April 30, 2008
Back from Boston
It was very interesting to see the very wide spectrum of views represented at the Kennedy school event yesterday on reforming the presidential primary process. (The conversation was on the record, and a transcript will be posted by the Kennedy school at some point.) I would say I walked away thinking how difficult change is going to be, how intractable the positions of those supporting and opposing a system that allows Iowa and New Hampshire to go first, how different the Democratic and Republican party philosophies are on how flexible rule changes should be, and how little support there was among this very diverse audience for a congressional solution (at least one that is foisted upon the national political parties against their will). There was talk of congressional carrots, and there seemed to be a consensus that fundamental changes to the Democratic rules would take place if Sen. McCain ended up winning in November. There also seemed to be agreement that something had to be done to fix the administration of caucuses in some states, such as Texas. But as for this diverse group reaching a general consensus over (1) what, if anything, is wrong with the current system of nominating the presidential candidates; (2) how, if at all, the system should be changed, and (3) who should implement those changes, forget about it.