June 25, 2006

DNC moves closer to shuffling primary schedule

A Democratic National Committee panel considering changes to the presidential election calendar voted Thursday to allow just two other states to join Iowa and New Hampshire in voting early in 2008.

If the full DNC adopts the recommendation, one state would be allowed to hold a caucus between Iowa's caucus and the New Hampshire primary, and a second would hold a primary shortly after the New Hampshire contest.

Supporters said limiting the new states to two instead of the four some had proposed would accomplish the goal of increasing racial and ethnic diversity without front-loading the calendar or diminishing the traditional roles of Iowa and New Hampshire. Both states have been criticized as unrepresentative of the country given their size and nearly all-white populations.

Good thing? Bad thing?

I think it's a needed change which will help decrease the frontloading of the primaries and remove some of the undue influence exerted by two small states. (no offence, Iowa.)


At 6/26/2006 2:14 PM, Blogger DookOfURL said...

On the one hand, the retail politics value of small states like IA and NH are important. No other states get to know the candidates personally.

On a practical level, I think it would be useful to have regional primarys/caucases. In other words, if Iowa is to remain first in the nation, why not include IL, WI, MN and MO? There is certainly enough "diversity" in those states to satisfy the most hysterical liberal.

Same for NH. Why not include MA,CT, VT, NY in the mix?

Let's get real here. Most of us learn about the candidates from lame-@ss political ads that don't tell us anything. Let more of us in on the "retail" part of politics---it can only be a good thing.

At 6/26/2006 7:09 PM, Blogger highxlr8r said...

The problem with any primary calendar is that every method of doing it has some drawback. With IA and NH it's the lack of diversity selecting a candidate, and states with large dem populations oftne have little say by the end of the process. Of course having big states go first is more beneficial to the moneyed candidate who can afford commercials in the big media market, as would a nationwide primary.

Part of the problem, however, lay with the media, who like to crown a winner right after the first contest, and with voters who watch the media and may not put as muc effort into the selection process as they should.

At 6/27/2006 12:54 AM, Blogger tiz said...

No offense taken. I think at least four states (maybe one in each time zone) should go at once to start things off. While it's great that we get attention and have people like Evan Bayh and John Edwards around to stump for Braley and Culver, I think Iowa gets way too much say in who ends up being the presidential candidate. That goes for either party. Here's a fun what-if game to think about: What if John McCain campaigned in Iowa in 2000 instead of completely disregarding it?

Throw in the fact we're a swing state with pretty much an even split in our national and state congressional delegations and the fun never really ends..

At 6/27/2006 8:15 AM, Blogger Polt said...

I really dont have a problem with Iowa and NH going first, I have a problem with them going damn near 10 months BEFORE the election.

I don't think we ought to have a single primary, in either party, until 6 months before the election. Have a slew of primaries in May, June and July, have the conventions in the last two weeks of August, and then start the campaign right after Labor Day (well, yeah, the campaigning will be going on for MONTHS ahead of time anyway, but you know what I mean). Our campagins are just too damn long.

I'd also like to see regional primaries. Say all 6 New England states have thier primaries the same day. And then maybe hit the deep South. And then maybe the mountain states, etc, etc, etc. Save the primaries for the big states for last, liek California, and NY and PA's the same day. That way if one candidate gets a huge lead early, he still might not get the nominatation if they big states go for another candidate. I know the parties won't want it that way, but it would make a more exciting contest.

Oh well, sorry to babble so much.

At 6/27/2006 2:55 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Aside from your ridiculous "hysterical liberal" crack, your comment seems sane.

I agree with the value of "up close and personal" politicking.

I've long thought that it was a very cool thing that, even in this day of massive media saturation and relentless streams of propaganda people are subjected to, that contenders for the most powerful position on earth, if they want it, have to come to Iowa and N.H. and actually TALK to us little specks in fly-over country.

It's also a great thing in that it puts the average person firmly in control The high and mighty have to come begging and, at least once every four years, actually LISTEN to them.

I've always loved the fact that folks in Iowa see so many presidential candidates so many times, that they lose the "awe" that most people probably give them. These multi-millionaire senators and governors become almost anonyances to some Iowans, no big deal. Iowans are so fortunate (in some ways) and so used to seeing politicians everywhere, that they don't bow down to international political figures when they clog up their coffee shop. I think that's great!

Those who feel they're worthy to lead this country having to humble themselves and suck up to the "normal" people of Iowa is a truly American thing, and a good thing. Both Iowans and the pols can benefit.

But the flip side is that too much weight is given to the choices of Iowa and N.H., both states who, it's been pointed out, aren't exactly representitive of the country at large.

But I think the point that the two small states aren't racially representitive is a minor point.

It doesn't matter so much that the states don't reflect the national makeup as much as they simply have too much influence over the process.

If there wasn't so much focus placed on the two states by the media and operatives, this wouldn't be a problem. But the way the game works, you simply have to get both or at least one of these states in order to gin up your fundraising and the perception that you're a front-runner.

It's damn near impossible to lose both states and survive for long as a serious contender.

That's simply not right.

I think if two states had to pick the front-runner, Iowa and New Hampshire should be the two. They're both find states with educated and no-nonsense citizens.

But I do think it's a problem that Iowa and N.H. are "do or die" states.

At 6/27/2006 3:08 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...


You raise some great points.

And you aren't "rambling on". Some of my comments make yours look miniscule. ha!

At 6/28/2006 12:52 PM, Blogger DookOfURL said...

I agree with hi, and others here, that a major problem with the campaigns is the way the national press covers the event.

The way the press covers the campaign like a horse race is just lame and not very useful to those wanting REAL information about the candidates. For the press it's all about who has raised the most money, who is doing best in the polls (which can be slanted to arrive at any conclusion), etc. It's idiotic. My hope is with the rise of the internet and blogs that we will be able to preempt the national press and have a more meaningful campaign in '06 if not '08. One can hope.

I do disagree with tiz, however. In this age of high gas prices, and concerns about global warming and other environmental issues, it just seems wasteful to have four simultaneous primarys in four states in four different time zones. Too much zapping around from one end of the country to the other, burning jet fuel and cruising around in SUVs. Politicians should walk the walk, not just talk the talk about energy conservation. That's why a series of regional primarys would make more sense---both for energy conservation as well as wear and tear on the candidates.

Hey, who wants to take bets on what candidate will be the first to use hybrid cars for campaigning instead of the monster SUVs? hee!hee!

At 6/29/2006 12:35 AM, Blogger tiz said...

Hey, I got a conservative to admit global warming exists. I can go to bed happy now. :)

But if a handful of candidates and their staff jumped around 4 states in 4 timezones (and you can argue they do this already in 2 timezones, it's just that Iowa gets to "vote" first) it'd be a drop in the bucket with respect to the environment. The advantages of having regional parity in party nominations would far outweigh any conservation issues. I don't think Iowa has made good choices to start things off (for either party) in a long time, and I don't see how simply including a neighbor that is more likely to think along the same lines will help things. For example, I bet most every presidential hopeful starts pimping E85 to appeal to Iowans in the next two years. It's going to appeal to anyone in a adjacent state too. Let them have to face a voter in New Mexico who is more likely to call them out on the many shortcomings of E85.

I worked at a John Edwards rally in 2004 and they used what were essentially two greyhound-sized busses to get around Iowa (not counting his secret service detail). He had 30+ people with him so that probably worked out better in a person/fuel equation than were they to cram everyone into 8-10 hybrids. Hybrid busses and seeing everyone try to fly commercial would be nice though.

At 6/29/2006 12:50 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Dookette isn't the only conservative to admit (much belatedly) that global warming is a scientific fact.

The Republican Chairman of the House Science Committee has said as much.

"There is nothing in this report that should raise any doubts about the broad scientific consensus on global climate change … or any doubts about whether any paper on the temperature records was legitimate scientific work," said House Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.), who requested the study in November.

The finding was a rebuke to global warming skeptics and some conservative politicians who have attacked the hockey stick as the work of overzealous scientists determined to shame the government into imposing environmental regulations on big business."


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