Me First! No, Me First! There’s no relief in sight

There’s no relief in sight

Last week, S.C. GOP Chairman Katon Dawson made a trip to New Hampshire in order to announce that South Carolina would be moving the Republican primary date from Feb. 2, 2008 to Jan. 19, 2008.

Dawson made his pilgrimage to acknowledge N.H.’s state law requiring its primary to be “First In The Nation” and Dawson’s determination that S.C.’s contest remain “First In The South.”

Of course, being first in the South for the Palmetto State has resulted in egregiously bloody consequences for the nation in both the distant and recent past, so the jury is still out on whether or not this date switch is a good thing.

Anyhoo, Dawson’s move was precipitated by the recent decision of the Florida legislature to move its primary to Jan. 29, preceding S.C.’s tentative date of Feb. 2.

If you ask me, the state of Florida has been responsible for enough damaging mischief to the republic as it is, and those people just need to be quiet.

Dawson said, “The 19th fit very well for us. We understand South Carolina had the ability to impact New Hampshire’s laws, and we’re trying to make sure the primaries land in 2008 …We stand here shoulder-to-shoulder with our friends in New Hampshire to reaffirm the important role that both our states play in presidential politics.”

Role? Delusion is more like it.

New Hampshire’s primary has a tentative date of Jan. 22, but its state constitution requires its contest to be seven days previous to any other. The Iowa Caucuses are tentatively scheduled for Jan. 14, and now its state law requiring caucuses to be held eight days prior to other races needs to be implemented.

Early primary battles put a great deal of pressure on voters to make up their minds sooner than they have in the past. Traditionally, voters have had until after the Chrismakwannukah holiday season and other end-of-the-year nonsense has passed before having to worry about politics.

Now we can add politics to the seasonal fruitcake!

Carol Fowler, S.C. Democratic party chairperson, told SCETV Radio’s The Big Picture on the Radio: “I’m not sure the early nature of these primaries is good for the candidates of either party … The point of the primaries is to instruct the delegates how to vote in the presidential nominating process at the convention.”

Unfortunately, her invocation of Fiorello LaGuardia’s “There is no Democratic or Republican way to pick up the garbage” seems to fall on deaf ears.

The only thing that the now moved-up primary calendar seems to accomplish is generating revenue for television channels through the creation of a possibly never-ending general election cycle as the de facto nominees could be chosen by the end of January 2008.

Both national parties, especially the Republicans, like a nice tidy race with the anointed candidate coasting into the convention for a coronation. The last time there was a floor fight of any consequence was in 1972 at the DNC Convention in Miami.

Both national parties are threatening their members states with losing half their voting delegates at the conventions if those members don’t quit messing with the primary dates.

As Dawson’s announcement last week has shown, perhaps a new tactic is in the offing.

I think ceaseless general election campaigning is going to backfire for both parties, but much more so for the Democrats.

The eye-glazing effect of constant electioneering is only going to depress voter participation. People get bored and lose interest, ensuring that only the party faithful will show up on the first Tuesday in November.

The last two general elections have shown that light voter turnout has critically drastic consequences for Democratic candidates and the GOP counts on that.

We forget that America is a beacon of democracy to the rest of the world. Let’s start acting like it and take control of our own election process by taking back the calendar.