What a difference four years makes

A thought occurred to me as I’ve watched all of these Republican presidential debates and the numerous changes in the frontrunner: what if there had been this many debates in 2007? Would John McCain and Barack Obama have won their party’s nomination? Or would we have chosen differently?

Actually, there were quite a few debates in 2007, as this list shows. The difference seems to be two-fold: first, a lot of those debates were not broadcast for a national viewing audience. Second, and perhaps more importantly, the media played a much bigger role in deciding who the nominees would be.

This year, perhaps due to the continuing demise in influence of the mainstream media, there has been no consensus on who the nominee should be. No real meme has developed, leading, I think, to the Republican electorate changing its mind constantly on who should be their standard bearer. (To get some idea of this, watch this Republican focus group from NoVA earlier this month.) They are pretty much united behind one idea, though: beat Obama in 2012.

I find this pretty funny since so many of them played an “anybody but Hillary Clinton” game in 2008. Having settled on their nominee early, some Republicans spent a lot of energy playing this game.

Democrats will be able to return the favor in 2012, should they choose to. I’ve already heard some – including Nancy Pelosi, in an interview last night – say that Democrats shouldn’t engage in such behavior. Essentially she said let Republicans choose their nominee.

Yeah, right.

Democrats sit on the sidelines in the nominating process to their own peril, both in 2012 and in 2013 here in Virginia. We have no way of knowing what the situation will look like by Election Day, and it behooves us to have a say in who the next president – and governor – will be.

Just as the Republicans did in 2008 – and in 2009 here in Virginia.

We all live here. We all should be able to express our opinion on who should lead us – not only once the field has narrowed but in the process of narrowing the field.


17 thoughts on “What a difference four years makes

  1. I think all Democrats know, and some of us fear, who the Democratic nominee for President is going to be. I wish there woud be more discussion and listening on the part of the NCDC on the subject, but even if there were it’s still a forgone conclusion. Obama will be the Democratic nominee. There-in lies my problem. Obama has some very good things about him that I very much supported in 2008. But, in the last three years he has supported some positions I cannot support. His relentless attack on the Second Amendment (under the radar, “his own words”). And, his view points on illegal immigration, just to name two but there a a few more. These viewpoints make him a bitter pill to swallow, but the Republican pill is the size of a basketball.

      1. Do you want a response from me or are you just trying to jerk my chain?? You see I put my full name on whit I write, I don’t hide behind “Warren”.

  2. There are thousands people who share the name “William Jackson” in this country. My name is unique here. You can hide behind a ridiculously common name.

    But does that really have any relevance to the conversation? Why are you so defensive? I made no personal attack — I only asked what you saw in Senator Obama.

    On that topic, I will tell you MY choice back then — Bill Richardson, 14 years in Congress, 8-years as governor of New Mexico, Ambassador to the U.N., Energy Secretary, and not a bad pitcher.

    Your turn.

    1. You know, I thought Bill Richardson would have been a better choice. The problem was he lacked the courage to stand the heat that comes with seeking the presidency. Also, maybe he had to much other baggage he was not willing to allow to come out. Oboma, on the other hand, had not been around long enough to accumulate that kind of baggage. and, seemed to be more from the common people, if not the “ridiculously common” such as me. He seemed to be for honest open government and doing the peoples work out in the open and above board. He got the support of the Union’s of this country with the promise of support for the thing that made this country great, collective bargaining. Seem like those all were not quite the truth.

      At some point on any blog I ever responded to, I have made this statement to someone. If you think your thoughts and opinions are worthy of publication, particularly on a blog such as this one, you should at least have the courage to use your real name. The Virginian Pilot requires it, I think Vivian also should require it. With that said, I remain the “rediculously common” William D Jackson Sr.

      1. First, Richardson did not drop out until after he got 2% of the vote in Iowa and 5% in New Hampshire. With Obama’s winning Iowa, and Clinton’s winning New Hampshire, it was obvious at that point that Richardson’s experience was not going to help him with the Democratic voters. I would not characterize that as “[lacking] courage to stand the heat.” When he was nominated for Commerce Secretary, he withdrew himself when an investigation into his business practices started. He had done nothing wrong, and the investigation found nothing, but Richardson did not want to cause the President any problems.

        As for Obama, I confess to being a little confused. HOW did he seem to be “more from the common people”? His rich grandparents sent him to private schools, he was educated in Ivy League colleges, and as far as I can tell, never held a job that required the use of his hands or his back. (Of course, this applies to Richardson, too, so there is no difference between the two on this point.)

        How could he have been seen as for “honest, open government” when he would not release his school records or his medical records. (He still won’t release those records.)

        OK, he got the nod from the Unions, but I did not see him as any more pro-union than anyone else. As for collective bargaining’s making this country great, I will agree in so much as the Republicans ended slavery. But in the What-Have-You-Done-For-Me-Lately world, I don’t see that the unions are helping so much anymore, just as most Blacks don’t think the Republicans are helping them anymore.

        Finally, I will say that one’s words should be able to stand on their own. If you wish to call me a coward because I write under a pseudonym, that is fine. I will be in the company of Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. Perhaps I will start using “Publius.”

  3. I discussed the issue of the use of real names in this post. While I encourage its use, I currently have no plans to require it. I do require it of my contributors, though.

    And I was a Bill Richardson supporter – until the media decided he was not their darling and ignored him.

    But back on point: there were two issues in this post that neither of you addressed. First is the difference in the public’s decision-making on the nominee and the second is participating in the other side’s primaries. What say you?

    1. I do not understand what you are asking about regarding “the difference in the public’s decision-making on the nominee.”

      As for open primaries, I think they are a fantastic idea. If the practice were nationwide, we would get more moderate nominees, because they would have to appeal to both sides to get a plurality. As for cross-voting to screw up the other side’s nomination process, I think that is ridiculous. You will end up with one of the two candidates, so pick the least objectionable from the opposing party.

    2. I think if you are a registered Democrat or Republican you should not be permitted to vote in the other parties primaries. I don’t think two states with a total population of less than 5 million people should decide who is going to be the nominee will be from either party.

  4. I think it’s okay to participate in whatever primary you want because we have open primaries. However, I don’t think trying to mess the other side up is a good motive. What is a good motive is, since one of the nominees of the two parties will win, a good citizen has an interest in making sure that both parties put forth their best possible nominee. I find that even more true in legislative elections where, in some cases, the primary is the only election that matters.

    1. I’m not advocating participation simply to mess up the other side. I voted in the 2000 Republican primary because I thought (that year’s version of) John McCain to be a better candidate than GW Bush. I think being responsible citizens is important, which is why I disagree with Nancy Pelosi and others who say Dems shouldn’t participate in Republican primaries.

  5. In theory it sounds reasonable: vote for the best candidate on the opposing party’s primary ticket. But I’m always concerned that, in practice, it winds up having a completely different outcome. So many will try to sabotage the “other” side that I would rather see us all have to declare our party, and only vote in that primary, should there be one.
    I’m with you, Vivian, as far as who I would vote for were I to vote in the Republican primary. I would have to choose the candidate who is the least of the evils, lest we had to live with that person as president. Unexpected stuff happens, and it would be horrifying to find ourselves with one of the more extreme candidates winning the general election.
    I have another reason for wondering about our party when we register. I grew up in NY, where voters declare. I wonder if voters felt a bit more connected to elections, as they had an implicit connection all year round. Since I’ve lived in Virginia I’ve found that there are 3 basic groups of voters: the liberal, who mostly vote Dem, the reactionary, who mostly vote Repub, and the majority, who feel disenfranchised and disgusted. If they felt they had a stake in one of the parties, and those parties were able to reach out to them regularly (even between elections), would they be less likely to feel that they are in the wilderness? I don’t know the answer to this, and a cursory look at voting stats doesn’t make it any clearer, since NYers have a lower voting percentage. But there are many other possible reasons for that.
    So, it’s just a thought – not even a theory yet – at this point.

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