Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

Paul Ogden misses the point (again) on the tactic of counter-primarying.

   Paul Ogden replied to my modest proposal, of a couple of days ago, that voters in open primary States should cross over, or threaten to cross over, in primaries to protect the seats of those members of the United States House of Representatives who have resisted threats by tea baggers (a name originally used by such groups) to primary Republican incumbents who are not sufficiently right-wing. The premises for my argument were that in Congressional districts such as the district in which I live, the Republican base-line vote is so high at 60-65% (I wonder where I got that number?) thanks to gerrymandering, votes for many of us are rendered meaningless. Dan Burton survived how many terms because his district was so solidly Republican? Therefore Republican incumbents fear being "primaried" by people further to the right and so say what they deem necessary and vote the way in which they perceive they must vote, to curry favor from the furthest lunatic fringes. My proposal was that people threaten to cross over in the primary to vote for the Republican incumbent, if that person does not surrender to the baggers of tea, to assure that incumbent of votes to counter those of the far right.

  Paul advances several arguments in criticism of my blog. First, he points out that this strategy never has worked. Perhaps he means that generally threat of a cross-over has not worked. This is the threat of a cross-over to support an incumbent. Maybe that is a different spin on prior cross-over votes. But--so what? If we my vote in a general election has been rendered meaningless by the Republican Party in the way it carved up this State's Congressional districts such that Democratic Party votes are consolidated in only two districts, then how else can I have an effect, via my vote, to influence the outcome of the election? I doubt that anybody from the left-wing will run in either primary in this district. If this hasn't worked before, there always is a first time.

   Second, Paul points out how cross-over voting hurt some Republicans in 2008, when they crossed over, presumably to vote for---whom? the man who would become President Obama? As a result, those persons who crossed over, because of a little-known Indiana statute, were required, if they chose to run for elective office in the Republican Party in later years, to first obtain the permission of their county's Republican Party chairman. I think this law is archaic and would challenge its constitutionality on First and Fourteenth Amendment grounds (for starters). So I will say now: I shall not seek, nor shall I accept, candidacy in any election for any office as a member of the Democratic Party. 

   Next, Paul blows the fact that he was my source for the 60-65% figure on baseline voting in this Congressional district when he points out I called him as I worked on the blog. He goes on to say he was at that very moment in a meeting for David Stockdale for Congress, and that Mr. Stockdale's views probably are closer to my views, than those of Congresswoman Brooks would be to mine. Paul points to several issues---civil liberties, corporate bailouts, noninterventionist foreign policy, NSA spying---and asserts Stockdale's views are those with which I would agree, not those of Congresswoman Brooks. Perhaps there is some merit to this point. However, there are issues on which Congresswoman Brooks has surprised me. Her opposition to U.S. military intervention was not a dogmatic, blind attack on what President Obama proposed, but a well-reasoned critique of that position, as she explained she would vote against such action. Also---big one here---she voted, last night, to end the government shutdown. Mr. Stockdale, while he might oppose some of the things I oppose and favor a few of the things I favor, I presume would have voted against the government shutdown. From this I would infer he would fall into step with Ted Cruz and company.

   Unfortunately, any candidate from the Republican Party in all likelihood will continue to oppose Obamacare and want to funnel billions to that candidate's chosen corporate buddies. At least Congresswoman Brooks exercised common sense---albeit in the eleventh hour, but at a critical time nonetheless---to vote to save what would have been a disastrous situation.

   Actually, I think, more than anything, Paul wrote his column out of boredom. With the Cincinnati Reds no longer in the post-season, many of his evening hours now are free. I became accustomed to this type of schedule years ago. I am a fan of the Chicago Cubs National League Baseball Club.

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