Monday, March 10, 2008

Quit whining and just pay for the damn election

Spare Change. Image originally uploaded by bullywhippet. (under creative commons license)

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Clinton supporter, told the Detroit Free Press that Clinton's victory in Ohio changes "the landscape a bit." She said it could open the door to a caucus, if it can be privately funded and both candidates agree.

[Florida Gov. Charlie] Crist told reporters at a news conference Tuesday that he does not support having another primary at taxpayer expense. He said he discussed the option with Sen. Bill Nelson, the state's senior Democrat. "He said the only way to consider the possibility of that is to have the Democratic National Committee pay for it," Crist said. The Florida Democratic Party said the state estimates the cost would be $25 million.

A revote in Michigan and Florida would be ideal, but for God's sake the states should find public funds for the election.

This isn't a charity raffle. Running elections is a government obligation and the only reason we're in this situation is that the elected leaders of Florida and Michigan flouted party rules and scheduled their elections ahead of the Super Tuesday contest. Crist and Granholm were active participants in that process. They gambled that putting their states ahead of other delegate rich contests would allow them to be kingmakers. They wouldn't have given a damn if the election had ended on January 29th - robbing voters in over 40 other states of having any say at all in the nomination. Now they're upset that they don't count.

And when you get down to it even $20-$30 million is a drop in the bucket compared to everything else they spend money on.

Here's Florida governor Crist's budget request for 2008 - which if I'm reading correctly comes out to about $69 billion.

And here's Michigan governor Granholm's request for 2009 - which totals almost $45 billion.

If it's worth being part of the process it's worth paying for. Stop acting pathetic.

Updated: Here's the inevitable outcome of the states being cheap:
As Rendell and Corzine modestly put it, "In the interest of providing assurance that the private funds necessary to finance a publicly administered election will indeed be available should the Michigan Legislature choose to proceed in this direction, we have taken the liberty of soliciting guarantors for such an effort."

Handled deftly, this might have been seen as an act of political altruism. Instead it smacks of an inside job. Rendell is a Clinton supporter. Corzine is a Clinton supporter. Granholm is a Clinton supporter. Perhaps coincidentally, the letter guaranteeing the money arrived on the day Clinton flew into the Michigan to ratchet up pressure on Obama and the legislature to support a new primary.

He who pays the piper calls the tune and you simply can't have backers of one campaign sponsoring an election.

The elections in Florida and Michigan are off and it's their own damn fault.

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