Saturday, January 19, 2008

Richardson Plays Pretend

In his column in this week's Windham Independent, Westbrook resident Ray Richardson examines the possibility of Senator Susan Collins being added to the Republican presidential ticket as a vice-presidential nominee, particularly if Senator John McCain wins the Republican nomination.

Pointing to the solid relationship between Sen. Collins and Sen. McCain, Richardson says Collins could quite possibly become Sen. McCain's pick for vice-president for four reasons. First, Richardson writes, Sen. Collins is a woman, so her appearance on the ticket could soften the impact of Senator Hillary Clinton's gender if Sen. Clinton were to win the Democratic Party's nomination. Second, Sen. Collins's pro-choice stance on abortion could soften the edges around Sen. John McCain's pro-life position, thereby helping him peel off a few pro-choice voters. Third, Richardson reasons, Sen. Collins's appearance on the Republican ticket could help McCain compete for the four relatively blue Electoral College votes Maine has to offer. And, finally, Sen. Collins would be an effective vice-president because her bipartisanship and experience in Congress would make her an asset on Capitol Hill.

Of course, Sen. Collins is currently engaged in a potentially feisty fight for her U.S. Senate seat, so Richardson also ruminates on the possibility of Sen. Collins simultaneously battling for the U.S. Vice-Presidency and her current job as U.S. Senator, a la Senator Joseph Lieberman in 2000. If she has to worry only about re-election to the Senate, Richardson predicts a 58-42 victory against her challenger, Representative Tom Allen. However, Richardson thinks the race would be a toss-up if Sen. Collins had to juggle both the Presidential race and her Senate race.

Richardson's column is interesting and thought-provoking. However, the one puzzling feature of his column is his insistence on using the descriptor Democrat instead of Democratic when describing that party's presidential nomination. On the one hand, it's merely a continuation of the bizarre obsession conservatives--particularly those who rant on t.v. and the radio--have in chopping the ic off the Democratic Party's proper name. On the other hand, Richardson is so obsessed with the grammatical tic (he adds a parenthetical stating the Democratic Party's nomination is, in fact, the Democrat nomination--not the Democratic one) that he elevates his obsession for the gimmick to a strange fetish.

- John C.L. Morgan

P.S. While I'm dissecting this week's Windy Indy, I think I should point out that someone neglected to edit the editor. In his Editor's Note this week, the cranky editor of the weekly, Joshua Shea, wrote that George Bush was re-elected about ten years after the O.J. Simpson murder trial, despite receiving fewer votes than Al Gore. The Simpson trial took place in 1994, so almost ten years later would be 2004. Mr. Shea is correct that President Bush won re-election that year. But he beat Senator John Kerry, not former Vice-President Al Gore. Moreover, President Bush earned more, not fewer, popular votes than Sen. Kerry in 2004. One success out of three attempts is stellar when you're hitting a baseball, but when you're trying to bolster your argument that the presidential election system is flawed (an opinion I actually share for numerous reasons), 1 out 3 basic election facts is not a good foundation for your beefs.

Of course, I could give Mr. Shea the benefit of the doubt and suppose he fudged his math and was really talking about the 2000 election. But then he'd have to explain how President Bush defied the Twenty-second Amendment by garnering re-election twice, while simultaneously erasing President Clinton's second term (how else would President Bush secure re-election in 2000?). Upon further reflection, I think Mr. Shea just got the 2004 election wrong.

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