactly nothing done during his entire career in the state Legislature.

Gentle rural readers, as the current recession descends into a depression, you’re going to want someone who can get things done. Is former United States Air Force officer Charlie Brown your man? Who knows? But at least he doesn’t openly boast about sitting around on his ass.

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I’ve said it before, and with a little luck, I won’t ever have to say it again: Sacramento Superior Court Judge Peter “Chainsaw” McBrien is the gift that keeps on giving. That may come to a screeching halt this Tuesday if enough voters write in the name of Matt Smith, the Elk Grove attorney who’s running against McBrien for the sixth seat on the court.

As the handy instructions on Smith’s Web site demonstrate, writing in the name of a qualified write-in candidate is simple. There are two open judicial seats in Sacramento County this election. On the ballot, you’ll find McBrien’s name listed under “Judge of the Superior Court Office No. 6.” Fill in Matt Smith’s name on the blank below McBrien’s name and fill in the oval next to the blank.

If enough voters write in Smith’s name, Sacramento will have at the very least a more even-tempered judge on the bench. Smith’s backers, which include more than a dozen individuals upset with the treatment they’ve received in McBrien’s courtroom, are out for blood. As this column was being filed, their spokesperson announced the group has filed a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission, alleging McBrien hasn’t filed all of the required documents.

Stay tuned. I gotta a feeling this isn’t the last time I’ll be writing about Judge McBrien after all.