Sunday, January 06, 2008

double primaries?

i haven't been paying too much attention to the presidential primaries, as i don't have a dog in that race. indiana's primary is so late that it doesn't matter who i'd pick—the primaries will be over by the time i'd get a vote. and while the democratic contenders all have their flaws, they're universally far superior to the pack of jokers running for the republican nomination.

so i don't feel obligated to make a choice: i'll be happy to support whoever wins the democratic nomination. right now it looks like that might be obama. it probably won't be john edwards since the media refuses to pay attention to him. (i have to wonder about those who would make thursday's iowa caucuses about hillary. she might've come in third, closely behind edwards, but she got way more votes than huckabee.)

according to today's tully column, tully's favorite politician mitch daniels has an idea to move up indiana's presidential primary. tully loves the idea and writes another of his glowing odes to his mitchiness. but while i agree that it'd be cool to have my primary vote count, the way the governor wants to go about it is downright moronic.

mitch wants to move indiana's presidential primary to be the same day as new hampshire's. mitch asserts, and tully is apparently convinced, that this would force the national parties to focus as much if not more on indiana as they do on new hampshire, which will supposedly bring bazillions of dollars into the state.

the problem is: it won't work. new hampshire has a state law that requires that its primary be held at least seven days before any similar election. in other words, NH is first because NH law requires it. if indiana tried to move its primary up, new hampshire would just move up its primary, too, as it has done several times before (NH primaries used to be held in march). iowa is allowed to have its caucuses before the NH primaries because, let's face it, the iowa caucuses are insane and bear no resemblance to a real election. the same does not hold true for indiana.

this is basic stuff; the fact that neither the governor nor the columnist knows this—and that apparently none of the governor's advisors have bothered to point this out to him—is a bit embarrassing.

but this is possibly the stupidest part:

Daniels said he might include the primary plan in his 2008 campaign platform. He is working out the details but says this primary would be separate from the May contests that determine candidates for other offices. He also suggested imposing a surtax on presidential primary advertising to defray costs.

mitch doesn't want to move up the primary: he wants to hold two primaries! remember, this is the same guy who didn't want to hold a special election to replace julia carson until this may, because he felt it would be too expensive (thankfully, it looks like we'll have the special on march 11). yet he wants the state to have two primary elections every four years? how does that make sense? either move up the primary or don't.

i'm all for moving up the presidential primary so that my vote might actually be worth something. but this plan is just dumb. it may even be mitch's dumbest idea yet.

update: jen at tdw points out that the last time someone proposed moving up indiana's primary, governor daniels wasn't interested.

also, apparently the guv has forgotten all the hubbub from earlier this year:

Both parties have been trying to put a halt to the leapfrogging. They have said they would penalize all but a handful of states if they hold a primary before Feb. 5, stripping them of half their delegates to the national nominating conventions. Under Democratic Party rules, the candidates can also be penalized, losing the delegates they won in the rule-breaking state.

when florida moved up its primary, it didn't result in more candidates coming there to campaign; in fact, just the opposite:

The rules, unanimously passed in 2006 by nearly 450 Democratic party activists across the country - including Florida - are clear and leave little or no leeway for Dean to waive them: Any state that violates the schedule set by the DNC loses half its delegates to the national nominating convention and any candidate who campaigns in that state will forfeit all delegates from that state.

By moving to Jan. 29, Dean told a New Hampshire student, Florida Democrats "essentially converted their primary to a straw poll."


Wilson46201 said...

...and he wants to raise taxes to pay for his super-duper early primary? Heresy!!!

pgoyette said...

so, if indiana passed a law requiring that the primary be held the same day as new hampshire's, which law would hold? i guess that would go to federal court?