21 August 2007

Romney Winning Silver

Mitt Romney today lands in Las Vegas, where he will huddle with the native "Team Mitt."

Romney's stump is spreading roots in Nevada: the former Governor of Massachusetts also visited Elko last Monday, validating Bill Richardson's claim to Nevadans, "You're now important."

Indeed, there's a reason Barack Obama opened headquarters in Elko, disregarding Romney's gibe: "Doesn’t he understand there are no Democrats allowed in Elko?" In 2006, the Nevada Democratic Party shoved its caucus to January 19th, wedging it in between Iowa's caucus on January 14th and New Hampshire's primary on January 22nd. The Nevada Republican Party hesitated to follow, initially voting to hold its caucus on February 8th, but eventually moving it to January 19th. Now, party officials hope the early caucus will focus candidates' attention on so-called "minority, union, and western issues."

In the primary election, it seems earliness equals importance. Following Romney and Richardson's lead, Senator Obama visited Elko on August 5th as part of a "rural American listening tour." Of course, Nevada lacked the ear of any presidential candidate in 2004, when it held its caucus on February 14th and consequently, was ignored.

Perhaps the political parties should change the primary system. If candidates favor states with early primaries, then maybe states should rotate their primary dates every four years. That way, different types of states would receive attention each election cycle, instead of the same ones - or whichever ones race to the forefront. Of course, Iowa and New Hampshire will not forfeit their early dates eagerly.

And for our policy wonks, this coverage of Nevada's caucus adds some muscle to Romney's political skeleton:

He also stressed states' rights, telling reporters he backed Nevada's decision decades ago to legalize gambling even though gambling generally isn't something he supports. He also said Nevada, where 87 percent of the land is federally controlled, should have more of a say in how that land is used. Continued mining, particularly for resources such as coal that can help meet the nation's energy needs, is necessary, Romney added.

Romney asserts, "I'm someone who believes in the right of the states to set their own courses on important issues." And perhaps Romney should emphasize his respect for states' rights more often to assure Republicans of his conservative credentials. Fred Thompson's talk on federalism appeals to some party faithful, and Ron Paul's campaign cries "Constitution!" In 2007, our Constitution haunts Republican voters' conscience, as it should.

And if our readers were wondering, Romney leads the primary pack in Nevada with 23% of the vote. Hillary wins the Democratic nod with a hefty 40%.