Thursday, June 15, 2006

A Proposal For Changing The Way We Select Candidates: That Lawyer Dude Gets Political in Washington D.C.

I will be in Washington D.C. for the rest of the week. This could mean I barely blog or it could mean I blog a lot. It depends on how tired I am after a day of learning how to be the parent of a "Colonial".

My eldest son (the one that gave me the nickname "That Lawyer Dude")has decided to spend the next four years of his education at The George Washington University in our nation's capitol. Though I was initially disappointed that he decided not to attend my alma mater, I have to admit, GW is a really good school and an excellent fit for him. Though not active in politics, "Jr. Lawyer Dude" has always been into current affairs and excelled in Extemporaneous speech events through out High school. He also loves Jazz and jam band music. Hence a city like D.C. will give him a lot of outlet for his playing and listening pleasure.

Orientation, or what George Washington U. calls Colonial Inauguration is taking place this week and I will be seeing how they will be spending my money. In the meantime coming out of Union Station and seeing the Capitol Building got me thinking about politics. I ran across this story which is making for some real buzz down here.

The issue is that Senator Joseph Lieberman is running into trouble in Conneticut in the Democrat primary because his opponent is trying to paint Joe into a corner. He and other liberal democrats are upset that Lieberman has close ties to the Bush Administration. As a result Lieberman (who runs really well with both Republicans and independents in his state) is considering whether he should launch an independent campaign should he lose the in the Democrat primary.

I don't have the time here to go into all of it, but I spent a lot of time in my youth helping moderate democrats win in a boss controlled and somewhat corrupt Nassau County in the 70's. I watched them shoot themselves in the foot too many times to count, just over this issue. The fact is that Lieberman would trounce both the Republican and his Democrat challenger in the general election. To assure a win in the Primary however he would have to abandon his principals and join the far left wing of his party. The modern Republican party is no better. For a moderate to win there he has to join the Far right. Hence the rest of us do not get a candidate to vote for if they do not run as an independent. I am not a fan of the old Boss system of naming candidates, but the primary process has marginalia the majority of the electorate and left them with no one to vote for, so they either vote against someone or do not vote.

I think that the way we go about nominating people for these offices is the problem. I would rather see each party put up 2 or 3 candidates from the various wing of that party, hold a run off "primary" and then let the top 2-3 run in the general election. The difference would be that everybody could vote for anyone in both the primary and the General Election. Hence the nominators would hold a meeting each would identify himself as a liberal moderate or conservative. They would hold a caucus and nominate a person from their party and their "wing" of said party. Then they would all run in a "runoff" style primary. Any candidate garnering 30% of the primary vote would run in the head to head, or the top two candidates would run off into the general election.

I am not sure if this "solution" will help bring the rest of us back into the election fold but as Bill Murray said in Groundhog Day "anything different is good.".
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