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Two Words: Jeff Ellis
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
  Every four years or so, both the official, sanctioned political junkies who make up the mass media and the unofficial, self-apointed political junkies that include people like myself collaborate in an attempt to commit a massive fraud by convincing the rest of America that there is actually some sort of suspense involved in the race for the Republican and Democratic Presidential nominations. Whether it's raving about John McCain, overestimating the electoral appeal of H. Ross Perot, or wringing our hands nervously over the implications of Pat Buchanan, in the end, it's all an attempt to fool ourselves into believing that the unexpected could actually happen and that we haven't just wasted the last few years of our lives endlessly speculating over something that is essentially decided the minute the people of New Hampshire cast their first ballots.

This is why, every four years, we start to talk about how none of the various Democratic (and, occasionally, Republican) nominees will possibly be able to win enough delegates to win the nomination outright. Obviously, we say with a good deal of smugness, this year will see a political convention that features not a coronation but a contest -- a multi-ballot struggle between candidates blessed with both strengths and weaknesses, a true battle for the heart and soul of their party. Why it will probably be such chaos, and we're only warning the faint-hearted here so they'll be properly prepared, that the nomination will probably go to so compromise candidates who didn't even run in the primaries, so respected elder statesman who will step in to save the party and, of course, the nation. Yep, believe it or not, when November comes around, loyal Democrats might find themselves casting their ballot not for any of the current strawmen running but instead for someone like Sam Nunn or Joe Biden or Gary Hart or...

Yeah, this scenario gets trotted out and sold as an unavoidable future every four years. We do this despite the fact that it's been over fifty years since more than one ballot was needed to nominate a Presidential candidate at either of the two major party's conventions. We do this despite the fact that the whole primary system has been obsessively tooled and retooled to make this result an impossibility. Party leaders aren't stupid and they know that, as much fun as a brokered convention would be too watch, it would probably also be disasterous for the party in question. By that same token, they also know that the compromise candidate wouldn't be some mythical guy on a white horse but instead some party hack who was a good enough deal maker to make friends without being intelligent enough to make any enemies. Even if the Democrats did find themselves hopelessly deadlocked between Kerry, Edwards, and presumably Dean, the end result would much more likely be not Sam Nunn but Jay Rockefeller.

But, still, we insist on promoting this myth as a real possibility because, quite frankly, without all of these myths and the outrageous hypotheticals, the nomination season would end up standing naked and exposed as the coronation it is and all the political junkies (like you and me) would end up looking pretty stupid for giving a damn in the first place.

With all that in mind, what to make of the results of the Wisconsin Primary? Well, Kerry won. He was supposed to win, right? He's won just about everything so far. However, and this is where the imagination starts to go wild, he didn't win in a landslide. Instead, he achieved only a narrow victory over John Edwards. What does this mean? Well, it probably means that -- with Clark, Lieberman, and Gephardt out of the race and Dean continuing to act like a lunatic and Kucinich and Sharpton descending further into parody -- the Democrats who don't care much for Kerry are running out of other candidates to vote for. It probably means that, whereas in the past he's had to split his votes with two or three other candidates, Edwards is now the only serious anti-Kerry candidate left.

It doesn't mean -- regardless of what they're saying on any of the cable news networks right now -- that Edwards is poised to overtake Kerry, that Kerry's front runner status is about to tumble, or that the Democratic Presidential nominee will be anyone other than John Kerry.

Still, it's always fun to pretend, isn't it? 
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Blogs

Reva Renee Renz -- Renz would have won my vote in 2003's California recall election, if not for the fact that I'm not a resident of California. Anyway, Renz was one of the more likeable candidates in that free-for-all, one of the few who took it seriously without giving into meglomania. Her blog gives the details of her run and her life after. Renz is the owner of Deva's Bar in Tustin, California and I have to admit that the only reason I currently desire to visit California is to have a beer at that bar. Renz stands as proof that Republicans are a lot more fun than most people care to admit.

Yankee From Mississippi -- Shannon Black's blog, featuring writing that often puts me to shame. Plus, isn't that just an amazingly cool title for a blog or anything else for that matter?

Crime

The Charley Project -- A huge site, detailings hundreds of cold cases dealing with missing persons. This site is actually far superior and better written than the similar and better known Doe Network.

Crime News 2000 -- Despite the 2000, this is a daily updated listing of all the latest developments in all the morbid and disturbing stories that tend to capture the national psyche nowadays.

Doe Network -- One of those web sites that justifies the existence of the internet in the first place, the Doe Network is a huge database of missing persons and unifidentified remains from around the world.

Is this girl Tara Leigh Calico? -- This web site details the disappearance of a 19 year-old girl in New Mexico back in the late '80s. The details of Tara Calico's disappearance have haunted me for years now and served as the genesis for my current interest about missing person cases in general.

Politics

Charles Jay -- Personal Choice Party Candidate For President In 2004 -- I wrote in Jay's name for President in 2004. I think about 228 other people -- mostly in Utah -- agreed with me.

D.C.'s Political Report -- With Politics1 on indefinite hiatus, this is now the best place on the web to find continually updated listings of who is running for what and where.

Homepage of the Libertarian Party -- I am a member of the Libertarian Party, even if the party itself can't ever quite seem to get it's act together.

National Review -- The magazine for both true conservatives and Libertarians who think Ayn Rand was a hack

Politics 1 -- The site is officially on hiatus but there's still the occasional update. The archival information on the various candidates in the 2000 and 2004 Presidential races always makes for interesting reading.

Pop Culture

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Writing

Amazon.com -- I've posted quite a few reviews of books, film, and music on this site and I've gotten a good deal of very gratifying and very positive feedback from them. (I've also managed to piss off just about everyone who cried when they saw Titanic for the 10th times but that's another story...) Those reviews can be found by searching the site for Jeffrey Ellis from Richardson, Texas.

The Homepage of Gregory Alan Norton -- Homepage of one of my favorite liberals, fellow writer Greg Norton who I published in the premier issue of Jack the Daw way back in 1995. His site quotes my review of his excellent first novel, There Ain't No Justice, Just Us and includes information on how to order the book.

Xlibris -- Homepage for Xlibris, the publishers of It's Impossible To Start A Fire If You Have No Desire To Burn

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