Bob's Links and Rants

Welcome to my rants page! You can contact me by e-mail: Blog roll. Site feed.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

One John Who Speaks Out!

The New York Times has a good editorial about the stupidity of our electoral system being reflected in the Boston convention.
The great rule of this convention is that nobody should say anything to upset the swing voters. The environmentalists have refrained from complaining that their party platform contains an ode to Americans' God-given right to own S.U.V.'s. Discussions of foreign affairs are so heavy on talk about working with people of other lands that you expect the Fleet Center to burst into "It's a Small World After All.'' More unpleasant topics, like Americans torturing Iraqi prisoners or nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, get shorter shrift. The Kerry people have spread the word that negativism is out.

It would have been interesting to report on a convention in which a party preparing to run against an incumbent administration actually limited itself to positive comments. The prime-time speakers would have wound up doing charades. The organizers have had enormous success in emptying out Boston's normal population. Take away the Democrats' right to talk trash about the Bush-Cheney ticket and the place would resemble the silent morning-after scene in one of those zombie movies.

Fortunately, not everybody is paying attention. "This is America versus the panderers. This is America versus the rascals," said Representative John Dingell at the environment rally. Mr. Dingell even failed to say that this was the most important election in his lifetime, settling for an announcement that "I've had three and a half years of these scoundrels and it's all of them I can take."
That's MY congressman, readers! Read it and be jealous. On the other hand, doesn't that make ME pretty irrelevant? On most things I don't even want to change Dingell's positions--he voted against the Patriot Act and the Iraq war. On the things I disagree with--his undying support for the auto companies, especially--I have no chance of swaying him. Dingell has been in Congress WAY longer than Bush has been sober, and the Big Three have had a lot to do with that.

The editorial has an interesting conclusion:
We are stuck with a federal election system designed by people who did not want to leave the future of slavery to majority rule, and the modern technology of polling allows candidates to pinpoint the swing voters in the swing states - star pupils in the Electoral College.

To make things still weirder, the parties organize their primaries so that the nominees are chosen by only a few lucky states. Democratic voters in early primary states selected John Kerry as the presidential nominee because they thought he would appeal to people in places like Florida. But something happened in the long months between the Iowa caucus and the Boston convention. Despite the fact that Mr. Kerry's great selling point was being a winner, the Democrats now regard him as, at best, a non-loser who can, with great effort, possibly be dragged across the finish line ahead of the other guy. If everybody is very careful not to tick off the six people in Ohio and Pennsylvania [who Dems seem to believe will decide the election].