The Long and Grinding Road

A little something from Ed Gillespie caught my ear on Meet the Press yesterday, and since it didn’t fit into the Hair of the Dog format, let’s talk about it here. He said to David Gregory that

“This process is different for Republicans this time. We’re going to have proportion delegate allocation throughout a lot of our process — which we haven’t had,” Gillespie said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“There’s not going to be much incentive to Michele Bachmann or Rick Santorum or Rick Perry or Ron Paul to drop because they’ll be likely accruing delegates along the way,” Gillespie told host David Gregory.

The Democrats have their proportional system, which is designed to “give everyone a voice” in the process. It doesn’t matter how long it might take (Obama collected enough delegates to win just a week or so before his coronation in Denver in 2008). It doesn’t matter how bruising it might be to the candidates, or how expensive it might be. Everyone must be “heard,” even if they don’t really have much to say.

The GOP’s primary system was designed to — get this — select a nominee, and in relatively short order. It didn’t always work that way. And sometimes the quickly-selected nominee would turn out to be a Bob Dole or a John McCain. They won their intra-party contests without too much trouble, but proved wholly ineffective in taking the fight to the other side. But, hey, you have to nominate from the candidates you have, and in 1996 and in 2008, the GOP enjoyed a riches of embarrassment.

So now the GOP is tossing all that aside to go to a proportional system like the Democrats “enjoy.” Going up against an established incumbent with unmatched fundraising prowess, the Republicans are set for an expensive and endwarfing nominating process seemingly tailor-made to exploit their weaknesses while enhancing the President’s strengths.

In one of his WWII histories — memory fails me which one — Stephen E. Ambrose discussed how replacement soldiers were rotated into units. Traditionally, a small unit (company or below) would take losses until it could be rotated out away from the fighting. Green replacement soldiers would be brought in and trained up, and then the unit would rotate back into the front.

General Eisenhower had a “better” idea for the fighting in France. Units would stay right there on the front. If a unit needed a replacement, they’d just plug one right into the hole, straight from across the Channel. The results were awful. Some untested kid, a stranger to his unit-mates, would find himself under fire — and without friends. He’d have to survive those first few days without much support from his comrades until he’d proven he wouldn’t do something stupid and get everyone killed.

Ambrose concluded the system was so bad, it was the one Hitler himself would have come up with, if he’d have been allowed to create our replacements system for us.

Well, the Democrats have created the worst-possible nominating system the Republicans could hope to use next year. So, naturally, the GOP has opted to use it.

They don’t call the GOP the Stupid Party for nothing.