Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Time for the Parties to Step Up

I just heard some great news this morning. I have to admit my ignorance of something I should have known: the political parties themselves can decide whether their state primaries are binding or not. This one, I have to hand to the Democrats. The DNC is seriously considering downplaying some of the primaries that are being moved up too early. In the race to get in the picture early, some states are even considering binding presidential primaries before New Year's day, or in January. The Democratic party has decided that this is too much. I concur (how often do I get to say "Democratic" and "I concur" in the same paragraph?)

I have suddenly realized that this is not a government nor a federal issue. It is a party issue. How wonderful it would be for a party to suddenly declare that all state primaries are merely "straw polls," and nothing else. What a wonderful idea -- to have the candidates show up for their political conventions and duke it out in late summer, rather than bore us to tears with their monolithic, cookie-cutter political mumbo-jumbo?

As it stands right now, the presidential nomination in both parties may be sewed up before the first robin of spring 2008 lands in my state. That means a long, hot, UGLY summer of one-on-one between two dull candidates, neither of which can excite us the way they used to. If the election were held today, it would be between Rudy Giuliani and Hilary Clinton -- possibly the ugliest election in history. If this happens, I suggest we modify the ballot. I would recommend they give us two choices: not Clinton, or not Giuliani, because that's what the vast majority of people who bother to vote will actually be saying in November of '08.

So now is the time, Demos and Republicans. Tell the candidates that the primaries are non-binding -- merely "suggestions" for the state delegates. Or perhaps, this year, we could start by saying that only half of the delegates in each state will be decided by primary. When I realize that some candidates have already spent in excess of $20 million, and today is supposed to be the opening day of campaign season, I realize how bloated and vulgar the election process has become.

I'm still hoping for a dark horse to emerge some time next summer who will ride a wave into Washington. Someone to be excited about. If both parties would do something to curb early binding primaries, we might get that.

If we continue with the same old same old, we will have the same old cookie cutter politicos with their tired, insincere ideas. And November will be bad news for all of us.

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