Well, it's all over but the shouting at one another.

Yesterday, Oklahoma and five other states held their Presidential primaries, despite a lack of anything resembling a contest, and turnout, unsurprisingly, was somewhere between horrid and nonexistent; the estimated $700,000 price tag for the Oklahoma primary worked out to something like $2 a vote, which in happier times would have bought a Chicago alderman at the very least.

Still, no Soonerland election is entirely without surprises; after all, this is the state that once sent a dead woman into a runoff. And while no one doubted that George W. Bush was going to win the Republican race, and while Governor Keating, desperate for a position in a Bush administration, glued his lips firmly to Dubya's backside, the insurgents managed to amass 25 percent of the GOP vote, quite a lot for a collection of lost causes — and Alan Keyes, who ran third, polled nearly as many votes as John McCain, an indication that, in Oklahoma at least, the Christian Coalition and its devolutionary ilk aren't as irrelevant as McCain would like to believe.

Steve Edwards, chair of the state Republican party, observed that this would be a fine excuse to move the primary up a few weeks. Now Edwards is pretty sharp — of course, compared to Quineta Wylie, Edwards' predecessor, Pauly Shore would be considered pretty sharp — but I wonder what he's been drinking. Aren't these campaigns long enough already? If all the primaries move into February, and Edwards wants Oklahoma's primary to be five days after New Hampshire fercryingoutloud, we're going to be subjected to eight months of the same bozos trying desperately to smear one another. Admittedly, there's always the chance that the Republicans, or conceivably even the Democrats, might unite behind a non-bozo, but the parties' long-standing devotion to fund-raising über Alles makes this a remote possibility indeed. And don't tell me about Al Gore's sudden conversion to the Gospel of No More Soft Money; this is about as convincing as Anheuser-Busch coming out against beer.

Then again, this may still be fixable. Suppose we require that New Hampshire schedule its primary to avoid the possibility of snow? This would push the start date way down into the spring, and even if it didn't cut down on the window of opportunity for inflammatory rhetoric, we'd find out if anyone in Dixville Notch actually owns a pair of shorts.

The Vent

#189
15 March 2000

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