If you are a Democrat in Michigan, you ought to have one goal in mind as far as your party is concerned: purging the hacks, creeps and incompetent stooges who run the Michigan Democratic Party.
Thanks to Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer, National Committeewoman Debbie Dingell, Gov. Jennifer Granholm and U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, you are to have no say in the most exciting and possibly most important race for the presidency in history.
That became clear last week, when, after bungling not one but two attempts at holding a primary, and then impotently floundering about for some weeks, the Dems threw in the towel and decided they weren't going to let you vote for president after all.
Brewer's spokesman put out this release on Friday afternoon: "The Michigan Democratic Party has carefully reviewed several proposals for a party-run primary or caucus as a means of resolving the dispute over the seating of the Michigan delegation to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. We have concluded that it is not practical to conduct such a primary or caucus."
Or to translate that into English: Memo to the voters: Screw you. Want the chance to cast a vote for Barack Obama, like people in the other 49 states and Puerto Rico? Go piss up a rope.
Naturally, anything from the Michigan party establishment wouldn't be complete without a few added lies, so Brewer's stooge went on: "We will continue to work with ... the Democratic National Committee and the candidates to resolve this matter in a manner which is respectful of the views of Democrats in Michigan, and which is fair to those who voted in the January 15 Democratic primary."
They intend to do nothing of the kind. What are they really thinking? It is, as scientists have noted, hard to understand the mental patterns of mollusks and other invertebrates, but having observed this species in their natural habitat, let me try.
Lacking backbones, the Democratic hackocracy hopes the rest of the nation will solve its problem for them. That is, that a winner will emerge by the time the primary process ends June 3.
Then one of the Big Two will drop out and, in the love-fest that follows, the party elders will quietly agree to forgive Michigan's sins and will seat whatever delegates Brewer and his cronies select.
Then our Democratic leaders can get down to what they see as the really important business of any national convention. Such as getting to travel out of town and away from mama for a few days. Getting to look big, and maybe get a few moments of local TV time spouting banalities to Cheryl Chodun or Carmen Harlan.
Plus wearing funny hats; crawling through the bars and fleshpots of Denver; eating bad food and maybe, just maybe, getting into a group picture with one of the vice presidential candidates.
Yes, that is what the hacks really lust after. Most of the time, the way they select and instruct delegates doesn't really matter; the nominations are usually locked up early.
But this year that didn't happen. There is a real contest, one we could have played a major role in deciding. But, thanks to the gang who couldn't shoot straight if their lives depended on it, Michigan Democrats managed to screw the voters and become irrelevant.
A little background, for those of you who might have a social life and haven't been paying attention: Our Democrats, especially perhaps Debbie Dingell, wanted to increase our (and mostly their) importance.
So, together with the Republicans (who unlike the Democrats, knew what they were doing), they rammed through a bill to make Michigan the first major state to have a primary. The Democratic National Committee warned them they couldn't do that.
If they tried to, they were told, their delegates wouldn't be seated. But Michigan decided the threat was toothless, and defied them. Our local Machiavellis figured Clinton had the nomination locked up, and that once she clinched it, she'd seat Michigan.
And since we had helped grease her path with an easy early big-state primary win, we would be rewarded. (Granholm might even be given another over-her-head public job when her term expires!)
Yet a funny thing happened. The national party was serious. And suddenly Obama appeared out of nowhere, and they had a race. Soon, the Michigan primary turned into a farce.
Nobody campaigned here. Everyone pulled their name off the ballot, except for Hillary — who said, "It doesn't matter, since it doesn't count" — and a few trivia questions like Chris Dodd.
The Democrats also told us — and it is critically important that you remember this — if you write in John Edwards' name, or Barack Obama's name on Jan. 15 — they won't count your vote.
If you wanted one of those candidates, you had to vote for "uncommitted." That meant we had to trust the Brewers with picking delegates who were truly uncommitted. (No, thank you.)
Like many others who would have voted in a real Democratic primary, I voted instead for Screamin' John McCain, who unlike most Republicans, has been known to sometimes make rational choices.
But hundreds of thousands of others just stayed home. Here's proof: Michigan has almost the same population as Ohio. The Democratic primary in Ohio drew almost 2.3 million people. The Democratic primary in Michigan drew only one-fourth as many: 594,398. Hard to get voters to show up when they know it doesn't matter, and they aren't allowed to vote for their candidate.
What few of us realized, however, is that the Democrats and Republicans had another reason to hold this primary that had nothing to do with selecting candidates. They had written the law creating the election to also supply them with secret lists of who voted in which primary, so they could hit us up for donations.
What's more, the bill said the public had no right to see those lists. Even a bright high school civics student could see that was unconstitutional, even though it was approved by Michigan's partisan kangaroo Supreme Court. Last month, however, an honest federal judge (Nancy Edmunds) struck the law down.
Nobody is going to see those lists. That gave the Democrats one more excuse not to have a do-over caucus. They intended, you see, to use those lists to keep me — and anyone else who voted in the GOP primary — from voting, even though thousands did as I did because the Dem primary was a farce that wasn't going to count.
By the way — the Democrats could do a private, "firehouse primary" without much trouble; they did one in 2000 and 2004, and would only have to dust off the blueprint. But they don't want that.
What they want is not to have to make any decision. What I want now is for the national party not to seat them, no matter what. They broke the rules, and deserve what they get. And if the rank-and-file don't like the fact that they were cut out of the action ... if the state's almost 1 million black voters don't like the fact that the party leaders refused to let them have a chance to vote for Barack Obama ... maybe, just maybe they'll do something about it. And press the party to elect a new chairman and other new leaders.
We sure the hell should hope so.Jack Lessenberry opines weekly for Metro Times. Contact him at [email protected]