Thursday, September 06, 2007

Nebraska Republicans Don't Care That Their Votes Won't Count???

by Kyle Michaelis
The rejuvenated Douglas County Democratic Party held a press conference yesterday touting the Nebraska Democratic Party's 2008 Presidential caucus, scheduled for Saturday, February 9th. The press conference was obviously quite successful, earning a front-page story in the Omaha World-Herald, not to mention across the dial coverage on Omaha television (KMTV, KETV, KPTM).

This is a really exciting development for Nebraska Democrats, who are certainly taking a risk with so massive an undertaking but who ultimately have little to lose after years of our state being less than an afterthought in presidential politics. Of course, there are no guarantees the caucus will prove a tremendous success, but I think the people of Nebraska will appreciate the fact that at least one political party in our state cares enough about its voters to give them the chance to have a say in choosing their presidential nominee.

The Nebraska Republican Party may have any number of legitimate reasons for not following suit, maintaining its own presidential selection during the May primary when the race is all-but-certain to be over. It may be a matter of tradition. It may be a simple (and quite practical) acknowledgment of Nebraska's low place on the presidential totem pole. It may even reflect plain old laziness on their part, not wanting to deal with the hassle when Nebraska's Republican majority is likely to rally behind whoever has the "R" by his name on the November ballot. Who knows - they might even sense that the current crop of Republican candidates is so uniformly unimpressive that it's just not worth having a choice between them.

Whatever their reasoning, I could probably respect it. What I can't respect, though, is the insulting mockery by the Nebraska Republican Party's Executive Director, Tiffany Carlton, directed towards Nebraska Democrats just for daring to be relevant on the national stage.

  The Omaha World-Herald reported:
Although the Democrats' caucuses will come four days after Super-duper Tuesday - when more than 20 states are expected to hold primaries or caucuses - several candidates have indicated interest in competing for Nebraska's delegates, state party officials said. "We are definitely a part of the process now. Even though there's a Super-duper Tuesday going on February 5, there are so many strong candidates that we won't end up with a definite winner on that date," said Chris Jerram, chairman of the Douglas County Democratic Party....  
[Tiffany] Carlton, the GOP executive director, said it's unlikely that a Feb. 9 contest will have any real impact, with so many states choosing a nominee on Feb. 5. "Unfortunately, because so many other states have moved their caucuses forward, their delusion of grandeur is not going to happen. By February 9, the decision will be made and the Nebraska Democrats will be left standing like the kid who got left out on the playground," she said.

Now, I realize that, as her party's executive director, it is Carlton's job to be partisan. But, I don't think that partisanship should extend to actively rooting for the failure of any effort to empower the people of Nebraska and to give them more of a say in who will be their next president.

According to the Nebraska Republican Party, democracy is the true delusion of grandeur. They decided for their own voters that Nebraska Republicans would have no real say in their nomination process. And, from this response, they clearly resent the fact that Nebraska Democrats are daring to be more bold, taking a risk that shows signs of life and true concern for Nebraska voters that will only make the complacent GOP look bad by comparison.

Then again, they already look bad from Carlton's statement above. I guess they might as well get used to it now.

***Addendum*** I just added a new poll on this topic. Please tell us what you think about Nebraska Democrats' plans for a presidential caucus.

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