Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Uncommitted Dems: 2012 and 1996

Uncommitted Dems: 2012 and 1996

As Air Force One approaches the Quad Cities, the DI offers a banner LOCALS TO OPPOSE OBAMA headline. It's a lot of picas, but not necessarily a lot of people; the photo shows two and the story quotes a third, but there's not a body count.

The local leader, history prof and 80s era county Dems chair Jeff Cox, was also in on an uncommitted effort in 1996 against the last Democratic incumbent to seek re-election, Bill Clinton. Jeff's a good guy and one of the first people I met when I hit town 21 years ago. His biggest bone of contention in that 1996 effort was how the results got hushed up till after the newspaper deadlines and flushed down the memory hole. (The buzz within the party establishment was that Clinton wanted a unanimous result.)

The state party has established real-time result reporting since then; precinct chairs report to Des Moines and not to the locals. So it's not likely that a mildly embarrassing outcome can be hidden again. But if you're ready to say I'm In, the best thing to do is caucus for The Prez rather than meddling in the GOP caucuses as Ed Fallon suggests.

And to set the historic record straight, here's the Official (TM) Johnson County result: Clinton 254 county convention delegates (98.1%), Uncommitted 3 delegates (1.1%), Ralph Nader 2 delegates (0.8%).

As for 2012, here's the Official (TM) Iowa Democratic Party response:
"We welcome participation in the Iowa Democratic Caucus and look forward to a campaign that addresses the issues important to all Americans, including access to health care and ending the war in Afghanistan.

"Over the past two years President Obama has championed reform that expands health care access to millions of Americans, while working with our nation's military leaders to bring a responsible end to combat operations in Iraq and welcome home 100,000 American troops from that nation.

"Additionally, President Obama has stood by his commitment to reduce troop levels in Afghanistan beginning next month. He will continue to consult with his advisors and military leaders to end our involvement in Afghanistan while eliminating safe havens from which al Qaeda and its affiliates could plan attacks against America or our allies. That goal is within reach and we are on track to transition combat responsibilities to the Afghan Security forces."
Another reason to stay in the Democratic caucuses is more local: if there's a special election for a county office, the delegates elected on caucus night are the ones who choose the party nominees. Especially relevant here in Johnson County.

One more afterthought: When Iowa Democrats have a president running for re-election, we vote at our caucuses. When Republicans have a president running for re-election, they don't. Would have been interesting to see how Pat Buchanan would have done against HW in 1992.

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