Monday, January 28, 2008

Nebraska Caucus primer

With Super Tuesday shaping up as a non-decider for the Democrat Presidential nomination, the buzz down at Whole Foods is that the Nebraska Democrat Caucuses will actually matter! So as the Dems try to figure out where, how and why to caucus, we here on Leavenworth Street want to put in our two Lincoln Memorial medallions on the subject.

The Nebraska Democratic Party has made itself irrelevant. They have a Senator from their party who is the poorest Democrat in the body. One of the two leading candidates for the other Senate seat was a Republican a month ago. And they have yet to put up any candidates for any of the three House races.

So this caucus gimmick is their best idea to make them “relevant” on the national scene.

But let's get this out of the way: We're not big fans of the whole "caucus" concept.

First off, it's an Iowa thing. Nearly everyone else in the country is fine with going and punching a ballot -- like we do when we elect Presidents and Senators and city-councilmen. But for some reason, Iowa went and threw this goofy concept in.

And you know what? They can have it. They've got six on six girls’ basketball, college wrestling and covered bridges. Let’s let Iowa keep ‘em.

What about my secret ballot? P'shaw! Secret-schmecret.

And what's this about campaigning in the auditorium? Here's this line from the caucus instructions manual:
"Candidate support groups will select a spokesman who will state the case for their candidate."
You know what? If this person's sales pitch actually convinces you to switch after the past 12 months of campaigning by the candidates, your privilege to vote should be taken away.

And suppose you're there and a girl you like is a big Hillary person. You're an Obama guy. But you really want to ask out this girl, so, because of that, you go to her side. Now you've potentially altered the Presidential election because of a date. How Clintonian.

Unlike the Iowa Dems, the Nebraska Dems have added a wrinkle so you can vote by absentee ballot. Except that if your candidate doesn't get 15% you don't get to participate any more and your ballot will essentially be thrown away. But thanks for the letter.

Of course, part of this ploy is to get Hillary and Obama and Edwards to come in, talk about cows and ethanol and make some Nebraska football reference. But will any of the candidates show up? They've only got four days after Super Tuesday.

And did you know that the Washington-state caucuses and Louisiana primary are on February 9th as well? Where will Barack and Hillary look more like leaders of the people?
Touring post-Katrina New Orleans?
Speaking in front of Seattle's space needle?
Or talking sorghum prices in the middle of Carhenge?

With the lousy support Bubba got in Nebraska and Ben Nelson's endorsement of Obama, will Hillary bother to show up at all? Will she just give it to Obama? What was the point then?

All this does is emphasize the need for a federal commission to figure out a normal primary system, instead of the moronic free-for-all going on now. In the mean time, it looks like Nebraska Dems got their wish that someone will pay attention to their Presidential preference.

It's just too bad they chose a girls' six on six basketball game to be their method.


OmaSteak said...

Since the local airwaves don't seem to be saturated with pre-Nebraksa Dem presidential caucus they were for months before Iowa' looks to me like the national Dem campaigns are going to be a no show...sort of like Dem candidates for congressional and senate race.

One Out In The Third said...


Don't forget the massive mailout of absentee applications to the Nebraska Dems in the military throughout the world. You know...the men and women defending our freedom and the Constitution.

Nebraska Dems serving in the military must be like atheists in foxholes...there aren't any?????

The Nebraska cawcaw...or maybe caca...I haven't actually decided.

Anonymous said...

Just an FYI, you know, for accuracy purposes (in so much as those are important), Washington is having caucuses on Feb. 9th, just like Nebraska - not a primary as your post indicates.

Second, don't be surprised to seem some signs of the national campaigns here for the Democrats....they're already here.

Street Sweeper said...

Thanks for the correction. We'll fix it. And I would HOPE the "campaigns" would have a presence. The question is, the CANDIDATES.

BTOsborn said...

I shook Robert F. Kennedy's hand as he stood on the back of a train that passed through Kearney, Nebraska in the spring of 1968. That was probably the last time that our state was considered "significant" by either national party until Scott Kleeb scared the beejeezus out of 'em with his run for Congress in LD3.

That cowboy, that many of SS's readers like to poke fun of, managed to force the Republican Party to muster every big gun in its holsters to keep him down. They had the Speaker of the House, the Vice President, and even "The Decider" himself (just days before the election) out here to shore up the fortunes of Adrian Smith.

If Scott decides to run again, which I hope he will, either for Congress or the Senate, who is the Republican Party going to send out this time? Speaker of the House Pelosi, Darth Cheney with the bloody reputation of Torturer in Chief hanging about his neck like a millstone, or that lameduck comedian that gave a lackluster State of the Union address on television last night?

As for some of the points you made about the caucus process, Sweeper, I'd have to admit you made some very convincing arguments to support your case. I am a Democrat, and therefore believe in democratic principles. I too would like to see a more inclusive, and more fair, system for choosing our leaders than the current ones.

What did you think of Gov. Sebelius' rebuttal last night?

Street Sweeper said...

BTO, (with your 1968 reference, your initials are taking on more significance)

Virginia Smith and Bill Barrett also had tough races in their intial campaigns. They didn't afterward. Will be the same with Adrian Smith.

As far as the "Dem response", the conversation at my viewing party went sometihng like this:

"Did you just change the channel?"
"No, this is the Dem response."
"Who is that?"
"The Governor of Kansas, I think."
"The white hair...Nancy Kassebaum?"
"No, she's a Democrat. Sebulba, I think."
"Wasn't that a villain from Star Wars?"
"The new ones?"
"Uh huh."
"Why is her head so narrow, is something wrong with the tv?"
"I'm not really sure."
"'Scrubs' is on TNT now."


Anonymous said...

"The Nebraska cawcaw...or maybe caca...I haven't actually decided."


Paul said...

Your posts might be relevant if they were based in reality.

Adrian Smith and all the other do little / do nothing Nebraska GOP elected officials are on the downhill slide toward losing.

More and more independents and FORMER Republicans are turning to and registering Democratic party.

Fear and lies don't sell so well anymore. But Hope and progress does.

Gill said...

Paul ---- get your head out of where the sun doesn't shine. Pelosi got so little done last year even her own party faithfulls are weary of her lack of leadership.

AND BTO ----- where were the party leaders to help the cowboy. Whoever runs on the Dim side whether first, second or third should bring in the star studded group --- Charlie Rangel, Nancy and maybe Murtha. Smith would have won by more than 10% if Kleebmeister would have brought those thugs in to help. People would have gotten to see who he runs with instead of the cute little political blurps that he has mastered so well!!!!! Yah!!! let's all go plant a tree!!!!

PDC said...

On The Job Training for U.S. Presidency... it's not the right time for Obama. He'll be President someday I hope (seriously), but just not now. Please don't gamble with this primary.