Monthly Archives: January 2008

Dogs and Cats Playing Together

Remember when I said having PA be uncommitted at the national GOP convention was a political 80% issue?  For a review of what I mean by 80% issue click on the video below to learn from Newt.

It appears both Arlen Specter  [HT Pennsyltucky] and Rick Santorum believe PA’s delegates ought to remain uncommitted.

If this issue can bring concurrence between those two, I think we should take it to the middle east when we’re done here.

Change The System From In The System

I know more about how the GOP works.  Know what, though?  I am a committeeman, and it’s all still pretty vague to me.  Here’s an e-mail I just sent to the head of the Chester County GOP to get a handle on how best to send real uncommitted delegates to the national GOP convention.  It distills down my understanding of the system as it stands right now.  As I learn more, so will you!  Funny how the process of how we elect the president of a free nation needs distilling.

Skip:
I seem to recall we nominated you as a delegate last week.  Who did we nominate along with you?
The reason for my question is I am really unhappy with the way the presidential primary system in our country works.  I tried talking to my state legislators about moving ours up so our votes could be meaningful, but that was like beating my head against a wall. [see post tags for list of who I tried to persuade on the matter]
Besides, I eventually came to the conclusion that simply moving ours forward is not so much a solution, as it makes a dysfunctional system worse.  It occurred to me, though, one way to at least draw attention to the issue would be to have Pennsylvania’s delegation to the GOP convention not only arrive uncommitted in theory, but in actual practice as well.
This is an idea already floated by former Senator Santorum, and I feel it is something on which we should follow up, even if there’s no real chance any more of our national convention being “brokered”.
What are your thoughts on this?
PA GOP delegates, you see, are technically sent as uncommitted.  The helpful op-ed from Rick Santorum I mention can be found here.  This is apparently not how it goes down in practice, though, and I need to learn more about how and why.  Skip, though, seems like a decent and rational fellow, and he is one of the two people the Chester County GOP has nominated to be delegates at the national convention.  I’m sure he can explain it to me, and could perhaps also be persuaded to join the cause.

Live In the Solution

This is no time for nihilism or defeatism.  As this blog will spend a fair amount of time bashing all the candidates currently running for President, I should make this clear:  The country has muddled through worse, and all the current candidates have something to recommend them.

The problem is, on the GOP side supporters of allof the original five or so original candidates had the suspicion that we could have done better.  As for the Dems, I suggest if the Clinton machine does in Obama you will see an eruption the American Right is unable to muster.

The first step I think we need to take to begin solving this problem is changing our Byzantine and financially ruinous primary scheme.  The best thing we can do now, it seems to me, is to encourage all remaining primary voters to find a way to select “uncommitted” or “none of the above” on their presidential primary ballots.

National GOP Ambivalent About GOP Votes

Rich Lowry of National Review presents one reason why our primary system is incoherent on NRO’s Corner blog:

“Has this ever happened before? This is kind of amazing. I’m looking at CNN exit polls at the numbers for self-identified Republicans. McCain lost self-identified Republicans by a point in New Hampshire (oddly, he won registered Republicans); he lost self-identified Republicans by 14 points in Michigan; and he tied among self-identified Republicans in South Carolina and Florida. In other words, McCain is close to the presumptive nominee GOP nominee without having won self-identified Republican voters anywhere. What an extraordinary—and utterly unlikely—path to the nomination. Presumably, with his front-runner status enhanced, McCain will now begin to win self-identified Republicans, but he has pulled the political equivalent of an inside-straight to get here.”

That’s right:  The presumptive GOP nominee has yet to have a convincing win in a GOP primary dominated by Republicans.

His last remaining real challenger wouldn’t even be able to stay in the race, either, if he didn’t have millions of dollars on which he never paid income taxes.  Of course, he paid capital gains taxes.  Nice work if you can get it…

Like Mitt or McCain? If Not, Vote for Uncommitted.

Welcome to PA For Uncommitted Delegates.  This blog’s purpose is to encourage Pennsylvania’s delegates to the national party conventions to remain uncommitted, and if the choice of the nominee is fait accompli, to abstain in protest of the insane and anti-democratic way we select the President of the United States.

This blog was born out of Mayor Giuliani’s abortive run at the Presidency.  If you are interested for historical reasons in my meager place in that endeavor, go visit PA for Hizzoner, which briefly attained notice.

My interest in  Giuliani’s candidacy led me to what seems to me what Newt would call an “80% issue”.  This is an issue that virtually everyone can agree on that politicians would be wise to “stand next to and smile.”

For me, that issue is our asinine primary system, which we will discuss at some length here.

Perhaps more controversially, I am animated by how our major political parties seem to internally select candidates their broader constituencies find lacking.

[NOTE: This post was updated after the fact to hopefully adjust the description displayed on major search engines.]

Chester County GOP Committee Meeting; Rudy, McCain, and Romney

There were some Mitt folks at the Chester County GOP endorsement meeting last night.  Some McCain folks as well.

Alas, there were no Rudy people.

I guess every single person on the campaign is currently getting a sunburned face in the Sunshine State.  Many polls have Hizzoner slipping there, but some still have him strong, including a recent Rassmussen poll.  

Also, early voting is huge in FL, not just for folks that are out of town, but for folks for whom a trip to a polling place is something of a chore.  When most of those votes were cast Hizzoner had a dominating lead in the polls.  Current polling does not take this into account.  Conventional wisdom seems to be that Rudy is in trouble.  It would be dishonest to say that is entirely untrue, but this pundit thinks that is an underestimation.

I chatted last night with my retiring State Rep. Carol Rubley.  She remembered I cared about moving up the primary, and pointed out that ours might matter after all.  I pointed out that this presidential race is as competitive as it gets, and the liklihood of our primary mattering is still miniscule.

As an aside, please feel free to e-mail me if you have any interest in supporting Guy Ciarrocchi [no web site yet] as he runs for her seat, or Admiral Steve Kantrowitz as he takes on Andy Dinniman.  Rubley and Dinniman, by the way, were both people with fairly casual views about how important it is for you to cast a presidential primary vote that matters.

The e-mail, again, is karlub at yahoo dot com.

If You Care, Open Up The Wallet

Well, if you care about your primary vote counting in PA, it is time to open up your wallet and give Team Giuliani some cash for FL and Tsunami Tuesday.

Link here!

 Give early, give often.

Calling all SE PA Volunteers

I’m working on putting together some road trips to do a little retail politicking for the Tsunami Tuesday primaries in Delaware and New Jersey. Southern part of the state for the latter.

Wanna’ help?  Enjoy the laugh a minute hilarity of retail politics?

If so, e-mail me at karlub at yahoo dot com.

Test Two for National Strategy: NH

Well, Team Rudy’s national strategy passed its second test last night.  McCain won, Huck disappointed, and Hizzoner avoided the awkwardness of having the eighth paragraph of NH primary coverage reading “Ron Paul finished strong in the ‘Live Free or Die’ state, edging Giuliani…”

Avoiding early states and planting a flag in FL immediately before Tsunami Tuesday is looking less and less mad every day.

Still, despite this being about as wide-open a GOP primary as I am likely to see in my lifetime, there’s constant talk of candidates needing to drop out, perhaps even before Feb. 5, due to lack of funds.  Last night could have been a mortal blow to Romney.  Thompson is on fumes before his Southern base ever casts a vote.

And without a NH victory, there would have been talk about McCain needing to drop out after only 10% of Iowans and often intentionally mis-registered New Hampshire residents casting malicious ballots have had a chance to vote.  Now instead there’s talk of McCain being the frontrunner. 

I get to vote in April.

IA Results: They’re Just More Important Than Me

Well, the good voters of IA have caucused, and have selected a moderate evangelical democrat from Hope Arkansas, and an even further left wing cipher.

Now, I generally like organic tradition, a la Russell Kirk.  I also generally like heterogeneity and quirkiness.  It is somewhat refreshing that rural Iowans and grumpy Granite Staters have such a large say in our electoral system, especially since so much of what goes on in this country seems predetermined in some well-funded conference room full of people mildly afraid and hugely disdainful of average Americans.

So from that perspective it is gratifying to find those candidates most obviously designed in those conference rooms– Romney and Clinton– dealt a demoralizing defeat by just those Americans over Swedish meatballs and warm cider in a hundred high school gyms and living rooms in the IA caucuses last night

But…

Why, exactly, should the votes of a few hundred Iowans matter so much to the future of our country?  One is reminded of the famous speech in the movie Bull Durham, which I’ve mentioned here before in a different context, about the difference in baseball between a career minor leaguer and hall of famer being one hit a week.  Should the course of our country be based on such obviously fickle vicissitudes?  A couple family crises and a broken-down bus on the way to a caucus site could have made all the difference last night for any number of candidates.  Now we’re stuck with the withdrawal of Chris Dodd and Joe Biden!

It is well established on this site that I think it is an absurdity verging on a representative miscarriage that the people of Pennsylvania– and many other states– have little say in the presidential primary process.  That miscarriage seems all the more obvious when the two winners out of IA are so similar, and so similarly wrong.

In purely parochial concerns, one of my commenters recently suggested GOP bigwig Bob Asher has been recently spotted genuflecting in Mitt Romney’s direction.  Wouldn’t it be funny if such a consummate insider had to find a way to explain that away because his new favorite candidate never got a chance to even run in PA?

Finally, we should note in this space that last night’s result was pretty much ideal for Giuliani, given the fact that Team Rudy chose to skip IA altogether.  Romney is dealt a huge defeat, and Thompson and McCain do OK, thereby keeping the field wide open.  McCain appears poised to win NH.  SC will be a scramble.  Then FL comes around, where Rudy still polls on top.

It’s white knuckle time over at Team Rudy.  Their “national strategy” is about to be tested.  They’ve been quiet, letting the other candidates spend time, money, and moral capital over two early states with not many delegates at stake.  They plan to plant their flag in FL, then roll up delegates in NJ, NY, CA, and IL on Tsunami Tuesday.

So they have to win FL.  Then on Super Duper Tuesday, if they win MO, they will be in the cat bird seat.  If the Feb. 5 results are more mixed, maybe we will get to cast a vote that matters here in PA.  If Rudy can’t win FL, though, it’s looking like McCain or Huck.  Who knows, though?