Sunday, February 1, 2009

Rules, rules, rules

Went to my annual town caucus yesterday, Saturday morning. To be honest, when I think "caucus", I don't think first of getting together with fellow Democrats, or even a potential contest to go to the state Convention. No, I think of six pages, some 38 paragraphs, being read aloud to me. A half-hour process. Including many things that are of no concern to us: ward committees? What to do if Steve Grossman is in your caucus (the only one to whom the "former DNC Chair" provision could possibly apply)? What to do if the caucus is canceled due to snow, in which case we aren't here anyway?

I suppose that I can see the legal reasons why all the rules are read at the yearly caucus. I suppose I can see the party covering its legal butt regardless of what it does to caucusgoers. But does it suck any bit of enthusiasm and excitement out of the process. I can't imagine a surer way to ensure that somebody new to the process doesn't come back than inflicting this to him/her on a Saturday morning. It's quite a comedown from the thrill of the campaign hustings to having arcana read at you for thirty minutes. If you walk in with energy and fire from a candidate or campaign, this will dampen it ruthlessly. The rules readathon won't keep me from going, but boy will it turn out anyone with a nascent interest in the party or process.

It simply can't be healthy for the party. Some combination of net access/posting/mailing could evade this I would hope. Consider this -- if somebody can't or won't read the regulations, is s/he going to track the oral dispensation thereof well enough to use them in a challenge? And if a chair is going to manipulate the process, is s/he going to read aloud the fruits of his/her undoing?

There was got to be a better way.

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