2008 Presidential Race / National / Politics

Final thoughts on FL/MI

I managed to watch, pretty much uninterrupted, the presentations made by the FL and MI challengers and the campaigns Saturday to the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the DNC. Although I started out in CNN, I quickly changed over to CSPAN, mainly to avoid the talking heads. After doing so, I headed out to a fundraising event for Senator Louise Lucas and Delegate Ken Melvin, returning just in time to hear the motions and the votes on the outcome.

I have always believed that the RBC overstepped its authority by stripping the two states of all of its delegates. I left thinking that Florida had made a case not just for half votes, but full votes, while Michigan really hadn’t made much of a case at all for any. I have never seen the circumstances of these two early “primaries” as being equal and the presentations did nothing to change my opinion. In fact, MI’s presentation, especially when questioned about why they held their “primary” early, did nothing but reinforce my understanding that they really had no one but themselves to blame for the outcome.

I was quite surprised, then, that the two situations were treated roughly the same. Each state received half votes for all of their delegates, including the so-called super delegates. While I understand the reasoning, I don’t have to agree with it.

All of those who say that the Democratic Party should not be one of backroom deals should be upset with what the RBC did yesterday. I can only come up with one word: travesty. There is no one who can look at the circumstances of FL and MI objectively and say that those two deserved to be treated the same. FL had legitimate reasons for holding their “event” (as one RBC member referred to it) early: the Republican-controlled legislature said so. MI’s excuse? That they wanted their state to have a say in the early nomination process and the hell with the rules.

FL went to great lengths to include as many voters as possible, despite the fact that none of the candidates campaigned there. MI? Not so much. In fact, I about lost it when MI said that they had 30,000 write-in votes that they didn’t bother to count. You are coming to the RBC to ask to be seated and you don’t bother counting all the votes? Ridiculous.

Because they didn’t do much to turn out the vote and then didn’t count all the ones that were cast, the MIDP had to come up with a plan to allocate the delegates should they be seated. One thing they relied on: exit polls. Um, earth to MIDP: why are you relying on exit poll data when you had the actual votes in hand?

The fact that both MI and FL were awarded half votes was bad enough. But to add insult to injury, they allocated the uncommitted votes to Obama. I’m actually more angered by that than the fact that they took a few votes from Clinton. The testimony offered yesterday indicated that Obama, Edwards and Richardson put out a combined handbill urging voters to vote uncommitted. So how many of those were Edwards voters? How many were Richardson’s? I don’t know and neither do the folks who came up with that idiotic allocation scheme. The rules allow the delegates to be uncommitted, so what the RBC did was to tell them that, no, you can’t be uncommitted and in fact, you voted for Obama. I say that’s bull!

Saturday’s machinations reminded me why so many folks get disgusted with politics. The old sausage analogy comes to mind. It wasn’t pretty.

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17 thoughts on “Final thoughts on FL/MI

  1. One other point – for those who think that Hillary somehow “just decided” that FL & MI should be seated, let me point you to this dated January 25:

    “I hear all the time from people in Florida and Michigan that they want their voices heard in selecting the Democratic nominee.

    “I believe our nominee will need the enthusiastic support of Democrats in these states to win the general election, and so I will ask my Democratic convention delegates to support seating the delegations from Florida and Michigan. I know not all of my delegates will do so and I fully respect that decision. But I hope to be President of all 50 states and U.S. territories, and that we have all 50 states represented and counted at the Democratic convention.

    “I hope my fellow potential nominees will join me in this.

    And proof that it didn’t just suddenly show up on the website is here.

  2. Interesting post. I don’t know the facts well enough to comment on whether MI should be penalized more than FL, although I think if that was the result, it would have defeated the purpose of the entire exercise anyway, which was:

    1. Placate the powers that be in FL and MI to secure their enthusiastic cooperation in the general election; and

    2. Have no effect upon the result of the nomination battle between Clinton and Obama.

    Anyway, this is how I saw the goals of the committee, by which I mean the committee as a whole — many individual committee members sincerely care about voters and principles, and I don’t mean to impugn any individual’s integrity in this mess. I believe they did what they sincerely thought was best for the party. But is it any wonder that the interests and expressed preferences of the actual voters got lost in all of this?

    You are absolutely right about the awarding of delegates in MI to Obama. I understand the practical reason why they did it, but I am still scratching my head trying to understand the underlying logic.

    Lawyers have a saying when they make an equitable argument to a Judge, and seek to provide a legal reason, even a weak one, that the Court can use to legally justify the ruling. They call it “A peg to hang his (or her) hat on.”

    Hats are covering the floor at the DNC these days.

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