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June 1, 2008, at 12:00 pm — Blogs /

Asking for directions

Hillary Rodham Clinton won Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico…

I’ll be the first in line to admit that every vote counts. That every vote must be considered. After all, for many, it is as close to the political process that they’ll ever come. Every vote must be counted.

But this is not a general election. It is a contest for the nominee of the Democratic National Committee. Some states have been closed primaries, only Democratic voters allowed. Others have been open, still others have had lovely bonus systems – two for the price of one – caucus and primary. And then there’s Puerto Rico and Guam. U.S. Territories. Puerto Rico doesn’t even vote in the general election.

In my opinion the only reason Clinton won Puerto Rico is that she promised them the right to vote in general elections. A noble gesture that is suspect in it’s timing. In my opinion all those things she typically speaks of she’s had more then enough time as a public servant to address – and she has failed to do so. I can not help but remember how her husband used his Presidential powers to try to exonerate Puerto Rican extremists, separatists really, – members of the violent FALN. At the time of Bill Clinton’s odd gesture towards the FALN members (who refused to renounce their involvement in the group and refused to be released) coincided with Hillary’s run for the New York Senate. There is a large Puerto Rican population in New York – one of the reasons she is considered to have been a favorite of the island in this election.

Regardless the fact is, no matter her promise, that Puerto Rico does not count in the general election. And it takes more then a presidential candidate to make that happen. In fact it takes an act of congress.

The only conclusion I believe any rational person could make is that the Democratic Primary System is inconsistent and disorganized. That much has been proven to be clear.

Yet there is all this talk during this contest of which states count and which ones’ do not. Clinton has been the worst purveyor of this merry-go-round argument of late citing these so-called “battleground” states as proof positive of her chances against McCain in the fall. Never mind that Obama has actually come out ahead in most of States in the Union, and never mind that the world and this country is very different then it was just four years ago. For one thing we were only one year into the Iraq war in 2004. Oil had just passed $50 a barrel and the price of a gallon of gas was nearing $3. And we were only three short years past 9/11. The country was a very different place.

And yet the metrics used constantly by the media and the campaigns enjoy showing maps from the 2004 presidential election – back when we had red and blue states. Of course who can blame the pundits and the politicians for looking for some tangibility in this strange new world they now find themselves in. Things are not the same as they once were and no one has a map that explains what has happened and where to go.

In many ways we are a nation lost but a nation desperate for clarity. Looking for a sign along a winding road.


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