Sunday, March 9, 2008

Howard Dean May Be the Stupidest Person In the World

Here's your scenario:

After inconsistently enforcing the rules you put in place regarding when states my hold Democratic primaries, you are confronted with the open defiance of Michigan, the eighth largest state, and Florida, the fourth largest state. Do you:
  1. Do nothing and allow the states to have their primary when they want,

  2. Punish them by removing some of their delegates, a la the RNC, or

  3. Punish them by first disenfranchising them, then extracting a pledge from all presidential candidates that they won't campaign in those states?
Oh yeah, one more thing: You know that this will be a hotly contested election of unusual opportunity for the Democratic Party and of unusual importance for the country as a whole.

Howard Dean and the rest of the DNC had what we euphemistically call a "failure of imagination." They couldn't conceive of a race that was close enough for Michigan and Florida to matter. But even an idiot could see that an unusually talented field of Democratic candidates could easily create a close election.

Now the DNC is stuck with a situation that at best will demoralize some chunk of their voting base and at worst will throw the entire party into disarray. My wife (an Obama supporter) yelled at me for gloating this morning. I failed to restrain myself.

It's a useful property in both executives and legislators to have some appreciation for the possibility of unintended consequences. Apparently the DNC doesn't quite understand this. The fact that we're about to have a Congress selected from people just like them doesn't make me particularly sanguine.

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