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Republicans' Democrat Envy

[ Posted Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 – 15:50 PST ]

Watch out!
You might get what you're after.

-- Talking Heads, "Burning Down The House"

You might not know it from the extended bouts of hair-pulling-and-garment-rending anguish emanating from the Republican Party establishment these days (see: any recent GOP commentary by a party elder or deep thinker which uses the phrase "brokered convention"), but the Republican Party is getting exactly what they asked for. Not just asked for, in fact, but specifically planned on.

Ever since the 2008 presidential primary season, the Republican Party as a whole came down with a serious case of Democrat envy. The GOP took a look at their own primary process, and then they took a look at what had gone on between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and they decided they liked the Democratic plan better. Obama hadn't been destroyed by the months-long primary fight (as many at the time predicted), he was in fact toughened up by the experience and a better candidate when the general election started -- as a direct result of the long primary calendar. This is the root cause of the Republicans' envy.

Of course, even individual Republican presidential candidates are also showing their envy of Obama's primary run. Ron Paul, in particular, is working from Obama's playbook in concentrating on caucus states the other candidates have ignored. Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich both hold dreams of knocking off their party's frontrunner and achieving what Obama did against Clinton. The only one with no Democrat envy at all is Mitt Romney, because he would have been just fine with the tried-and-true Republican way of doing things -- wrapping things up early, with a "coronation" for the nominee, usually the "next guy in line" from the last time around. Romney's the only one who can truly claim disappointment (and not envy), looking back at 2008.

The Republican Party establishment decided upon radical changes to their primary calendar this time around. The blueprint was to draw the race out, and extend it until roughly mid-April, rather than wrapping things up so early. In 2008, Super Tuesday was held on the fifth of February, when John McCain essentially wrapped up the nomination and Mitt Romney dropped out (Mike Huckabee would keep campaigning, for some unfathomable reason, but no one paid much attention). To put it another way, four years ago, the Republican race was really over at this point in time, and had been for two weeks.

This was not to be in 2012, the Republican Party decreed. Their plan was to extend the early primary season considerably, but then encourage the states to wrap things up by mid-April (nobody was envious of watching the Clinton/Obama contest go all the way to June). They did this with two deadlines. After the initial four states voted (starting in January), no state was supposed to hold their contest before Super Tuesday, the first Tuesday in March. This would allow all of February for real competition, and would allow the candidates to toughen each other up while the public was actually focused on the campaigning. Super Tuesday would likely narrow the race down to two (or, at the most, possibly three) viable candidates.

The second deadline the Republican Party laid down was that all states which voted before April Fool's Day (insert your own joke, here) were not allowed to award their delegates in the traditional "winner-takes-all" Republican method, but instead use the Democrats' "proportional" delegate system. This would allow second-place (and even third-place) winners to also build up delegates, and would avoid having the race be called too early -- before the candidates had the chance to season each other up a bit on the campaign trail.

Of course, the Republican Party also has the same "herding cats problem" when it comes to the 50 states following the plan as the Democratic Party always does -- some states want to go earlier than allowed. This is why states like Michigan and Arizona are in the mix before Super Tuesday. Theoretically, any state with an actual binding vote which votes too early is supposed to lose half their delegates to the convention as a penalty. If this race stays even slightly close, look for this to become an absolutely enormous issue within the Republican Party for the next few months. The Republicans' Democrat envy may lead them to the ugliest phase of the 2008 Democratic primary race -- the question of what was to be done about Michigan and Florida. Imagine what the intraparty fight in the Republican Party will be like if awarding the early states their full delegate slate would actually change the outcome of the race. The Democrats had a huge fight over it even though it wound up not being a deciding factor for Obama in the end -- so the fight would be even more intense if it meant the difference of whether Romney held the magic number of delegates for the nomination, or whether it was denied to him (to pick just one scenario).

Convention speculation aside, though, if the Republican Party had followed their initial template perfectly, the race would be pretty close to exactly where it stands today -- a muddied candidate field, in more ways than one. Nobody's wrapped anything up yet, there are still four candidates in the race, and they are all out there swinging at each other just about as hard as they can. All by design. In fact, the plan was for Super Tuesday not even to be the deciding factor. It wouldn't be until April that one candidate could easily amass so many convention delegates as to absolutely put the nomination out of everyone else's reach.

The Republican Party didn't just plan for where we are today, they planned on more than another month of muddying the field.

Watch out. You might get what you're after.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Cross-posted at Business Insider
Cross-posted at The Huffington Post

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

28 Comments on “Republicans' Democrat Envy”

  1. [1] 
    Michale wrote:

    I think the term "Watch Out" might apply to Democrats...

    Because it was such a tactic that was directly responsible for the Democrat win in 2008...

    So, it might be Democrats turn to "watch out" come November..... :D

    Michale.....

  2. [2] 
    Paula wrote:

    This is really interesting. I was vaguely aware of some of this but didn't have the big picture.

    Context is everything. In 2008, both Obama and Hillary were first timers running for Pres. while these 4 final repubs tee up every 4 years. And a number of other dynamics were entirely different as well. I guess successful "strategery" is harder than it looks!

  3. [3] 
    dsws wrote:

    The problem for Republicans isn't the schedule, or the fact that candidates are attacking each other. Candidates always attack each other in contested primaries. The problem is the lack of enthusiasm for their options. Democrats 08 didn't have the flavor-of-the-week cycle.

  4. [4] 
    Michale wrote:

    dsws,

    Democrats 08 didn't have the flavor-of-the-week cycle.

    Very true...

    Michale.....

  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:

    Meanwhile, in International News...

    I see that Muslims have again decided to show the world how "loving" and "peaceful" their religion is...

    And, of course, our Apologizer In Chief couldn't start apologizing fast enough...

    Tim Tebow really messed up. If he would have bowed towards Mecca and praised Allah instead of going to a knee and thanking Christ, he would have had all of the Left up to AND including the POTUS on his side, instead of being ridiculed by the Left...

    {{ssssiiiigggggghhhhhhh}}

    Michale....

  6. [6] 
    dsws wrote:

    If Tebow had been willing to give up millions of dollars in endorsements to express his religious affiliation, instead of having it be a smug announcement of ultimate-in-group status with no possibility of repercussions, I would have at least given him credit for having the courage of his convictions.

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    If Tebow had been willing to give up millions of dollars in endorsements to express his religious affiliation,

    Assumes facts not in evidence..

    I would have at least given him credit for having the courage of his convictions.

    He deserves the credit for sticking to his convictions despite overwhelming scorn from a group of people that would rather support religious freedom by a religion that allows the wholesale and brutal murder of innocent men, women and children..

    Michale....

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    Rather ironic, isn't it....

    Obama bends over backwards apologizing to a religion where millions of innocent people have been killed in it's name...

    Yet totally ignores the religious freedom of fellow Americans in imposing measures that their religion strictly forbids....

    Sometimes I really have to wonder whose side Obama is on??

    Besides his own, that is...

    Michale....

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    An Afghan soldier, apparently angry over the burning of Korans, fatally shot two U.S. troops and wounded four others, Afghan officials said.

    http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2012/02/23/Obama-apologizes-for-burning-of-Korans/UPI-66781330001572/#ixzz1nIiY5wOB

    Wonder if Obama is going to demand an apology from Karzai??

    Sheeya right. When monkees fly outta my butt...

    Michale.....

  10. [10] 
    dsws wrote:

    Demanding an apology is for weaklings. People get over-sensitive to perceived humiliation when their real position borders on humiliating. If the most powerful person or group gets easily-offended like that, there are two possibilities: they aren't really as powerful as they're made out to be, or they're just being a bully because of something wrong with them. Neither is a good image for the US to project.

  11. [11] 
    dsws wrote:

    He deserves the credit for sticking to his convictions despite overwhelming scorn from ...

    If he can be "overwhelmed" by scorn from the 0.03% of the population that's both atheist and concerned enough about football to matter, then his convictions aren't all they're cracked up to be.

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    Demanding an apology is for weaklings.

    No... Always apologizing is for weaklings...

    People get over-sensitive to perceived humiliation when their real position borders on humiliating.

    I am not talking about humiliation..

    I am talking about killing Americans...

    Neither is a good image for the US to project.

    Neither is the excessive groveling from our Groveler In Chief...

    If he can be "overwhelmed" by scorn from the 0.03% of the population that's both atheist and concerned enough about football to matter, then his convictions aren't all they're cracked up to be.

    I doubt he cares... He has more integrity in his pinky toe than all the Left combined..

    *I*, on the other hand, get pissed off that a fellow American is subjected to such ridicule, while a the religious freedom of the people who KILL Americans is upheld to the fullest by those same people who trash a fellow American...

    Michale.....

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    He has more integrity in his pinky toe than all the Left combined..

    Present company excepted, of course... :D

    Michale.....

  14. [14] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale -

    I didn't notice you getting upset back then:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24724080/

    "Bush Apologizes To Iran For Quran Shooting"

    I'm just sayin'....

    -CW

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    I didn't notice you getting upset back then:

    I might have been.... :D

    Text: We're sorry. The text content of this page is no longer available.

    Don't know the details... :D

    Michale.....

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/wh-bush-apologized-mishandling-koran-too/392641

    So there is that... One instance..

    Obama has made a career of apologizing to these savages...

    But yes.. Bush is a ninny for apologizing..

    Let's start seeing these wankers apologizing for THEIR actions, eh??

    Michale.....

  17. [17] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale -

    Sorry for the broken link (and I believe I should have said "Iraq", too).

    They're easy to find. Just Google "Bush apologized" and "Quran" or "Koran"...

    When American soldiers do stupid and disrespectful things, American presidents apologize, because doing so saves American soldiers' lives. Plain and simple. At least, seen through non-Obama-Derangement-Syndrome eyes...

    -CW

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    By apologizing, Obama is validating the concerns of the Muslims **as they are addressed**...

    In other words, Obama condones the brutal murder of innocent people by apologizing to these savages...

    The savage Muslims see America apologizing and that makes them secure in the knowledge that there savage response to the transgression is justified...

    Michale.....

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    I still maintain that one simply DOES NOT apologize to people who are killing Americans...

    Call me crazy...

    Michale.....

  20. [20] 
    dsws wrote:

    *I*, on the other hand, get pissed off that a fellow American is subjected to such ridicule, if it happens to be coming from the left.

    FTFY

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    FTFY

    No, you fixed it for YOU...

    It has nothing to do with how *I* feel...

    But, since you bring it up.... Why is it that the Left seems to always support things that are perceived as Anti-American??

    The Left denigrates religious freedom at every opportunity, unless we're talking about the religious freedom of people who kill Americans...

    Why is that??

    Michale.....

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    CW,

    When American soldiers do stupid and disrespectful things, American presidents apologize, because doing so saves American soldiers' lives. Plain and simple.

    I would consider my way of thinking to be the norm amongst the military...

    And I have to say, if I was in a foxhole in Afghanistan I would say to my buddies, "Ya know.. I wish our CnC would show a tenth of the deference and respect to us grunts as he seems to show to the people trying to kill us.."

    I would wager that, if you were able to poll the troops in the field, you would find that THAT is the prevailing sentiment..

    Look at the facts of the current apology tour... Within hours of Obama apologizing, an Afghani soldier opens up on American troops, killing 2 and wounding 4...

    Within a day of Obama prostration, the bloodiest day of the protests occurs...

    It seems to me (and the facts bear this out) that seeing America prostrate itself to Muslims seems to make matters WORSE, not better...

    Maybe we should do a little less apologizing and a little more helping these savages join 21st century civilization...

    Religion of peace, me arse....

    Michale.....

  23. [23] 
    dsws wrote:

    Why is it that the Left seems to always support things that are perceived as Anti-American?

    Because the left actually has principles, instead of being toadies of whoever's got the upper hand.

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    Because the left actually has principles, instead of being toadies of whoever's got the upper hand.

    Always being against one's own country doesn't sound like "principles" to me...

    Seems more of a bit of self-loathing....

    Michale.....

  25. [25] 
    Michale wrote:

    It, somehow, escapes me..

    Which "principle" comes into play whereas the Left constantly ridicules the religious beliefs of their fellow Americans but immediately jumps to the defense of people whose religion all but requires the brutal murder of innocent people...

    I'm just sayin'....

    Michale....

  26. [26] 
    dsws wrote:

    Is the right so stupid that they don't understand the difference between criticizing our country and being against our country, or are they just lying again? And don't they have any better talking points for you to push?

    There is an inherent right to freedom of religion, and its protection is guaranteed in our Constitution. There is no right not to be ridiculed.

    There are perhaps half a dozen districts where a Muslim has a chance of being elected to Congress, and maybe two where an atheist could be elected. There are about 350 districts where no one but a professed Christian can possibly be elected. There are no states where a Muslim or atheist could be elected US senator. There is no chance whatsoever that any atheist or Muslim will be elected president in the next forty years. All this is so, despite the Constitution saying that no religious test shall be required for any public office. Our supposed right to full political participation is simply not there. That's just a reality. Your party is well ahead of mine in creating and perpetuating that reality.

    There is no parity between that reality and the scorn of 0.03% of the population, that Tebow "suffers" for being a hypocrite (Christ's description of it, not mine) and making a fool of himself.

  27. [27] 
    dsws wrote:

    As for religion requiring the brutal murder of innocent people, are you talking about crusades, pogroms, or Inquisition?

  28. [28] 
    Michale wrote:

    As for religion requiring the brutal murder of innocent people, are you talking about crusades, pogroms, or Inquisition?

    All of the above, INCLUDING Terrorism...

    Funny thing, though...

    Of the Crusades, Pogroms, Inquisitions and Terrorism, only ONE is still with us in the here and now.. The other 3 are ancient history committed by savages.

    Three of those practices are no longer amongst civilized people..

    I'll leave you to figure out which is which.. :D

    Michale....

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