If a health care bill passes with an individual mandate and no public option, which is likely, I have vowed not to vote for any Democrats who vote for that bill. But it seems that whenever Democrats lose elections, the lesson that they take from that is to veer right, which is not the message I want to send. So I have been thinking about how to use my vote to get the right message across to Democrats in 2010.

I will vote in the 2010 elections. For one thing, I live in California and can’t afford to leave the governor’s seat up for grabs without at least trying to get someone halfway decent in there. Of course I am hoping that good progressive or at least non-corporate libertarians surface in the national races, and if they do, I’ll vote for them.

But what if it is the same old bad Democrat vs. bad Republican? My blood pressure can’t handle another election postmortem on how the elections prove that the country is center right and the politicians must make a hard right to stay in power. But whether I stay home or vote Republican (I’ve already told Barbara Boxer that if she lost my vote after the Senate bill debacle), that’s the message I expect to hear.

I have decided that for every seat that there is no really good candidate, I will write in Howard Dean. I picked Howard Dean because although he has been more conflicted lately, when the travesty of a Senate bill came out, he called it a giveaway to the insurance companies. The message I want to send is that you lost my vote because you are more interested in giving the insurance companies money so they can give some back to you than you are in whether I get health care. I think a vote for Howard Dean represents that. At the same time, it sends the message that I am not going to fall for the old "you’ll vote for Obama because otherwise you’ll get President Palin so we don’t have to worry about doing anything to win your vote." Howard Dean has run for President before so it could send the message that I’m looking at Democratic alternatives to Obama for 2012.

Of course, one write in won’t send any message because it won’t be noticed. But it will still mean more to me than just staying home or not voting for those positions that have no good alternatives. And if other people also write in Howard Dean, especially if his name pops up on ballots all over the country, maybe someone will take note. Heaven knows it’s the kind of story the Sunday shows could panel to death and it would give David Gregory a chance to ask someone else five hundred times if they are going to run for President, which he can’t seem to pass up.

Anybody else think something like this might work? It doesn’t have to be Dean. I’d write in anyone who could get the right message across. He’s just the one it seems to me most likely to deliver my anti-corporatism and anti-bailout message with only a name on a ballot. I’d write in Jane, but I’m sure that story would be all about having to veer right to be more like Grover Norquist by the time the MSM got through with it. I am not optimistic that anyone will really care or won’t be able to spin the message, but I really feel like I need to try something. I’m tired of feeling helpless.