“NO! ME! I’m first!”
“Not if I cut in line and no one sees me do it! Then I’M first!!”
Honestly, the boys in PunditGirl’s second-grade classroom are better able to negotiate their differences than the politicians who want to be first to weigh in on who the respective nominees for the White House are going to be in 2008.
According to The Politico, a relatively new entry into the world of political journalism here in the shadow of the nation’s capital, Iowa has just moved up its caucuses to January 3 from January 14th so it can beat New Hampshire, which currently has its primary set for January 8.
Earlier this week, Senator Carl Levin called for Michigan to move its January 15 primary forward to the same day as the New Hampshire primary in order to end what he called New Hampshire’s “cockamamie” first-in-the nation role. There’s been plenty of coverage of Florida being sent to the electoral equivalent of the time-out corner by the DNC for wanting to get an early edge in the election, as well.
I wish I had a good answer to this conundrum. But since we have a system where the states get to decide when their national primaries are held, there’s little hope that they’ll all agree to play nicely and compromise.
For better or worse, our presidential candidates end up being decided not by who is leading in the national polls, even though that’s what some candidates hope we will believe and will sway our decisions, but by which states are lucky enough to set the stage for early winners.
If a candidate tanks in the first two or three states, in recent history, the horse race has been over. So Hillary can have a polling lead that mirrors that of the proverbial hare, and still end up with the same outcome as the poor rabbit.
I have a sense that this will all get worked out so that, at least for this election season, the status quo remains.
But if our politicians don’t listen to reason and continue to act like second-graders when it comes to something as important as our electoral process, then they have to settle their disputes like second-graders.
After all, is there any disagreement among boys that can’t be solved by rock, paper, scissors?