My beloved Fort Worth Star-Telegram has rolled out two State Convention weblogs about the delegate selection process for the two major parties. Donkey Tales '08 for the Democrats and Pack Your Trunk '08 for the Republicans. (Get it? Get it? Donkeys have tails? Elephants have trunks? I like it...)
The Republican blog is a fairly calm, sedate place without much activity. Since we're basically Social Darwinists with a winner-take-all primary system, our big decision has already been made. No one has much to gain by being a delegate, other than pride, some buttons, and a funny hat. There are rumors that the Texas Libertarians will try to pack the Republican events, but I don't think the twelve of us can make that much of a difference.
The Democrats, however, in their quest for fairness, equal representation, and blah, blah, blah, have a Byzantine system where percentages, precincts, and delegates count for wildly fluctuating levels of proportional influence. No one has any idea how it is supposed to work. We still have no idea who won Texas. And does it even matter? Because 25 years ago, the Democrats put a system of Superdelegates in place - Party Bosses who can gather in a smoke-filled room and overturn all of the above if they don't like the results. For instance, if the voters nominate a well-qualified African-American candidate instead of someone named Clinton, party hacks will still have a chance to overturn the decision. So Obama and The Clintons might be throwing kitchen sinks at each other for months.
John McCain is floating above the fray, and now looks a lot like the love child of Betsy Ross and George Washington.
Lord have mercy, I love it. Pass the popcorn.
Here's where it got weird for me. I work with someone who (politically) is a devout, snake-handling, foot-washing, speaking-in-tongues, Spirit-filled Republican. If she updated her blog more often, she could be added to the "People who make me look like a Marxist Humanities Professor" category in the blogroll to your right. Last year she had a Ronald Reagan calendar. Ronnie said it, She believes it, That settles it. Amen.
A few days ago she sent me the following email. After getting her permission to post this I've also changed the things in parentheses to protect their identities. This family, after all, is going undercover into strange territory. Here it is:
Ok, I know that you probably do not have a whole lot of time to help me with this, but I need someone that can express themselves in writing really well. And you are the first one to pop into my head. Lucky you.
Anyway, my husband who has ALWAYS been a Republican, until the day my son was born with (insert serious disability) as well as our daughter, is now wanting to be considered as a delegate for Obama. This is a milestone for the (Anonymous) clan - you have to understand that. I don’t really know where to start with this.
On Saturday March 29th, they are going to be selecting delegates and alternates to represent our Precinct 1251 at the State Convention in Austin.
(Mr. Anonymous), my husband, needs to have a letter introducing him as a candidate for a delegate position.
Now remember, we have never really been all that involved in politics this way, and it’s a big step so I want to get it just right for him.
I have attached one of the letters from one of the candidates for you to read. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I just do not want his letter to read like all the other ones. So I need a good spin on it. I will give you any information you may need.
(Name of Co-worker who mistakenly believes I'm a good writer instead of a creative typist)
I thought. I pondered. I engaged in serious head scratching. I emailed back, just to make sure there was no way her husband would ever consider supporting She-Whose-Name-Is-Not-Spoken.
One of the signs of a good writer is the ability to put oneself in the shoes of a totally different person. Larry McMurtry, for instance, is famed for his sympathetic women characters. But the only Democrats I've EVER supported were Pete Geren and whoever runs against (anonymous judge). I don't know anything about Democrats, or what they eat, or how they think, or why they like Volvos.
This was too much. But I started typing away, and eventually got it down to this:
Hello, my name is (Husband of The Whited Sepulchre's Co-Worker),
Unlike many of you I am new to the Democratic Party.
Unlike almost all of you, I am new to political participation of any kind.
My indifference ended when my children were born with (serious disability).
Barack Obama is the only candidate whose platform includes sensible provisions for adults and children with disabilities.
Sentator Obama pledges to:
First, provide Americans with disabilities with the educational opportunities they need to succeed.
Second, end discrimination and promote equal opportunity.
Third, increase the employment rate of workers with disabilities.
And fourth, support independent, community-based living for Americans with disabilities.
For those who have not already done so, I encourage you to look at the complete program on the Obama ’08 website.
But enough about me and my problems…..
Why do people not care to get involved in politics? The main turn-offs are Big Money, Corruption, and Mud-slinging.
Barack Obama, unlike Senator Clinton, hasn’t taken a dime from Political Action Committees or lobbying groups. His support has come from people like us.
He has none of the baggage associated with Senator Clinton.
In the last two weeks, he has proven that he can eloquently handle the worst that his opponents can throw his way. Including, in the words of his opponent, “the kitchen sink”.
Big Money, Scandals, and Mud-slinging are the main reasons for political apathy. This man is a different kind of candidate. One who has attracted a new breed and a new generation of supporters.
Senator Obama has moved me from political indifference to political activism.
For these reasons, I would be proud to represent all of you as a pledged delegate for Barack Obama.
Thank you for your consideration.
I liked it ok. They liked it. They're going to use it. I'll let you know if he gets to be a delegate, although I don't think there's a nickel's worth of difference between Obama and The Clintons on this particular issue.
I keep telling myself "It's for the children". But....But....But.....
I feel so dirty.....