Sunday, March 30, 2008

What Has Howard Dean Been Smoking?

Friday as I waited for my flight CNN was interviewing Howard Dean, the Chairman of the National Democratic Party. During the interview he was asked if the Primary System for selecting a Presidential Nominee was broken and needed fixing. The interviewer noted the recommendation being made by some to have four rotating regional Primaries over a four to seven week period.

Dean’s response was that the system is not broken. To justify himself he noted that for the first time in decades that people in Pennsylvania, Indiana and other late Primary States are able to make a difference this year whereas in the past they the race was well settled before their Primaries.

My reaction was to laugh. Of course the system is broken. The season is too long and costs too much. Even in his own answer in pointing to the late States having a voice Dean notes that this year in an anomaly since before 70% can express their opinions the race has been decided. Most of the time, by the Super Tuesday a field is a quarter or less of what it started out to be at the beginning. Is that a good system? Dean seems to think so.

Dean thinks he is part of the solution to making the system stronger. Again he is deluded. On the contrary, Dean and those who think like him are a major part of the problem. Being part of the problem was exemplified in his response to the next question about Florida and Michigan. Dean says that their delegates will be seated when those two States and the two nominees agree on a solution. He went on to say rules are rules, that the two States did what they did contrary to the rules and the rules much be held up firmly regardless of the situation.

I smiled at Dean’s answer as it is a very Republican in nature…you hold to the rules and laws because the rules and laws demand that they be followed and there are no exemptions or modifications regardless of the consequences. Dean in washing his hands of a problem that he created is saying the disenfranchising voters is perfectly appropriate with the Chairman of the National Democratic Party because holding legalistically to the rule is the stronger fundamental principal. On national television Dean has implies that the right to vote, the right of hundreds of thousands to express their preference is secondary to obeying unswervingly a human made procedural rule.

The Primary System is broken but it will not be fixed until Dean and those like him get off stage. They thrust out their chest with pride without realizing that their pontificating sounds so foolish down on the street. It is time for creative ideas from leaders who are willing to move beyond the current system.


Jenn said...

there is no such thing as a perfect voting system - we should just be lucky that we live in countries where the voting is fair and you don't have to worry about corruption

Barbara said...

I don't know if it's broken or not, but I can tell you that it goes on waaaaaaaaay too long!

Catharine said...

I agree with Jenn that there is no perfect system, although I must admit that I would get voter fatique.