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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, February 03, 2004

 
The Big Winner

I've been taken to task for complaining about the media and upon reflection I think the criticism is valid. I keep forgetting about the all American belief that winning isn't everything, it's the only thing. I was cruelly reminded of this on inauguration day 2001 when a neighbor of mine said simply "Stop your bellyaching. Americans respect winners. Bush deserves to be president because he is the president." Winner John Kerry is quoted as saying something similar:

He is impatient with Democratic oratory about the "stolen" election. "Stop crying in your teacups," he told one audience. "It isn't going to change. Get over it."


That's winner talk. One reason that Kerry is the winner is because he knows how to talk like one, as when he said, (in response to Dean's vaunted internet presence) "Well, the last person I heard who claimed he had invented the Internet didn't do so well." The media's ears are well tuned to that kind of language. It feels right to them.

Whining about the media's unfairness or RNC cheating or primary voter's laziness or the Supreme Court stopping the vote count is useless. It does not matter how it happens, the end justifies the means. If you can't make it happen, you don't deserve to win, even if the deck is stacked, the media are useless lemmings or the other side hacks into the Diebold voting machines. If the game is rigged a true winner would make sure it's rigged in his favor. That's the American Way.

So, while it is certainly true that Kerry is not even close to attaining the required number of delegates, he is the winner because he has won and that means he will keep winning. And that is exactly what the Democratic Party wanted. The entire point of pushing up the primaries was to get a winner as quickly as possible. The DNC apparently knew that Democrats in these new early states would have no clue that they were playing a hugely important role in picking the nominee so they'd go with whoever Iowa and New Hampshire chose simply because they figure those guys "did the research."

And, if there are two states in the country that we can rely on to pick winners for us it's Iowa and New Hampshire.

At least we won't have to go through another losing nominating process like the last time we had a large field. In 1992, they didn't even hold the New Hampshire primary until the end of February, fergawdsake. Bigtime Loser Clinton won just 3 of his first 14 contests. In fact, he finished fourth four times, often behind "Uncommitted."

Here's the breakdown:

1.21.1992
IA caucus: Harkin 76.4%, Tsongas 4.1%, Clinton 2.8%, Kerrey 2.4%, Brown 1.6%

2.18.1992
NH primary: Tsongas 33.2%, Clinton 24.8%, Kerrey 11.1%, Harkin 10.2%, Brown 8.0%

2.23.1992
ME caucus: Brown 30.3%, Tsongas 29.0%, Uncommitted 16.1%, Clinton 14.8%, Harkin 5.2%, Kerrey 3.0%

2.25.1992
SD primary: Kerrey 40.15%, Harkin 25.25%, Clinton 19.12%, Tsongas 9.6%, Brown 3.9%

3.3.1992
CO primary: Brown 29%, Clinton 27%, Tsongas 26%
GA primary: Clinton 57.2%, Tsongas 24.0%, Brown 8.1%, Kerry 4.8%, Uncommitted 3.8%, Harkin 2.1%
ID caucus: Harkin 29.7%, Tsongas 28.4%, Uncommitted 17.2%, Clinton 11.4%, Kerrey 8%, Brown 4.5%
MD primary: Tsongas 40.6%, Clinton 33.5%, Brown 8.2%, Uncommitted 6.4%, Harkin 5.8%, Kerrey 4.8%
MN caucus: Harkin 26.7%, Uncommitted 24.3%, Tsongas 19.2%, Clinton 10.3%, Brown 8.2%, Kerrey 7.6%
UT primary: Tsongas 33.4%, Brown 28.4%, Clinton 18.3%, Kerrey 10.9%, Harkin 4.0%
WA caucus: Tsongas 32.3%, Uncommitted 23.2%, Brown 18.6%, Clinton 12.6%, Harkin 8.2%, Kerrey 3.4%

3.5.1992
ND primary: Clinton 46.0%, Tsongas 10.3%, Brown 7.5%, Harkin 6.8%, Kerrey 1.2%

3.7.1992
AZ caucus: Tsongas 34.4%, Clinton 29.2%, Brown 27.5%, Harkin 7.6%
SC primary: Clinton 62.9%, Tsongas 18.3%, Harkin 6.6%, Brown 6.0%


As everyone keeps pointing out to me, that was a long, long time ago. Everything has changed completely. There is no point in even thinking about it, now.

Still, there is one important lesson to be learned from the past. By drawing out the primaries the way they did, the Democrats had far too much time to think about who they were voting for and they often voted for someone who wasn't a winner. If Bill Clinton couldn't win Iowa and New Hampshire, he had no business being the nominee. But, nobody told the voters or the press (who were fixated on Ross Perot at the time) so he managed to eke out the nomination when it was obvious that either Tom Harkin or Paul Tsongas should have run against George Bush.

It is a good thing we've learned from our mistakes. We won't let that happen again.




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