The continuation of Skiing Uphill and Boregasm, Zug is 'the little blog that could.'

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Name: Ed Waldo
Location: of The West,

I am a fictional construct originally conceived as a pen name for articles in the Los Angeles FREE PRESS at the 2000 Democratic Convention. The plume relating to the nom in question rests in the left hand of Hart Williams, about whom, the less said, the better. Officially "SMEARED" by the Howie Rich Gang . GIT'CHER ZUG SWAG HERE!

Monday, April 2, 2007

But What About Wymong?

I sometimes wonder if all this "early election" stuff isn't just a red herring to take the heat off a besieged Republican party that has engaged in negligent and criminal behavior on a scale unprecedented in American history.

I was a crazy-early founder of "Lane County for Kerry" in 2005. We met in JULY! In American political history, it was karazzee early, but I was very committed to getting Bush out of the White House.

Were I to do the same in this electoral cycle ... I would be karazee LATE. Over at BlueOregon there's a long series of speculations on the fate of Gordon Smith in November of 2008.

And that's called "science fiction" where I come from—which includes a lot of science fiction authors.

I'm going to tell you my old political rule of thumb, and back it up with something I said in 1991 that nobody now remembers. During the State of the Union speech in 1991, George Herbert Walker Bush got the longest sustained ovation I've seen in the House of Representatives, period. And I listened to the TeeVee talking heads trying to fill the time during the ovation by yakking about how astronomically high his approval ratings were, and how it was IMPOSSIBLE to imagine him not being re-elected in November 1992.

And I said: Pshaw and bullfeathers, children. I don't give a damn WHO it is, whoever the Democratic candidate is, he or she will win that election.

And I recited Hart's Rule of Thumb for US Politics: A YEAR is an eternity in politics.

(You might recall who won the election in 1992. I recall predicting it almost a year before I ever heard of William Jefferson Clinton. But then, we all know about my credibility.)

And I want to talk about another Clinton, and I want you to understand how angry I am that "We, the People" STILL refuse to have the national debate (or, more to the point, are NOT allowed by our talking head media) on WHY we have junked the primary system in favor of a "Whoever Has The Most Money Wins" system.

The backers of George W. Bush realized that. If you will recall, by MARCH, John McCain (who was kicking Bush's ass because large numbers of voters were jumping the political fence to vote in Republican primaries ... for McCain!) by March, McCain was sunk, because he literally didn't have the money to be competitive on "Super Tuesday," and that was it.

And, I predicted that the next primary season would be over by the end of March, and we'd have a national debate on the question of WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO THE PRIMARY SYSTEM?

I am no Crystal-ball Psychic, obviously. I got that one spectacularly wrong. (But, in both cases, the conclusions were reached by REASON and not by any obscure form of skrying or mantic art whatsoever.)

I was right that the race was over, though. I can't remember which "O.J." circus they entertained us with, but I do remember eating a lot of free bread. Think about it: The whole presidential primary system has gone completely off the rails.

We will never have another Jimmy Carter. We will never have another John F. Kennedy. Hell, we may never have another Reagan or even George H.W. Bush ("The Elder") again. We'll never have the debate a Jerry Brown could bring to the race, or the weird sideshows of Pat Robertson or Pat Buchanan. It is tempting to say that America can't stand pat, but, alas, we should have stood pat. We'd never have another Bill Clinton, either, no matter how you feel about him.

The system that we had in the primaries, which were first PRACTICED in Oregon in 1904 (as one of the first Ballot Initiatives from the Referendum that created the process in 1902, by a vote of 62,024 to 5068) is busted. By 1996, so many greedy states had moved their primaries up that the Republican presidential campaign was essentially over by April first. Here's what happened in March 1996, with Pat Buchanan and Steve Forbes duking it out with Kreepy Old Bob Dole. (Courtesy of CNN's All Politics, adapted and condensed here):

Friday, March 1

* Dem.. super delegates

Saturday, March 2

* South Carolina GOP primary
* Wyoming GOP caucuses

Sunday, March 3

* Puerto Rico GOP Primary


* Colorado Primary
* Maryland Primary
* Georgia Primary
* Vermont Primary
* Maine Primary
* Rhode Island Primary
* Massachusetts Primary
* Connecticut Primary
* Minnesota Caucus
* Idaho Democratic Caucus
* America Samoa Caucus
* Washington Caucus
* South Carolina Democratic Caucus

Thursday, March 7

* New York Primary
* Missouri Democratic Caucus

Friday, March 8

* Alaska Democratic Caucus
* Arizona Democratic Caucus
* South Dakota Democratic Caucus
* Missouri GOP caucus

Sunday, March 10

* Nevada Democratic Caucus
* Puerto Rico Democratic Primary


* Florida Primary
* Louisiana Primary
* Mississippi Primary
* Oklahoma Primary
* Tennessee Primary
* Texas Primary
* Hawaii Primary
* Oregon Primary

Thursday, March 14

* [Steve] Forbes will formally announce that he is dropping out of the GOP race, and will endorse Bob Dole

Saturday, March 16

* Michigan Democratic Caucus

Sunday, March 17

* Michigan Democratic Caucus.

Tuesday, March 19

* Illinois Primary
* Michigan Primary
* Ohio Primary
* Wisconsin Primary

Saturday, March 23

* Wymong (sic) Democratic Caucus

Tuesday, March 26

* California Primary
* Washington Primary
* Nevada GOP Primary

Thursday, March 28

* Utah Caucus

Friday, March 29

* First Day of North Dakota Democratic Caucus

Saturday, March 30

* Virgin Islands Caucus

Sunday, March 31

* Final Day of North Dakota Democratic Caucus
I'd tell you what the primaries were in April, but there weren't any. In fact, there was only one caucus. Here is the last day of the primary race:

Tuesday, April 2

* Kansas Caucus
* Buchanan is in the Washington area.
* Dole is on vacation in Florida.
So, if you were in Wymong for the month of March, the entire presidential primary season was over by the time you got back in April.

But at the beginning of February, here's how the field looked—with the usual assortment of TV and Radio personalities, senators, governors and a congressman, precisely TWO months earlier:

Thursday, February 1

* [Lamar]Alexander in Grundy Center and Dubuque, IA
* [Pat] Buchanan in Merrimack and Concord, NH
* [Bob]Dole in Nashua, NH
* [Steve]Forbes campaigns in Council Bluffs, IA
* [Phil] Gramm makes four stops in IA
* [Dick] Lugar stumps in Council Bluffs, IA
* [Maurice "The Grizz"] Taylor in IA

Friday, February 2

* Alexander campaigns in Manchester, NH
* Forbes campaigns in Des Moines, Newton and Marshalltown, IA
* Dole campaigns in South Carolina
* Gramm campaigns in Iowa
* Lugar campaigns in Des Moines, IA
* [Alan] Keyes campaigns in Iowa
* Taylor campaigns in Iowa

Saturday, February 3

* Buchanan campaigns in Louisiana
* Dole stumps in Iowa
* Forbes in New Hampshire
* Gramm goes to New Hampshire
* Keyes campaigns in Iowa
* Taylor in New Hampshire

Friday, February 9

* All the candidates campaign in Iowa

Saturday, February 10

* [Robert "B-1 Bob"] Dornan is in San Francisco on Saturday (Dornan's first appearance since making TV & radio appearances in D.C. in January).

By April first, all would be gone. Buchanan would soldier on (but mostly because he loved the attention).

Was that REALLY what we wanted? And it's only gotten worse since then. Already, Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa has suspended his campaign. Why? He couldn't raise enough money FAST enough! That should have sent up red flags.

According to today's news, Hillary Clinton raised $26 million in the first quarter (and transferred $10 million from her senatorial war chest, frugally set aside from her non-race for re-election in 2004) for a record total of $36 million.

No wonder we've had to start the presidential election so early. It used to be that the longer primary season gave us a chance to really shop—in 1968, Bobby Kennedy clinched the Democratic Nomination in the June California primary, having built an organization and an operation from scratch between the time Eugene McCarthy shocked then-President Lyndon Johnson in the March New Hampshire Primary, Johnson's withdrawal from the race, and Kennedy's entry into the race on March 16.

Sirhan B. Sirhan ended that candidacy in the hallway of the Ambassador Hotel (razed last year) in the minutes following RFK's June 6 victory speech with a .22 pistol.

But we had a chance to decide who the candidates would be. In 1976, Jimmy Carter went from Jimmy Who? to the nominee in the long testing process of the primaries.

Wikipedia says it fine, so no need to remint:

"... As a result, rather than stretching from March to July, most primaries take place in a compressed time frame in February and March. National party leaders also have an interest in compressing the primary calendar, as it enables the party to reduce the chance of a bruising internecine battle and to preserve resources for the general campaign...."

And California just moved its primary up to "the first Tuesday in February." Oregon considers following suit, as our legislature moves in the direction of a February 5, 2008 primary, as well.

Nevada has moved its caucuses up to the week between the Iowa Caucuses (Jan. 14) and the New Hampshire Primary (Jan. 22). And so it goes.

The dominoes are tumbling, but that all started a long time ago, when Iowa cut in line ahead of New Hampshire -- according to Wikipedia, an accident:

In 1976 an uncommitted slate received the most support, however, the headlines went to a formerly obscure Georgia governor Jimmy Carter, who, while coming in a distant second, won the most votes for any actual candidate. With no actual front runner at the time, Carter was able to use the publicity of his "win" to achieve victory in the New Hampshire primary, and then on to win his party's nomination and eventually the presidency. Since then, presidential candidates have focused increasingly on achieving a win in Iowa.

In 1977, New Hampshire enshrined in law a statute that their primary HAD to be the first in the nation. And so the electoral arms race began, with few winners and 300 million losers.

The madness continues at an accelerated pace today. The Concord [NH] Monitor reports today:

More than 20 states - many of them delegate-rich and home to expensive advertising markets - have either moved their primaries to Feb. 5, 2008, or are considering the change. The moves could mean that both parties' nominees will be decided just days after New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary.... "Money is much more important this time around than ever before because no candidate can count on momentum to build from Iowa and New Hampshire," said David King, a lecturer in public policy at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. Feb. 5 will likely be "a national primary of the most stupefying kind because it's a primary that takes place 10 months before the national election."

As it stands, the presidency is on the block to the highest bidder. You have to have a horse in the race that's "electible" (in 1996 Texas Senator Phil Graham had a potload of money but nobody voted for him).

But the day of the "dark horse" is over.

And that's a damned shame. We lose the people who might have served with distinction, and we lose the debate. The only winners are the marketers, who, increasingly, package and sell our politicians to us like so many sausages.

Or, if you like, weiners.

I think I'll just head for Wymong. Tell me when it's over.



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