I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Friday, January 11, 2008

An Ill Conceived Plan (Updated.. and updated again)

It appears that Markos Moulitsas is up to some ill advised highjinks regarding this Tuesday's primary election in Michigan. And it's a plan also endorsed by Atrios, so there are two of the biggest hitters in the liberal blogosphere pushing this. What's it all about?
Let's Have Some Fun in Michigan

With a history of [Republican] meddling in our primaries, why don't we try and return the favor. Next Tuesday, January 15th, Michigan will hold its primary. Michigan Democrats should vote for Mitt Romney, because if Mitt wins, Democrats win.

The basic complaint and rationale from Markos comes on two fronts. First is the matter of the Democratic primary in Michigan being meaningless. As punishment for moving up their primary date, the Democrats have removed Michigan's delegates from the convention. Hillary Clinton's name is the only one which will appear on the ballot for the Democrats, so the vote means nothing, freeing up the Motor State's Democratic voters to do what they will.

On the second front, Markos complains that the Republicans have a demonstrated history of meddling in the Democratic primaries in that state over the years, citing elections going back to 1972.

I would urge our friends on the Left side of the aisle to think twice before engaging in such activity. Yes, it would be legal, but you must remember that this also means that it was legal when the Republicans allegedly did it. However, the matter goes much deeper than this.

If you are crying foul over the GOP doing it, and then you turn around and plan the same thing, aren't you lowering yourself to their level? Is that the message you want to send?

Next, this could be very poor advice in terms of the eventual general election. Mitt Romney is certainly in some trouble, having failed to win either of the first two, high profile contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, but he is far from out of the running. He has gained a significant number of the small pool of early delegates, and as long as the Republican race remains in its current state of chaos, Romney is definitely in the running. He has the money and structure to hang in there until Feb. 5, and could score some huge wins on super Tuesday. And do you really think that Romney is completely incapable of winning the general election? Early polls certainly show him faring poorly against the main Democratic contenders, but once the candidates are selected and the parties begin lining up behind their chosen nominee those numbers could shift dramatically. Were your plan to succeed, and you then found yourself waking up on November 5th to messages of congratulations to President- Elect Romney I dare say you would not find these tricks nearly as amusing.

And lastly, is there not a basic desire to just "do the right thing" in America? What you are talking about, while not criminal by statute, is meddling in the electoral process to distort the outcome! This is not something that can simply be justified by saying, "well, they did it, so..." No. It's wrong. And you should step back from this plan while you still can.

UPDATE: An e-mail I received on this almost immediately reminds me of another point I had wanted to make. Why do we still have states holding "open primary" elections anyway? Isn't it time for all of the state parties to abandon this foolishness? This isn't an election to a public office which, by definition, needs to be available to all eligible voters. It's a process where the individual party members get to select their own candidates for the general election. Having an open primary is akin to letting the coach of the Dallas Cowboys get a say in which quarterback the New York Giants will start this weekend. There's nothing undemocratic about keeping the primary process closed and restricted to registered members of the party. Here in New York you can only change your registration once per year and you can only vote in a primary if you are registered with that party. Works fine for us and prevents this type of prank entirely.

UPDATE 2: A Democratic state representative in Michigan is pushing Democrats to turn out and vote for Mike Huckabee. This just gets more and more surreal. Don't expect the Michigan GOP primary to produce a very clear picture of their chosen nominee at this rate.