Saturday, May 10, 2008


I don't know why people are complaining about the Democratic nomination process taking so long. It's working just fine.

And I see no reason for Hillary to surrender. She has inspired a world full of little girls who now think a woman can become President of the United States. What kind of example would it set if she threw in the towel? She can't do that. But she did lay out the formula for her exit from the race: She said she would end her campaign when there is a nominee. And there will be one. Barack Obama will soon be the Democratic nominee. But he needs to win it. He doesn't need it handed to him by Hillary Clinton. And that's what's going on in front of us right now. Every few days a dribble of "super delegates" comes out for Obama. Nine for him; one for her. The pattern has been set. She'll win West Virginia and he'll win Oregon. And so it will go until there is a nominee. It will only take a few more weeks. Then she can lose with honor. Surrender is not an option.

Meanwhile, the primary process is doing exactly what the Democratic Party intended for it to do: It has made every state count. Not so very long ago, the whole thing was a fait accompli by the end of the New Hampshire primary. Back then, Iowa and New Hampshire decided who the Democratic nominee would be. Super Tuesday nailed it down. And the rest of us voted impotently. California was one of the last states to weigh in. Imagine what would have happened in 2004 if California went first. Kucinich and Dean would have made very respectable showings and set the agenda for the rest of the country.

At every national convention, the party sets the rules for the next election. Four years ago the Democratic Party came up with a set of primary rules that would ensure every state is heard and every vote counts. Michigan and Florida broke the rules by holding their primaries too soon and in that way actually helped educate the country on the way the system works, although at a great cost to their voters.

Personally, I'd say that Florida should count because Obama and Clinton were both on the ballot. In Michigan only Clinton was on the ballot and I don't think those votes should count. This is a problem because it disenfranchises the voters at home. Their issue is with their state party, not the candidates. The solution at the convention is to seat the Michigan delegates, disqualify them from the first round of voting and then let them vote on everything else, including the rules for the next election. And let this be a lesson to them: A) don't break the rules, and B) you no longer have to vote first to have your vote count.

This time around, almost every state has been, for a while, THE state. Each state has enjoyed the spotlight and had their economy benefit from the onslaught of media and politicos in the last weeks of the campaign. Restaurants, bars, hotels, car rentals, grocery stores and other local businesses all got a jolt of cash when the campaign came to town. We all got to see how the recession was affecting people in other states with different economic bases – whether it was the flight of jobs overseas or the closing of manufacturing plants or the devastation of natural disasters, we got to know our fellow citizens and the issues that affect their daily lives.

And we got to see how the candidates handled the grueling day-to-day pummeling of the campaign trail. Even died-in-the-wool Hillary haters are begrudgingly admitting she is a hell of a fighter. Isn't that a better example to set for little girls everywhere than meekly stepping aside because the Old Boys say so?

So let's stop with the hand-wringing and start preparing to support our nominee with everything we've got. It's going to be the battle of our lives.