Oh God, do I miss the blunt frankness and unabashed partisanship of East Coast politics. For example, this email I got yesterday from Philadelphia Elections Commissioner Stephanie Singer, the woman who runs the city's elections:

Dear Friend and Supporter,

I woke up this morning to reports that the presidential race is a "dead heat".

As a woman, and as a Jew, I am horrified at the prospect of Republican control of government.

If you are glad to see me doing the work I am doing, please consider this: it would have been much harder to dedicate myself to work through my entire adult life to date if I had to either prepare for the prospect of unplanned motherhood or forego that natural, healthy source of joy and comfort, sex. Republican policies would keep women down by denying them affordable, safe birth control. This is bad for America.

Jews value community and tikkun olam. Tikkun olam refers to our obligation to repair the world around us. Republicans deny responsibility — they like to use the phrase "personal responsibility," which means "if a person fails it is that person's fault." In other words, Republicans excuse themselves from the adverse effects of their policies on individuals. If you're not rich, it's not their problem. If you are sick, it's not their problem. If every child does not have access to a great education, it's not their problem. Republican policies would destroy equal opportunity in America.

I have to spend the next 12 days ensuring free and fair elections in Philadelphia. I ask you to spend the next 12 days working extra hard to earn votes for Democratic candidates. My personal favorites this year are President Obama, Kathleen Kane (running for Attorney General in Pennsylvania) and Kathy Boockvar (running for congress in Pennsylvania).

Thank you, as always, for paying attention.

Imagine the local uproar if King County Elections Director Sherril Huff were to send out an email slamming Republicans let alone opining on the joys of sex? Makes me homesick.

And if you think Singer is inappropriately blunt, you should've seen her predecessor: Frank Rizzo-era political crone Marge Tartaglione, who'd been running the city's elections since before I cast my first ballot, and who was for me the very emblem of Philadelphia's old corrupt Democratic machine.

(Singer, by the way, is a progressive reformer—a friend of a friend who's been doing a great job cleaning up the city's elections operations since her surprise win last year.)