"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Monday, April 11, 2005

The Indecisive Republicans

This is the first of three posts on David Rebovich’s article Indecision and Intrigue in the Republican Primary. You may remember Rider University’s Mr. Rebovich from these quotes:

"We are the home of 'The Sopranos' and we lead the country in mayors in prison," said Rider University political analyst David Rebovich. "New Jerseyans recognize politics is a rough and tumble business, and that some politicians skate close to the line and sometimes they cross it. To put it in theological terms, for voters in New Jersey, all politicians are fallen and so they want to look at the whole picture before they make a judgment."

"New Jersey voters are utilitarian," David Rebovich, managing director of the Rider Institute of New Jersey Politics. "They understand that there is a quid pro quo system, and they have a looser definition of what constitutes corruption than in the moralist states."
Now on to analyzing the analyst's analysis – Indecision:

It's no surprise that Doug Forrester and Bret Schundler are the GOP's two front-runners. But what is surprising, and increasingly disturbing in Republican circles these days, is that the five other GOP candidates are still in the race despite poor showings in the conventions and despite barely registering in the polls.

We wonder how Rebovich measures the level of disturbance in Republican circles. Does Quinnipiac survey that sort of thing? And what exactly are Republican circles - surrogates of certain Republican candidates? Republican Party leaders?

If the “five other GOP candidates” have had poor showings in the conventions and barely register in the polls, which of the two front-running candidates does this help or hurt? Is fear growing that people will “waste” their vote in the primary election on a candidate that can’t win and ultimately deprive the party of “the best” candidate? If “they” are increasingly disturbed, “they” should come out and endorse a candidate.

The key to a successful primary is to keep everyone focused on the issues, debating their ideas, without beating each other to a pulp in the process. So far the Republican hopefuls have been pretty good on that score, no one’s bleeding yet and the two front-runners are neck and neck in the polls. This should make for an exciting contest, just the type of horse race the media likes to follow. The Republicans can use all of the free publicity they can get.

While by no means scientific, the Republicans we’ve heard from are willing to wait until the June primary to decide their nominee. Apparently they have this quaint idea that a party primary is a useful part of the democratic (small d) process.

In a multi-person primary, the eventual winner may not be acceptable to the majority of Republican voters. Nor may the winner of this spring's GOP primary be the party's strongest candidate to run against Jon Corzine this fall. These are serious matters that are troubling to many rank and file Republicans and leaders throughout the state.
We’re not political experts, but aren't most primaries multi-person? Isn’t a primary held to determine the candidate party members prefer and presumably believe can win an election? Gee, you almost get the idea Rebovich thinks rank and file Republicans are too stupid to figure out the purpose of a primary election.

And since when did voting become a serious, in the negative sense, and troubling matter to Republicans? Some people are confused when confronted by choice, but others enjoy the opportunity to participate in the political process. We thought choice was the hallmark of a free society.

Who should be choosing the nominee, a dozen or so party leaders? We have faith in the democratic process, even if others don’t. Our hope is that the best candidate will win the Republican primary. As a matter of fact, we had hoped the best candidate would win the Democrat’s primary. After all, unless a third party candidate comes out of nowhere, our next governor will be either be a Democrat or a Republican and who wants to take the chance on another voter mistake like McGreevey? Yes, voters can make mistakes and we beleive they'll want to make up for it with a smart choice in this year's election.

At any rate, we’ve learned our lesson, never wish for a weak candidate to oppose the one you favor, you just might get stuck with your worst nightmare. That’s one of the reason’s primaries are so important. They provide voters with an opportunity to learn about a candidate’s record, ideas and positions and to hear him (her) vigorously defend them when challenged.

Sadly, Jon Corzine forced Democrats to choose between his money or a primary and the Democrat bosses chose Corzine’s money. Sure, it’s easier and less expensive not to engage in a primary campaign, but is it really a good thing for a political party or the voters? We’d far prefer a candidate with a record and ideas that have been battle tested, than one that lacks confidence in their ability to withstand scrutiny. That candidate is not Jon Corzine.


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