Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Busy, busy political night in the U.S.!

What a captivating and extremely interesting process our elections have become this cycle! Last night added a bit of a twist to things in the Democratic camp.

Hillary winning Ohio, Rhode Island and Texas... Barack getting creamed in some cases. He turned the tables in Vermont, but that's not a surprise and it's not much of a delegate win, either. Huckabee finally stepping down, McCain over the top to clinch the requisite number of delegates.

Here are a few random thoughts on last night:

The first thing that struck me is that maybe the media isn't all-powerful! Throughout this entire long Presidential process I've paid close attention to not only WHAT the media is saying, but also how and when they're peddling their views. Last night people didn't vote the way the media has been steering them to vote. Although, just in the past few days the media, in lock step, has been moving away from Obama worship, so maybe they are still leading the masses.

It's clear that reporting isn't reporting at all any more. The pick of a title can shift the emphasis of an article entirely. The tone of a question can put someone on the defensive and make them sound small, harsh or petty. The press loves Barack, he gets soft-peddled questions, gives non-answers with roaring rhetoric that deftly paints a picture of greatness and hope... but gives no substance.

We get all of his press releases at the Fayette Front Page, along with all the other candidates. He sends out plenty of words, but when I start to parse, all I see is how much it's going to cost the country and how much is going to ultimately come out of our pockets.

When Clinton tries to toss some reality into the mix she gets shot down simply because Barack can pull up a little smile that conveys more than words. I can almost see him patting her on the head and saying, "there, there, it's going to be all right Hillary", then he gives a tiny shake of his head and pounces. Nicely. He makes her look harsh, sharp, and shrill... like the big-bad parent who's going to ground the teenager.

He's been good.

But last night, in losing, his message sounded old. It was the same message he's given before, but it was... well, the same message he's given before. It lost a lot of the luster.

Obama still one-upped Hillary in one area last night. During her victory speech she talked again about the struggling mother with two children who wanted her girls to know they could grow up to be anything they wanted, so she stuffed ten dollars in an envelope with a note to Hillary, encouraging her to go on...

Obama got three dollars in an envelope from an 80-year old Nigerian immigrant (I think he said 80, the guy was older) who wanted Obama to carry on and prove something or other to do with anyone being able to do anything in this great country.

Three dollars from an old guy willing to work for Obama vs. ten dollars from a single mom with two young girls. Hmmm... maybe it's a tie.

I have to wonder how much of Hillary's victory last night came with the help of a few Republicans. Rush Limbaugh has suggested during the past few days that it might be a good idea for Republicans to help keep Hillary in the campaign a bit longer. In Texas, given the very strange way they vote, I could see Republicans possibly voting for her in the primary, but I couldn't envision them showing up at the Caucus where they have to ACT like a Democrat. Punching a ticket or pulling a lever in private is one thing. Standing around and having to talk with the "other side" isn't something most are willing to do.

When I last looked in the wee hours of the morning (yes, I'm tired) Hillary was way ahead in Texas in the vote, but behind in the Caucus portion of the voting.

Are you aware of how strange the process is in Texas on the Democratic side? First, Dems vote. Then, they have to vote AGAIN in a Caucus.

Caucus votes are weighted. If you live in the city your vote counts more than if you live in rural areas. From what I understand (based on listening to Fox and CNN analysts) that heavily favors blacks and affluent whites. Since the vast majority of Hispanics live in rural areas, their vote counts less. I've heard there are some very disgruntled Hispanics, and I'd imagine they're not alone!

Think about it. In the city it's denser, thus Caucus sites and polls are probably easier to get to... buses, taxis, etc. are readily available. In rural areas, you better own a car if you're traveling to a Caucus site. Chances are there's a longer distance involved in getting to them if they're population based, also. So they punish those who work hardest to vote?

Who came up with this crazy system?

I've been amazed as I've heard how Democrats vote across the country and how little the individual vote counts. Super delegates that can vote any way they want, negating the popular vote. Entire states with absolutely no voice at the whim of the National Party. One person's vote counting more than another person's vote. One state had an election on one day, then a month later had a Caucus to award a huge portion of the delegates.

A caucus requires having someone give up a chunk of their day (in some cases, multiple days). It can be a nasty process with lots of heated discussion or worse. There's a lot of standing around and waiting for people to make decisions, switch votes, count and recount. It's also a process that is easily corrupted. I'll save that topic for another blog. If you've even been involved in a caucus, you'll know how easy it is to manipulate the outcome.

Even though I call myself a Republican, I had still bought into the idea that somehow Democrats were fair with their votes. The picture that is painted is one of every vote counting (lord knows we heard that enough during the last two Presidential elections). But it just isn't true. It's a top down process that takes away so much of the voice of the individual voter.

I'm not saying the Republican process is perfect. After this election I've seen how the system really works across the entire country and I am less a fan of delegates than ever before.

Nuff with the random thoughts on the election. I have a million of 'em but attention spans are short and everyone has opinions. In these days of blogging anyone with the ability to type can share their opinion. With the major strides that have been made with voice recognition, pretty soon typing isn't going to be required. Scary if you think about it... it's gonna get even more crowded out here in cyberland.

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