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January 26, 2008

Comments

I agree with you on the main point (that Hilary Clinton's actions here are deplorable), and I think that Taylor Marsh's defense of her is weak both in its substance and its rhetoric ("Obamabots"?).

But I suspect that your last criticism of Taylor Marsh is unfair and is based on an uncharitable reading of her remarks.

I clicked through to her longer post, and I think her final point is not supposed to be that Hilary Clinton shouldn't be *held responsible* for her actions. Instead, it's not she shouldn't be *blamed* for her actions ("painted as the bad guy"), because her actions with regard to the Michigan and Florida are not wrong.

Given Taylor Marsh's abusive rhetoric, I can understand why you'd not be inclined to read her charitably, but I didn't see anything in her remarks that implies Hilary Clinton isn't a responsible moral agent.

Excellent post and I agree that Marsh is just a parody now.

Oops--make that "her actions with regard to the Michigan and Florida *delegates* are not wrong."

I'm a Florida voter, and Clinton isn't winning any points with me by championing my right to be heard. I see it for the cheap, cynical ploy it is.

Yes, I think the DNC was idiotic to disenfranchise us -- particularly we Floridians, since our Republican-controlled legislature was responsible for the primary change in the first place. But Clinton agreed along with everyone else to boycott us.

This is just a stunt to curry favor and gather insurance in case the nomination comes down to a delegate count. It's shameless, and sadly, unsurprising.

I'm just going to link to the ridiculously long screed I wrote in the other post and leave it at that. This is nuts.

"Everyone has played by those rules so far, which is why Clinton and Dodd were the only major candidates on the ballot in Michigan, and why no one has campaigned in Florida."

It is actually worse than this. When Obama and Edwards had already removed themselves from the ballot in Michigan, Clinton's team said cite:

"We're honoring the pledge and we won't campaign or spend money in states that aren't in compliance with the DNC calendar,'' Clinton spokesman Jay Carson told The Associated Press. "We don't think it's necessary to remove ourselves from the ballot.''

So when Obama and Edwards followed what they thought were the rules, she seized the advantage immediately. (Which I understand is why they are all on the ballot in Florida--neither Edwards nor Obama were stupid enough to remove their name entirely if the Clinton interpretation of the rules were that such action wasn't necessary.)

Clinton doesn't care about the rules. She will bend and break them whenever she thinks it will help her goals.

I hope all of you are darn sure that you deeply love her goals, because anyone (including Democrats) who isn't completely on board with is going to get hit just like this every single time.

Here we go again.

Nothing I've read here or anywhere else on the liberal side of the 'sphere has convinced me that HRC is responsible for destroying the Democratic party. She's a credible candidate who would be a good president using sharp political tactics to win a close political contest.

If any of this was happening in the context of the general election, all of us on the left would be cheering her on. And what that means is that it's really not the tactics that makes everybody's eyes cross. it's the fact that she's trying to beat Obama. Seriously, do you think we'd have been wringing our hands over this crap if Kerry had done it to W?

From where I am (with no horse in the race yet) it's Obama's supporters that are doing him damage, not HRC. They make him look weak and a little silly, which he's not. Things will go better for them if they stop focusing on what's so wrong with her, because the truth is that she's doing exactly what we expect her to do against the Republicans, and what he will also be doing if he's the nominee.

I was reading blogs in 2003, when people at the nascent DK were referring to Dean as a "little toad", to Kerry as "lurch", and to Edwards as the "Breck girl". There was a lot of rage about how this or that candidate was using unfair tactics, but on November 3nd 2004 we were all equally devastated.

The party can survive HRC; it might not survive turning itself inside out over this minor bs.

This is more of same: Clintonian spin that might reach the low-information voter whose intellectual grasp of the race is closer to OK! Magazine than, say, The American Prospect. As when the Rovians pull this nonsense, there's a simple and unambiguous factual response--but it requires an explanation ("the DNC invalidated the delegates, and the campaigns agreed") that, simple as it is, requires too much time and attention to reach those whose comprehension doesn't go much beyond "Clintons=Good."

hilzoy's observation that "Hilary Clinton cares more about winning than she does about her party" seems so obvious as not to merit further discussion, except that one could add "or principles" to the end of the sentence.

And I'd never heard of this Taylor Marsh person before the campaign, but she's quickly come to seem like Michelle Malkin minus the notional commitment to a worldview. For all that Clinton supporters like to mock Obama backers as "cultist," I've yet to see anyone on our guy's side who has forfeited objectivity and intellectual honesty to the extent this woman has.

"If any of this was happening in the context of the general election, all of us on the left would be cheering her on."

Speak for yourself, or at least don't try to speak for me. I wouldn't be cheering her on, I would be condemning her every move of this sort.

And what's more, if she did this in the general she would lose my vote, and I would vote for either Romney or McCain over her.

If any of this was happening in the context of the general election, all of us on the left would be cheering her on. And what that means is that it's really not the tactics that makes everybody's eyes cross.
... so what you're saying is that the problem many of us have with this is that she's doing it to a member of her own party rather than the other side.

Yep, sounds about right.

If any of this was happening in the context of the general election, all of us on the left would be cheering her on.

um. no.

Soooo, let me get this straight . . . HRC's "corrupt" maneuvering, should she get the nomination, will disqualify her from your support in the general election.

You're willing to give away the whole show-the Court, any improvements in health care accessibility, the possibility of cures from escr, the management of the wars, the status of gay Americans--everything that's at stake, because you don't like her campaign tactics against Obama?

That's enough for me, then. Thanks for opening my eyes; as I said, the people who are doing the most damage to Obama are not named Clinton.

It's just getting to be more and more depressing that it is Hillary Clinton who will potentially be the first woman president. It should not be her. It ought to be an historic moment. With her.... an historic disappointment.

I remember going into the 200 election (the first in which I could vote) thinking that both parties were pretty much the same. After I realized just how sleazy the Republicans had been (and have continued to be), I reassessed the situation and realized that Democrats just had more scruples and a higher commitment to principles (even if they tended to suffer from acute Woody Allen syndrome when trying to accomplish anything).

Obama really tapped my belief that the Democratic party could be more. Hillary, meanwhile, argues that we should be less. If she wins the primary, it really will make clear to me that our party doesn't really have any more scruples than they do. The 'hitchhiker's of the party will have won and we will have dedicated ourselves to being a party of "whatever it takes, so long as team blue wins."

I will probably still vote for her, but I don't see how I can argue in good faith that anyone else should.

Hitchhiker, a few people have taken that position, but not most of us. But it has nothing to do with Obama. It has to do with wanting a candidate with honesty and integrity -- characteristics that you apparently think are as quaint as the Geneva Conventions in the modern era, when we have to do whatever it takes to win.

If Clinton is the nominee I win support her, because as slimy as she may be she's still far preferable to any of the Republicans. I fervently hope that it doesn't come to that, though.

People keep bringing up how much Hillary will do for gay Americans. What have either of the Clintons ever done for gay Americans? DOMA? Don't Ask Don't Tell? Or are we to believe that the wonders she will perform consist primarily of taking up space so that a Republican president can't undo gains that have already been made? Even the current administration, bad as it is in so many ways, seems to have done...pretty much nothing to follow up on promises in that regard made during prior election campaigns.

IIRC, on this very blog a few weeks ago there was a summary of the stated positions of the 3 main Democratic candidates about the status of transgendered people (I may be garbling this and I don't have time to look it up right now), and Hillary came through as (roll of drums) the most mealy-mouthed and noncommittal of the bunch.

The Clintons pander to gay Americans in the same way way that Republican candidates for president pander to anti-gay Americans: all talk to get elected, no action afterwards, as in -- We need you to vote for us, but oh, you actually expected us to do what we said? Silly you.

I suggest that people read that comment section at Matt Yglesias to get past much of the disinformation contained in this post and Josh Marshall's post. There are almost too many mistakes for me to deal with. But in summary:

It is very simple. The individual state parties have the right to determine how and when their delegates are selected (including the incomprehensible Nevada caucus rules) and the delegates at the convention will determine whether to seat those delegations.

There are no other controlling authorities.

The "rules" were broken by the DNC and the candidates when they attempted to sanction MI & Fla. They do not have the right, anymore than they have the right to tell California to use a caucus.

To quote (MY's thread) "armando" ex of Daily Kos and MyDD who does know what he is talking about:

Josh is wrong in almost every FACTUAL particular.

Like you, he seem blithiely ignorant of what happened in Michigan (Obama made a Calvinball play there himself), who decides who seats the delegates, and accuses Hillary of using muscle she does not have.

It was a stunningly ignorant post from Josh, but that has been his MO of late.

Posted by Armando | January 25, 2008 8:32 PM

hitchhiker, I don't really think that Hillary will make a lot of that stuff tilt the way I want. She certainly won't lead the nation onwards on the points. If she calculates that enough people already agree with her, she might put forth a weak-kneed triagulated version of a bill that half-heartedly addresses the issue. For the most part, though, I figure she will be so busy calculating the best way to ensure her power and reputation that she won't actually push forward on much of anything.

Also, beating me up and then telling me that leaving will make my kids' lives much worse is a pretty nasty way of shifting blame isn't it. When Hillary pulls conscience and principal out of the party, it is pretty ridiculous of her supporters to point the finger at those who get upset about her actions and say they are leaving anyway.

Lastly, see the many points made earlier about the number of crossover voters that are willing to see what Obama has to offer and are increasingly unimpressed with what Hillary brings to the table. Those are the people you lose. Decrying them as insufficiently committed to the Democratic cause doesn't exactly help your case.

It is very very important to remember that the candidates or leadership in the Democratic or Republican Party do not get to "decide" or determine the rules of elections or conventions.

The party members, voters, state legislatures, and convention delegates make those decisions.

This should be intuitively obvious.

hitchhiker - What makes you think anything you list as the "whole show" will get enacted by Clinton? Clinton will either lose the general or win by the slimmest of margins. If she wins, she will govern like her husband did, always mindful of her approval ratings, even if that means throwing progressivism and the Democratic party under the bus. After 4 years of these "always a campaign" tactics to achieve incremental changes, the Democratics will be as almost as reviled then as the Republicans are today.

We are at a unique moment in history where the Republican party is the weakest it has been in 30 years. It is a moment where a significant shift to the left is possible if handled well. Electing Clinton would throw that all away. And the opportunity will not come again in my lifetime and I have a lot of life left.

Please note, I don't know whether Obama or Edwards could achieve this shift. I just know that Clinton could never achieve it. Between her history and her style, it would be impossible.

Though I could never pull the lever for Guiliani or Huckabee, I would struggle mightily should McCain or Romney be the nominee. I could see myself risking 4 more years of a Republican in office (with a Democratic Congress as a check and hopeful that Ginsburg and Souter stay well), if it meant a realignment could still be salvaged.

hitchhiker: "If any of this was happening in the context of the general election, all of us on the left would be cheering her on."

Um: no. At any rate, count me out. I will support Hillary Clinton in the general if she is nominated. I will do so because as reprehensible as I think her tactics are, I think that the Republicans are worse, in most cases on tactics and in all cases on policy. I care a lot about this stuff, but I care more about things like not getting into another war, habeas corpus, and so forth.

But that in no way means that I would cheer any of this on. Please do not conflate the two.

On the "what to do in November" question:

if I actually thought that losing an election in part because of their hope-crushing, depressing, assume-the-worst-about-the-electorate strategywould make the Democratic Establishment any better, I might be tempted. I see no reason to believe that that would work. Did the Congressional Democrats & D.C. consultant conclude from 2000 that their problem was taking their base for granted? No. Quite obviously, they didn't. Did they conclude from 2002 that they were wrong not to vote their conscience on the war? No. So forget the question of whether it's "worth it" to lose the general to improve the party--there's no special reason to believe that the silver lining you hope for will ever materialize.

I have all sorts of problems with Hillary Clinton & even more with her husband, but their strategy developed as a response to Democratic DEFEATS. Democratic primary voters' tendencies to vote their fears instead of their hopes--displayed in 2004 & again today--is a response to Democratic defeats. Losing November would be unquestionably bad for the country & the world, & it's not clear to me at all it would be good for the party. We're just going to have to keep the pressure on them in office, & in future primary campaigns. No other way.

That said: while I don't agree at all with the "fine, I'm staying home," response, it's entirely foreseeable. There's a limit to how many times you can screw over your supporters and yell "suck it up, the alternatives are worse!!!!!!" w/o depressing turnout.

Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party 1964

I would not expect Matt or Ezra to know this history, it has been a while since it has been interesting, but Josh Marshall should have known better. hilzoy, you should be more careful of your sources.

It may have been "unethical" for Clinton to break an "agreement", but the the agreement and "rules" were unethical, undemocratic, and against party traditions and understandings in the first place, Dean, Clinton, Obama, and Edwards etc were "unethical" in attempting to tell Michigan how and when it could select its delegates.

If it were in some sense a "gentleperson's agreement" as to how delegates at the convention would be instructed, this again, is not the call of the DNC and candidates. Clinton does not "control" her delegates or have the authority to tell them in advance of the convention how to vote on seating a delegation.

PS:It was the Republican legislature in Florida that determined the date of the Florida primary, and by Florida rules, the candidates cannot remove their names from the ballot without withdrawing from the national campaign.

I do not see why Florida Democrats should be punished for actions out of their control.

bob: I find the very idea that this maneuver has anything to do with the attempt to seat the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, beyond the fact that both involved attempts to seat delegates, ludicrous.

And, fwiw, the fact that I did not, and do not, see that it has any relevance at all is why I didn't bring it up. It wasn't that I was unaware of that piece of history.

Clinton does not "control" her delegates or have the authority to tell them in advance of the convention how to vote on seating a delegation.

How is that relevant? Certainly the delegates can do what they want, but Clinton is in fact asking them to vote a certain way, presumably because she (reasonably) believes that Clinton delegates will care about what Clinton says, and that's what people are criticizing her for. The fact that she doesn't have access to mind-control devices is not a defense.

The primary calendar is a mess, and many different groups are responsible for the current situation. I desperately hope that something saner can be arrived at for next time. But I don't believe the solution is a free-for-all in which every state ignores the agreement reached earlier and tries to leapfrog all the other states to be first, nor it is to change the rules in the middle of the election, nor is it to "enfranchise" the voters of Michigan by seating delegates resulting from a farcical fake primary.

I knew that one too.

You know, if Clinton had said from the beginning, "these rules are stupid, Iowa & NH aren't so damn sacred. You guys can skip these primaries but I won't & we'll let the convention delegates decide who to seat"? I'd have been all for it. And there might have actually been a competitive primary in those states. Instead we get the NV strip all over again: the rules are great until they help her opponents; then, as one of the most powerful people in the party, she tries to rewrite them for her personal benefit.

But she's doing it for the school janitors! And to uphold the Michigan voters' right to vote for any candidate, as long as its her! Just like the civil rights movement!

Clinton's decsin to act like Rove isnn't justunethical--it's bad politics. If shhe tries thhis stuff inn the general election as our nominee the MSM will pillory her for it and McCain, will be our next President. Thsi point can't be emphasized enough--the open displays of coniving ruthlessness will be understood by independent voters, the media,and Republicans as conformation of all thhe bad stuff they ever heard about her. She starting out withh negatives between 43% and 48% annd this kind of behvior will only pushh those negatives up.

It's a stupid, stupid tactic.


.

"see that it has any relevance at all is why I didn't bring it up"

The relevance is the great cost the Party has paid to maintain the principle that delegation selection is a matter for individual states and convention delegates to decide. A principle apparently no longer appreciated or respected.

That you find it irrelevant leads me to wonder whether it is the process or the outcome you are concerned about in the present circumstance.

I repeat, do we really want the DNC and candidates controlling the delegate selection process, or would we prefer that such power be as widely distributed as possible? That Dean, Clinton & Obama can make a "deal" over the heads of everyone else should offend every Democrat.

If you believe that seating some, any Michigan or Florida delegation is both the right thing and the politically smart thing to do, Clinton is doing the right thing now after having made a mistake in the past.

If you think the Michigan & Florida Democrats should have no representation at the Democratic Convention, than Clinton is being unethical.

I myself cannot refuse Michigan and Florida voters a chance at representation, to be decided by the majority of convention delegates, no matter who might benefit.

One point of the MFDP link is that Obama and Edwards can now create their own slates of delegates to challenge the one Clinton is attempting to seat. That certainly would be more fair, and more within tradition, than whining about a illegitimate rule being broken.

What I'd actually like is to completely take control of primary scheduling away from the states, but failing that the DNC still has to have some recourse against states being unwilling to cooperate on scheduling too early.

The captcha says it's designed to prevent automated robots from posting. This is very forward-thinking of you guys, in allowing non-automated robots to post if they ever get around to it.

"DNC still has to have some recourse against states being unwilling to cooperate on scheduling too early."

I, for one, am not in favor of that kind of centralization and concentration of power, such that the large states, powerful factions, and dominant political figures can engineer the primary process to their benefit.

Recourse exists, the convention can refuse to seat delegations.

Bob McManus,

I am a Michigan voter. I didn't vote in the primary because (1) I was told that my vote wouldn't count and (2) my preferred candidate wasn't on the ballot.

(Hillary Clinton did not contest (1) before the primary. If she had said that she intended to push for the seating of Michigan delegates, I would have been sure to vote and to vote "uncommitted.")

Turnout was very, very low in Michigan even though it has been historically high in (nearly?) every other state. This surely suggests that many Michigan voters were persuaded to stay home by the same factors.

Seating the Michigan delegation will *not* give Michigan Democrats representation at the convention in any meaningful sense, since the outcome of the primary doesn't accurately represent their preferences.

Clinton was party to machinations that resulted in a distorted ballot and artificially depressed turnout. ("Artificially" in the sense that the choice to stay home did not represent the true preferences of the electorate.) The results of this skewed primary favored Clinton and *now* she is pressing for them to be counted. I can't really tell how this is ethically different from Republican efforts to depress turnout by failing to file Democratic registration forms, or by misinforming likely Democratic voters about polling places, election dates, or voting requirements.

This is utterly despicable.

The relevance is the great cost the Party has paid to maintain the principle that delegation selection is a matter for individual states and convention delegates to decide. A principle apparently no longer appreciated or respected.

Bob, don't you think the circumstances are a bit different? The Mississippi Freedom Party's efforts were a grassroots effort designed at highlighting the fact that African Americans were being completely disenfranchised by the Mississippi Democratic Party while this ploy is grassroots in what sense?

If the same situation held, you would have to argue that the Republicans will be able to pull some revised Southern strategy that would allow them to peel off those Michigan and Florida voters off. Is this the start of some sort of unholy Gator-Seminole/Wolverine-Spartan alliance?

Bob mcmanus,

What if I think that the candidates should abide by their pledge and not campaign in Florida and Michigan?

If you don't think that pledges matter I suspect you will be very happy with Hillary. Unless of course she tosses into the trash whatever issues matter to you.

bob mcmanus said:
PS:It was the Republican legislature in Florida that determined the date of the Florida primary, and by Florida rules, the candidates cannot remove their names from the ballot without withdrawing from the national campaign.

I do not see why Florida Democrats should be punished for actions out of their control.

I keep seeing this ridiculous argument and I have to wonder if the people that make it are terribly uninformed or are being intentionally misleading. Florida's house voted 118-0 in favor of moving the primary date up to the 29th. Their senate voted 37-2 in favor of it also. Don't try to play this off as Hillary just trying to right a wrong committed by those dastardly Republicans, Democrats were all in favor of this plan. Here's what the chair of the Florida Democratic party said in September:
"There will be no other primary. Florida Democrats absolutely must vote on January 29th. The nation will be paying attention, and Florida Democrats will have a major impact in determining who the next President of the United States of America will be."

Saying that the "Republican legislature" forced it through is just as stupid and misleading as people who complain about the "Democrat congress".

CNN is already reporting that Obama has won South Carolina!!!!

wow!

do you notice how well he does when he actually has time to campaign in & build an organization in a state? damn this primary calendar!

That you find it irrelevant leads me to wonder whether it is the process or the outcome you are concerned about in the present circumstance.

I would say the exact same thing about a candidate who waits until she has a large lead or won in an uncontested primary before she starts standing up for the voters in these states.

If you believe that seating some, any Michigan or Florida delegation is both the right thing and the politically smart thing to do, Clinton is doing the right thing now after having made a mistake in the past.

You mean like she did with the Nevada caucus sites? Sorry, I'm not a fan of people who take a stand and do the right thing only after they're sure that it will work to their benefit.

I, for one, am not in favor of that kind of centralization and concentration of power, such that the large states, powerful factions, and dominant political figures can engineer the primary process to their benefit.

This is EXACTLY what Florida tried to do! They decided that they're so big and important that they could ignore tradition and move themselves up into a more important spot in the primary calendar, no matter what anyone else tells them. And Clinton herself is a dominant political figure that is currently trying to engineer the process to her benefit. Are you becoming confused as to which side you're trying to argue here?

"(1) I was told that my vote wouldn't count and (2) my preferred candidate wasn't on the ballot."

1) was a team effort, with quite a few to blame, includin possibly yourself. I know I would have said something if the DNC tried to pull that off in Texas
2) I suggest you take that up with your preferred candidate. Hillary herself took no other candidates names off the ballot.

Do you in principle believe that Michigan should not be represented at the convention, or are you simply opposed to the delegation that will be representing you?

As I said you can possibly do something about it. Try contacting your preferred candidates's campaign about creating an alternative delegation. There certainly will be a credentialing controversy at the convention, and as a Democrat, my preference would be that MI be represented. I am not, but if I were a delegate I would prefer to vote to seat an Edwards, more balanced, or uncommitted delegation. But better the one existing than none at all.

"damn this primary calendar!"

I can't think of a presidential election in which people didn't express this view, as regards the Democratic side, at least, since at least 1956. 1948 at the very least.

What would be ideal, anyway? And if, pace Bob's notion that there should be no party control of the schedule, should every state just get to pick when it has its contest? Or if not, how should the elections be scheduled?

bwaage: Saying that the "Republican legislature" forced it through is just as stupid and misleading as people who complain about the "Democrat congress".

What's important is that the Democratic voters of Florida have been disenfranchised from the process of choosing a Democratic presidential candidate.

It was WRONG from the get-go to exclude them. The DNC was WRONG initiating the disenfranchisement. The candidates were WRONG agreeing to it. And anyone in favor of continuing that exclusion, or condemning anyone who tries to reinstate those potential delegates (no matter their motives) is dead wrong too.

And please, no more silly, inane, bordering-on-the-moronic 'playing by the rules' tripe. We're not engaging in a lawn-tennis tournament in 2008: we're talking about choosing the next president and vice president of the country. Last I heard, Michigan and Florida are still states in the Union. Favoring excluding them for procedural reasons, because it may help Hillary, who you dislike, at the expense of Obama, who you favor, is petty and partisan.

What jdkbrown said: the fact that the candidates all pledged to abide by this agreement, and that HRC is switching her position in midstream, just when she thinks it will benefit her, is the issue.

If the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party had suddenly decided to contest the delegates after agreeing to abide by the selection procedures that the regular MS Democrats had put in place, and then, after the primary, after people had already stayed home because they thought their votes would not be counted, suddenly switched their position when it became clear that their candidate was in a tougher position than she had counted on -- then the situations might be analogous.

I have precisely no view on what the Dem. party should have done initially. I can see both sides to that one. But this is just Calvinball. And I think trotting the MS. FDP out as an analogy makes no more sense than trying to defend HRC, if she had signed some offensive document, by trotting out the signing of the Declaration of Independence, on the grounds that, after all, both were signings of something.

Jay Jerome: "It was WRONG from the get-go to exclude them. The DNC was WRONG initiating the disenfranchisement. The candidates were WRONG agreeing to it. And anyone in favor of continuing that exclusion, or condemning anyone who tries to reinstate those potential delegates (no matter their motives) is dead wrong too."

I'm curious why you think the argument by assertion is persuasive.

Setting aside the question of whether you are right or wrong, if I disagreed, and simply repeated to you that you were WRONG five times, would you find my non-argument persuasive?

If not, then why do you expect others to find your simple assertion to be a persuasive argument?

This is, of course, irrelevant to whatever the topic is. I'm just baffled and curious as to why you think repeating X-is-WRONG, and making no further argument as to why X is wrong, is productive.

"while this ploy is grassroots in what sense?"

Ploy? You mean Michigan moving the date of its primary foreward? AFAIK, that was an internal Michigan matter. That is in some sense grassroots or local leadership.

Ploy? The DNC and candidates attempting to punish Michigan? Umm, not grassroots.

Ploy? HRC saying she will not resist putting the question of the dispute between Michigan Democrats and the DNC to the floor and letting the delegates decide? Looks kinda grassroots to me.

It was WRONG from the get-go to exclude them. The DNC was WRONG initiating the disenfranchisement. The candidates were WRONG agreeing to it. And anyone in favor of continuing that exclusion, or condemning anyone who tries to reinstate those potential delegates (no matter their motives) is dead wrong too.

That's a completely different debate whose time has passed. It may have been wrong to strip them of their delegates, but is giving delegates to a candidate who was virtually uncontested on the ballot a proper solution to this? You know, two wrongs don't make a right and all that....

And please, no more silly, inane, bordering-on-the-moronic 'playing by the rules' tripe.

Spoken like a true Clinton supporter.

Could you clarify, Bob, is it your view that each state should have complete freedom to set the date of their caucus/primary to whatever they choose? Or are you suggesting a different system? Are there any appropriate limitations, in your view?

And do you have a view as to whether the state party or state legislature should set those dates and rules? If so, do you have any views on how they should engage in that process?

Thanks for any clarification.

No, I meant HRC arguing that not seating a Florida or Michigan delegation that supports her as the nominee disenfranchises voters from those states. That seems to me to be a ploy.

I agree with the idea of Obama and Edwards bringing their own delegations to be seated. And God help the first person who cries 'you can't, think about party unity'. One campaign opened this can of worms and the consequences should be attributed to that one campaign and no others.

Spoken like a true Clinton supporter.

Really? Sounds like a Bush supporter on the war on terror...

Lots of unseemly behavior here (though much of it was predictable....).

"This is EXACTLY what Florida tried to do!"

Are you confused about the difference between a state party organization or legislature and a National Party Machine?

Do you not see a difference between Florida determing the time and conditions of its own primary and some elite national group forcing those conditions on Florida, and of course, the 49 other other states?

hilzoy: "What jdkbrown said: the fact that the candidates all pledged to abide by this agreement, and that HRC is switching her position in midstream, just when she thinks it will benefit her, is the issue."

No, it's not the issue. The issue is excluding democrats from the process of determining the next president. You're on the wrong side of the court, on this one, hilzoy. You can't side-step that to continue your anti-Hilary fandango at the expense of a more important issue: inclusion-vrs-exclusion. You seem to have lost your balance throughout this thread, starting with the opening post above. Reflective of that was the posit you offered that if Hillary Clinton won the election by a narrow margin after these presently disenfranchised delegates were allowed back into the voting mix "It will be like 2000 all over again, only this time it will be people who are allegedly on our side who did us in."

To refresh your memory, in 2000 voters in Florida were made ineligible (excluded) from casting ballots for frivolous reasons. The weren't allowed to participate. Now you seem to be suggesting that ALLOWING people to vote in a primary is wrong. If you favor excluding votes you think will benefit someone you don't want to get those votes, that in fact would be 2000 all over again.

Bob Mcmanus,

It doesn't matter whether the Florida or Michigan delegates should or should not count.

IF they are going to bring those state's delegates to the conventions and IF the convention matters they only way it could even be considered is if the delegates would be treated as at large delegates thus invalidating the primary elections anyway.

"You're on the wrong side of the court, on this one, hilzoy."

I'm still wondering what your thinking on the usefulness of the argument by assertion is, Jay.

Incidentally, do you believe it's possible that people might believe in upholding the rules as set by the DNC out of principle and belief in the process, rather than because they prefer Obama? If not, why not? If so, on what basis are you insisting that you know the motivations of people who disagree with you?

Thanks for explaining.

No, it's not the issue.

Oh? And that it has the effect of doing so for Clinton (or looks like it has the effect) is not relevant?

Hm. Hm. I don't think it's irrelevant, nor should it be disregarded.

Jay Jerome,

You are being disingenuous.

No one wants to invalidate anyone's votes. HOWEVER the parties must have rules. Otherwise the primary process would be even more chaotic than it already is.

Both states played chicken with the parties. They believed that they could violate the rules and the parties wouldn't be able to do anything about it. They were wrong.

The state governments failed their voters.

You also didn't answer my question. Do you feel that Hillary should honor her pledge not to campaign in Florida? And do you consider her statements, being made the week before the Florida primary, can be considered anything other than campaigning?

I'm not asking for some legal definition. A simple yes or no in your personal opinion.

"Could you clarify, Bob...etc"

I really have no strong preferences as to outcomes, e.g., whether Iowa or California should be first.

As far as process, I haven given it that much thought, but I guess I would prefer that these matters be negotiated at National Party Conventions, and enforced at those conventions, with the widest, most open participation possible.

On balance, I would prefer that the state parties have as much independence as possible. The DNC is an association of Party leaders and elites. I view the Party as a collection of fifty autonomous state parties, each state party having a state convention drawn from smaller units, etc.

Any consensus comes bottom up. Clinton and Obama are just delegates. etc.

They did not have the right.

I apologize to Jay. My question was originally directed at Bob. I got confused.

Jay Jerome: Changing the rules in midstream to favor your own side is the issue for me. I honestly don't know what the right call was, earlier on: I personally hate the excessive influence of NH and Iowa (NH in particular), but I can also see why the party would want to have a smallish number of early primaries, and also some mechanism to prevent very state from becoming one of those early states, not to mention all of them putting their primaries earlier and earlier, until primaries start the day after inauguration.

But, as others have said, how that should have been settled is not the issue. The fact that it was settled, that every candidate, HRC included, agreed to abide by this settlement, and that people made choices based on it: voting or not voting in Michigan, campaigning or not campaigning in Florida, etc. -- based on it.

What bothered me most about Florida was that the rules were not followed: recounts not allowed, court cases settled in ways that flew in the face of precedents (not to mention the general views of the justices who decided the case), etc. If everyone had been scrupulously fair in the aftermath, and the only real problem had been (say) the butterfly ballots, I would have been a lot less upset.

Or to put it another way...

How enfranchised are voters, if they're not allowed to vote on all the leading candidates?

"To refresh your memory, in 2000 voters in Florida were made ineligible (excluded) from casting ballots for frivolous reasons. The weren't allowed to participate. Now you seem to be suggesting that ALLOWING people to vote in a primary is wrong."

This, incidentally, Jay, is the fallacy of composition.

The fallacy of composition is:
1. Individual F things have characteristics A, B, C, etc.
2. Therefore, the (whole) class of F things has characteristics A, B, C, etc.

You are saying that excluding voters in Florida in 2000 was wrong, therefore everything in the class of excluding voters is wrong.

It's a fallacy because, in fact, everything in the set of excluding voters is not always wrong. It's not wrong to exclude non-citizen non-residents from voting, for instance. It's not wrong to exclude 2-year-olds from voting. It's not wrong to hold closed (to only registered members of that party) primaries or caucuses, any more than it's wrong to hold open primaries or caucuses.

And so on. So an attempt to prove that a specific exclusion of voters is wrong simply because it's an exclusion logically fails.

You'll have to try another, non-fallacious, argument, I'm afraid.

I'll also note that a vote in a party nomination process is not the same thing as a vote in an election for office. As previously discussed, there's no "one person, one vote" rule in party processes. Parties are under no obligation to be purely democratic in their processes, and they aren't.

The question is how should the dates for the state primaries and caucuses be set: is it also your position that states should be free to do so as they wish, and the national party should have no recourse if it disagrees? Or what principle, precisely, is it you are defending, other than the principle that Hillary-Clinton-is-right?

"It doesn't matter whether the Florida or Michigan delegates should or should not count."

It matters to me that some kind of delegates from those states are counted.

"IF they are going to bring those state's delegates to the conventions..."

I am honestly ignorant of the actual parliamentary procedures at the conventions, what sort of motions can be made, credentialling, etc. If the DNC is in such control of te procedures that they completely control credentialling delegations with no recourse to the floor, I would be very disappointed.

But Bashers bash & celebrators celebrate. I am out of here for the night.

The issue, for those of us pissed off about it, is that all the candidates agreed to honor the DNC's decision and then Clinton decided to change her mind when it became expedient to do so.

The issue is also that this isn't the only incidence of Clinton trying to gimmick the voting process. Her campaign tried to gimmick Nevada, too, bringing suit to stop casino workers from being able to caucus - and only doing so after Obama had been endorsed by their union.

It's starting to look like a pattern, and an ugly one: Clinton only stands up for voters' rights when she thinks it benefits her. Not the voters. Her.

"I'm still wondering what your thinking on the usefulness of the argument by assertion is, Jay."

I'm thinking that people who bring it up after being confronted by assertions that are straight forward and unambiguous generally do so as a pedantic side-step to avoid responding to questions concerning their own misstatements -- kind of like answering a question with another question.

"On balance, I would prefer that the state parties have as much independence as possible. The DNC is an association of Party leaders and elites. I view the Party as a collection of fifty autonomous state parties, each state party having a state convention drawn from smaller units, etc."

DNC:

[...] The chairperson of the DNC (currently Howard Dean) is elected by vote of members of the Democratic National Committee. The DNC is composed of the chairs and vice-chairs of each state Democratic Party Committee, two hundred members apportioned among the states based on population and generally elected either on the ballot by primary voters or by the State Democratic Party Committee, a number of elected officials serving in an ex-officio capacity, and a variety of representatives of major Democratic Party constituencies.
Could you perhaps be specific as to which aspect, exactly, is elitist?

Do you have any thoughts on what you'd change to make it non-elitist?

Here is the DNC site. Here are the officers. Here is a pdf of the charter and by-laws. Are there specific parts you'd like to see changed?

Thanks.

"But, as others have said, how that should have been settled is not the issue."

Umm, to me, that is at least one of the issues. And I don't believe it was settled to the satisfaction of Michigan and Florida Democrats, who are more important to me than Clinton, Obama, Edwards, or Dean. Other people apparently have different allegiances.

Michigan & Florida grass roots Democrats are very unhappy. That is not only problematic but potentially dangerous for the General Election. I suggest some thought be sent their way.

Jay Jerome: "I'm thinking that people who bring it up after being confronted by assertions that are straight forward and unambiguous generally do so as a pedantic side-step to avoid responding to questions concerning their own misstatements -- kind of like answering a question with another question."

So you're saying that you find the argument-by-assertion convincing, and that only someone trying to distract from the correctness of arguing by assertion would bring up the question?

Or do I misunderstand you?

Umm, to me, that is at least one of the issues. And I don't believe it was settled to the satisfaction of Michigan and Florida Democrats, who are more important to me than Clinton, Obama, Edwards, or Dean.

Well, that's true. A solution that would be fair to the voters of those two states would be best. However, it occurs to me that seating the delegates as determined by the the primaries is not necessarily fair to the voters of those two states.

"Could you perhaps be specific as to which aspect, exactly, is elitist?"

The layers of voting creating a heirarchy? Certainly more elitist and removed from the grassroots for determining primary scheduling than convention committees sending suggestions to the convention floor for votes by the 4000+ delegates, if only by sheer numbers.

Not that convention delegates aren't themselves usually the activist elite of the party.

"Could you perhaps be specific as to which aspect, exactly, is elitist?"

The layers of voting creating a heirarchy?

"The DNC is composed of the chairs and vice-chairs of each state Democratic Party Committee, two hundred members apportioned among the states based on population and generally elected either on the ballot by primary voters or by the State Democratic Party Committee,"

Are you saying that you object to the above, Bob, as unacceptably hierarchical? Or was it just the other parts?

Are you objecting to "two hundred members apportioned among the states based on population and generally elected either on the ballot by primary voters or by the State Democratic Party Committee"? Or just other parts? If you do object to this part, is it because you feel only direct democracy is acceptable, or is at least more preferable?

I apologize for asking so many questions; I'm not trying to badger you, or minutiae you to death. I just want to be sure I understand your position.

I can't figure out if I agree or disagree, otherwise, after all. :-)

Hilzoy, I presume that you're about my age (we both got our B.A.'s in 1981), so that you'd also remember the Democratic California delegation in 1972. McGovern, who disapproved of winner-take-all primaries as undemocratic, but had won California by a small margin, was willing at the convention to unseat the proportional delegation in favor of one that was entirely his. Was this ethical?

Bob McManus,

Given the way the election happened, seating the Michigan delegation will *not* give Michigan Democrats a voice.

Surely you don't approve of seating just *any* delegation for Michigan--one, say, that would cast its votes for Lyndon LaRouche, or one that had its stance determined not by voters, but by the party machine. What would be wrong about that is that the delegation wouldn't reflect the desires of the electorate. The current delegation similarly does not represent the desires of the electorate.

You say you favor allowing Edwards and Obama to offer alternative slates of delegates. But this doesn't solve the problem. Given the way things happened, we have no idea what the preferences of Michigan Democrats is. Any decision as to which delegates to seat will be arbitrary and unconnected to the wishes of Michigan Democrats. Indeed, it will be decided by representatives of the *other* states, all of whom already have a vested interest in one candidate or another.

It's too late to give Michigan Democrats a voice, but it's not too late to make things worse by putting words--"Michigan casts its support for Hillary Clinton"--in their mouths.

I'm baffled as to why everybody is trying to answer this bit of spin that Clinton is somehow crusading for Michigan and Florida's right to be heard. I mean, that's laughable. She's done no such thing. She hasn't campaigned there. She hasn't run ads there. She hasn't raised this as a meaningful issue. She's gone along with the supposedly "unethical" DNC agreement every step of the way. At no point has she in any way, shape, or form introduced the issue of disenfranchisement to public discussion.

She has done nothing to "advance the cause" of Florida and Michigan's representation, including issuing this statement, which asks for her delegates to be seated in a fashion that would benefit her. A stealth announcement to her delegates, not the general public or even the party, can't plausibly be spun as advocacy for a cause. That's complete nonsense.

Look, if the Clinton campaign had done anything to advance this issue -- at all -- then this argument might have some merit. But she hasn't. Just last week she was complaining that the Obama campaign made a national ad buy that ran in Florida and therefore violated the agreement. If your argument is that the agreement is per se wrong, then you don't get to complain about other people violating the agreement. Those two positions are not consistent.

Is there even one shred of evidence from before Clinton "won" in Michigan that she objected to the woeful unfairness being perpetrated by the evil DNC? If so, I sure must have missed it. Actually taking a stand on this issue probably would have gotten my attention and support. But that's not what this is.

Yet another reiteration of "it's better to be a live jackal than a dead lion."

But it's better to be a live lion. And far more satisfying to be a live lion pissing on the corpse of a damned presumptious republican.

Jackal. I meant Jackal.

Yet another reiteration of "it's better to be a live jackal than a dead lion."

... Ah, have we entered the the savannah/big game/safari-metaphors phase of the campaign? I love this part! Do one about antelopes!

Seriously, I have no idea what this means. But I'm OK with that.

Here's a compromise.

1. Michigan and Florida delegations should be seated.

2. Had the Michigan primary been contested, the results would have been different.

3. The Florida primary is so soon that candidates have no time to campaign. No doubt a lot of potential voters haven't been paying attention. So the results of the upcoming election will also likely not represent the voters.

4. So both elections should be redone, far enough in the future that the campaigns can reasonably cope with the change.

5. The expense of the do-over needs to be divided somehow between the states and the DNC, both of whom seem to have been jackasses.

Fair enough? Agreed? If so, I'll make it happen.

mike s: I disapprove of changing the rules in midstream no matter who it favors.

BrianM,

I'd be quite happy to have delegates from a re-run primary seated, even if Clinton ended up winning. Though I suspect such a do-over is logistically impossible.

That's all very well, but the true question has yet to be asked: why do Democrats hate the Capitol One Bowl?

I'm considering abstaining from the general election if HRC wins the Democratic nomination. Not that I'm sanguine about 4 years of Republican administration, but frankly, the perpetuation of the current political alignments and culture would be worse.

This is not analogous to 2000 or 2004: I voted for the dem candidates in the general election despite my preferred candidates not receiving the nomination. The campaign that HRC is running, her divisive rhetoric, her calculating approach is too damaging to the fabric of American political life, and to be honest, is likely to significantly shorten the duration of the current backlash against conservatism. An Obama candidacy creates a progressivism that is likely to permanently transform the American political landscape, and that is more important, to me, than what might happen in another Republican administration. Because HRC in 2008, I assure you, will mean a Republican in 2012, 2016, 2020 and perhaps beyond.

Lemmy: as you can probably tell, I don't care much for HRC's tactics. But before you sit out the election, think hard about the Supreme Court, and what it would mean to have not a conservative majority, but a Scalia-esque majority, most of whose members are young and hale and hearty. Then think about fighting another idiotically misconceived war. Think about bodies coming into Dover. Then -- well, heck, maybe then global warming might be a nice topic, or the effects on our future of not reversing our budget deficit, or universal health care v. its absence ....

Just saying. :)

"What's next? An argument that the Iowa delegates should not be seated, because Iowa is just too darned flat?"

You've obviously never been to my home state, and are confusing it with Kansas. Iowa is gently rolling, not flat. Any bicyclist can explain why this is not just a word game.

Hillary's argument should be not that Iowa is too flat, but that it's too white. And naturally, a lily-white state would be biased in favor of the half-Kenyan candidate, right? Oh, wait a minute...

BrianM - exactly. This is what Clinton would have proposed (and if there isn't time for a primary, how about a caucus?) if she were really serious about enfranchising MI and FL and not just getting as many delegates as possible for herself by hook or by crook.

Michigan & Florida grass roots Democrats are very unhappy. That is not only problematic but potentially dangerous for the General Election. I suggest some thought be sent their way.

And if these delegates make the difference between a Hillary win and an Obama win, and if they are counted to Hillary's benefit, there will be a lot of black Democrats who will be feel very, very cheated, which could be more dangerous for the Democrats in the general election.

Lemmy Caution: "An Obama candidacy creates a progressivism that is likely to permanently transform the American political landscape."

It seems to me that his candidacy doesn't so much "create" a progressivism as attempt to tap the potential for it. What remains to be seen is how much potential is out there to be tapped. After 2004, I will never again be surprised at how godawfully wrong I can be about how much of this country is apparently living in a different reality from the one I live in.

Even so, Obama has my hopes up. Just a teensy bit, mind you....

GH: Right you are. I have been trying to get to all the states in the union, but I think there are eight that I haven't gotten to yet, and Iowa is, alas, one of them.

I probably was confusing it with Kansas. I drove across Kansas once, and remember snarling to myself, as something I had seen on the horizon for several hundred miles revealed itself to be a water tower, "Great: the land God ironed."

What's next? An argument that the Iowa delegates should not be seated, because Iowa is just too darned flat?
I believe that Iowa's votes should excluded because I have a long-standing bias against corn. It has an unfair advantage against the old-world cereal crops.

Though I should add that the people in Kansas all seemed very nice.

I drove across Kansas once, and remember snarling to myself, as something I had seen on the horizon for several hundred miles revealed itself to be a water tower, "Great: the land God ironed."...

Though I should add that the people in Kansas all seemed very nice.

Pfft. Midwesterners. They can't even do 'boring' properly. West Texas doesn't believe in seeing things on the horizon. Or people.

Now the Clinton campaign is criticizing Obama for not being a weasel (via TPM):

Howard Wolfson, Clinton's communications director, also circulated a memo Saturday stressing the state's importance in the Democratic race.

"Regardless of today's outcome, the race quickly shifts to Florida, where hundreds of thousands of Democrats will turn out to vote on Tuesday," Wolfson wrote. "Despite efforts by the Obama campaign to ignore Floridians, their voices will be heard loud and clear across the country, as the last state to vote before Super Tuesday on February 5."

Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton sharply responded to that statement. "If the Clinton campaign's southern strength rests on the outcome in a state where they're the only ones competing, that should give Democrats deep pause."

You can just smell the desperation of the Clinton campaign to have some good publicity going into Super Tuesday.

Yeah, this seems very cut and dry to me. Clinton made an agreement. If the deal itself was unethical in some way, or if she felt it would disenfranchise voters in Michigan and Florida, she should have said something then or not agreed to it.

And frankly, if the voters in Michigan and Florida do feel disenfranchised, then they are perfectly capable of opening talks to work out a solution with their representatives and the DNC. Clinton doesn't have to be involved, and any rational, fair person would say she ought not to be. She should recuse herself, as it were, because no matter what, her continued involvement, or any candidate's continued involvement, would color the proceedings unduly.

I'm sorry, but between this and the Nevada dust-up, I don't see how even the most avid Clinton supporter can't admit to just a modicum of suspicion about her activities. She keeps wanting to change the rules to permit greater enfranchisement, but only when it'll benefit her. I mean, does anyone really think she'd be fighting about Michigan if she hadn't put her name on the ballot, Obama had, and they were his delegates who weren't going to be seated? And that really is the question: In the same situation, if it would help her opponent instead of her, would she have been struck by the same crisis of conscience over enfranchisement? Would she be speaking up for Michigan's voters?

I'm deeply frustrated by the Clinton supporters who see this as "clever politics." Lying just isn't that clever. (It reminds me of an Onion column; although ultimately, yeah, I agree that this is more about distraction-type tactics than Michigan and Florida themselves.) When they make sarcastic comments about what kind of change Obama supporters are hoping for -- well, the kind of change where we understand that lies are told in political races but don't think it follows from that that it's OK to tell them.

That comment from Burton is great. I'm deeply disturbed with Clinton's delegate gambit on ethical grounds, but practically, that pithy response is really all that need be said.

Also, before I go off to bed, and in the spirit of "Random Links," both Obama and Clinton will be present and voting 'no' on cloture tomorrow. Woot to both of them!

"Much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it."

I am a resident of Tampa Florida and am ashamed of what may very well be the most incompetent state Democratic Party in the country: the Florida Democratic Party. The present early state primary system lessens the influence of wealth, media conglomerates, and large state political machines. In small states grassroots support has a much greater impact on elections than in large states.

To be competitive in large state-wide contests requires a great deal of money. The discourse is mostly that of 30 second ads, because it is impossible to speak with as large a percentage of the population directly in the way you can in small states. Bringing large states up in the primary calendar would mean that presidential candidates would be even more dependent on large contributors than they are now. The likelihood of what Huckabee did in Iowa would be even less likely. As much as I disagree with Huckabee's positions, I am glad that outsiders can still upset big party boss favorites.

In early states local papers and media personalities can have as much if not more influence than the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, or major tv network programs. It must be really frustrating for the big media players, who are accustomed to greater influence in the national political scene, to have to endure playing a smaller role in the presidential primaries. I'm not surprised that so few of these media conglomerates are educating the public about the importance of early small state primary schedule.

How unfortunate for large state political machines, used to commanding so much national attention normally, to watch small states have a chance at influencing who the next president is. How much time and attention would small state issues get, if the presidential candidates had all state primaries even closer together? It is a frightening thing for me to see a United States Senator actually sue the national party for having the integrity and wisdom to preserve the small state preference. That a major candidate act to endanger this system should make plain where their priorities are and what kind of president they would be. As a resident of a large state, where the impact of every voter is proportionally less than in small states, I am overjoyed that the DNC is is preserving the influence of citizens over these other interests.

The horrible thing is that there so few understand the importance of the early small state primary system. I really had hoped the the Republican Party elders would have shown greater fortitude against this foolishness. I am amazed that the Florida Democratic Party machine is so stupid as to allow itself to aide and abet in the disenfranchisement of the voters of so important a state. That more are not outraged by what the Florida Democratic Party did is at the heart of what is wrong with American politics.

Yeah, this seems very cut and dry to me. Clinton made an agreement. If the deal itself was unethical in some way, or if she felt it would disenfranchise voters in Michigan and Florida, she should have said something then or not agreed to it.

moff: ITA with your entire comment Keep up keep sending in those dispatches from the Department of Stating the Bleeding Obvious, because some people need it.

And similar kudos Edwin @ 11.53. If Florida Democrats and both Democrats and Republicans in Michigan are feeling 'disenfranchised', their ire should be turned on the state parties that forgot Political Brinksmanship 101: Don't play chicken with a T-Rex unless you've got solid oddds of winning. Of all the ways of expressing dissent over the standing primary process, I can't think of one that was higher-risk and more likely to end badly.

hilzoy, the interesting thing about your response to my comment (and perhaps it's intentional - I'm trying to parse the rhetoric a little) is that the latter set of consequences commends a tactic of sitting out an HRC election, if you agree with me that the long-term effect of an HRC administration would be pushing the progressive agenda back to a very minoritarian position. 4 years of moderately progressive policy under HRC would be undone in the long conservative winter that followed, if you agree that the potential for real political alignment is something that comes from an Obama administration and not a Hilary one. That long conservative winter would probably undo any of the meager successes of an HRC administration.

What commentators often note is that Obama is capable of disarming a lot of conservative objections to progressive policy by refusing to demonize the conservatives, by understanding the value systems and anxieties that motivate their positions and addressing those motivations, instead of trying to carve up the populace along political fault lines in an always-improvisational attempt to engineer a slim majority in a country that is temperamentally closer to those conservative sentiments. The ability to overcome this is vitally important to the long term future of the US, even at the cost of a short-term prolonging of this conservative mood.

Four years are nothing. I'm reminded of what Chou En-Lai said about the historical effect of the French revolution: "it is still too soon to tell."

Lemmy: my worry is that predicting the long-term consequences is pretty hard to do with any confidence. Predicting all the short-term consequences is hard to do, but predicting some of them is not, and all the consequences I feel confident about if a Republican wins in 2008 are bad. I mean, the Supreme Court alone would be a disaster.

(Katherine made this point somewhere; I'm shamelessly stealing it from her.)

all the consequences I feel confident about if a Republican wins in 2008 are bad.

Since all the evidence we have suggests that Hillary would be a much weaker general election candidate than Obama, what justification is there for supporting her again?

Xeynon: I thought we were talking about supporting her in the general, if she wins the nomination. I support Obama in the primaries, though as I said elsewhere, in supporting Obama over his rivals for the nomination I am lucky enough not to face tough choices about what matters most to me: issues, tactics, electability, character, etc.

So it's not just electability (or even primarily; it's issues first and foremost, although I suspect that I might weight electability more heavily if somehow i ever found myself supporting someone who seemed to me plainly unelectable. Kucinich, for instance. Lucky me hasn't had to make that choice, though.)

Hilzoy: yeah, I'm sorry, I should have clarified what I meant: I wasn't referring to you or any of the other Obama supporters here, but merely posing a question to the Clinton supporters who agree with you that a Republican victory in 2008 would be disastrous, yet think that the best way to forestall that is by nominating Hillary, when all the evidence we have suggests the contrary.

I acknowledge that there are some rational pro-Clinton arguments to be made, but "she's more likely to win" isn't one of them.

Just for the record, anybody who runs for the Presidency cares more about themselves than they do about the party. All politicians care more themselves than their party. No rational person would jump through all the hoops that big time politicians have to except for a need to gratify their oversized ego. This almost universially true, but especially true of the messianic (read Obama) cult of personality politicans.
Do you honestly believe that Obama wouldn't run for the Presidency as an independent if he thought he had a better chance to win, regardless of the effect it would have on the Democratic Party?

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