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November 15, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-11-15

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, November 15, 2005

OPINION

Ttbe Ā£liigt O tdQ

JASON Z. PESICK
Editor in Chief

SUHAEL MOMIN
SAM SINGER
Editorial Page Editors

ALISON Go
Managing Editor

EDITED AND MANAGED BY STUDENTS AT
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SINCE 1890
420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
''Only one person
manipulated evidence
and misled the
world - and that
person was
Saddam Hussein."
- President Bush, in defense of
his administration's decision to
invade Iraq in 2003, as reported
yesterday by The Associated Press.

COLIN ILALY Ii.-U.\1'-,, CAN DA: .

9

e
LOOVEI

LOSTIN ~i ATOY f)?-"t4- .

The 'right' approach
SAM SINGER SAM'S CLIJI

When Penn-
sylvania
state trea-
surer Bob Casey (D)
was beckoned by his
party to challenge Sen.
Rick Santorum (R) in
next year's midterm
elections, he dutifully
{ accepted, with one
stipulation: There could
be no primary race. If the party wanted Casey's
name on the ballot, it would vacate the primary
election, and he would enter the midterm as the
presumptive nominee.
These were rather bold terms for a state trea-
surer to demand of his party leadership, especially
while being recruited for one of the country's most
coveted Senate seats. But this was no ordinary state
treasurer: son of the late two-term governor and
Pennsylvania legend Robert Casey Sr., Bobby Jr.
carries a star-studded pedigree. A pro-life, labor-
friendly moderate in his father's tradition, Casey's
politics play exceptionally well with the state's
heavily unionized middle class. His 2004 bid for
treasurer - in which he received the largest popu-
lar mandate state voters have ever given a public
officeholder - caught the attention of national
leadership, most notably Sen. Charles Schumer
(D-New York), chairman of the Democratic Sena-
torial Campaign Committee. According to The
New Yorker, Pennsylvania was Schumer's "Num-
ber one take-back seat," and the chairman wasn't
going to rest until Casey, the state's newfound
political darling, was on board.
It should come as no surprise that Schumer, all
too aware of the dangers of wearing a pro-life label

in a Democratic primary, was quick to elbow out
Casey's competitors. With the help of Pennsylvania
Gov. Edward Rendell (D), Schumer sidelined Bar-
bara Hafer, the pro-choice movement's trophy pick
and a feature candidate of Emily's List, a Wash-
ington-based advocacy group that sponsors pro-
choice female politicians. Despite polling poorly
against Santorum, Hafer had been the Democrats'
early favorite in the primary. It was a nasty bullet to
bite, immediately exposing Schumer - a steadfast
champion of reproductive freedom - to attacks
from the pro-choice lobby. But it proved worth-
while, as head-to-head polling now shows Casey
with a commanding lead, somewhere in the neigh-
borhood of 14 and 20 points.
There are lessons to be learned here. Most
importantly, it's become clear that the Democratic
Party's primary system has been hijacked by spe-
cial interests and when left to its own devices,
will consistently favor the candidates who can
best jockey for financial sponsors. As a result, a
disproportionate number of primary winners hail
from the political fringe. When a moderate does
manage to walk out of a Democratic primary, he's
usually limping.
The politics of abortion exemplify this. Advo-
cacy groups like the National Organization for
Women and Planned Parenthood wield enormous
power during primary season, withholding support
from all but the most uncompromising pro-choice
advocates and steering the abortion debate to the
left. Candidates are sent into general elections
with insensitively narrow positions on abortion,
weakening their appeal and lending credibility to
conservative charges that the Democratic Party's
position on abortion is sounding more pro-abor-
tion than pro-choice.

The problem is not that the primary system pro-
motes divisive candidates; it's that it scares away
born frontrunners like Bob Casey, who if not for
an aggressive intervention by national party lead-
ers, would still be crunching numbers in Harris-
burg. Casey doesn't embody the pulse of the party,
but he's a practical thinker and a political blessing
compared to Santorum - a soldier of the religious
right who, when push comes to shove, remains
in lockstep with the Bush administration. For a
party six years removed from the White House
and trailing nine seats in the Senate, it's numbers
that count. Majorities - not moral fiber - build
strong parties, and so long as Democrats remain
in the political margins, they'll have to open their
tent to new voices. That's what Schumer did in
Pennsylvania, and it's paying dividends.
Our primary system hasn't always been like
this. Before the television age, the nomina-
tion process was insulated; most appointments
occured behind closed doors where party leaders
handpicked candidates. Calls for transparency
during the progressive era brought the selec-
tion process out in the open, and components of
democracy were introduced.
What's left now is a thoughtless and perverted
system - a spending contest in which special
interests exploit low voter participation to push
through financially dependent politicians. Until
Democrats can rely on a primary system that
produces marketable candidates, it will be up to
party leaders to pick the winners. If that means
all of 2006's frontrunners are selected in smoked
filled rooms, so be it.

*I

Singer can be reached
at singers@umich.edu.

VIEWPOINT
End Ann Arbor apartheid

BY JARED GOLDBERG
The Ann Arbor City Council elections were
last Tuesday. Did you vote? Most students did
not. (I did not, as I was forced to reregister with
my home address when I turned 21 last January.)
Tom Bourque, Republican candidate for Ward 2,
indicated that although he supports the creation
of a student-city committee to work with the City
Council, he is skeptical of its effectiveness due to
the "apathy" of student voters. Very few, if any,
students vote in these elections. If there is student
apathy, the blame for its existence lies solely with
the structure of city government here in Ann Arbor
and its apartheid attitude and policies toward the
student population.
Of the roughly 110,000 people who live in Ann
Arbor, students make up around 30 to 40 percent.
However, it has been more than 30 years since a
single student has been elected to City Council.
Take a glance at the ward map to see why. Ann
Arbor is divided up like a pie; those living in the
center are split up the most. It is no coincidence
that the University, the densest part of Ann Arbor,
is at the center. This is where most of the students
live, and students are forced to be minorities in
every ward. Much like the Bantustans of apart-
heid South Africa, Ann Arbor's wards divide up

students so their voices remain divided and frag-
mented.
It is no coincidence that the some of the hottest
topics on the City Council agenda when school is
in session are the Emerald Ash Borer Millage and
the Greenbelt. City Council avoids student issues
while students are here in order to avoid possible
protest. When summer comes, City Council has
free reign. Remember the porch couch ban and
street parking ban? This is how apathy is born.
Many City Council candidates spoke enthusias-
tically about the student-city committee formed to
foster more student involvement in Ann Arbor city
government. In the end, it will blame student apa-
thy on the students. Should we students vote more?
Certainly. We have no problem going to the polls.
Last year, more people ages 18 to 24 voted in the
2004 election than any other time since the federal
government lowered the voting age in 1972. What
was different? Students believed they had a stake
in who was elected. Because young people will
have to pay for this administration's policies in the
future, we had more than enough reason to vote
the way we did. (The vast majority in the 18 to 24
bloc did not vote for President Bush.)
City Council cannot complain about apathy
when it encourages it. It cannot be surprised at
the anger of students when policies are enact-

ed that harm our rights and our sensibilities.
Ann Arbor's apartheid is more evident if one
comprehends how much of the city's economy
depends on students. The majority of money
circulating here is student money. Our rent
pays off landlords' mortgages and property
taxes, our money pays for the food and other
goods in the local shops and our student labor
drives many businesses.
So how can Ann Arbor's apartheid end? Cre-
ate a new ward, this one covering the University
campus and outlying student housing ghettoes.
Students won't be apathetic when any one of them
living in this "new" ward can have a seat on City
Council. Or how about organizing a one-day stu-
dent boycott of all Ann Arbor businesses? Imag-
ine how much money will be lost. The best way to
hurt someone is through their wallet.
In 1985, the University divested from South
Africa because of the oppressive policy of apart-
heid that artificially separated people based on
race. Ann Arbor's apartheid separates the students
from the rest of city. The students have the power
to change things, and it will be students that will
knock this city and its council off their high horse.
Goldberg is an LSA junior and member of the
Daily's editorial board.

0i

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Student candidates needed
for '06 Council elections.
To THE DAILY:
Worst. Story. Ever. Wednesday's story on
the City Council elections (Dems sweep City
Council, 11/09/2005) might as well have been
written by The Ann Arbor News. It was so
anti-student and slanted in nature. The report-
er claimed low student turnout, but every
source he quoted cited roughly comparable
student turnout to past years. Student turnout
was likely consistent with previous off-year
elections. The blame lies with the larger pop-
ulation of Ann Arbor, the "permanent" popu-
lation of the city, that was disengaged from
the political process.
What does this mean for students? It
represents a significant opportunity for us.
The city of Ann Arbor is tending toward a

necessary campus-city coalitions to over-
turn the status-quo Council.
Dale Winling
Architecture & Urban Planning
The letter writer is founder of the
New West Side Association.
Fighting for justice means
taking on Coca-Cola
To THE DAILY:
I took offense to Sean Germaine's unabashed
acceptance (Despite protests, the real problem
goes beyond Coke, 11/10/2005) of the manipula-
tive actions of multinational corporations. Their
unethical practices - for the sake of maximizing
profit - are executed in countries where govern-
ments are unable to regulate them. Germaine and
the Coca-Cola Company assume that govern-

tries where it does business, Pepsi will be forced
to do the same in order to stay competitive. If we
consider history, as Germaine clearly has not, we
find that similar campaigns carried out by United
Students Against Sweatshops against Nike have
been successful and were executed through simi-
lar means. Due to the existing international cam-
paign against Coke's practices, those concerned
with justice at the University chose to target Coca-
Cola because this campaign is already organized
and must be mobilized.
To address Germaine's views on the reality of
globalization and free trade, he must open another,
much fatter history book. Free trade, as he stated,
does not have immediate positive effects. I agree.
However, its long-term effects are also negative.
Opposing free trade is in no way anti-American;
if our very own colonies here in America did not
do so, we ourselves would not exist.
Globalization is indeed an inevitable reality
rL.+ -_ I --+ . . _..r - XYA 11;a

Editorial Board Members: Amy Anspach, Reggie Brown, Gabrielle D'Angelo, John Davis,
Whitney Dibo, Milly Dick, Sara Eber, Jesse Forester, Mara Gay, Jared Goldberg, Ashwin
Jagannathan, Theresa Kennelly, Mark Kuehn, Will Kerridge, Kirsty McNamara, Rajiv Prab-
hakar, Matt Rose, David Russell, Katherine Seid, Brian Slade, John Stiglich, Imran Syed, Ben

I

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