Naked arrogance. Haughty. Shameless. I'm not going to try to think of more descriptions. They don't care what it looks like. They don't have to care, because the people don't care.

On July 8, 2004, the Republican wing of the United States National party completed their pro forma nod to the idea that government by the people has not perished from this earth. I don't know why they even bother maintaining a pretense of caring, but I guess they're not totally confident yet that there's not still a few people watching and caring what they do.

What happened was that Governor Blagojevich of Illinois wrote his name and SB 2123 became law, giving the Republican party the privilege of submitting their Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates to the Illinois November ballot a week after the deadline for doing so passes. Why would they do this? Because the Republicans scheduled their convention for September, even though it was after the submission deadline for Illinois (and 10 other states and the District of Columbia).

Was this a big surprise? Was everybody caught off guard? No. They've been busy over the last year and a half getting the laws changed in those other states. In most of them, the legislatures permanently changed the deadline to later in the year; but the California, Illinois, and Virginia apparently didn't care about appearances and simply passed laws making the change for this year only, saying, in so many words, "Don't worry, Republicans, the law doesn't apply to you." They didn't even make that much effort in Montana: the 1996 Democratic convention was after that state's deadline, but nobody cared enough even to change the law. They just let the Democratic wing of the party go, so the Republicans know that they'll get the same treatment.

The attitude of the National Party is that they own the political system in this country, and they've seen no indication that the people are going to make a fuss about it. They've got it set up so that the only thing their two factions have to do to get on a state's ballot is file a form with the Secretary of State (and, as we see, they don't even have to do that right). Meanwhile, upstart parties and non-affiliated candidates have to jump through hoops every election cycle to get on, and they have to pray that they didn't misplace a comma in the cover letter they submit along with the (e.g., in Illinois) twenty five thousand signatures they need to gather.

And why should they be any different? In a country where a spokesman for the sitting President can contemptuously say "This is a race between the president and John Kerry" when a newspaper reporter asked him a question about another candidate, and get away with it, they clearly have no fear of the people deciding that the Party bosses have gotten too big for their britches.

But who knows, perhaps the first crack in their complacency may be coming, due to a judge's ruling on August 13, 2004 that the Commission on Presidential Debates, a joint venture of the Democrat and Republican Departments of U.S. Politics, Inc., may, just maybe, be breaking the law with the way they run their show.

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