Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Nothing New Here, Move Along

Sean Wilentz and Julina Zelizer offer an op-ed in the Washington Post, A Rotten Way to Pick a President which offers nothing new in the way of criticisms of the manner in which our presidential candidates are chosen. This kind of piece is a common place filler for the op-ed pages at this time of an election cycle.

True, the manner in which the primaries and caucuses are run is filled with strange incentives, bizzarre rules and arcane procedures. But the procedure has been pretty good for America in that the selection of candidates is out in the open, the candidates are tested prior to the general election and everyone knows what they are getting.

Bob Bauer, as usual, has a sharp pen for Wilentz and Zelizer:
Wilentz and Zelitzer conclude, confidently, that their case against the current system is “glaringly clear.” This is what it is not. What is clear is that any system will cause unhappiness somewhere, on one or the other ground, and frequently for no reason better than that the critic did not like the results. It may be true, as these distinguished historians stated, that "we could still get it right in 2012.” The first step is getting right the analysis of the problem and the appraisal of alternatives. We’ll have to wait longer for that.
Is the process too long? Sure. Does it put too much importance on teh early states? You bet. Does it mean it is over too soon? Well that is obviously not the case for the Democrats this year, but in other years yes. Do we have a viable alternative? Not that I have seen. Wilentz and Zelizer have no option to offer and do little but waste some ink and newsprint that the Post couldn't otherwise fill.

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