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©03; The Media Desk


August 8, 2007, 12:30 pm
First Presidential Votes Might Be Cast in 2007
Jackie Calmes reports on the 2008 presidental race.

The first 2008 presidential votes may be moving into 2007 after all, making a race that has started earlier than ever even more intense.

South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson will announce that he is moving its primary date ahead of Florida’s Jan. 29 vote, to reclaim his state party’s “first in the South” presidential-nominating banner. But he will do so in New Hampshire, home of the first-in-the-nation primary. And he will be joined by New Hampshire’s longtime Secretary of State Bill Gardner, who alone has the power to set that state’s date for both parties, now tentatively Jan. 22.
“Nobody wants to go in December, but Iowa will be first”

The Wall Street Journal

All Over by January Third?


What Happened To General Clark?

Get Out and VOTE January Second!
       For the 2004 primaries the deal will be done by the end of the first week of March. Four huge states, New York, Ohio, Texas and California all hold their primaries on March Second. In the weeks leading up to that fateful day other states, Utah, Delaware, Oklahoma, Arizona and a few others hold their primaries. New Hampshire is 27 January, and the Iowa Caucuses are 19 January.
       Of course other states will move their primaries earlier for the 2008 season to 'give their voters more say in the early races' and to capture campaign dollars for their media outlets.
       Before long, Iowa, desperate to stay first, and New Hampshire, for exactly the same reason, will have to hold their votes on January Second, and by the third, it will all be over.
       New Year's Day is a lousy day to hold an election, but you don't have to go too far out to imagine New Hampshire moving their election to the First if say South Carolina runs theirs up to the second.
       But what if Delaware, trying to get noticed, moves theirs to the First? Will New Hampshire move their primary day into the previous year? Holding their 2008 primary in November of 2007?

       This is the frightful shadow of Domino Politics.
       To give the voters of the Great State of Montana more say in choosing the national leader they pass a statute that no matter what day anybody else sets as their primary, the Big Sky Primary Day will be exactly one week earlier. So that moves theirs to the week of Halloween the year before the national election. Which means New Hampshire and Iowa have to move theirs.
       So then the party bosses in Texas and Florida have to move theirs. Then Delaware tries an end run around and has the nomination for the 2016 nomination at the same time as the 2014 Congressional Election bypassing everybody by almost a full year.

       Yes the process is that stupid. And is liable to get worse.

       The only solution is a Federal Election Mandate based on when your primary was scheduled for the 1972 campaign before everybody started juggling dates. Back when Super Tuesday meant something and the whole contest wasn't decided before Saint Patty's Day.

       Some commentators blame this year's mess on Democratic Bosses trying to ensure the nomination of Wesley Clark or John Kerry. Somebody they, the bosses, approved of. That is far too simple of an explanation. Yet the truth is no less sinister.
       It has less to do with the party bosses than it does media outlets and professional campaign staffs grubbing for the almighty dollar.
       Most campaign workers at the State Organization level, those that earn their fame and fortune organizing and running individual campaigns for the most part don't give a hoot in hell about who the candidate is, as long as their paycheck clears, it doesn't matter. They have checklists and flow charts and spread sheets of data and how to write to editors and union bosses and fraternal organizations to solicit everything from endorsements to donations and volunteers to answer phones and lick envelopes. Some work for the Republican candidates, others for the Democrats, still others freelance and will work for the Greens if they pay cash.
       Ideology is something they talk about, but it isn't as important as winning this election so you can raise your price for the next one. They live out of suitcases and once this state has voted they catch a bus to their next gig in Alabama or Oregon. Some specialize in statewide campaigns like for Governor or US Senate, others work by city or congressional district. A few will organize anything for anybody. And some of them are very good at it.
       Their dream job is National Campaign Manager on a high profile Presidential Campaign.
       If there are a BUNCH of important states with primaries within a few weeks of each other instead of spread out over six months, there will be more jobs for statewide organizers and the candidates will need people in major cities and so on, and with a dozen states all jumping that early, these organizations will have to be in place at least six months to a year before election day. So you won't have people trying to work two or three states at once, they'll have to focus all their attention on one.
       Texas is a big target, you, mister Candidate, will have to PAY somebody to oversee your message over the whole state, then you will need somebody on the ground in Houston by itself, and the Dallas-Worth Worth Area. It wouldn't hurt to divide the rest of the state up into say three sections, and of course, they will need office managers and somebody just to talk to the TV stations. That's about a dozen paid professionals, for one campaign, for one state. And some of them make very good money.
       Multiply that by about a dozen KEY states, California, Florida, Ohio, New York, Illinois, Georgia, Pennsylvania, the few of the very earliest primaries in the smaller states, and you have a LOT of jobs laying around needing filled by professional political activists.
       Now add to that mix the idea that all of those media outlets are scrambling for every dollar they can wring out of every campaign regardless of which party it is.
       And the state organizations who see the top level of candidates as spokesmodels for purposes of filling their own coffers.
       And Joe Schnook who is running for Mayor in Furboro in West 'by God' Virginia needs the national points leader to come by and smile for the cameras as well, with Joe at his side smiling like the Candidate's best friend. While Joe's people pass the hat of course.

       Even to float the idea past those that know these kinds of things requires a considerable chunk of change. And the rules are so complex as to who can pay for what and how the money is funneled this way and that are so convoluted campaigns need as many CPA's and lawyers as they do people to pass out buttons and bumper stickers.
       And the local media and others who feed heavily off bloated national campaigns want their piece of the action.
       And who can blame them. Every four years a pack of starry eyed losers run around the country spending money like they were throwing water balloons on the last day of summer camp. If there is a way to increase the local cash flow, at little cost to the party or the state since you have to have a primary anyway, and at the same time get your state's name all over the front page of the big papers for a week or so, why not go for it?
       Face it, when a major leading presidential candidate (or their spouse/lover/kids/brother/etc) rolls into town they bring with them a supporting cast of extras numbering into the hundreds. Reporters, support staff, security, camera crews, curiosity seekers, political high rollers wanting to be seen with the candidate, and all like that. That's a lot of restaurant meals, hotel rooms, cigarettes, booze, traffic tickets, all the things that a traveling road show that size needs and gets.

       Well… all it does is compress the time We The Voters have of actually looking at these Bozos and weeding out the real bums from the ones that just play one on TV. It pushes the debates up even earlier in the year which gives the candidates paid spinners more time for damage control and mud slinging to convince us that even though the candidate said he had once been a crackhead who had sex with a dog for money for a fix, he really didn't mean it and it was taken out of context anyway.

       Which is something like what has happened to the one time widely proclaimed Leading Democrat for next year. General Wesley Clark.

       Now known far and wide as "Wes Who?"

Where did he go?
       General Clark was packaged by Hillary Clinton and that guy she used to live with, and even AlGore to be the Great Democratic Hope for 2004.
       He sprang out of nowhere with his pockets bulging with money fed through the Clinton machine to the presumed lead of the Democratic pack.
       And for awhile, he was in the lead.
       Until he started campaigning that is.

       In the sound bites and approved for release text messages, Clark looked and sounded good.
       His resume was to die for. His taste in friends may have been a little shaky, but could be forgiven if he actually won. The mainstream left leaning press loved him. The offbeat right leaning press panned him but admitted he might be able to snag the nomination from the fruiter all the time Howard Dean. (Who can forget Dean's laughable 'Metrosexual' comment?) Yet when it hit the fan, or at least the debate stage, Clark faded like last week's newspaper left out in the sun too long.
       Meanwhile, the others have been dropping out as their checkbooks run dry and Dean continues to build a solid - albeit Way Left - base while we count down to about two months to the beginning of the primaries.

       There is good news and bad news in this.

       The good news is that if Dean wins the Nomination, it pretty much spells the end of the Clinton Era of the Democratic Party. Dean and his backers can parlay a Nomination into whipping the party even further to the left and mold the DNC at least partially in their image. Which is to say- Very Liberal.
       The bad news is about the same. The Clintons will be out of the spotlight if not all the way out of power and Dean's people will be moving in. But the problem is that the Party and its platform will move so far left it will be out of touch with even more of the main block of American voters who regard themselves- Republican and Democrat, and Libertarian too to be honest - as Moderates.
       If W is a conservative, and his Attorney General John Ashcroft is simply a nut, then the GOP while still more to the right of center than the Average American, is still at least something they can relate to. No, W is not as conservative as that well known radio talk show host and admitted junkie Rush, but Rush is, or at least said he was, way right. And we all always thought drug addicts were all Liberals….
       But that is neither here nor there. If Limbaugh comes back to the radio with any credibility at all the RNC will become the laughing stock and butt for jokes like the DNC was under Bill the Lecher about blue dresses and bad memories.

       A hard shift to the left to bring the party and its national platform into line with the gay-rights activist peace at any cost save the Earth-Warmer nominee would spell its doom in November. And if Dean abandoned his supporters to run as a Populist or even a Moderate the Clintonites will balk and drop out to ensure a clean path for Hillary in 2008 and his core from Act-Up and those outfits will call him names and put rainbow stickers over his name on the bumper of their electric cars.

       Dean is the best Primary Campaigner the Dems have seen in two decades. Not since Carter has anybody done a better job of wiping out the competition before the first ballot box is stuffed. But it is always hard to convert that Primary Message into one for the General Election. To win the primary you have to sell yourself to the party activists, most of whom are more extreme than the average voter who doesn't give half a damn until the First Monday before the First Tuesday of November. But Dean is beyond anything a Democrat has ever spouted. Mondale wasn't this liberal. Compared to Dean Governor Dukakis was pro-military. To bring his campaign back to even the realm of AlGore's he'd have to rip his talking points book in half.
       Here's one. Dr Dean wants to start 'educating' kids before they get to kindergarten. And he's not talking about head start either: From Dean's website- - "As Governor of Vermont, I instituted programs that engaged children and their families before they even left the hospital, so they would enter the classroom ready to succeed."
       Another, on health care: "First, and most important, in order to extend health coverage to every uninsured child and young adult up to age 25, we'll redefine and expand two essential federal and state programs -- Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program. Right now, they only offer coverage to children from lower-income families. Under my plan, we cover all kids and young adults up to age 25 -- middle income as well as lower income. This aspect of my plan will give 11.5 million more kids and young adults access to the healthcare they need."
       Read that one again, EVERY child and young adult. He is including illegal aliens and their kids in his plan. Who's going to pay for that one?
       This last point sounds good, in his speech one of his points is the integration of Russia and China into the world's affairs. However, when you read his whole speech, then look at his press releases, he is talking about the old New World Order which basically surrenders US sovereignty over its own citizens to things like the International Criminal Court. "I would lead this country back to a strong commitment to international alliances and institutions that are the backbone of a stable international order. In an increasingly complex and dangerous world, the more that our destinies are intertwined, the greater the shared sense of purpose, the more likely it is that we will work together successfully to address the difficult challenges ahead." Then he goes on to call AIDS an actual threat to US security on par with Terrorism.
       Pretty standard very liberal fare. It plays well in San Francisco and Boston. But it won't carry the day in Texas or Pittsburgh in November.

       As for the others: Kerry, Gephardt and Edwards… they simply don't matter any more. If they ever did. They point to South Carolina where their numbers are good, but since most of them are ignoring Iowa and New Hampshire, where their numbers don't exist… well… they simply don't matter.

       Time to wrap this up.

       Clark had the nomination basically handed to him. All he had to do was to say his scripted lines and keep quiet otherwise and he was in. While he may have been a good General, he was a lousy candidate.
       The only thing that can save Clark's chances is something that was scheduled for later, the introduction of his running mate- Hillary.
       But if they do that too early the others will be able to hammer away at the door to her closet full of skeletons, if they wait too long the fire in his campaign will have gone totally out and he'll be too far behind to recoup enough to win.
       And there is a small but noisy effort to push Hillary in to take Clark's place. We all know she's going to do it, it's just a matter of when. And now we are looking at deadlines to getting her name on the ballots in the early states. Texas's drop dead date for getting your name on their primary ballot is 8 December 2003. Less than a month away.
       If Hillary is going to happen this time around. She's going to have to be going soon.
       Nobody, most likely even Hillary, knows what she is going to do.

The W Factor

       With the economy starting to turn around, rather slowly true, but things are looking up. The only major issue is the inability of the World's Greatest Power to find Ossama and Saddam. Hard to wax poetic from the Bully Pulpit about the War on Terror when those two are still loose and free. And the Senior Terrorist in the Middle East- Yassir Arafat is once again pulling the strings of the Palestinian Authority.
       But, since more people vote according to their checkbook than how something as messy as the Mid-East is going, W's numbers will be looking up with likely voters.


       The Final 2003 Odds on 2004.


[NOTE: The Desk is registered as a Conservative Independent Libertarian. It has never voted for a winning candidate in any major election, although it votes in every major election. thank you]

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