Morgan Liddick: This Tuesday can be fat or super … your pick
February 4, 2008
Are you a registered Democrat? Republican? Congratulations. Today you have an opportunity to be part of history, and I suggest you take it.
I know, I know: Today is Mardi Gras. But before you surrender to the thrill of “laissez les bons temps rouler,” you might consider attending your party’s caucus and putting your two cent’s worth into the nominating process. For the first time in almost century, neither the Democrat nor Republican party has a presumptive frontrunner in the form of a president running for reelection or a sitting vice president seeking the party’s nomination, so your participation in Colorado’s part of Super Tuesday’s pick-two follies is something you will be able to brag on for some time to come.
For your convenience, both parties have scheduled their events early: The Republicans begin at 5:30 pm in the Frisco Holiday Inn and the Democrats start at 6 in the Summit County Community Center. Be there or be square; you can get in, chat like a fiend with a roomful of politically like-minded (to a certain degree, at least) individuals, get out fairly early and get on with the business of splurging before Lent. What, you didn’t think Mardi Gras was a secular holiday, did you?
If you are an unaffiliated voter on the other hand, sorry … these proceedings are “members only” and by failing to identify yourself with a party, you have chosen instead to leave the work of picking the nominees to us, limiting yourself to a simple up-or-down vote on the decisions of others come Nov. 4. I’m not certain why you would decide to allow your neighbors to speak on your behalf in this most important grass-roots portion of the Presidential sweepstakes, but thank you for allowing me to pick the nominee for you.
And I don’t want to hear any grousing later about a political spectrum that runs the gamut from A to B, or being presented the ridiculous choice between Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber. You had your opportunity, but you didn’t want it, so in the words of the famous nineteenth century political commentator William M. “Boss” Tweed, “You pays your taxes and you takes your chances …”
As I’ve said before and doubtless will again, Democracy isn’t a system of government for the faint of heart. You might want to remember that next time around. In the meantime …
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Tomorrow will bring many things. On the Republican side, due to the large number of states with “winner-take-all” rules, we may actually have a presumptive nominee, or be as close to one as never mind. On the Democrat side, things may still be blurry for awhile due to that party’s penchant for “proportional representation.” Perhaps even as long as the convention. Wouldn’t that be a spectacle? The “Recreate ’68” mob is, I expect, salivating at the very possibility.
In both cases, look for the opening shots in what promises to be a long and grueling presidential race to be fired as soon as the candidates can figure out who’s who and locate their targets. These volleys will not come only from the campaigns; look for spouses, friends, family members, long-lost teachers, and various and assorted hangers-on to take up the cudgels immediately. We’ve seen the previews already, so don’t expect the main event to be anything other than the stuff one sees in a WWF Steel Cage Championship Death Match. Politics is, after all, a full-contact sport. Occasionally, with chairs to the head.
Then, there’s the question of objective news about the candidates. My advice: don’t expect much; you won’t get it. Some media outlets ” the Denver Post for one ” are at least forthright about their picks. Others are somewhat cagier about preferences and as for the rest, well …
Look for reams of front-page editorial comment masquerading as news. This sort of writing will trumpet minor accomplishments by favorite sons while trivializing major coups by the opposition, all in the name of bringing “balanced” treatment to an issue. As party battle lines are drawn up, the tendency will be to drive this species of tricky coverage to races further and further down the ballot. As contentious as this election is likely to be, I expect no one to be immune ” more’s the pity.
Look also for the tabloidization of presidential politics, with obsessive 24/7 coverage of the slightest flaw, fumble or flop, endlessly regurgitated, reviewed and analyzed by pundits whose predictions have been ” to be charitable ” spotty to date. I fully expect to see some variation of the headline “Bill’s Alien Love Child Endorses Obama,” or weirder, before we’re done. And I’m not talking about the National Enquirer here, either.
But that starts tomorrow. Until then, have a good time at the caucuses, and above all, happy Mardi Gras. This is going to be fun.