The other day I received an e-mail from my cousin Kathy in California. Kathy is one of the most thoughtful people I know. Kathy teaches in the University system in California. She holds at least two graduate degrees. She is always open to new ideas. And while she and I sometimes do not agree, I know she is listening and studying different points of view. Kathy said she was thrilled when California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the law moving the primary date in California from June to February, 2008. At last, she thought, California would be a major player on the political scene.
Then she read my commentary and realized that this had been done in haste. She understood that it was helpful to have California round out the primary season in June because otherwise the nation would see what it is like to nominate the leaders in both party primaries by, depending upon whom you believe, either February 5th or mid-March, 2008.
And that, my friends, is the problem. This has been done with too much haste. I received a similar reaction to that commentary from many others. They simply hadn't followed the situation enough as this was happening and now we are stuck with the whole political process having been changed before our eyes.
Can anything be done at this stage? The Republican Whip in the House, Representative Roy Blunt (R-MO), was asked that question at a meeting last week. Blunt is normally a proponent of having States handle as much as they can because he knows from experience that States know much better how to handle problems since the one-size-fits-all offered by the Federal Government usually doesn't work.
Blunt's son Matt is Governor of Missouri, by the way. This time, however, Blunt said he thought the Federal Government should step in and perhaps set up a series of regional primaries which at least would give all parts of the country a chance to participate in the primary system.