It seems as though Michigan’s Republican Senate, with its slimy leader Mike Bishop at the helm, will refuse to take up a measure to force four Democratic Presidential candidates–Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, John Edwards, and Christopher Dodd–back onto the ballot after they pulled their names from the running when Michigan announced an early primary date of January 15.
On WDET today, I heard the pompous Bishop say that it’s not the job of the Senate to get in the middle of Democrat’s affairs and that such a vote would be keeping the legislature from discussing more pressing issues, like the never-ending state budget negotiations. Like most political talk meant to divert citizens from understanding the true motives behind a decision, Bishop makes a somewhat-valid point. However, the Republicans have something to gain by not allowing the Democrats to have a primary with a full slate of candidates.
Michigan election laws allow citizens to vote in either party primary, regardless of one’s party affiliation. Since Hillary is basically a lock to beat Dennis Kucinich, many Independents and Democrats may spend their votes on the Republican primary. Thus Republicans can argue that higher poll numbers shows that Michigan is leaning Republican. In addition, the Republicans will be able to flout the fact that they provided Michigan citizens with a true primary, that Republicans were unafraid to challenge Iowa and New Hampshire by coming to Michigan. They can claim that the Democrats really don’t care as much about Michigan’s people as the Republicans do. Based on recent Republican policies and actions, this is patently untrue to me, but they will make the argument nonetheless.
I certainly would have liked to have had a true Democratic primary here in Michigan with all of the candidates on the ballot. However, four candidates decided that they couldn’t suffer the backlash from Iowans and New Hampshirites should they leave their small, un-diverse populations to run in a state that actually matters in the general election and better represents the country as a whole. As much as I respect all four candidates (and I’m rather partial to Richardson), I feel that this was an act of political cowardice.
I was kind of on the fence about Hillary, but at least she didn’t chicken out, and it doesn’t seem as though there has been any backlash in Iowa or New Hampshire (although she has refrained from paying the Mitten a visit). She’s got guts, she’s smart, and she’ll make a good president.
So on the 15th, I’m going to go into the voting booth and press my pointer finger on the electronic screen next to the “Hillary Clinton” box with pride. I’m not a betting man, but I’ll put my odds on Hillary by a landslide.