Friday, January 04, 2008

3 Notes: Obambee and Iowa

The first one tenth of one percent of Americans have spoken. Hopefully, the other 99.9% will make different choices than Iowa voters have made. Senator Barack Obama is not the best candidate among Democrats, while former Gov. Mike Huckabee seems like one of the only candidates on either side who just might turn out to be even worse than President Bush. Both Obama and Huckabee share the same flaw - inexperience. For Obama it's his greatest weakness. For ultraconservative Huckabee it's just the tip of the iceberg.

I actually like some aspects of the caucuses. I like the idea of a public debate between ordinary citizens trying to convince each other why their candidate is better. Nobody should be forced into such a debate, though, and neither should people who cannot attend the caucus be denied a vote. That's why I think some kind of primary/caucus combo might be a good solution. Some people will attend a caucus, while others, possibly the majority, will vote behind a curtain or via absentee ballots. Sure, the secret ballot option might kill the caucus, but allowing more people to vote is worth it.

Other than that, Iowa shouldn't be the first to vote, at least not every presidential election. In 2005, a panel lead by former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker suggested a system of four regional primaries, where each region would hold primaries and caucuses at monthly intervals, with their order rotating every election year. That's a great idea. The panel also recommended that Iowa and New Hampshire remain the first two states to vote, because they test the candidates in door-to-door campaigning. I disagree with this. Candidates can be scrutinized in the same way in other states, too. One or two states could be selected randomly every presidential election to be the first to vote.

P.S. What do you think about Obambee as a word for the Obama-Huckabee duo? I like it more than Huckobama or Huckabama. Oh, the silliness.

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