Texans ought to love what Lamar Alexander, Joe Lieberman and Amy Klobuchar are doing. Like, really love it.
The Republican, independent and Democratic senators held a hearing Wednesday on their bill to – thank you, thank you, thank you –change our ridiculous system of nominating presidential candidates. As usual, Texas will hold its presidential primary in March. But the Republican and Democratic races are so front-loaded in January and early February that the nominations will almost surely be wrapped up before March. Even if they aren't, the contests will be down to so few candidates Texans won't have many choices.
Wanting more states like ours to have a voice, the senators propose rotating regional primaries. Beginning in March of each election year and running through June, the parties would hold primaries at the first of each month in one of four regions. Every four years, the sequence would rotate so that no region would go first every presidential election season.
Not only is this setup fair to every region, candidates and voters would have a month in between regional primaries to get to know one another. None of this racing through elections every week, which we will see in 2008.
The senators aren't the first ones to propose a sane system like this. But the Senate is the Senate, so it has the clout to make something happen. An expert testifying also made a strong case why Congress has the right to intervene in a system parties have established.
We're glad Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison backs this proposal and hope Sen. John Cornyn joins her. We also hope the Senate Rules Committee keeps holding hearings on it. We don't like the part that lets Iowa and New Hampshire retain their first-in-the-nation status, so we hope that gets taken out. But this idea could save a system that has spun out of control.