S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

On the way to the evening

When the New Hampshire Primary election returns are finalized, it will be another big milestone in "Election -- 2008." The MSM anointed front-runners will have fulfilled the pundits' breathless predictions or not. With just a few days to recalibrate slumping campaigns, we who watch TV and read newspapers get caught up in the candidate gossip trivia of the moment. Were Hillary's tears real or not? Did Edwards take unfair advantage of her situation with a sexist frame of what a commander in chief needs. Did Obama gain or lose anything from this little drama?

My "boss" at The Reaction, where I also regularly post, Michael J.W. Stickings, wrote a wonderfully insightful and useful analysis of the current situation from his vantage point in the U.K., where he is currently staying. He talked about the importance of the process so much better than I ever could in "Hillary's long and winding road," from which I quote a couple of his ironic bits of wisdom:

If [Hillary] does lose New Hampshire, though, you know where the media narrative will go: Obama is indeed unstoppable and Clinton is, alas, a hopeless also-ran who might as well get out of the way of the swelling Obama juggernaut. . .The media will have its story, and that will be that.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. New Hampshire hasn't happened yet, and a new Gallup poll puts Clinton and Obama each at about one-third support among Democrats. That's a tie is what that is, and there's a long, long way to go. It is now Obama who faces the challenge of heightened expectations and the risk of losing his hard-won momentum. The pendulum could yet swing back.

Meanwhile the Progressive blogosphere has no lack of definitive opinions, endorsements, important news and predictions with which to weigh in. (My guy was Senator Chris Dodd, so now I have to start completely over). Here is a little sample from my Favorites roster:

  • Rather devastatingly critical of Barack Obama, TxSharon on January 5 endorsed Hillary Clinton.

  • Hat tip to Buckarooskidoo for the link and a great post at Make it Stop! titled, "Holy Hyperbole!The link was to an International Herald Tribune story about Barack Obama's popularity in Germany.

  • "Hat tip" to betmo ( a Kucinich supporter), who first pointed out (Edwards supporter) Bluebloggin's biggie. deserves a round of applause for the (1/7/08) article, "Federal Election Commission has shut down. Yes, I had to read the headline twice also. To quote:

    With the primary season underway for the most important presidential race the Federal Election Commission has shut its doors. I kid you not. On January 1, 2008 the FEC went dark. This is truly amazing, infuriating and stunning that the MSM would miss such a crucial story during an election year. With the exception of the Washington Post’s recent article on December 22nd no one else in the MSM covered the shut down.

    . . . When the terms of three of the six-member Commission expired on December 31, 2007, the agency lost its ability to take any formal actions concerning elections. Because the FEC requires votes of four of its six Commissioners to decide any matter, one vacancy and the expiration of the three appointees, the FEC now has only two Commissioners. They are no longer functional.

    The duties of the FEC, which is an independent regulatory agency, are to disclose campaign finance information, to enforce the provisions of the law such as the limits and prohibitions on contributions, PAC’s and to oversee the public funding of Presidential elections.

Even more important than the FEC to the 2008 elections big picture is the actual voting process. I quoted from this important New York Times Magazine article of January 6, 2008, in my most recent post. It discussed what is wrong with the electronic voting systems of the various states. Today's quote is about what could be right if changes are made in time. Let us hope that New Hampshire voters have confidence that their votes will be counted correctly. Dixville Notch's 17 voters used paper ballots and we saw the counting. To quote:

Optical scanning is used in what many elections experts regard as the “perfect elections” of Leon County in Florida, where Ion Sancho is the supervisor of elections. In the late ’80s, . . . he bought the optical-scanning devices from Unisys and trained his staff . . . His error rate — has dipped as low as . . . three-thousandths of a percent.

More important, his paper trail prevents endless fighting over the results of tight elections. In one recent contest, a candidate claimed that his name had not appeared on the ballot in one precinct. . . The paper ends the discussion.” Sancho has never had a legal fight over a disputed election result. “The losers have admitted they lost, which is what you want,” he adds. “You have to be able to convince the loser they lost.”

That, in a nutshell, is what people crave in the highly partisan arena of modern American politics: an election that can be extremely close and yet regarded by all as fair. Not only must the losing candidate believe in the loss; the public has to believe in it, too.

It is well on the way to the evening and the process is in full swing, and I must trust it. At least the candidates and we will know the outcome before long. I have had the television off all day because I cannot stand it. I am in full retrench mode, trying to decide whom to support when my turn to vote comes in March. I love John Edwards' fierce liberal populism. I love Barack Obama's lovely story, his inspiring manner and his outstanding oratory. And I love Hillary Clinton because she represents my feminist dreams as I begin my seventh decade. I could have worse problems.


nytexan said...

Thank you for linking my FEC post. It truly is scary and very irritating that the MSM would let this get by. This election is probable the most important one we've had in several cycles and our voting system is still a disaster.

I'm sure for the MSM things that effect our lives just get in the way of reporting on Brintey and Paris.

Carol Gee said...

Happy to find you, nytexan. I am a Wyo-Texan, have been here all my adult life. There is a part of me that really misses my mountains, wildlife and clear air. I'll visit your site again.
And I plan to follow this issue. My other big issues are civil liberties, FISA, domestic spying, etc.