Saturday, August 11, 2007

What's Up With the Ever-Changing Primary Calendar?

If you smell a rat in the ever-changing calendar, your senses may be on target. One sure thing is that it's about more than which state has bragging rights that it determines the slate for the nation. It's about that latter notion too. But that's only the half of it.

We've lived quite long enough with an Iowa or a New Hampshire deciding for the entire country whom we can choose from. I mean no criticism against these two states, except that it's rather ego-centric to believe that one must go first.

Me-first, me-first is an American obsession. People camped overnight in Portland, Oregon, recently for the grand opening of a new Ikea Superstore. They camp out to the among the first to get a new Harry Potter book (what's the difference--you can get a copy of HP in the mail by 4:00 the same day. Why give up a night's sleep?). But I forgot, it's me first. Drivers pushing on the bumper of cars in rush hour and chronically lane-changing don't get to their destinations much faster, but it's me first.

The national Democratic Party should put a stop to the me-first madness in electoral politics by proclaiming a national primary on the same day for everyone. And let that be the end of it.

But there is likely another motive underlying all the upping of the primary calendars. Very early primaries could render impossible any late-entering candidates, such as Al Gore, who might dethrone Hillary. Are we seeing a stop-Gore movement from the Clintonistas?

It is clear by now that Clinton supporters, the so-called mainstream media, and Republicans are "Deaning" John Edwards and Barack Obama. They might have a chance if the public really hears what they have to say--and if the primaries aren't absurdly upped into this calendar year. From the perspective of believers of Hillary entitlement, however, the solution might be to end the race sooner rather than later.

It all smacks of a lack of democracy. Yeh, I know we are a republic. But we preach democracy all over the world. Let's have more of it at home. And let's demand better coverage of the candidates than we are getting. If we don't, voters won't be ready to vote by Dec. But that's probably what the insiders want anyway.