Why Does Alabama Need an Election for Agriculture Commissioner

Ben Smith observes that this year Alabama Republicans have produced a lot of bizarre campaign ads, and he says this one takes the cake:

To shift out of mock-world for a minute, though, Dale Peterson is making two valid points here. One is that the office of Agriculture Commissioner is more important than people are likely to realize. The other is that special interests (i.e., “thugs and criminals”) benefit from the fact that people generally don’t understand what it is that the Agriculture Commissioner does. The solution to this, however, isn’t to vote for Dale Peterson, it’s for Alabama to have fewer statewide elected officials. Right now, according to this list, a responsible citizen of Alabama is supposed to form separate opinions about a Governor, a Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General, a Secretary of State, a Treasurer, a State Auditor, and an Agriculture Commissioner. That’s just way too many elections. It guarantees an uninformed electorate and special interest control.

Democracy should be about accountability, not holding lots of elections. Too many independently elected officials makes lines of responsibility murky and makes it impossible for citizens to monitor their agents.