I have never voted in a presidential primary that matters. For some time this was entirely my fault. I was registered as a Libertarian. This time around, though, the fault appears to that of Ed Rendell, our governor.
The Pennsylvania primary is currently scheduled for April. This is generally too late to matter, and this year that date would render my primary vote even more irrelevant as many states have moved their primary dates to early February.
As recently as twoyears ago Ed Rendell was all for having our primary move up to March. That is when Rendell formed a commission to examine the issue. Now he thinks this is a bad idea, and feels we should nationally rehaul the entire primary process. While I agree, I do not agree in the meantime we should keep our primary inconsquential. In the case of Pennsylvania, it especially makes no sense as our state is of significant consequence in the general election.
Interestingly, Rendell told Fox News that our state legislature has “no appetite” for moving our primary date forward. I guess he didn’t ask Jake Corman, GOP State Senate policy director, or his Democrat counterpart Richard Kasunic. They will be having a hearing tomorrow in Harrisburg to revisit the issue.
The question, then, is this: When Rendell told Fox News the PA State Legislature had no appetite for moving the primary date up he must have known they were, in fact, at least a little peckish. Rendell used to be on board with the move. What changed? The only objection I’ve been able to find has to do with fear of the added expense. Yeah. OK. I buy that. Suddenly we have bunch of fiscally rigorous legislators keeping a hawk’s eye on the public till.
Conspiracy theories are not my oeuvre. But fast Eddie appears to have had a change of heart, and many suspect he also has national ambitions. He did chair the DNC during the 2000 presidential election, after all. Could it be the Democrats, nationally, would rather not face Giuliani? While a Giuliani primary victory in PA would not be a foregone conclusion, I don’t think you need to be Larry Sabato to know Giuliani would run well here. Could there also be a little personal animus? After all, the title of “America’s Mayor” used to be Rendell’s.
I, for one, hope the nation’s sixth largest state can enjoy a meaningful presidential primary. Perhaps tomorrow we will learn it may be possible. More likely, though, we will learn a combination of bureaucratic entropy and hidden agendas will deprive our Commonwealth from having a meaningful say in who will represent the major parties in the ’08 presidential race.