Monday, August 04, 2014

Monday Miscellaneous

It's been a weekend of human being stuff so I'm behind the curve, but multiple items are big enough to merit a look back.

Iowa Democrats unveiled their caucus reform proposals. I'm a little surprised that proxy or absentee votes were ruled out. I attended one of the "listening" meetings and suggested a tightly controlled proxy process, limited to nursing home residents and strictly defined people with disabilities (I suggested handicapped parking permits and plates, or residence in a certified care center, as a standard.) I got the sense that at-large sites was the way things were going, but that some sort of limited proxy voting was still in the running.

But the concern, voiced not at my meeting but clearly at others, was the fear that a person casting a Democratic proxy would then attend a Republican caucus. And that makes sense, for the same reason I've argued against different dates: Just ONE person holding an I Voted Twice press conference would be fatal.

Instead, the plan is for "at large satellite" caucuses hosted at large employment sites, based on the kind seen at the big Las Vegas casinos in the 2008 Nevada caucuses. It seems like a lot of work for not much outcome; the reality was, very, very few people who REALLY wanted to caucus in 2008 were unable to. But if making a show of it helps to defuse the criticism of Iowa, it's worth a try. I can only think of one place in my county worth the effort with large numbers of essential workers who can't under any circumstances get a night off: University Hospitals.

If they're passing a law mandating time off work, can we amend it to cancel or postpone every school sporting and extracurricular event on the same night?

The emphasis on child care will probably mean more co-location of multiple precincts in one site. If sitters have to be hired to accommodate what will likely be a very small number of people, that'll cost someone (state party or local?) and the fewer needed the better. The reality is few parents will take advantage of it. Sure, someone will WATCH the kid during alignment, but you still have to bundle them up, get them in the car, get them home and get them to bed late. And it's also hard to get them out the door when they're a little older but not old enough to be left home alone, and do NOT want to leave.

As for site accessibility, we haven't had an old fashioned private home caucus in my county since 2000, though mileage may vary elsewhere.

My mention that "the national press wants raw, walk in the door numbers" was absolutely a non-starter. Clearly there's been some word that a raw number connected to a result is unacceptable to New Hampshire. The Republican raw number, as Ron Paul knew ahead of time and as we all learned later, is meaningless to the delegate numbers.

The reality is, this is less about actual increased participation and more about blunting criticism. And it's all moot anyway because President Hillary Clinton will tell the DNC "no caucuses, primaries only," and we'll be voting in a June primary.

I raised that same concern at the Ready For Hillary meeting I attended - oh, yes, I did attend. And though sparsely attended - main name being Rep. Vicki Lensing - it was interesting.

First off, Derek Eadon was running the meeting. Eadon is a veteran of many Iowa campaigns, including Obama's `08 caucus effort and `12 general election in Iowa, and I can't see an Obama hand like Derek deliberately out to Screw Iowa.

The critique of Ready For Hillary is that it's a list-building effort. And there's some truth to that. Eadon noted that the Clinton organization was forced to atrophy through the State Department years, and renewing and rebuilding that requires an external effort until and unless Clinton gets in herself. Every try using a seven year old email list?

Of course, the fundamental shortcoming is that there's no substitute for Herself. No one has a good answer for that, and everyone understands it. So my ongoing critique is less about READY and more about HILLARY. I also have some specific policy concerns, but I don't feel free to say them in public.

Speaking of Secretaries of State, Matt Schultz's office, despite saying they would update the candidate list "daily,"  failed to do so on Friday. (Pro tip: even if no one files on a given day, a fresh date on the list TELLS US THAT, while a non-updated list makes me wonder if it means no one filed, or no one updated the list.) But there were three new names on Thursday.

The Libertarians will have a candidate in a Dubuque County House race. No, it's not House 99 Democratic primary loser Steve Drahozal who ran as a Libertarian in 2000 in a Johnson County race. No, I can never tell that story enough. (Who's the bigger primary flop: Drahozal, or Republican Steve Rathje, who with a third GOP primary loss has now descended into perennial candidate status?)

No, the Libertarian in Dubuque County is David Snowden Overby, who has filed for the House of Lords - sorry, but he's only a hyphen and a Smythe away from a peerage - actually for House 57, the Barony of Rural Dubuque County. Actually it's Nancy Dunkel's district. She had no opponent at all in 2012, so she makes up for it this year with two.

House 99 did get a second candidate. Republican Daniel Dlouhy, an attorney who looks like he's specializing in conservative activism, filed against Democrat Abby Finkenauer in the open Pat Murphy seat. It was close in 2010 but that looks like a fluke in retrospect in this historically Democratic seat.

And Some Dude Terry Manwarren, who lost an Emmetsburg school board race badly last year, filed in House 2 against freshman Republican Megan Hess. Democrats have no candidate.

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