Sunday, February 10, 2008

A bit more about the nomination battle.

Allison Kilkenny muses about how Hillary Clinton might just turn off enough voters in the general election to have them stay home, which is kind of the argument Barack Obama, his wife, and their supporters have been encouraging.

There is a deep divide in the Democratic party between Progressives and the traditionalists, like Hillary Clinton, that helped sell the rest of us down the river. I've heard from many people that they would loathe seeing another Clinton in the White House, and so I wonder what will happen come election time if Hillary is indeed our presidential candidate. Perhaps this is all talk, and once the cold feet set in, liberals will sprint to the voting booth, and vote Hillary in, nonetheless.

The anxiety is palpable in the Democratic party, which is why Howard Dean, as usual, gave the game away with his complete ineptitude of maintaining a serious poker face. What was once considered an easy Democratic victory now seems up for grabs, so he's eager to work something out quickly. Maybe he plans to cajole one of the front-runners into taking a V.P. nomination, though I can't see Barack or Hillary taking second place at this point.

Mitt Romney's resignation from the campaign trail is indicative of the Republican strategy for victory: unite at any cost, even if you hate the bastard representing your party. Though everyone from Coulter to Limbaugh are busily chastising professional old bastard, McCain, they'll surely vote for him at election time. However, Democrats have a hard time voting against the consciences like that. If voters hate Hillary, they may simply stay home come November.

Brian Rothenberg also has serious misgivings about the implosion and fracturing of the Democratic Party this year. But his column isn't about animosity toward Clinton, it's about what's going on in Ohio as state secretary Jennifer Brunner tries to fix our state's broken electoral system.

Matt Damschroder is a likeable guy, a Republican who somehow remained as Director of the Franklin County Board of Elections even though the position usually changes over and mirrors the party of the Ohio Secretary of State, who is now a Democrat.

He has done so, in part, because Denny White, former Ohio Democratic Party Chair and Deputy Director, is phasing out his long, successful career and inching toward rumored retirement. But there are loud grumblings that White remaining in the junior deputy position signals that Democrats may be sleeping while Rome is burning. Our election system calls for balance to keep Ohio elections immune from party politics, and emails reveal that Democrats aren’t offering the needed counter-balance to Damschroder.

The emails of Mr. Damschroder demonstrate the ease and familiarity he has with people of both political parties and the media. And it is that genial behavior that masks what the emails reveal: An agenda to preserve Ohio’s now scientifically proven flawed election machinery.

There are some heavy partisan scars inflicted by Mr. Damschroder’s role in Franklin County, the most obvious being the well-documented voting machine shortages resulting in long lines for Franklin County’s minority precincts in 2004.

This is yet another reason why having two massive egos slugging it out until convention for the Democratic nomination is so utterly bad for both our political party and the nation. No matter who wins come August, that candidate must face serious threats to electoral integrity coming from the GOP. Remember that it was election-rigging in Ohio under then-state secretary Ken Blackwell, a Republican, that helped keep the shrub and his gargoyle in office another four years despite voters clearly preferring Democrat John Kerry for president.

So what happens when the Democratic nominee must wait until August to be crowned, badly bloodied from an extended primary fight and strapped for cash having spent the bulk of it throughout, while John McCain gets to spend the time between now and then building support, finances and strategy? In a word: Disaster. The nominee, no matter who it is, shall be focused on trying to win the general in a mere two and a half months (give or take) against a foe who has had plenty of time to rest and prepare. Helping to make sure states like Ohio aren't compromised by Republican electoral fraud won't even be on our candidate's mind.

This by no means is an endorsement of Barack Obama, who is as unfit and unlikely to win in November as Hillary Clinton. But the animosity toward the Clinton clan for helping to weaken the Democratic Party for nearly fifteen years is real, and it may result in a larger electoral loss in November than the one that would occur with an Obama candidacy. The GOP knows this, which is exactly why has been counting on a Clinton or Obama candidacy, but clearly preferring Clinton as the Democratic nominee.

The continuing battle for the Democratic nomination couldn't have been a bigger or better gift to movement conservatives, who began this year having resigned themselves to a four-to-eight year Democratic presidency. Whether we can take that away from them before August -- perhaps, as Howard Dean foolishly hopes, during the Spring -- is anyone's guess.

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