August 20, 2006


Democrats Bump Up Nev., S.C. on Calendar (JIM KUHNHENN, 8/19/06, Associated Press)

Democrats shook up tradition on Saturday by vaulting Nevada and South Carolina into the first wave of 2008 presidential contests along with Iowa and New Hampshire -- a move intended to add racial and geographic diversity to the early voting.

The decision by the Democratic National Committee leaves Iowa as the nation's first presidential caucus and New Hampshire as the first primary, but wedges Nevada's caucuses before New Hampshire and South Carolina's primary soon afterward.

The move also packs all four state contests into a politically saturated two weeks in January. The change means a potentially huge cast of Democratic presidential candidates could winnow quickly by the beginning of February.

Party officials embraced the change, though New Hampshire Democrats joined several likely presidential candidates and former President Clinton in opposing the move.

NH isn't going to let someone else go first, so if Democrats choose not to contend here they just hand over the new cycle to John McCain for a couple weeks.

Democrats Set Primary Calendar and Penalties (ADAM NAGOURNEY, 8/20/06, NY Times)

Despite the vote, the fighting over the calendar may not be over. A number of potential 2008 contenders — including Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts; John Edwards, the former senator from North Carolina; and Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana — have expressed support for New Hampshire.

Several Democrats said candidates might make the calculation that it is worth losing delegates — assuming New Hampshire defies the party and the party penalizes candidates — to get the attention that might come from an early New Hampshire victory.

A spokesman for Mr. Bayh, Dan Pfeiffer, said that the senator had asked the Indiana Democratic delegation to oppose the rule change, and that he intended to campaign in New Hampshire.

“Senator Bayh, should he decide to run, intends to stand by his commitment to New Hampshire,” Mr. Pfeiffer said. “At the end of the day, the D.N.C. and the various states will set the final calendar and all Senator Bayh can do is compete in the contests as they come — and that includes New Hampshire.”

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 20, 2006 9:30 AM

Tempest in an egg cup.

Posted by: erp at August 20, 2006 9:57 AM

They don't have the spine to tell the party hacks in New Hampshire and Iowa that they can't have their little quadrennial circuses until March or April, so instead they dump a few more of them in January. So that's what a tower of Jello looks like. Didn't they notice that the months between the inevitability of Lt.Kerry and his "reporting for duty" were all wasted if not a downright negative?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at August 20, 2006 10:47 AM

Those of you who read the article posted here last week about how New Hampshire Democrats view Hillary should not be surprised at this decision. They were against her, seeing her as wicked and manipulative. NEW HAMPSHIRE DEMOCRATS!

Of course they would not be allowed to pass judgment on her first. That might prove to the death knell for her candidacy. It's all about Her Thighness.

Posted by: obc at August 20, 2006 11:35 AM

She wins NH in a walk, which is why Bill opposes this.

Posted by: oj at August 20, 2006 11:38 AM

The S.C. move does seem like a love letter by the party to Ted Kennedy's new, greatest hope, John Edwards, though I suppose Mark Warner down in Virginia could also benefit (the Nevada caucus will be seen more as a survey of how infulential Harry Reed is in his own state in pushing a candidate over the top, assuming he actually does endorse someone by January '08).

Posted by: John at August 20, 2006 3:05 PM

Which do you prefer? Changing the primary dates will be as effective as: Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic or Fiddling while Rome is burning. Feel free to add your own favorites.

Posted by: erp at August 20, 2006 4:41 PM

John Edwards is a nobody in Presidential politics, a one-term Senator who couldn't win re-election, and a failed VP nominee who was virtually invisible during the last months of the '04 campaign.

He might eventually mount a credible campaign for the Presidency, but he'd have to gain a lot more political experience and gravitas. '08 is well out of reach for him.

Posted by: Abner Hathaway at August 21, 2006 10:10 AM