Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Official Blog.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Jeers right back at The Columbian

A shocking development: the editors of The Columbian put a cheap hit on the party on Saturday:
Jeers: To Democrats of Washington state, or at least to their supposed party leaders who voted last week to use the caucus system instead of the presidential primary to determine the state's national convention delegates. We agree with columnist Peter Callaghan of The News Tribune (Tacoma), who wrote that the state Democratic Central Committee "put its own interests ahead of the public interest. They acted to make sure only insiders get to help pick the party's nominee for president."
What a complete crock, and double jeers back at The Columbian for this bit of fakery. The Columbian knows darn well we don't have party registration in this state, which is the heart of the issue, and funny thing - the national party, as well as Democrats here in the Evergreen State, don't want Republicans helping pick our nominee.

This same game has been going on for as long as I have lived in the state: the GOP tries to put a black eye on us by apportioning some delegates using the primary (or offering to if we will, which they know we can't without losing delegates.) Then intellectually dishonest journalists get on their soapboxes and talk about caucuses as if they are some mysterious, exotic creation instead of what they are: meetings.

It's a cheap stunt, and sadly par for the course from the editors of The Columbian, who should know better because I saw one of their editorial board members working at a Democratic caucus in 2004. He apparently managed to find it okay.

Caucuses are not just for party insiders or dedicated activists. Here are the simple requirements for participating in a caucus in Washington:
  1. Be a registered voter in the state.
  2. Show up once every four years.
And obviously, by participating in a caucus you publicly acknowledge a partisan affiliation - but there's no registration beforehand.

Of course, there could be a reason intellectually dishonest journalists like to get on their soapboxes about the primary: explaining the facts is boring and doesn't allow them a cheap hit on the Democratic Party. Hey, if a primary system could ever be worked out that would satisfy national party rules, I'm all for it. But seeing as that hasn't happened in nearly 20 years, maybe it would be better to stop the finger pointing and explain to people how easy it is to attend a caucus.

POSTSCRIPT from Andrew: I am getting very tired of hearing the old stereotype about smoke filled back rooms where party bosses get together to decide the nomination. That's not what today's caucuses are like. A caucus is indeed a meeting - an exercise in democracy. It's about grassroots interaction and discussion. Most are held at schools, churches, and other public buildings.

It's not a gathering of an exclusive club. If you consider yourself a Democrat, and you want to participate, the party wants you at the Democratic caucus. Even if you're not a party regular and even if you've never been before.

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