Quick Tuesday Note

[ Posted Tuesday, May 15th, 2007 – 12:48 UTC ]

[Apologies for not posting yesterday, I was attending the military funeral of a friend's father. No political statement here -- this was not an Iraq war vet, just a Navy E3 from long ago -- but I just didn't feel like posting yesterday.]

Two things to mention today.

The first is to strongly urge you to watch PBS' "Frontline" tonight (if it airs tonight in your region), as the title is "Spying on the Home Front." From a New York Times article on the show:

[The show] suggests that the domestic surveillance begun by the Bush administration after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, redefines the legal standards on which the United States was founded. Old standard: Law enforcement's job is to seek out a specific suspect and/or investigate a specific crime. New standard: Everyone is a suspect, and the crimes will be specified when those in charge are good and ready.

Sounds worth watching, for anyone who still cares about the Fourth Amendment.

Secondly, letter-writer to the Washington Post Kenneth R. Insley Jr. proposed a truly innovative, original, and downright brilliant idea for how to solve the presidential primary schedule mess for good:

I believe the fairest way to conduct the presidential primaries would be to rank the states according to voter participation in the previous election and have the primaries in that order until the winners become obvious.

He gets a bit snarky at the end, but still, his idea has a lot of merit, and is worth considering:

This change might rankle the chosen people of Iowa and New Hampshire because they would have to finally earn their coveted positions of influence. As soon as either of those states acquires an actual city, a diverse population or even a major sports team, I might actually feel the opinions held there should count for as much as my own.

Of course, like many good political reform ideas, it probably makes too much sense to ever become reality.

2 Comments on “Quick Tuesday Note”

  1. [1] 
    Herm71 wrote:

    Haven't read the link yet, but here's my comment: Why *do* Iowa and NH get the positions they do in the electoral process. NH has a state law requiring them to be first, but what if Nevada had the same law? What's stopping another state from simply passing a "me too" law?

  2. [2] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Herm71 -

    The answer is "tradition" which is another way of saying (in politics): "Nobody knows, we've just always done it this way, and we can't conceive of changing it."

    In truth, though, IA and NH haven't "always gone first." NH began doing so back in the 1950s, and IA in 1972. So it's not even that old a tradition.

    And you're right, any other state could pass a "me first" law, but NH has already thought of that. Much like a kid saying "...until infinity" to win an argument, or using one of the genie's three wishes to wish for more wishes, NH's law states "our primary will be held two weeks before any other primary." If other states move their dates up, it's automatic (built into the law) that NH moves theirs two weeks before it.

    IA is different because it's a caucus, not a primary, so it happens even before NH. But Republicans have held caucuses in Alaska and Hawaii before IA, so what you have described has already happened on the GOP side. Why nobody mentions this I'm not sure, possibly because the contiguous 48 states routinely ignored AK and HI (unless they're building bridges to nowhere).

    Thanks for commenting.


Comments for this article are closed.