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All Politics Is Local

That is attributed to Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neal, Jr. a Democratic Speaker of the House, who said it was a saying of his father, Thomas P. O’Neal, Sr.

Political ranters who fail to recognize the wisdom of that statement have been blathering all over about what happened with the Florida primary, while demonstrating to all and sundry that they don’t have the first clue about why the date for the Florida primary was changed.

Here’s something most people miss about that election: 4,239,350 people cast ballots on January 29 in the election, 3,658,802 votes were cast for the Democratic and Republican candidates for President.

Wait a minute, you say, why vote in that election if you weren’t going to vote for a Presidential candidate, it was the Presidential primary? The other 473,885 voters who were not qualified to vote in the closed Florida primaries were casting ballots in the real reason for changing the date – Amendment 1 to the Florida constitution to change the property tax laws, giving the Republicans something to talk about in Florida elections in 2008.

Look at the numbers: 97.5% of the voters voted on Amendment 1; only 86.3% voted in the Presidential primary. What was the purpose of the election? What was the important issue in the election?

From a Florida Republican point of view this was a chance to staunch the flow of blood caused by 8 years of the Shrubbery and “moral lapses” by members of the party. They needed something to show to the voters. They came up with this property tax cut, but it needed to be submitted to the voters for approval, and it needed 60% of the vote to win, so they had to find a way of sneaking it through with a low turnout election. Primaries are the favorite choice, but they needed to depress the turn out, so they came up with the change in primary date to add even more downward force on the vote.

They slapped the change as a “poison pill” amendment on an election reform bill that the Democrats have been trying to get through the legislature for years, so it would be a “bi-partisan” effort and something to use to beat up Democrats if they opposed it. The Republicans had already written off the Presidency in Florida, they were only interested in keeping their own jobs.

They could never have imagined how unbelievably helpful the DNC would be for their effort by reducing the delegate count for Democrats to zero. So now, in addition to their destructive Amendment, the Republicans actually have a chance to win the Presidency.

No matter what the DNC does about the delegates, Florida is still stuck with the Amendment they helped the Republicans pass. If Democrats think they are going to get votes from the people who are about to be laid off because of the passage of that Amendment, they can think again. If people think the national Democratic party can orchestrate a “kumbaya” moment with Florida voters, they can sit on it and rotate.

If you think I’m kidding, consider this McClatchy news item: Pelosi backs 3 in S. Florida races after local Dems won’t

The letters came after Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Kendrick Meek said they wouldn’t actively campaign for their fellow Democrats because of they didn’t want to risk their personal and professional ties to Republican Reps. Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

Florida Democrats see no reason to help the national party that stabbed them in the back. These are two of the most liberal Democrats in the state who are not going to risk anything for the DCCC or the DNC.


1 distributorcap { 03.16.08 at 5:05 am }

what a mess
if they dont fix this whole primary process – then we are no better than a banana republic

2 LadyMin { 03.16.08 at 10:22 am }

That was enlightening. And I thought Chicago politics was corrupt.

3 Bryan { 03.16.08 at 12:35 pm }

Well, we did have the “smarter” Bush as governor for 8 years, including the redistricting, and the Democrats lost their real leader when Lawton Chiles died just before the end of his term and many senior Dem pols jumped to the Repubs to maintain their power.

We need a national primary to cut through all of this crap, remove the money advantage, and stabilize the process. It will also build the party if you have to be a registered member to vote in the primary.

It’s only one office and one election every four years. It shouldn’t be eating up all of the oxygen in the political atmosphere.