June 3, 2023

Caucus Blocker

caucus blocker_03-01-2008It wouldn’t be the first time in this race that Hillary Clinton has suggested that rules are for girls. She’s already driven over her Florida and Michigan non-campaign pledge like she was in a Monster Truck. Now, with the latest polls showing Barack Obama pulling into the lead in Tuesday’s Texas vote, the Clinton campaign is suggesting they might issue a legal challenge to Texas’ dual primary-caucus delegate-selection system. She’s often been accused of moving the goal posts, but now she’s dropping a pre-emptive red challenge flag and threatening to petition the league while the fans are still filing into the stadium.

There’s been much talk for weeks of the Texas Two-Step of the state’s hybrid voting system being harder to understand than Chinese calculus. It’s been so propounded, in fact, that, excepting a gastroenterology article on practice guidelines for upper GI bleeding, 18 of the first 19 results of a Google search for “complicated rules”.

In an Associated Press quote this week, Clinton said of the process, “I had no idea how bizarre it is. We have grown men crying over it.”

Never mind the convoluted primary apportionment system, when 126 of the state’s 228 delegates are spread among Texas’ 31 state Senate districts and based on the party’s voter turnout in the 2004 and 2006, with each district containing between two and eight delegates. The state’s primary is open, meaning that Republicans and independents will be able to participate. Now, and this is the point of the caucus-challenged Clinton campaign, in order to ensure that bomb-throwing Republicans can’t wield that much power in casting their primary vote for the Democrat they think that all-but-assured GOP nominee John McCain could have an easier time beating, another 67 delegates are selected by a caucusafter the primary that can only be attended by registered Democrats.

So, if a train driven by Barack Obama leaves the station at Point A with a guaranteed rate of acceleration of…

It’s like putting down $50 on the Giants in the Super Bowl, but then being directed to a room afterward where only people dedicated enough to be wearing Giants’ jerseys are allowed in, where you’re asked to put another $25 down on New York. And even that analogy is probably too simplistic.

Only a Michael Douglas-Catherine Zeta-Jones pre-nuptial is more Byzantine.

Pan to the lawyers waiting stage left. Alright: This might be breaking news to all of us, the non-Texans and the great unwashed abroad, but if you’re running a high-powered Presidential campaign, this didn’t come out in a blind alley. Why are they challenging the rules now? Because the Senator from New York has just fallen behind in Texas, where she needs a ginormous win. Because Barack has clobbered her 4 to 1 in caucuses so far. As my sisses from another missus would say, “Bitch, please.”

Yes, this Mess with Texas is more baffling than the last President the state produced, but them’s the rules as they established them.  If you’re challenging the system four days before the election, you stand to get better traction in a Datsun pickup with its original tires. It was for that reason that the state’s Democratic Party stepped up and said, “Don’t even think about it, missy.”

Clinton is having slightly better luck with her latest ad that hit the air this week that asked who you wanted answering the red phone in an international crisis in the middle of the night while your children were safe and asleep–someone experienced who has been tested in international affairs who knows the names of world leaders and has the background and exposure to stand strong and do the right thing to protect your sleeping children, or the skinny guy? It was only slightly less fear-mongering than Lyndon Johnson’s famous “Daisy” commercial in 1964 that portrayed a little girl  in a meadow plucking petals from a daisy and counting them as she goes, which turns into a male voice counting down to a nuclear detonation, as LBJ’s voice booms, “These are the stakes!…We must either love each other, or we must die.”

Clinton’s ad wasn’t quite as rattling, but it’s only Saturday, and she’s got a lot of time and money to really put the fear of Jesus into the voters before Tuesday. I don’t know if she’s going to go with machetes and Americans in orange jumpsuits, but unlike eight or nine weeks ago, I wouldn’t categorically bet against it.

Obama is seeming to be finally that Democratic candidate who won’t take the week off and think how or if he wants to respond to an attack. He let her ad run about 17 minutes before he retaliated with an ad of his own insisting that “it’s judgment that matters”, and charging on the stump that Clinton already “failed her own red phone moment” in the 2002 war authorization vote.