"You know the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick." -Gov. Sarah Palin-

"The media are not above the daily test of any free institution." -Barry M. Goldwater-

"America's first interest must be to punish our enemies, then, if possible, please our friends." -Zell Miller-

"One single object...[will merit] the endless gratitude of the society: that of restraining the judges from usurping legislation." -President Thomas Jefferson-

"Don't get stuck on stupid!" -Lt. Gen. Russel Honore-

"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter." -Isaiah 5:20-

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Irregularities In Florida Primary And Congress Gets A Raise

Flip Pidot has something interesting today. He notes that although Florida was supposed to be a closed primary, exit polls showed that it was not quite as closed as it should have been. From his blog entry:

In my attempts to self-soothe in the wake of Romney's Florida defeat, I'm poring over the details of the exit polling in search of encouraging morsels, thus far with sporadic success. Mitt beat McCain soundly among conservatives (37-29), among "issues" voters (35-27), and even edged him out among voters for whom terrorism was the most important issue (29-26).

One breakout that puzzles me though is the vote share by party identification. Romney and McCain were tied among Republicans at 33-33, while McCain won independents 44-23.

Now, if I understand Florida law correctly, the only people who should have been voting in the Republican Primary were Republicans or those who changed their party affiliation to Republican in the last 30 days.

So why this:

Self-identified Independents voted in a supposedly closed Republican Primary? Note the 44% that McCain got from these people.

Flip goes on:

Despite my support for Romney, I'm loathe to hunt for extra innings in this or any contest. That's a game usually better left to the Gores, Kuciniches, Paulnuts, and the other dark-minded conspiracy buffs of the world. And to be clear, I'm not suggesting conspiracy is afoot, only that Florida's record of electoral execution is... well, checkered.

At the risk of being lumped into the ranks of the aforementioned, and given that the impact of participation by non-Republicans in this primary appears to account for the entirety of McCain's margin of victory, I'm tempted to swallow my loathing and press for some answers as to what might have happened. Exit polls rely on the accuracy of the verbal responses given by the pollees and therefore aren't definitively dispositive of anything at all. But 17% of 1,500 respondents self-identifying as independents who voted Republican means something irregular took place, unless hundreds of voters chose to tell pollsters a similar lie.

We need answers for this. Florida seems to have a great deal of trouble voting these days. Perhaps it is not the system that is broken so much as it is the people who run the system.

You can access the complete blog-entry on-line here:

Was Florida A Closed Primary Or Not?
Flip Pidot
January 30, 2008

And Congress got another pay raise on New Years Day this year. Jeff Jacoby has this to say in the Boston Globe:

While the median income of US families has increased by around $11,000 since 1998, the income of their representatives in Washington has increased by more than $30,000. Considering that the latter work for the former, the imbalance between them is striking.

It is also unconstitutional.

Article I, Section 6 of the Constitution authorizes Congress to pay itself with public funds, but the 27th Amendment circumscribes that authority. It provides: "No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect until an election of Representatives shall have intervened." The amendment limits the power of Congress to change its salary by preventing any pay raise from taking effect until the voters have had their say. Members of the House and Senate are free to alter the next Congress's salary, but they are prohibited from enlarging their own.

Go figure.

You can access the complete column on-line here:

Congress Helps Itself, Again
Jeff Jacoby
The Boston Globe
January 30, 2008

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