Tuesday, February 17, 2004

HOW CAN WE FIX THE BROKEN PRIMARY/CAUCUS SYSTEM?

A couple of weeks ago, with fewer than 20% of Democrat delegates committed, the mainstream media had coronated John Kerry as the likely Democratic nominee for President. When I say mainstream, I mean the broadcast networks and New York Times. It seems that this will play out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. So, the media--a unique, integral part of our democracy--is (ironically) tainting the process. Also, ironically, they have anointed a sure-loser in John Kerry. I'm not saying that because I dislike him, but rather because he is not electable. "The Devil you know...." and all that. Bush, while having strong leadership qualities, is being undermined by the likes of Halliburton and its relationship with Dick Cheney. The best thing Bush can do now is dump Cheney as the veep, keep him on as advisor as necessary, but find a new, younger, energetic running mate. Perhaps Ernie Fletcher of Kentucky. One to understand and exploit the power of persuasion that comes with the #2 slot. Something more than breaking ashtrays on David Letterman's television show.

It almost seems that there is a big Democratic plan to offer up Kerry, for no more reason than it's his turn to run. The same as when Mondale was offered up against Reagan. The same way Dukakis was offered up against Bush 1. Then, the Democrats will finally come out with a viable candidate in 2008. Perhaps Hillary Clinton, but just as likely John Edwards. My initial reaction to the change in fortunes of the Democrats was, "they're giving up on Dean after one little falter. No party THAT fickle deserves a winning candidate." After further reflection, my attitude is more compassionate. Democrats are so eager to regain the glory of the Clinton years that they are willing to sacrifice 2004 in order to get a two-term stretch after the 2008 election.

Both parties have proven that a southern candidate can take the race. They've proven that several times over. Al Gore, popular vote winner, is a Tennessean by blood (although he has always been a beltway boy). George Bush really is a Texan, in spite of Connecticut roots. Bill Clinton, as southern as ever. George 1, almost southern, having served in Texas so far in the past (but really a beltway boy, too, even before there was a beltway); Ronald Reagan, southern Iowa and southern California. Does that count? James Earl Carter, southern. Richard Nixon, southern California. Southern boys help more than hurt. That's why I now make this prediction:

Picture it. USA, 2008. Democratic nominees will be John Edwards for President and Hillary Clinton for Vice-President. Republican nominees will be a southern Senator or Governor and a former cabinet member or Congressman. I expect Colin Powell to be on the ticket either in 2008 or 2012. I really would like to see both parties have a female in one of the slots. That would guarantee that this country would have a woman in one of the top two slots--the first time in history. And not Geraldine Ferraro, who was also a sacrifice fly for the Democrats, to make a statement. Finally, wouldn't it be a real coup de grace for the Republicans to beat the Democrats in having the first female (Christine Todd Whitman, perhaps?? No, not her....) and the first man of color (Colin Powell??) to be nominated on the same ticket?

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