Primary start to long election cycle

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This week is when the rubber hits the road and all the glad handing and baby kissing done this past year takes a breather as the 2008 US Presidential election begins its primary phase. Politically I am an independent so I don’t get to vote for a candidate during the primaries nor do I want to.

Although I don’t vote in the primaries, I want to write about some of the choices available and why it doesn’t matter anyway and that primaries are only a dog and pony show at tax payer expense.

First up is Iowa and New Hampshire. Basically these 2 states are the 4th quarter of a close football game as one team tries all out to win it in the last 2 minutes of the game. If it works the winning team moves on to the playoffs and if not then they pretty much go home.

These first 2 contests starts the process of shaking the chafe from the stalks, as lessor candidates start to drop out as momentum and money flows elsewhere if they lose or lose badly.

The end of primary phase is the respective party conventions before Labor Day.

GOP

Sorry, I just can’t force myself to write anything about the GOP candidates. The part they are all playing this year is the anti-immigrant, anti religious freedom bigots and they all simply disgust me. If you really want to read something about them then check out this website that seems to gloss over their anti-American stances – Election Center 2008. I just can’t bring myself to give them any space for their so-called views in my blog.

Democrats

This is going to be the election that the Democrats have the inside track of winning since the GOP is in a tailspin and old 24% Dubya is in his last organismic throes as the guy that stands in front of microphones and tells us what Lord Cheney tells him to say.

Congress changed hands in 2006 even though the Dems have really not done anything yet less they upset Lord Cheney so while they have a good chance of winning the White House in 2008, they also have a great opportunity to fuck it up like they did in 2004.

While my fingers are crossed I will leave the party poppers in the closet until January 20th 2009 when a Democrat is actually taking the oath of office.

But who?

I would like to see Dennis Kucinich get the nomination but unless a majority of Democrats “grow a pair” I doubt he will get it. Kucinich is my kind of Democrat – against the war from day one, calling for impeachment of Lord Cheney, and I agree with most of his positions as to the economy and civil rights. Dennis is portrayed in the “media” as a kook but he is the only one I see who isn’t playing the “Republican Lite” game.

The “media” and most political insiders have Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as the ones duking it out for the nomination.

I really don’t have a problem with either one, but seeing as candidates are suppose to play to the extreme side of the party – since they are ones most likely to vote in the primary – Clinton and Obama have the “Republican Lite” down pat. We know how that worked for President Kerry…. oh wait….. Maybe this time the Dems could show an actual contrast with the GOP rather than a less extreme form of them.

Clinton is making an issue of experience claiming that since she was First Lady for 8 years that she is more experienced than Obama at being President. I don’t know how that claim is valid. That is like saying the wife of the fire chief is more experienced at being fire chief than an actual fireman.

I have just never bought into the idea that someone who has NEVER been the President of the United States can claim they have more experience just because they lived in the same house as a President. Someone can learn what the job is like but until you have to make the same decisions and take the responsibility for the decisions then you can’t claim you have experience in it.

Who would I choose?

One thing I tried to do was find out – If I could vote in the primaries – who I should vote for. By that I mean which person shares most of my views.

There are several unscientific “candidate match” websites out there. Basically they all present quotes or issues and you choose which ones that you agree with. At the end the websites show you which candidates matched your responses.

The first one I used is called Select Smart. The results I got is as follows:

1. Dennis Kucinich (86%)
2. Barack Obama (84%)
3. Joseph Biden (77%)
4. Christopher Dodd (77%)
5. Hillary Clinton (76%)
6. John Edwards (72%)

Another one I used was simply called VoteMatch Quiz

Chris Dodd (75%)
Cynthia McKinney (75%)
Dennis Kucinich (70%)
Hillary Clinton (68%)
John Edwards (63%)

The My Election Choices.com website uses actual quotes on different topics and you decide which one you agree with most. I decided to reduce the amount of time I would spend on the quiz and picked only a few of the topics available. The ones I picked were Education, Environment and Energy, Foreign Policy (General), Iraq War, and Separation of Church and State/Religion. The candidates I matched up with most were (number of quotes I agreed with follow the names):

Christopher Dodd (18)
Bill Richardson (14)
Hillary Clinton (11)
Dennis Kucinich (10)
Barack Obama (10)
John Edwards (9)

Cult of Personality

Of course, to the “media” and so-called talking heads, issues really don’t matter in a primary. I tend to agree that it is all a dog and pony show because the nominees will then morph into something bland and tasteless for general consumption during the run up to the general election.

If I were a registered Democrat or Republican, it really wouldn’t matter whom I voted for in the primary. No one will find a candidate that agrees with you 100% on every issue. If they did then it might just be your clone. Yet, progressive friends of mine use that as an excuse not vote period. They want perfection.

The candidates sometimes go negative and trash their competitors during the primaries then the party expects everyone to fall into line behind the winning nomination. Of course they forget the other party then uses the trash from the primary against them.

The reason I stay an independent and refuse to vote in a primary is because I think the whole primary system is a sham and at tax payer expense. It is a prime example why our elections are broken and suspect now. Both parties have used their power to pass laws to protect their “machines”. Where else, like the Ohio Revised Code, can one find detailed laws on how a state central committee is formed and operated. If that doesn’t smack of communism I don’t know what does. Is it really the business of state law to decide how a party is to govern itself?

Why is that when an office becomes vacant before an election that party of the past holder can appoint a replacement? It is just one way the system is manipulated by the two parties. They appoint a replacement who then is considered an incumbent in the next election.

Ballot access laws favor the two major parties because they wrote the law. They have different requirements for current parties and make it difficult for new parties to get on the ballot. Next to being an incumbent, the party label next to one’s name is a huge advantage (also having the same last name as a past or present office holder doesn’t hurt either).

I feel that if parties want to have primaries and conventions then they should do it on their own dime – not mine. Elections should be open to anyone who wants to run and we should have preferential voting.

Then maybe we’ll see the end of the dog and pony show and get back to elections about issues.


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