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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

An exception to the political rules

The other day, I heard these words come out of my mouth:
"As a rule, I don't like to...."

"As a rule." My Gramma used that phrase a lot. "As a rule, I like to eat prunes every day." "As a rule, you shouldn't eat this ice cream before dinner, but we will this time." "As a rule, I like to plant the tomatoes after Memorial Day."

So I had a gramma moment when I heard myself use the phrase in casual conversation, then I got to thinkin'.

It seemed to me that as Gramma used the phrase, she was really was more like a pirate than I could have imagined -- she was sketching out her guidelines for living, rather than hard-and-fast rules. She often used the phrase just as she was about to BREAK one of her rules. ("As a rule, I don't drink, but just a little glass, since it's Christmas.")

Now, there are personal rules and exceptions, such as the ice cream example above, and then there are rules -- and exceptions -- we kind of take for granted on a bigger scale.

If it's accepted that Indiana is a red state, and that our presidential primary is in May, as a rule, we Hoosiers don't have much say in the national dialog about who the Democratic candidate might be. (Not much in Republication, either, especially when that one's already decided.) We're going to vote red anyway; the primaries are long decided by May; we're too small to be much of a player, anyway. As a rule.

My Gramma, apolitical as she was, would not be surprised to see that those rules are about to be broken this year.

Red though we may be, there's a bluish caste around the edges, and suddenly the Democrats in Indiana aren't quite a superfluous as usual. And the 72 delegates we'll send to the Democratic convention are starting to look awfully juicy to the presidential candidates.

So juicy, candidates and their surrogates are actually starting to COME VISIT.

Barak Obama in Plainfield last weekend. Hillary around the state this week. And today--Bill Clinton is coming to Ft. Wayne (among other stops), campaigning for his own personal First Candidate.

What next? Political ads on TV?

"It's 3 a.m. Do you know where your favorite candidate is?"

This week, it just might be Indiana.

As a rule, I don't miss my book club meeting. But I'm going to tonight. National politics only comes around so often.

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