Thursday, February 7, 2008

Who, Us?

Well, so much for Super Tuesday - at least on the Democratic side. While Mitt Romney's campaign was a casualty of the "mass primary," there seems to have been a vast conspiracy to even out the delegate count between Senators Clinton and Obama. Which means that yard signs have been popping up like so many mushrooms here in Washington State, and a couple of blocks away from the main Microsoft campus, people were handing out flyers to motorists stopped at traffic lights. There was even an NPR story on it, from which I learned that John McCain is going to be coming to visit. (I guess the days of Washington being mostly a campaign ATM are over - until Sunday, anyway.) Most people, including me, had written off the Washington caucuses (this weekend) and primaries (just under a fortnight away) as completely moot. It was kind of nice actually. I'm one of those cynical types who believes that you can tell a politician is lying because you can see their lips moving, and campaign seasons have always been a long "truth free zone" in my not-very-humble opinion. But it looks like we were wrong, and I'm doomed to living the next few days in a "battleground" state. With any luck, it's too late for advertising buys.

I don't think that I'm going to the Caucuses this year. I've been there, and done that, and I'm not in a hurry to repeat the experience. I'm also not particularly enthused about anyone in the race this time around. I'm not sure that I could bring enough bread and cheese to go with all the whine that comes with the Democratic Caucus (trust me on this), and since I gave up religion for Lent, I don't think that the Republican Caucus is going to be any more my speed.

Sam Reed, Washington's Secretary of State, has been trying to drum up interest in the primaries. This put him on the wrong side of the Chairman of the Washington Democratic party, Dwight Pelz (well, the fact that Reed is a Republican was enough to do that, but anyway...). Reed's point is that primaries allow more people to participate. Pelz' issue with this is that the Democrats aren't going to select any delegates based on the primary (the Republicans are going to assign delegates almost evenly between their caucus and primary), and so by encouraging participation in the primary, Reed is attempting to disenfranchise people. It's a common refrain among the local Democrats. Something as simple as a clerical error (no, seriously) has been seen as a hateful conspiracy to keep people from exercising their right to vote. (Not that this will keep Precinct captains from starting the caucuses on time or even a little earlier if they suspect that latecomers will support candidates that the captain themselves don't favor. {Once the caucus has started, newcomers are turned away.})

I think I liked it better when everyone was convinced that it would all be said and done by now.

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