Monday, March 10, 2008

Week of 03/10/2008

Primary Do-Over Is A Just Compromise
– by David Matthews 2

I have a really simple question for Senator Hillary Rodham-Clinton:

What is her major malfunction concerning rules?

You see, a few months back there was a major rush for certain states to bump up their primaries and caucuses so they would be “the first”, or at least the earliest in the pack. The various state legislators got tired of feeling left out with having their primaries so late in the year, and they knew from experience that the field of potential candidates would thin itself out in a matter of weeks, not months.

They also knew that every presidential wannabe that would show up would be dishing out political favors to the states they visit like they were candy. That’s the REAL reason why they were in a rush to bump up their primaries and caucuses.

Unfortunately there are some drawbacks to having every state rushing to be the “first”, and the biggest is that the traditional leaders – namely New Hampshire and Iowa – are FORCED to bump up theirs. I’m talking forced as in BY LAW!

Party leaders were essentially looking at the prospect of seeing campaigns running at the same time as voters were worrying about the Holiday Season!

So to prevent that from happening, both the Democrat and Republican leaders stepped in and laid down the law. Certain states – namely New Hampshire, Vermont, Nevada, and South Carolina - can still have their primaries and caucuses in January, but the rest could not move theirs up earlier than February 5th, 2008. If they did, they would lose their delegates.

The state legislators for Michigan and Florida chose to defy the party leaders and continue to have their primaries in January. Democrat National Committee Chairman Howard Dean stripped those states of their delegates to the national convention. (The Republicans, meanwhile, only stripped those states of half of their delegates.) About half of the Democrats who were running dropped their names from the ballots, partly to show solidarity with the national party’s rules, and also to save some needed campaign money so they wouldn’t be wasting their time in what would essentially be an empty political beauty contest.

Guess who didn’t pull his or her name off the ballots? That’s right, Senator Clinton. She still campaigned in those states, and, not surprisingly, she won big in both Michigan and Florida when they had their renegade primaries.

And even before Florida had their renegade primary, Clinton was actually DEMANDING that the rules be reversed and the delegates “be seated” at the national convention. Never mind the rules! SCREW the rules! The voters voted and votes should count!

Sounds a little familiar, doesn’t it? Say… November and December of 2000? Same state too! Endless screaming and shouting about screwing the rules and haggling over what constituted a valid vote. Do the Democrats REALLY think that we had forgotten about those days? Apparently so, because Clinton is carrying on as though we’re still in the 2000 Fiasco and she has taken over the role of Vice-President Al “I’m Not Dull” Gore.

Screw the rules, Senator? Those are the same rules that allowed you to represent a state that you barely even lived in prior to the election! Those are the same rules that created this whole team of “super-delegates” that you claim to have your back pocket that keep your hopes for a return to the White House intact.

YOU KNEW what those states were planning to do, Senator. YOU KNEW what the consequences would be if they did it. If you truly valued those delegates, Senator, then you should have been at the front end of the whole situation, urging the legislators in Florida and Michigan to reconsider their respective decisions and move their primaries back a week.

But you didn’t do that, did you, Senator? No, you were the one going in front of the cameras and telling voters in those states to go ahead and vote for you anyway and that YOU will make sure their delegates will be seated in the national convention at all costs.

Screw the rules, indeed! Doesn’t it sound even a TAD hypocritical to be running for leadership of the free world, where you expect people to obey the laws… THE RULES… that are passed by Congress and signed into law by the President - whoever that person will actually be - after telling voters to IGNORE the rules of your political party? If by some twist of fate you do become president, wouldn’t you expect people of this nation to follow your word? Why should they, then, if you’re telling the voters in Florida and Michigan to ignore the rules of the party chairman? What kind of example are you setting, Senator?

By all rights, this matter should have been done and over with. Florida and Michigan broke the rules, they lost their delegates in the national convention, and that should be it.

But Chairman Dean has decided to allow a workaround for those states. The governors of Florida and Michigan have agreed in principle to allow a second primary to give those voters a new chance for their delegates to be seated. Florida is finalizing plans to offer a special “mail-in” primary for Democrats. If it all works out the way they want it to, Florida and Michigan should have all new delegates to represent them in the national convention.

There are, however, a few problems… and the biggest of these goes by the name of Senator Hillary Rodham-Clinton.

The senator from New York by way of Washington D.C. still feels that the original primary results should stand and those delegates should just be seated. After all, why go through the whole process again, wasting time, effort, and money, when she would just be winning the whole thing anyway? Presuming, of course, that she WOULD win the whole thing again.

Bear in mind that aside from herself and Mike Gravel, none of the other candidates really put any effort into campaigning into those states. They were told it would be a wasted effort. But now the field has narrowed down to herself, Barack Obama, and Gravel (who is getting a really unprofessional shunning in the media), and with Obama leading in delegates (as of this column’s date), there really is no guarantee that Madame Clinton would really be the “sure fire” winner the second time around.

And that thought terrifies her, because with the Florida candidates that she would have from the original renegade primary, she would cut Obama’s delegate lead almost in half. But with the poison campaign that she has waged of late, she can’t guarantee the same result.

But let’s get brutally honest here… offering Florida and Michigan a do-over is about as good and just and acceptable of a compromise as the Democrats are going to get to resolve this matter!

The Democrats already are suffering a HUGE credibility problem thanks to the sheer ineptitude and cowardice being exhibited by their members in Congress. And they have absolutely NO AUTHORITY WHATSOEVER to lecture the Republicans about following the rule of law if the Senator of New York by way of Washington D.C. is actively engaging in and encouraging insurrection against her own political party.

Senator Clinton is clearly endangering her own political party for the sake of her own selfish ambition. She has, through her actions, engaged in Chicago-style rules of politicking, which is to win at all costs. Rather appropriate, of course, since she IS originally from Illinois. Every advantage on her part is automatically justified, and any action by her opponents must be condemned in a scathing wail that would make a banshee shiver. Now that may be fine for her if she was running as an independent. But she’s running as a member of a political party that has been around just a few decades shorter than this country has, and running, no less, to be their CHAMPION. If she can’t show respect for the rules of that party, then she truly does not have the proper credentials to be its champion, never mind President of the United States.

It’s bad enough that we currently have one constitutional renegade in office in the form of George W. Bush. America certainly does not need another renegade that can’t even wait to get elected before showing disrespect.

As for the Democrats themselves, Chairman Dean needs to put the Senator in her place, and he also needs to put the state political leaders in their place. He needs to prove that the party is not just some hodgepodge of liberal factions and career politicians looking to keep their pensions. If he can’t do that this time around, when the chances are great that their party may actually win in November, then I mince no words when I say that the Democrats will be DEAD as a party.

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