Saturday, April 19, 2008

Dems, Democracy & The Secret Ballot

There is no question that if you want to know the will of the people, it requires a secret ballot. That is the very heart of the democratic process. Anything else is subject to, at a minimum, improper influence and, at worst, intimidation. So when Hillary complains today about and their effect in pushing the caucuses to Obama while Hillary is winning the secret ballots - a process shown in clear relief in Texas (51% of the secret ballots for Clinton, 47% for Obama, 56% of caucuses for Obama, 44% for Clinton) - than I think that she is right. And it is very much a cautionary tale as regards Obama's huge pay-off to big labor with his support for doing away with secret ballots for unionization.


As to the caucus process beloved of Democrats - and which is not only highly undemocratic, but also keeps people outside the local area - i.e., soldiers deployed to other areas and overseas from voting in the primary - I do not know whether the problem is or not. I do know there is a clear dissonance between the caucus results and the secret ballots. Hillary clearly thinks the difference is the intimidation of the moveon radicals. Here is Hillary:

And as Huffington Post reports:

At a small closed-door fundraiser after Super Tuesday, Sen. Hillary Clinton blamed what she called the "activist base" of the Democratic Party -- and in particular -- for many of her electoral defeats, saying activists had "flooded" state caucuses and "intimidated" her supporters, according to an audio recording of the event obtained by The Huffington Post.

" endorsed [Sen. Barack Obama] -- which is like a gusher of money that never seems to slow down," Clinton said to a meeting of donors. "We have been less successful in caucuses because it brings out the activist base of the Democratic Party. MoveOn didn't even want us to go into Afghanistan. I mean, that's what we're dealing with. And you know they turn out in great numbers. And they are very driven by their view of our positions, and it's primarily national security and foreign policy that drives them. I don't agree with them. They know I don't agree with them. So they flood into these caucuses and dominate them and really intimidate people who actually show up to support me."

. . . In a statement to The Huffington Post, MoveOn's Executive Director Eli Pariser reacted strongly to Clinton's remarks: ". . . Senator Clinton's attack on our members is divisive at a time when Democrats will soon need to unify to beat Senator McCain. MoveOn is 3.2 million reliable voters and volunteers who are an important part of any winning Democratic coalition in November. They deserve better than to be dismissed using Republican talking points."

Howard Wolfson, communications director for the Clinton campaign, verified the authenticity of the audio, and elaborated on Clinton's charge that these same party activists were engaged in acts of intimidation against her supporters: "There have been well documented instances of intimidation in the Nevada and the Texas caucuses, and it is a fact that while we have won 4 of the 5 largest primaries, where participation is greatest, Senator Obama has done better in caucuses than we have." About Clinton's remarks suggesting dismay over high Democratic activist turnout, Wolfson said, "I'll let my statement stand as is." . . .

Read the entire article.

This is indeed a cautionary tale and I my gut tells me that Clinton is right. As to doing away with secret ballots, this should throw into stark relief Senator Obama's claim to do away with special interest in American politics while at the same time supporting the end of secret ballots in the unionization process. It is nothing more than a huge pay-off to the Democrats largest special interest, big labor. As indeed his vote to strip the Protect America Act of immunity provisions for telecommunications companies that did nothing more than support their country when it appeared under attack is an equally detestable pay off to the tort bar. Obama's moral posing to make American politics free of special interests could not be further from the truth.

(H/T Gateway Pundit)

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