The Union-Leader's perspective on the DNC calendar:
The national Dems seem determined to punish New Hampshire, apparently for being too white.
Influential national Dem Donna Brazile's message on race was only thinly veiled at the session: She said talk of delay "reminds me of those days when people had to wait for their right to vote because everybody said, 'Wait. The time is never right.'
"I'm not about waiting anymore," Brazile said. "Justice has to roll sometime, somewhere, in some way, and it starts now. I'm off the privilege notion now. I'm now onto fairness and what's right and what's good for our party."
State Democratic leaders, who last fall were 'ready to do battle,' as Gov. John Lynch put it, now appear unsure of what to do next to try to change their national party's collective mind.
For now, at least, NH Democratic leaders are leaning on Secretary of State Bill Gardner, who this week repeated what he first told this newspaper last November: "I'm going to set the date of the primary and do it in late 2007."
So how does Iowa get way with being, er, "too white"? New Hampshire's being whacked. But we are commiting suicide - in the form of the Vilsack `08 bandwagon (a little red Radio Flyer last we checked). 2008 will be the last time we are first. The sad thing is, it's a no-win for Vilsack. He wins the caucuses, it's expected. But if he loses? He's dead and he kills the caucuses with him. And the governor is by no means as universally loved by state Democratic actvists as Tom Harkin was in 1991-92.
So New Hampshire will break the rules and leapfrog. The DNC unseats the delegates. But that doesn't matter. The REAL question, as I've noted before, is whether or not the candidates show up. If the candidates stay away, like most did in the nonbinding 2004 DC Democratic preference vote or the 1996 Louisiana Republican caucus, then New Hampshire loses. But if they treat it like a real primary, even if the delegates are denied, then the DNC loses.
Prediction: Iowa gets a final, meaningless fling in 2008, and 2012 leads off with a Michigan "firehouse caucus" (functions like an election but run by the party).