Put me down as skeptical on this one. Fox News interviews Gigi Gaston, a Democrat who produced a new documentary, We Will Not Be Silent 2008 that alleges irregularities in the 2008 Democratic primaries committed by the Barack Obama campaign. Gaston accuses Obama and his team of stealing the election from Hillary Clinton through voter fraud, intimidation, and dirty tricks (via The Right Scoop):
The allegations appear to be entirely confined to caucus states, which is one of the reasons I’m skeptical. Caucuses are bare-knuckled brawls where the parties make the rules and the campaigns routinely and viciously fight over them. I have no trouble believing that Team Obama played hardball and cut as many corners as they could without getting caught. What I have trouble believing is that Hillary Clinton wasn’t doing the exact same thing in these states. After all, Hillary was hardly a babe in the woods. The Clinton Machine had been fighting these battles since Obama was in high school. Now we’re suddenly to believe that they were manning the Good Ship Lollipop in 2008 and were shocked, shocked to find that caucuses aren’t played by Marquess de Queensbury rules?
This is one of the reasons that I believe primaries are usually a better way to select nominees, especially for higher offices. They’re not impervious to fraud and abuse, but it’s a more level ground, and the stakes for committing malfeasance are at least somewhat higher than in caucuses.
Update: I’ve gotten a couple of testy e-mails from the producers, but after watching the clips from the still-incomplete documentary, I’m still not convinced that this somehow rises above the usual elbows and sucker punches one sees at caucuses. But more to the point, if this is all somehow true and Obama “stole” the nomination from Hillary, then why did Hillary (a) endorse Obama, (b) campaign for him, and (c) leave the Senate to take the SecState job? Are we to believe that the biggest victim of the theft is somehow playing along with it? After all, she could have easily stayed in the Senate, win re-election this year (Republicans may not even be able to beat her replacement, and geared up for a 2012 primary challenge to Obama. The fact that she didn’t should tell people that the collection of irregularities doesn’t amount to a stolen election.
This is still a very useful documentary, and well worth watching, for another reason: to show why states should dump the caucus system and stick with primaries. When you see complainants attempting to explain the arcane rules, forms, and customs of caucuses in order to explain how they believe the Obama team manipulated and defrauded the system, the viewer is left wondering why any rational community would put up with a system like caucusing.