The Primary Season

‘‘We have no input into who’s the nominee at all. Does that make any sense? The state that is one of the most important in the general election has no input in the primary.” Ed Rendell March 2007

‘‘It is absolutely insane to have it (the primary) front-loaded the way it is…It’ll only be the candidates who have the huge money who can survive.” Ed Rendell April 2007

The Primary Season
by: Joe Leonardi

The primary season has “officially” begun. Though the candidates for president have been running for almost one year, the November 2007 general election is over and it is time to focus on 2008.

As a Reagan conservative, I still don’t know for whom I will cast a vote. The front runners aren’t conservative and Fred Thompson, whom prior to his announcement caught my attention, has thus far been lackluster. I have not really chosen anyone to support, but I am narrowing it down.

My preferred candidate would have been Senator Chuck Hagel, but he has opted out. It is a shame, because a true conservative, one who actually served not only in the military, but in a war, was blacklisted because he spoke out against President Bush’s blundering in Iraq. The most inane part is he was shouted down and shut out by those who avoided military service. Not only the current administration, but many conservative commentators, pundits and bloggers who never served a day in uniform derailed, denounced and demeaned the heroic Hagel.

Being a resident of Pennsylvania my vote will be rendered unnecessary. Or to be more blunt, in the primary, it appears PA will be irrelevant. There was a chance to move the primary election up to February, but thanks to those in Harrisburg, even Governor Rendell was on both sides of the argument, ours will not take place until April. If history is any indicator the nominee will have been chosen.

One comment concerning primary elections. Here in northeast Pennsylvania, we have a local radio talk show host, Steve Corbett, who is a registered independent. He has railed against the unfairness that Pennsylvania does not allow him to vote in the primary. That the big bad stringent state does not permit him and other independents to participate in the process. Well, I like Steve and say this with the utmost respect — tough.

Steve, it is not the state that is forbidding, it is the choice to register as an independent that limits one’s voting opportunities. If you or any individual chooses not to support a party, then you should not vote in that party’s primary.

Personally, I am strongly opposed to open primaries. The primary process is set up so that members of a particular party nominate a candidate to represent their party. Why should someone who does not share an ideology want to vote or be permitted to vote in a primary. In my opinion they should not.

An open primary allows the opposing party to unjustly effect the outcome of the other party. For example, let us say that Hilary Clinton has the lock on the the nomination — there is no way, no how she is going to lose. Let’s make this example even more absurd and say that every other democratic candidate has dropped out.

In my example, let us also say that on the republican side, there remains a full slate of candidates. If every state had an open primary, or permitted independents to choose a party on election day, what is to stop all the democrats or democrat leaning independents to go into the polls and cast a vote for a third or fourth tier candidate? One who has no chance in the general election. So now the democrats have influenced the republican nominating process. They have now corrupted and co-opted the general election. Is this proper? Is this just? Of course not!

Can you imagine if the Republicans were to hypothetically do the same thing? The democrats, from the pages of the New York Times, will yell voter fraud and election thievery.

If you choose to be independent that is your right and I applaud you. However, grow up and don’t complain because you can’t vote in the democratic or republican primary. The choice is yours. If you more closely identify with one of the major parties, change your registration and work to get the candidate that best represents your views elected to office.

Your party affiliation or lack thereof is your choice, it is not the government, it is not the party, nor is it the process that is excluding you from voting — it is you excluding yourself.

Joe Leonardi

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Filed under Conservative, Democrat, Democratic, Election, Fred Thompson, hagel, Liberal, Northeast Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, Reagan, Republican, Steve Corbett

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