There's been a lot of controversy over the 2008 primary. Under the old system, the Republicans had an open primary where anyone voted, while the democrats had a closed caucus system. The result of that was many democrats and independents voting in the GOP primary. That's nothing new, as both George Wallace and Jesse Jackson won primaries here.
The best case scenario is an agreement with the democrats to hold primaries the same day. That saves costs to this state, and all residents will get their say, although they must declare a party when they vote. I don't have a problem with that. This works best since presumabely for the most part, the dems will vote in their primary and we'll vote in ours as both parties have real primaries. We can choose between McCain, Rudy, Romney, both Thompsons, Hunter, Paul, Brownback, Tancredo and maybe Newt. The democrats can choose between Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Biden, Dodd, Kucinich, Richardson, and Gravel. There's enough differences and enough of a chance of different candidates to make this a real good event. There's no gaurantees, and some candidates are opposed to this. Giuliani and McCain's camps probably favor the old style open primary on different dates than the democrats. Why? More democrats would probably vote for them.
IMO this convention setup favors Romney, but not completely with the safeguards in place. The secret ballot hurts all of the big three. The automatic promotion also hurts Romney in some areas and McCain in others. It's too early to tell if Thompson will be affected. The Choice C candidates are hurt by this, and that does concern me. However one excellent provision is the preference given to current precinct delegates in decisions. That is a good safeguards to any gamesmanship played by some chairs and powerbrokers.
The big thing is moving the primary up. With all the states frontloading their primaries, we need to go early, pass NH and Iowa, and take the risk of losing some of our delegates. Even if we lose the delegates, we still have a major say through persuasive authority. Going to other states and saying "I won Michigan" is good for the "electable" argument and carries more weight than the actual number of delegates for the national convention.
The problem with a party run primary or caucus is the price. 1 million. Not to mention the agreements that would have to be made on it. Policing is another issue considering some of the gamesmanship going on by some who want a coronation instead of a primary. I still like the caucus setup myself, but I can live with the convention - if there is not an agreement with the democrats.
I hope the agreement is set however. This is a rare opprotunity of both parties having strongly contested races, something that doesn't happen often with so many "anointed" candidates and coronations. We need to take advantage of that.