Take 2: Car Country Looms Large Against Obama and For Clinton

Posted by: David Kiley on February 11, 2008

If you want to see just how incompetent politicians can be, come to Michigan.

Sen. Carl Levin, Debbie Dingell (wife of powerful Democratic Congressman John Dingell)and Governor Jennifer Granholm all thought it was a cute idea to jump ahead of other states in holding a Democratic primary this year.

Their beef was legit. Michigan gets shafted every year by having a primary election in March after the nominations are secured. So, they forced the issue. The result was holding an early primary that the Democratic National Committee punished by refusing to seat the state’s delegates. The Democratic candidates, to butter up Iowans, pledged not to campaign here. John Edwards and Barack Obama actually removed their names from the ballot, while Hillary Clinton did not.

Had Michigan just stood pat this year, it would have an opportunity to play a huge role in the nomination process as matter of course.

Democratic party chief Mark Brewer says the DNC’s request that Michigan hold a caucus now to remedy the botched primary, won’t happen. He says it would take eight or nine months to organize a caucus.

It’s nonsense. Michigan could easily stage a state-wide caucus in, say, 60 or 90 days if it wanted to. The real reason the Dems in Michigan don’t want to hold a caucus is because Granholm and Dingell have already openly backed Clinton, and they know Clinton fares poorly in caucuses.

Granholm and Dingell are now strategizing to play a role in putting Clinton over the top. She gathered 55.3% of the vote that day with no other Dems on the ballot. That she could only score that many votes while being the only Dem on the ballot speaks volumes about how well Clinton will do if she is up against Obama on an honest ballot or in an honest caucus.

If Michigan is “needed” to decide the outcome of the nomination, it will be a mess. And Michigan stands to usurp Florida as the shadiest state in the union when it comes to elections. That will surely draw attention to Michigan—as Granholm, Levin and Dingell wanted in the first place—but not the kind I’d want as a Michigander.

One gets the idea that Mark Brewer is hoping that Michigan is not needed to decide the nomination now—ironic since the purpose of moving the primary up ahead of Feb 5. Super Tuesday was to achieve attention and media on Michigan. If the nomination is decided without Michigan, then the state’s delegates will likely be seated in the proportion of the rest of the country when all is said and done.

It is inconceivable that the DNC would allow the Michigan primary results stand as is if they are needed to decide the nomination. So, there is still no solution to the process. Just more confusion.

In an odd way, all this mess may lead to actual reform of the primary system. Sane people say that every state should have a primary, and the order of the states should rotate regionally every four years so no two states like Iowa and New Hampshire get the big media and hotel dollars every four years.

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