Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Meet the new neighbors

If you're already suffering from "primary fatigue," the ailment that causes you to avert your eyes from the television when you see Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain or Mike Huckabee on the tube, your life just got worse. By virtue of her victories in Ohio and Texas, Hillary Clinton has had her campaign rejuvenated, and Pennsylvania is the next target of her and Obama's affections. With no other major races on the primary calendar between now and our April 22 vote, the Democratic candidates can turn their full attention to us, the lucky voters of the Keystone State. Both contenders have millions upon millions to spend on television ads, direct mailings and phone calls to us while we're trying to eat our dinners. They also will be appearing here in person, again and again and again. And don't expect them to be very friendly about it. In the run-up to Ohio and Texas, Clinton rolled out a TV ad essentially saying that if we vote for Obama and he becomes president, the terrorists will eat our children. If she thinks that worked, we'll be having that message force-fed to us over the next six weeks. You and I will be able to recite the Clinton and Obama stump speeches after unavoidably absorbing them through aural osmosis. But when the vote in our state is over, the political landscape is likely to be virtually unchanged. Obama, even after the setbacks in Ohio and Texas, maintains about a 100-delegate lead over Clinton, and it would be virtually impossible for her to catch him by the time the primaries are over, barring a major disaster for the Obama camp. (Recommended reading: Jonathan Alter's piece on "Hillary's Math Problem" at Clinton will continue to beat the dead horse on the seating of non-delegate delegates from Florida, where no one campaigned, and Michigan, where she was the only candidate on the ballot. It's hard to imagine that happening, barring a Bush 2000-style legal battle. So, then, it comes down to the superdelegates. Clinton will lobby them with the argument that she's won all the big states and is the only one who can win them against McCain in November. Obama will counter that he's the guy who has collected the most delegates through the actual voting process, and the superdelegates should follow the "will of the people." It should be fun to watch, even more so when the candidates are no longer pestering us.



Blogger Amanda Gillooly said...

The thing is, people will probably think that terrorist WILL come and eat their children.

March 5, 2008 at 11:21 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

Sadly, people in general are sheep and are easily led. I'm afraid that the percentage of voters who seriously consider what each candidate has to offer, then makes a reasoned decision, is frighteningly low. It's like people who vote a straight-party ticket. It's hard to imagine anything stupider than that. I think anyone who does that should be banned from casting a ballot for the rest of their lives. They obviously don't care enough about their voting rights to consider each candidate on his or her merits.

March 5, 2008 at 11:34 AM  
Blogger Amanda Gillooly said...

Personally, I've always thought one-issue voters were the most dangerous. People who only care about, say, abortion rights. They vote soley because a politician indicates they are pro-choice or pro-life, ignoring the other aspects of said politician's platform.

March 5, 2008 at 1:59 PM  
Blogger Mike Jones said...

You were right on all accounts, but I have one beef with your post. For years, Pennsylvanians have been clamoring for a say in the presidential nominees. So why are we complaining about the impending campaign blitz now that we finally get our wish to be relevant? Moreover, I'm sure most voters already are suffering from election fatigue if they've tuned to CNN or MSNBC for any of the past 21 debates. Regardless, I guess it's now our turn to duck and cover!

March 5, 2008 at 6:44 PM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

One-issue voters and straight-party ticket voters are indeed frightening, but what I find even more frightening, even terrifying, is those who will vote for one or the other of these candidates based only on gender or color. I recall that in the last election, many of the votes John Kerry received were because he WASN'T George Bush. People weren't for him, they were against Bush.

Russ Paar, the syndicated radio host who happens to be black has been running an ad on his show encouraging people to get out and vote. All well and good. However, this encouragement is not because there are extremely critical issues at stake in this election. No, Mr. Paar wants us to get out and vote because those who do can "be part of history" since we'll have an opportunity to vote for either a woman or a "person of color." Being a part of history, in this sense at least, is no different that being the first in line at the local Best Buy to get the latest PlayStation.

I am all for either a female or black president. Just please, God, not either of these two.

March 6, 2008 at 1:42 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Now that Huckabee is out of the race I'm waiting to see who Chuck Norris backs. That candidate will get my vote come November.

March 6, 2008 at 8:36 PM  
Blogger Roger said...

I need some help here with regard to Florida and Michigan. The DNC made a decision early in the game to punish the Dems in those states. The stated reason was given as the primary election was being scheduled too early. Why does the DNC have a say in how a state chooses to run their election process? I guess they don't -- DNC imposing a penalty for the election official's choice of date. But, the really confusing part is about disenfranchisement.

We have heard since the 2000 presidential election cries of disenfranchisement. The source of those cries were the Dems. They were arguing that no vote should not count, all votes were important, and that none should be disregarded. There are many other phrases used to make the point.

How can I reconcile the choice of the DNC to disregard any Dem's votes in FL or MI, against all the cries of disenfranchisement? On one hand, the DNC was adamant about having "every vote must count," but on the other hand tell the voters in FL and MI, "... your votes don't count."

When confronted with the cost of a do-over election, Howard Dean says "no way." Why wouldn't Mr. Dean want to give those voters a chance to make their votes count? I see their positions on disenfranchisement inconsistent. Where am I wrong?

March 9, 2008 at 5:30 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Obviously, the states can hold their primaries whenever they want. Florida and Michigan proved that. But at the same time, the Democratic apparatus can say, "Go ahead, defy us, but we're not seating your delegates." It's a mess. The funny part, to me, is Hillary Clinton demanding that the Florida and Michigan delegates be seated. Of course, nobody campaigned in Florida, and she was the only candidate on the ballot in Michigan. I guess it works for her, and it appears she doesn't feel bad about disenfranchising Democrats who might've voted for someone else in Michigan. The best answer I've seen for this mess is to create a system of regional primaries. Cut the country into four regions, and have all of the states in that region voting on a particular day. Then, every four years, one region takes its turn to go first, second, third and fourth. I'm open to any better suggestions for improving on this mish-mash or primaries, caucuses and fighting over who gets to vote when.

March 10, 2008 at 11:44 AM  

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