Sunday, September 20, 2009

Who gets to pick a party's nominee for office?

The NYTimes reported Sunday that Obama has told Governor Paterson not to run for re-election. The central notion here, as described by the Times, is that "the governor’s unpopularity could drag down Democratic members of Congress in New York, as well as the Democratic-controlled Legislature, in next fall’s election." And also, of course, that Patterson could lose against Giuliani, should he run. It's all quite possibly true, though not certainly. But that's beside the point.

This has gotten to be the way-of-life, particularly for the Democrats. It's not about who the primary voters support, it's about who the Party thinks will have the best chance of winning in the general election, and otherwise help politically.

It's perhaps a touch more defensible when we're talking about a senate or house seat, where national policy is potentially affected. Not much, though.

Just like DSCC chair Bob Menendez, or Chuck Schumer before him, Obama is not king. It's pretty ridiculous to think that he gets to chose who the nominee is. There are these people, 'voters', who are supposed to decide things. If Paterson wants to run, he should run.

Update: The NYT editorial on this is useful.


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