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24: Jack Fact - Lost

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Michigan Primary

There's much talk in the media about the compressed primary season. What used to go from February to June now goes from January to February, with minimal contests left in March, April, May and June. (Primary Schedule provided by Washington Post.) In such a compressed season, in order for your state to be influential in the election, it pays to be first. Iowa's caucus is first by tradition. New Hampshire's primary is first by state law. A lot of campaign money and face time go into these states.

On January 15, Michigan holds the next Primary. It was an attempt to get Canidates to pay attention to a state whose economy has ranked in the bottom five of the nation the past couple of years -- we currently have the highest unemployment rate in the nation.

However, this bid has been thwarted. According to both the National Democractic Party and the National Republican Party, Michigan's state parties are violating the rules of the primary season by moving their election up. The National Democratic party took away Michigan's delegates, and the majority of the canidates have pulled out (and since the printing of the ballot others have dropped out) leaving the ballot looking like this: Hillary Clinton v. Undecided. Voting for Obama or Edwards as write-in canidates will invalidate your ballot, as they are not registered as write-in canidates. Futhermore, all the candiates have agreed not to campaign in Michigan. On the Republican side, the National party has halved the number of delegates granted to Michigan, but otherwise the contest remains unchanged (though it seems that some candiates have chosen to make appearances in MI and then move on to SC.)

Some believe that this represents an undemocratic election on the Democratic side. The Republicans are hoping to get more ballots cast in their favor because of their presence in the state as well as their wider variety of candiates. It's an interesting primary.

I think the editorial under the following cut (running today in The Grand Rapids Press) says it better than I do. I suggest reading it -- they endorse Romney in the Michigan Republican Primary, and refuse to endorse anyone in the Democratic primary.

Press editorial board endorses Romney
by Grand Rapids Press Editorial Board
Friday January 11, 2008, 12:15 AM

Note: This is an editorial running in Friday's edition of The Grand Rapids Press.

Many issues will confront the nation in the next four years, from the ongoing threat of terrorism to the need to find a sensible immigration policy. For Michigan, however, one challenge dominates: the economy. We stand at a critical moment, bearing on our backs a worst-in-the-nation unemployment rate, staring at an uncertain future.

Among Republicans on the ballot in Tuesday's presidential primary, two candidates would offer solid leadership, Arizona Sen. John McCain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. However, when it comes to Michigan's challenges and needs, the passion and knowledge of Mr. Romney tip the scales in his favor. During a visit with Press editors this week, Mr. Romney vowed, "I will not sleep until Michigan is strong and active and vibrant again." Because of that focus, MITT ROMNEY has our vote in the Republican presidential primary. We do so in the context of the current president, who has paid only cursory attention to the Detroit Three auto makers and Michigan's manufacturing woes.

Democrats will hold a primary, of sorts, the same day as Republicans. That race, however, is a disappointing non-contest. Four candidates -- most notably, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina -- scratched their names from the ballot, bowing to party rules. That leaves Democratic voters here a false choice among New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, minor players, and an artificial protest vote of "uncommitted." The Press, therefore, will not endorse in Michigan's Democratic presidential primary, regrettably. We, and Michigan as a whole, deserved to have a say in that contest.

Mr. Romney first came to the national stage as the turnaround man for the scandal-plagued 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah. His deft handling of the bribery mess and deficit is a case study in successful management. He served as governor of Massachusetts for one term, ending in 2006. There, he worked with the Legislature to enact a law that required every citizen of the state to have health insurance, and provided state aid for those who couldn't afford it. As president, he said he would push states to enact their own health care solutions. He would aggressively pursue alternative energy and energy efficiency. He supports merit pay for teachers and more educational choices for parents and children, ideas that deserve furtherance in Washington. The next president will need to transcend the stunting polarities that bedevil Washington. As the Republican leader of a Democratic state, Mr. Romney had to reach across partisan boundaries. Mr. Romney's father, George Romney, served as governor of Michigan in the 1960s, a tie that strengthens his understanding of Michigan. He knows that this state's job losses and struggle to find a new economic footing are the "canary in the mine," as he rightly put it, for the nation as a whole.

Mr. Romney's campaign has been dogged at times by his shifting stands. He was much more nuanced on matters such as immigration as a governor than as a candidate. That's troubling. However, running as a Republican has historically required deference to the right wing of the party. Think of our own Gerald Ford dumping his moderate vice president, Nelson Rockefeller, for the more conservative Robert Dole.

Maybe being tested so severely as a prisoner of war in Vietnam gave John McCain the strength and courage to seemingly not care what others think. Mr. McCain's compelling biography gives the measure of a man loathe to compromise core personal beliefs. His support for the Iraq war has been unwavering, but not uncritical. He railed against the prosecution of the war undertaken by President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, saying more troops and a different strategy were needed. The point proved prescient. Mr. McCain would offer a muscular foreign policy coupled with a pragmatic understanding of military capabilities.

But on the issue that matters most to Michigan, Mr. Romney's message resonates. In Grand Rapids this week, he said, "Michigan's one-state recession will come to an end if I'm president." That's a bold promise. Michigan voters should increase his chance to make it reality.


I was just thinking of how much THIS SUCKED for those of us who are dems and who live here.
But then again, I think that the powers that be here in Michigan could've done a better job of NOT violating party rules, etc. and essentially being stubborn asses about the whole thing.

I'm rather depressed about it though, I would've liked to have a chance to hear the campaigns of democratic candidates in Michigan. I think that would've been of more value to me than this crap, especially since I'm still essentially undecided on which one I support. :(
I'm actually working this election, so it'll be pretty interesting.

Most fascinating, for me, is that, as an election worker, I cannot tell people that they should choose "undecided" and that their write-ins will not be counted. It's considered campaigning. There's actually a mini-speech, carefully crafted, that I have to give that's boils down to "call the clerk's office. No one signed up to be a write-in candidate." I predict a multitude of people attempting futilely to cast write-ins. Also a bunch of pissed-off people who don't understand why I won't answer their damn questions in a straight-forward a manner.


Left out

As a Michigan resident and a long time democrat,this will be the first time I will vote republican for president.It has occurred to me that if the democratic party cannot run a simple primary election for it's supporters,how on earth can they be expected run a government.

January 2008

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