Tuesday, April 29, 2008

After generations of pointless primaries, Hoosiers get a chance to be pandered to. Too bad it’s deteriorated into a frat-house food fight

MOVE OVER, IOWA. I’ve always resented Iowans. An all but all-white state in the middle of nowhere gets the royal treatment by pandering politicians every Presidential election cycle. Would-be Presidents rub shoulders and talk national policy minutia with hometown folks. By the time the Indiana primary rolls around, the candidates are decided and our votes are but rubber stamps on a foregone conclusion. We hardly ever have a promising candidate even acknowledge the state.

CURTAIN’S UP! Well, move over, Iowa. You didn’t matter so much this time. O yes, you gave Barack Obama the first caucus victory and put his candidacy on the track of electable legitimacy. But what you started, we get to finish. Who’d have thought Hoosiers would get such an opportunity? After all these years, after all this time, we get step into the national spotlight of electoral politics!

FEELING EXPOSED. Whoa! Wait a minute! Are we ready for this? You mean our politics of prejudice are going to be exposed? You mean our small-minded pettiness is going to be scrutinized? You mean our dogged stubbornness to even look like we’re ever going to be progressive is going to be laid bare before the nation and the world? Shine that light somewhere else! Run for cover!

DUMB AND DIRTY. Here we have two sophisticated Democratic candidates with highly nuanced policy positions, respectable reputations, and an unprecedented opportunity to change the direction of our nation and political process, and what do their campaign advisors feel it necessary to do in order to court Hoosier votes? Dumb it down. Dumb it down and cast the other candidate as inept, untrustworthy, uncaring, elitist, unready, unworthy, and unfit.

RUBBING SALT ON THE WOUNDS. So, Indiana gets to meet and greet the candidates. But we’re getting to be a part of one of the worst knock-down, drag-outs a national political party has likely ever had. He said, she said, they said. And the Republicans are rubbing salt on every open wound. Hoosiers, long denied a place at the primary political table, are getting in on the last throes of what degenerated into a frat-house food fight weeks ago. The last man—or woman—standing, wins...or at least gets the chance to be schooled by the political savagery of Carl Rove and company in the general election.

CROSS-OVERS WIN IT? According to Indiana pundit and pollster Brian Howie, most Hoosier Democrats have already decided who they’re voting for and the outcome looks to be razor thin. It may well be decided by Republicans who cross over in our open primary. Some moderates may cross over and vote or Obama, as has been the pattern in other states. But more conservative Republicans may follow the rantings and ravings of Rush Limbaugh and cross over to vote for Hillary Clinton in hopes of being able to have the delight of trashing her and defeating her in the national election. So, imagine that: the first Democratic primary that matters in Indiana in a generation and it could be settled by…Republicans? Go figure!

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