Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dibs on Primary First


Me, me, me, me is the chant of the Presidential primaries. Yawn.

I suppose it's neither baser nor more childish than traditional pork-barrel projects. Yet this year's rushed trampling panic for states to be first and to be influential is comedic.

New Hampshire has long — by tradition since 1920 and by its law since 1977 — held the nation's first primary. That's an affectation that makes sense in an insecure sort of way. A wee state with a small, atypical population and few delegates is like the little kid who pushes his way in front of the upperclassman for the lunch line.

Allowing that kind of self-interest from the little guy amuses the others.

This year though, Super Tuesday became an embarrassment, as populous states as well tried to elbow each other out of the way to claim that their primary was important. It seemed every state wants to cast its votes as the ones that determine the next president.

If you look mid-term and longer, no state, wee or freakin' huge, is predictive cycle after cycle. The early states like to pretend that the rest of the nation will follow their choices. Har!

Quite simply, the not so wee states with not so few delegates make or break candidacies more often. Even though that should be no surprise, the boys and girls in state houses and political parties are positively faddish about me, me, me, me, I'm first.

So, the giggle this year is that the early states did their thing, followed by super, gigantico, hyper-crowded Tuesday. Now the laggards are beginning to vote. Suddenly the premature voters at the front of the line shrink to microscopic again. Nah nah nah.

Today, we have the mid-Atlantic heavyweights — Virginia, D.C. and Maryland. Then in three weeks, delegate-rich Ohio and Texas vote. For the Dems, these five states are likely to make all the difference.

Hillary Clinton is making kissy face, at least by phone, to the superdelegates. She seems to be getting at least oral support short term.

Suddenly, few care about how this or that early state voted. Barack Obama could have a solid majority of the popular vote and pledged delegates. Clinton could do an end-run using the undemocratic Democratic superdelegate process. She could in effect do a George Bush style win with the other guy getting the votes and her getting the backroom votes that swing nomination. All it would take for an honest race would be for the superdelegates to vote with the majority of their states, but that would require larger 'nads than most of those have shown.

Meanwhile, it is fun to see those who pushed their way in front of the line find out who the new popular kids are, those states who waited their turns. I laugh all over my ballot.

Wednesday Follow-Up: How many times can George the Lesser sound the same dishonorable and dishonest alarm? Apparently with the audience of cowards and buffoons in the U.S. House, at least once more. This morning, he pulled the old give him what he wants or the terrorists will attack again act. He told the House that they didn't need to debate giving immunity to spying criminals in telcos and his administration. Act immediately because "terrorists are planning new attacks on our country ... that will make Sept. 11 pale by comparison."
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