March 5, 2014
Netanyahu's inaction to Obama's provocations sends powerful message
Kerry, after apparent criticism by Schumer, seeks to allay skepticism on diplomacy
How to ruin a perfectly good kid in 10 simple steps
2014 Oscars played it safe, but was faith lost in the shuffle?
Apple joins Hobby Lobby in touting corporate values beyond profit
March 3, 2014
Alina Dain Sharon: In the Hebrew calendar, a leap year has extra month, not day
Latest Obama appointment to prove Prez set on emasculating so-called Israel Lobby
Jewish World Review
Feb. 15, 2008
/ 9 Adar I 5768
A Superfight Down the Road
It's appropriate that our two major political parties are depicted as different animals. Forty days and forty nights out from the Iowa caucuses, the elephant and the donkey seem very different indeed. The Republicans have been split on attitudinal lines, between varying strains of conservatism and moderation. And their delegate selection rules, based on their notion of fairness, have produced a clear and unambiguous outcome. The Democrats, in contrast, have been split on demographic lines, between blacks and Latinos, old and young, upscale and downscale. The delegate selection rules, based on their notion of fairness, are heading the party not to a clear outcome but to a conflict in which the losing side is likely to feel profoundly aggrieved.
Winner-take-all is the Republican idea of fairness. The party seeks unity and uniformity and doesn't encourage dissent. You know the rules in advance, and if you come out ahead, you get the big prize. Thus, few Republicans thought it unfair when John McCain got all 58 delegates from Missouri on Super Tuesday after beating Mike Huckabee there 33 to 32 percent. McCain has gotten only a minority of all primary votes and has fared poorly in caucuses, but he has clinched the party's nomination, however long radio-talk-show hosts carp and Mike Huckabee campaigns.
For the Democrats, the carping may just be starting. The Democrats' idea of fairness is proportional representation. This makes sense for a party that typically has been made up of disparate minorities. The current rules came out of the 1988 contest, in which Jesse Jackson felt his voters were underrepresented. The problem is that the contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama has been so close that neither has built a significant lead or is likely to do so in the contests still to come.
The result is that the nomination could be determined by the 792 or so superdelegates public and party officials who were given convention votes in the early 1980s as a potential check on overenthusiastic and naive primary voters and caucusgoers. The combination of scrupulous proportionality of elected delegates and the generous profusion of superdelegates sets the party on a collision course. Clinton currently trails Obama slightly in elected delegates and may do so even if she wins the Ohio and Texas primaries March 4. But she currently leads among superdelegates, and so it's possible that group could give her the nomination even while she is lagging in primaries and caucuses.
If that's not problematic enough, Clinton has called for reinstatement of the Michigan and Florida delegates stripped from those states by the Democratic National Committee for holding their primaries too early. Obama took his name off the Michigan ballot; Clinton left hers on and defeated "uncommitted." She carried Florida by about the margin she held in national polls then, a margin that has vanished since.
Florida, Florida, Florida. You can hear the cries now, echoing the Florida controversy of 2000. "Count every vote" will be Clinton's cry the argument Al Gore's forces made. "Don't change the rules after the game is played" will be Obama's cry the argument of the Republican lawyers. The Florida fiasco polarized the nation because the arguments that each side made were in line with its basic ideas of fairness.
Obama fans will see this as an attempt to steal the nomination from the people's choice. Clinton fans will argue that denying representation to the nation's fourth- and eighth-largest states, both closely divided in the past two elections, would be political suicide. The Democrats' determination to design a system all their constituencies would consider fair threatens to produce a confrontation whose result, whatever it is, will be bitterly regarded by large and important party constituencies as profoundly unfair.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
The New Americans
Now, more than ever, the melting pot must be used to keep America great. Barone attacks multiculturalism and anti-American apologists--but he also rejects proposals for building a wall to keep immigrants out, or rounding up millions of illegals to send back home. Rather, the melting pot must be allowed to work (as it has for centuries) to teach new Americans the values, history, and unique spirit of America so they, too, can enjoy the American dream.. Sales help fund JWR.
JWR contributor Michael Barone is a columnist at U.S. News & World Report. Comment by clicking here.
Michael Barone Archives
© 2006, US News & World Report