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February 16, 2008

Comments

Yes.

Yes. Over and over the Obama campaign assumes I understand the context of a vote, or a line, and that I'm generally informed, and can follow a complex point, and the Clinton campaign assumes I'm stupid. She lost me in January.

With the general admission by both sides that Clinton won't win on pledged delegates without divine intervention, I thought we were just playing out a few more states. But they are absolutely going for it on a boldfaced strategy of "Obama won more votes, and he wins in the general against McCain while Clinton loses. But we are ignoring all of that to hand this to Hillary."

If D voters selected Clinton, I would have shaken my head at this bizarre choice of a vision for the future. (Go back to the nineties, give the Clintons a do-over on the presidency.) And I wouldn't have voted for her. But this--if party leadership throws it to her against both voter sentiment AND all good sense of who can actually win--I'll be furious. Many people will be furious. And dem candidates everywhere will need to hide.

In the fall McCain's campaign could just play tape of Penn saying "the only state of the 30 he won that matters is IL," and Ickes saying "the party officials are more in touch with the voters' will than the voters," and both saying "Kansas and Colorado and Virginia and etc won't vote for a D, so they don't matter."

Superdelegates, time to be done sitting out and make it clear to Clinton you'll throw your weight as the voters indicate. They can't seriously believe a stolen nomination will be good for the party.

John, Are you answering yes to

(a) Is the Clinton campaign crazy?
(b) Does she just think we are stupid?
(c) All of the above.


I used to be for Obama because I thought his chances were better and because he didnn't have her track record of R-lite votes, but Ok with Clinnton.

Then I moved to being genuinely scared that she'd get the nom because I had grown certain that she wouuld lose.

Now I think that the righhtwing nuts were righht abouut her. Not the murdering Mr. Foster part, but the unprincipled ambition and self-promotion part.

I guess their politicians could recognize one of their ownn.

c

How stupid is it to have Harold Ickes as her spokesperson for this issue? There are surely at least many dozens of people she could have had handle this who did not themselves vote to approve this decision she's contesting. It's moronic.

Well, she thinks we are stupid enough not to insist that she release her tax returns (as Obama already has). Maybe she thinks we would have forgotten about the sleazy financial dealings of the Clinton Adminstration -- whose mantle she has adopted -- and will just trust that they are sqeaky clean. The best part is she said she WILL release them if she wins the nomination. Why shouldn't Democratic primary voters have a chance to see what she's been up to, and with whom???
Beats me why every interview and debate doesn't start with a question about what she has to hide.

The sidebar at DemConWatch shows Obama currently having more pledged delegates than Clinton even if all the Michigan and Florida delegates are counted and none of the uncommitted Michigan delegates are assigned to him. I'm hopeful that his lead will be big enough to make this attempt to change the rules irrelevant.

The superdelegates who are big Clinton supporters came out in her favor long ago. Those who haven't yet said anything one way or the other are waiting to see how the wind is blowing. Maybe I'm too hopeful, but it's hard to imagine circumstances in which they'd break for Clinton, short of some devastating scandal hitting Obama before the convention.

Of course, running a communist election doesn't always work. In my parents' county (Washtenaw, home of the University of Michigan), Clinton lost to Nobody.

Sebastian: "Mentioning it like this now makes it more likely that you are going to piss off enough remaining voters that you'll lose by big enough margins that nothing will matter, and you don't gain anything by doing it. Furthermore, Clinton risks boxing Obama into trying for a real election in Michigan and Florida, which she clearly does not want and may lose."

It's going to piss off just as many Floridians and Michiganites and Hillary supporters elsewhere if those delegate votes are not counted. So far, about 10 million people have voted for Hillary in the primaries and caucuses, about half of the total vote. You want to tell that many potential voters in the general election to screw themselves because Obama supporters don't want it to happen?

If this isn't resolved it's going to be a no-win situation for the Democrats, and a windfall for the Republicans


"Florida is tainted, because it is obvious even in states where Clinton got big wins that Obama's campaign can dramatically narrow the margins when he contests a state."

Right. Just like he substantially narrowed the margins with his campaigning efforts in California and New Jersey. And if they both had campaigned in Florida, or do it again there, she'd still kick his ass. Michigan would be closer, but I think she'd edge him out there as well.

Actually, he did in both those states Jay. And it is impossible to say what would happen in either Michigan or Florida. And why won't they have redo's, the only fair thing to do. Michigan has indicated it might be willing to but Florida is refusing. Are they afraid the result might be different.

Of course, considering that Obama is getting way ahead in pledged delegates and is ahead in the latest poll in Texas, even if the results were taken as they now stand in both MI and FL, it still wouldn't help Clinton that much.

jay-

we clearly know where your allegiances lie, but i'm having trouble understanding how other people don't understand this:

1)Clinton agreed to the rules, re: that Florida and Michigan wouldn't count

2)Now she wants to change the rules

...i really want to understand this. how is this acceptable to you? does the end justify the means? how do you--or any Clinton supporter--reconcile the above 2 facts in your mind?

if Clinton had said, right off the bat "I don't care what the DNC says, i'm gonna campaign there as if they do count, and, come the convention, i'll ask for them to be seated" i guess i could understand, since she would've made her intentions clear.

but she didn't. she went along, and now that its advantageous for her, she wants to go back on what she said.

i'd like to think--hope--that if the situation was reversed and it was Obama trying to pull this, i'd be very disappointed in him, because to my eyes it seems like cheating, and a very detrimental thing to do the notion of party unity, something needed more than ever.

but i just can't understand how this can be ok to you guys.

Oh, and BTW, if the situation were reversed, I would be just as upset ar Obama for trying to change the rules.

Also, this is just like the debate in WI issue. There was no problem for Clinton either with MI and FL delegates not being seated or the fact that there was no debate in WI until it became obvious that she was in big trouble.

That is why it sounds like so much petulant whining on her part.

Right. Just like he substantially narrowed the margins with his campaigning efforts in California and New Jersey. And if they both had campaigned in Florida, or do it again there, she'd still kick his ass. Michigan would be closer, but I think she'd edge him out there as well.

Let's do it then. Seems to be the best solution.

Does she just think we are stupid?

To be fair to Sen. Clinton and Mr. Ickes, for much of my adult life the American electorate has given every reason to answer this question in the affirmative.

Nixon? The paranoid? You've got to be kidding.

Reagan? The actor? You've got to be kidding.

George W. Bush? The deserter? The cocaine-and-whiskey party boy? The man who has failed at everything he's ever attempted? You've got to be kidding.

They weren't kidding.

If this isn't resolved it's going to be a no-win situation for the Democrats, and a windfall for the Republicans

it was resolved before the primaries started. quit pretending the rules weren't perfectly clear going into it.

It can't do any good whatsoever to raise the issue like this now. You can fight like crazy to seat them when the time comes if you need them. Until then you ought to fight like crazy for other delegates so you don't need them. Mentioning it like this now makes it more likely that you are going to piss off enough remaining voters that you'll lose by big enough margins that nothing will matter, and you don't gain anything by doing it.

They first mentioned it a while ago, very casually -- remember, it was a press release on the website that Ezra Klein caught. Since then, they've very very slowly ramped it up, though still haven't drawn a line in the sand.

The goal is to inure people to the issue by repeating it until it's accepted as a fait accompli that Clinton will fight for the delegates at the nomination. It serves two main purposes: as a threat to the Party that she intends to fight dirty, and as a way for the inside baseball crowd to complain now, when no one is really listening, rather than risking an explosion of outrage if they'd held off pushing the issue. They're just slow-playing it.

Hysteria:

1. Behavior exhibiting excessive or uncontrollable emotion, such as fear or panic.
2. A mental disorder characterized by emotional excitability and sometimes by amnesia or a physical deficit, such as paralysis, or a sensory deficit, without an organic cause.

Wow. That comment, no matter who it's directed at (and to some degree because it's undirected) is totally over the line.

Why don't you ask the people of Florida whose votes aren't being counted if it matter ? Oh yea, and tend to vote for someone who has detailed plans and understands you have to work within the system in Washington to get things done. " Washington is broke and the people's hope won't get a damm thing done. "Where's the Beef ? " with this preacher with the muslem name ( You think that won't persuade the swing vote white male in the general election to John McCain ?)When was the last time, or the only time people in their late teens and 20's would have an informed say in hiring any Manager at any level, let alone the President of the USA ? There were 3 more democratic candidates that were way more qualified than Barack or Hillary. However, the blind youth and African American people of this country went for a muslem preacher, in a time we need the more knowledgable and experienced candidate by far. If you think I'm being anything but pragmatic, wait until the general election to see how many times the words MUSLEM AND PREACHER hit the airwaves. And Judging by Barak's thin skinned reaction to Bill Clinton's nothing comments, the democratic party may be waiting another 8 years for the Whitehouse

Bill: if you meant your comment to be about another commenter, or about Seb, it is over the line. The posting rules prohibit vilifying another commenter, even if it's not entirely clear who you intend to vilify. Please don't do it again.

If, on the other hand, you meant this to be about some public figure, it would probably be a good idea to make that clearer, just to avoid misunderstanding.

To clarify:

1. Hillary is acting hysterically.
2. Hillary is scared.
3. Hillary is panicked.
4. Hillary is ‘crazy’.
5. Hillary is emotionally excited (i.e. throwing chairs).
6. Hillary has lost her situational awareness (i.e. Ickes).
7. There is no organic cause (other than perhaps her diet).

john miller: [re my contention Obama didn't substantially narrow the margins by campaigning in California and New Jersey:]

"Actually, he did in both those states Jay."


I haven't had time to check the New Jersey numbers, john, but here's what happened in California between mid January and Super Tuesday, when Obama did most of his California campaigning:

In mid January she had a 12 percentage point lead. That month Obama made six appearances in California, for campaigning, fund-raising and debate. On Jan 16 he was in Van Nuys; on Jan 17 he was in San Francisco; on January 31 he was in Hollywood twice, and in L.A. twice.

By the end of January Obama had trimmed the lead to 3 percentage points, Hillary ahead 43% to 40%. And on February 3, just before Super Tuesday, he was at a gigantic rally in L.A., with his wife Michelle, and Oprah, and Caroline Kennedy -- this was soon after Ted Kennedy and La Opinion came out in his support. On that day, Both Zogby and Rassmussen had Obama ahead in the polls by a percentage point or two.

So I guess you're right: Obama substantially narrowed the margin in California -- for two days. Because on election day she beat him 52% to 42%, trimming her lead during the time Obama campaigned in California from a 12 percentage point lead to a 10 point percentage lead: a 2 point catch up.

Maybe Obama would do better in a Florida make up vote, and catch up three or even four points. I think the Clinton Campaign could live with that.

Sorry, I retract my criticism of Bill's comment; that said, can we please avoid the word "hysteria"? Unlike this, that is a word with some historical baggage and that's not a road we really need to be going down right now.

If we ban "hysteria," I move to make an exception for any future discussion of def leppard's seminal song/album.

do i hear a motion?

rob!: 1)Clinton agreed to the rules, re: that Florida and Michigan wouldn't count.

Two points: first she didn’t say the votes shouldn’t count; she simply agreed not to campaign there, as did Obama.

Second, it was wrong for both the Democratic and the Republican parties to disfranchise American voters from choosing the candidates they want to see run for the presidency. Did the voters in either state in either party agree to have their votes negated because party bigwigs wanted to control the primary calendar? Did Independents who don’t belong to either party agree to be disenfranchised? Why should the voters in those states, have their votes negated because of a calendar conflict?

If you want a consensus of approval for whoever ends up running as the Democratic nominee you need to include those voters in the nominating process. Or as my Aunt Esther, who lives in Florida and has been a loyal Democrat for 60 years said to me on the phone last week: ‘Rules, smules, if they don’t count my vote they can all go to hell.’

I move to ban "seminal" as well.

If you outright banned Hysteria, you’d have to ban this:

“Out of touch, out of reach yeah
You could try to get closer to me
I'm in luck, I'm in deep, yeah
Hypnotized, I'm shakin' to my knees.”

Which may just describe her mental state.

gwangung: "Let's do it then. Seems to be the best solution."

Yeah, I agree, and the sooner the better, because if all this animosity between the supporters of both candidates continues into the convention, whoever gets the nomination will only have a few months to smooth ruffled feathers, not a lot of time to convince the losing side to close ranks.

I'm in San Francisco Jay, Obama won Northern California, and he's got supporters all over California. There were a lot of abssentee early voters here. Many of those votes went Hillary's way, some went to the candidates that dropped out. Hillary's strength in the Latino base didn't start to crack until Virginia.

Feb 5th was about staying within 100 delegates of Clinton. Obama did that. So yeah, if Florida voted with both campaigning today, it would be close.

Jay: Yeah, I agree, and the sooner the better, because if all this animosity between the supporters of both candidates continues into the convention, whoever gets the nomination will only have a few months to smooth ruffled feathers, not a lot of time to convince the losing side to close ranks.

Wouldn't a "sooner the better" standard suggest that the Clinton campaign should have raised this issue back in 2007, rather than after Michigan had voted and a week before Florida did, and within a week of accusing Obama of violating the rules because of his national ad buy that happened to run in Florida?

Shouldn't Harold Ickes have voted against the vote-stripping?

Shouldn't Clinton have refused to remove her name from the Michigan ballot rather than agreeing to then forgetting to do it?

Shouldn't the campaign have spent some time in Michigan and Florida, informing voters about the issues, or even bought some ad time there, anything more than just issuing a single press statement and dumping millions into Iowa and NH?

Shouldn't they have raised a single solitary peep about this back when they were relatively uninterested parties, and therefore more credible?

Because, see, those things would have involved sacrifices, and risks, and though they would of course have given the other campaigns warning, if disenfranchisement were really the issue, then that, too, would be a good thing.

Because if this was really about disenfranchisement, that would have been a pretty good way of "avoiding animosity," I think, rather than risking the votes of the Michigan and Florida voters by making this look like a naked power-grab. You know, if the intentions are so pure and all. The fact of the matter is that between the decision to strip the delegates and Clinton campaign's reversal in January, literally nothing changed that made the issue more or less pressing, and they did not raise the issue. It's not as if the delegate-stripping took anyone by surprise. That being the case, it's incumbent upon the Clinton campaign to give some justification -- any justification -- for their timing.

Absent that, then even if you accept unquestioningly that the intentions are good, then the delay was inexcusable and, in fact, contributed to the purported disenfranchisement, and since Clinton and her campaign actually had some ability to influence the DNC, responsibility for the delegate loss would fall on her, not Obama.


Jay, I'm really curious whether for some reason you just don't get the issue here, or whether you're yanking everyone's chain. We've all gone over this at length, and yet your argument hasn't changed at all. You're either being disingenuous or not listening, and in either case it strikes me as somewhat disrespectful to all the people who've been trying to discuss the issue in good faith for the better part of a month now. The lack of give-and-take -- or indeed any logical concession or contrition at all -- is beginning to wear a little thin.

As a Florida resident, I'm not personally upset with the DNC - I think they did what they had to do, and I don't hold that against them. I think this "backlash" from FL Democrats is a bit overblown. We knew it was coming, and frankly, Florida primary votes usually don't count anyway, so this is just keeping up with the status quo.

If the DNC is trying to avoid a backlash, then outright handing the delegates to Clinton would be the worst thing they could do. If they insist on doing something, then have a do-over. Let both candidates have a real campaign here and let the votes fall where they may.

We might be underestimating the extent to which these postures are meant to reassure potential donors and superdelegates that Clinton means to put up a no holds barred fight, regardless of what it looks like to the voters. They might just be trying to hold out "false hope" to these people to keep their coalition together.

To me, there is a qualitative difference between Florida and Michigan. In one there was no campaigning, but a ballot with both people's names on it. So, whatever you think of her claim to Florida delegates, it is a lot more legitimate than her claim to Michigan delegates, where people simply did not have the opportunity to vote for other candidates.

Is anyone here arguing that she's entitled to all the Michigan delegates or are people conceding that point and arguing only for Florida?

It is important for the general election to not actively insult these major states that the Democrats want to win in November. The convention can revise its credential decisions by majority, and there is nothing stopping it from coming up with a completely new answer.

I heard in a radio interview with someone (sorry can't remember the source) that the likely solution to the problem of Michigan and Florida was a compromise between the candidates that delegations would be seated whose pledges were proportional to those selected in compliance with the party rules (or perhaps divided 50-50).

This would make the nomination still depend on the superdelegates, which both sides may be willing to accept.

Jay "first she didn’t say the votes shouldn’t count; she simply agreed not to campaign there, as did Obama."

There are radio interviews in the fall, in which she is asked about leaving her name on the ballot and says it doesn't matter because there's no way those delegates will be seated. As Adam says, when she could have made a sacrifice and taken a risk, she didn't. When the 4 early states had voted and she knew she had wins, she decided it was better to admit she was lying through the fall. Not a profile in courage.

"first she didn’t say the votes shouldn’t count; she simply agreed not to campaign there, as did Obama."

oh, come ON, Jay--that's a disingenuous argument if i've ever heard one. she agreed to what the DNC was doing, right? everyone knew that's what the ultimate punishment was, the lack of seating the delegates? what did Hillary do, cross her fingers behind her back when she agreed to it? that sounds a lot like the "sure, i voted for Bush to go to war, i didn't really think he'd DO it" defense.

what worries me a lot about HC becoming president is that it seems her supporters are willing to say or do ANYTHING to support her, and i've already had enough of that crap in the last seven years.

maybe Obama will turn out to be the same way, i want to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Clinton campaign, September 1st, 2007:

On Friday, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina asked all the Democratic presidential candidates to follow the rules set out by the Democratic Naitonal Committee and committ not to campaign in states that violate those rules. By Saturday morning, every candidate but Hillary Clinton had signed.

This afternoon, her manager, Patti Solis Doyle, issued a short statement:

"We believe Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina play a unique and special role in the nominating process. And we believe the DNC’s rules and its calendar provide the necessary structure to respect and honor that role. Thus, we will be signing the pledge to adhere to the DNC approved nominating calendar."
Here's the pledge Hillary Clinton signed:
WHEREAS, over a year ago, the Democratic National Committee established a 2008 nominating calendar;

WHEREAS, this calendar honors the racial, ethnic, economic and geographic diversity of our party and our country;

WHEREAS, the DNC also honored the traditional role of retail politics early in the nominating process, to ensure that money alone will not determine our presidential nominee;

WHEREAS, it is the desire of Presidential campaigns, the DNC, the states and the American people to bring finality, predictability and common sense to the nominating calendar.

THEREFORE, I _______________, Democratic Candidate for President, pledge I shall not campaign or participate in any state which schedules a presidential election primary or caucus before Feb. 5, 2008, except for the states of Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina, as “campaigning” is defined by the rules and regulations of the DNC. It does not include activities specifically related to raising campaign resources such as fundraising events or the hiring of
fundraising staff.

HTH.

“Hillary will end up with more automatic delegates than Obama,” Ickes said, and the number of elections won by Obama is “irrelevant to the obligations of automatic delegates.”

Thanks Harold.

"...and the number of elections won by Obama is 'irrelevant to the obligations of automatic delegates.'

Setting aside discussion of "automatic" versus "super," a not terribly meaningful distinction, and predictions about final non-pledged delegate (if you prefer) counts, that's a true statement of the rules, and thus unobjectionable.

Of course, there's also no rule obliging the non-pledged delegates to vote for anyone, including Hillary Clinton. La-da-di, la-da-da, does anyone want to thank me for this equally true observation?

Are true observations actually now objectionable because... well, I'm actually not clear why: if we don't like them? What's the principle here? What's the objection?

Gary, I agree with you, and I think Obama made a mistake trying to get a guarantee that the superdelegates go with the wishes of the constituancy, something he is backing off of.

However, for some people there is a sense of being dismissed as unimportant, which is why, from a tactical viewpoint, the statement was a poor one.

BTW, reviewing the WI papers, I can only find one actual endorsement, the Milwaukee Journal Sentine, which is for Obama. However, letters to the editor over the laast three-four days are running 2-1 in favor of Obama.

Not that this really means anything as the papers just may not want to print pro-Clinton lettrs, which is their right.

I don't see why Sen. Clinton would like to win on a 'what the meaning of is is' basis. It will haunt her all the way through the general, and well into the first term.

Must read for all political candidates:

Official Calvinball Rules

"Gary, I agree with you, and I think Obama made a mistake trying to get a guarantee that the superdelegates go with the wishes of the constituancy, something he is backing off of."

I'm not entirely clear what you mean by "trying to get a guarantee." I don't understand how a concept of a "guarantee" functions in this context: a guarantee by definition must be enforceable. Since I am unaware of what such a mechanism might be, I don't follow how a guarantee would be possible, and therefore I don't understand how Obama could have been seeking one.

For either candidate to seek public commitments to vote for them is, of course, anodyne and expected and unobjectionable. So is asking unpledged delegates to vote on any reasonable basis, be it "vote for the candidate you think will be the best president," or "vote for the candidate who has the most pledged delegates," or "vote for the candidate who the majority of your constituents voted for," or, in fact, "vote for me, because I'll make the best deal for your constituents."

Although the latter doesn't always tend to go over well politically if known publically. But I don't see anything unethical or illegitimate about such grounds: they're all legal and valid choices according to the rules, and are all arguably reasonable grounds.

"However, for some people there is a sense of being dismissed as unimportant, which is why, from a tactical viewpoint, the statement was a poor one."

Sure, there's what's right and wrong, and what sounds politically good or bad, but I think it's quite important to not confuse or blur the two.

Neither should anyone with sense think that stating the rules is a statement about themselves; people will do that, but it's also irrational. Politicians should take into account the irrationality of people, of course, but we also should note when it is an irrational grievance, even if it happens to be one that favors the side we don't.

If there's something wrong with seeking to persuade unpledged delegates to "go with the wishes of the constituancy," any more than stating that the rules are the rules, I'm curious what that might be: what might that be?

It seems awfully convenient that a number of people seem to be springing up to find "wrong" things done by the other side, and there seem to be a puzzling number of "wrong" behaviors being found that don't seem to be even vaguely wrong in the slightest, it seems to me. Stating the rules is an insult? Asking people to say they're voting for you is wrong, somehow? Since when? Why? How?

Craziness is the only possible explanation for openly scheming to steal an election at the same time your political future rests on mounting a comeback in Wisconsin of all places, home of the secret ballot and Russ Feingold.

The only right answer to give in such circumstances is, "Yes, I am a clean, honest politician who would never openly plot to thwart the will of the electorate."

To me, Gary, the problem with Ickes statement, true as it might be, is that it comes across as a big middle finger to the voters. Assuming that the non-quoted portion of Ickes' statement referring to "elections" is accurate, the statement amounts to "we don't care if Obama wins a majority of the votes in every state, we'll get the superdelegates to overrule them." It would be nice if he would at least pretend that the voters matter, but he seems not to care.

IMHO, of course.

"It would be nice if he would at least pretend that the voters matter, but he seems not to care."

I entirely agree that it's an impolitic statement. I'm just noting that there's a pretty important difference between complaining about someone being impolitic, and complaining about someone doing something unethical.

I believe trying to get delegate votes from either of two states, when you pledged to abide by rules which state that 100% of their delegates will not be seated, is clearly and blatantly unethical.

Violating a pledge is clearly and blatantly unethical.

Saying that you're asking unpledged delegates to vote for you, and that those delegates are free to do so, or should do so for the following reasonable argument, is perfectly ethical, whether you're asking them to vote for you on the basis of constituency preference, or on the basis of individual judgment, and regardless of how politely or diplomatically a statement saying that is phrased.

But if we're simply critiquing Ickes' presentation, then, sure, it had a significant political downside, and is apt to offend a fair number of people.

It might be best if we tried to be somewhat clear as to whether we're making a charge of ethical violation, or an aesthetic/political critique, in general, perhaps. Thanks for clarifying, Ugh.

"It would be nice if he would at least pretend that the voters matter, but he seems not to care."

I entirely agree that it's an impolitic statement. I'm just noting that there's a pretty important difference between complaining about someone being impolitic, and complaining about someone doing something unethical.

I believe trying to get delegate votes from either of two states, when you pledged to abide by rules which state that 100% of their delegates will not be seated, is clearly and blatantly unethical.

Violating a pledge is clearly and blatantly unethical.

Saying that you're asking unpledged delegates to vote for you, and that those delegates are free to do so, or should do so for the following reasonable argument, is perfectly ethical, whether you're asking them to vote for you on the basis of constituency preference, or on the basis of individual judgment, and regardless of how politely or diplomatically a statement saying that is phrased.

But if we're simply critiquing Ickes' presentation, then, sure, it had a significant political downside, and is apt to offend a fair number of people.

It might be best if we tried to be somewhat clear as to whether we're making a charge of ethical violation, or an aesthetic/political critique, in general, perhaps. Thanks for clarifying, Ugh.

Completely OT: a new entry in the "sentences I wish I had written" file:

"It’s like the Helen Keller story, except with physical handicaps replaced by a blinding sense of entitlement."

A gold star to anyone who figures out what is like the HK story, etc., before clicking on, or even mousing over, the link.

I'll guess it has something to do with moving the furniture around. Now I'll go read it.

I'm with Ugh, Gary. The problem isn't that he's simply restating the rules; the problem is he's out-lining a path to victory for his candidate that involves her losing the pledged delegate count and/or presumably the popular vote, and taking the nomination anyway, and claiming that is legitimate.

I think most people are right to be up in arms about such a situation, seeing as how while that outcome might technically be within the rules, it's also against historical norms about what role the superdelegates play in the nominating process.

Jay Jerome:

Others have pointed out the Clinton campaign agreeing to the DNC rules and punishments in advance, but I thought I'd add: if the campaign was upset about those voters being denied a voice, the time to air those complaints wat 5 months ago before we Floridians (and fellow Michiganers) were denied campaign rallies, volunteer organizations, etc etc. The horses are already out of the barn, so closing the doors won't do shit now.
Further, your California example seems somewhat disingenuous. Obama didn't stop campaigning in Florida but 2 weeks before the election; did months in advance. Why choose mid-January for your example when it was early Dec that his ground game in the state got all ramped up? pollster suggests that he was down 20+ in early Dec, and cut that margin in half (and that could end up even narrower as they continue to count 100s of thousdands of provisional ballots; the margins could end up at 8 or 9 points). Not to mention, every indication I saw was that he was must stronger on day-off voting, voters who'd decided in the last month, last 3 weeks, last week, last 3 days, than he was with the overall polls, suggesting, again, that when he gets to be in the state a lot, his numbers go up.

Oh, and as a Florida resident myself, I can see we all came to grips with our "anger" over this a long time ago. It's interesting, but I haven't seen any enraged letters to the editor or public outcry or anything over this. We kinda shrugged our collective shoulders, said "typical", and moved on.

Way off!!!

[Please forgive the extremely long post. I had no idea how much I apparently wanted to say when I started typing.]

Just some replies to various points from this nice post and generally good thread (But "hysterical"? Might as well use "uppity" too. Surely we can find more respectful ways to make our points):

1. I couldn't agree more that the Clinton operation has been really ham-fisted in its approach on this issue, as many others. It's not just purely self-serving, and it's not just misconceived, it's transparently, misconceivedly self-serving. I'm sure Brad DeLong, Ezra Klein and others are right that HRC has run a good campaign in many respects, but at moments like these it looks comically bad.

2. It may be that the Democrats' whole delegate system here is fairly messed up (it looks moderately so to me, though workable), but what point could there be to having "super-delegates" if they are just to blindly follow the lead of the directly elected delegates? That would make them superfluous. The only sense I can make of this design is that they are to serve as counter-weights when they feel that is appropriate -- however mad that might make some people.

By the way, I suspect that the most likely way they may play a role is to Obama's decided advantage. He is unlikely to get much over a 200 delegate advantage without the super-delegates, but with them he might put together a 600 or so lead that would put him over the top. To put this another way, I think the Clinton team is making arguments about the super-delegates not because they are sure to get those votes, but because they think that they will have no other way they can win.

Finally, "automatic delegates"? Some of the HRC team's moves strike me as nearly as clumsy as the time GHW Bush said in a speech, "Message: I care," apparently confusing a note suggesting the mood he should shoot for with a line he should deliver. Weak.

3. Obama has made up significant ground against Clinton in most states where he has campaigned, with California and maybe New Jersey looking like exceptions, along with the Southern swath from Tennessee through Arkansas to Oklahoma. The trend is still apparent almost everywhere else, and includes even New Hampshire and Nevada.

Still, I have my doubts that Obama would have won Florida, though I bet he could have pulled out some more delegates. Michigan, however, I suspect he could have won, maybe handily.

I'd be willing to bet, though, that these states don't end up playing a big role. If Obama does well the next three weeks, I think the super-delegates will likely break his way, and that's it. If, on the other hand, Clinton pulls out some wins -- much less big wins, this Tuesday and in early March, the winds may change. But even then I think some decisions will get made. I don't see the uncertainty lingering. Politics abhors indecision.

4. So, here comes Clinton's last stands. Hawaii and Wisconsin could both make a difference for the current narratives, and more for Clinton than for Obama if she pulls off a surprise in either state. Even if Obama wins there, though, I'd say that Clinton has successfully built her "firewall" at March 4th. That's not to say that I'm convinced that she's going to win either TX or OH, much less win big, but that she's won the argument that Obama needs to prove that he can beat her in big states like this where she starts with a good lead and apparent demographic advantages.

Heck, I want to see whether he can too. I've supposed that his failures to make up more ground than he did in states like California and New Jersey stemmed from his concentrating on instead running up huge margins of victory in smaller states and caucuses on Super Tuesday. That was, I think, brilliant strategy. But maybe it was strategy born from necessity, and he's going to have more trouble than I think making the sale in some big states, even if he has the time and money to do it. Let's see.

The thing is, I think we're still playing on Obama's home court, so to speak. If Clinton wins in TX and OH, even by big margins, she's still just trying to catch up in elected delegates, and would still have to fight for super-delegates, a battle that it's not clear she'd win even then. By contrast, if Obama pulls out a win in either state, much less both...it's over. Completely, totally over. Clinton's last, best argument is gone, and pretty much everyone would see that. And then, for all the talk that there's been "no momentum" in this race (which strikes me as predicated on a pretty simple-minded concept of "momentum": if Obama hasn't had momentum since South Carolina, then that word must not mean what I think it means; people aren't allowing for his more than erasing Clinton's large projected Super Tuesday lead as a victory for him, which is silly), this time it would be undeniable.

By the way, does the fact that all of us posting here have to enter a code to prove that we're not robots finally disprove the charge that we're "Obamabots"?

I've been trying to get my more artistically inclined friends up here in Wisconsin to help me make some snObamas before election day (might as well make something good out of these record snows), but to no avail.

I totally disagree about the firewall; in fact, it's amazing that the Clinton operation is doing the same thing that probably cost them the presidency—again!

Hawaii, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, and Vermont have more delegates between them than Ohio. I happen to think Ohio will be a draw and Texas a split decision, but even in Clinton does really well there's no chance at all she can make up the margin he's going to build in those four states. She's not even really contesting them!

Incidentally I think the whole California issue is a red herring. Obama didn't spend a lot of time there; he was running around the smaller states. But he did spend money and have huge, well covered media events there and in the other States That Count, which was enough to pin her down protecting her flank with the last of her money. That's what set up the 8-0 run and let him split the delegate count on Super Tuesday.

I'm with Ugh, Gary. The problem isn't that he's simply restating the rules; the problem is he's out-lining a path to victory for his candidate that involves her losing the pledged delegate count and/or presumably the popular vote, and taking the nomination anyway, and claiming that is legitimate.
It is "legitimate," in the sense of being perfectly within the standing rules for decades. It was legitimate when Walter Mondale didn't have enough pledged delegates to get the nomination over Gary Hart, and the superdelegate votes put him over. (And I was a Hart delegate, mind.) The superdelegates didn't fall off a dump truck; they were created precisely so as to have an independent vote.

I think most people are right to be up in arms about such a situation, seeing as how while that outcome might technically be within the rules, it's also against historical norms about what role the superdelegates play in the nominating process.
I think people are free to think what they want about how superdelegates vote, myself. It's perfectly legitimate to object to their vote, or praise their vote, as you like, since it's all just opinion.

Mind, I'm an Obama delegate, and I long ago called for all Obama supporters to pressure their elected officials with a convention vote to vote in alignment with the preferences of their constituency. That's my opinion.

But my opinion in this is simply my opinion; I don't see any reason to consider an opinion that unpledged delegates should vote on any of a number of other bases as illegitimate. If we, the voters, disapprove of the choices of our elected officials, we should vote them out of office. But it wouldn't be, in this case, because they did something ethically wrong; it would be because we disagreed with their choice. Unpledged delegates are free to vote as they wish and think best, and that was the entire intent of creating them.

(I think they should be a smaller percentage of total delegates, more on the order of 10%-%12, rather than the current 20%, but I don't think the principle is a bad one; I'm not big on pure democracy in every case, uber alles, since another term for that is "lynch mob" and another is "pogromists." I think tempering democracy on the margins is sometimes a good idea. Sue me.)

I don't think it would be illegitimate (= a violation of the rules) for superdelegates to hand the nomination to Clinton. Moreover, I can see a point to having superdelegates who do not have to follow the popular vote. (I don't mean I favor this; I'm agnostic on that score. Just that I can see the point.)

Imagine, for example, that we were the Republicans, that McCain had seemed to be on track for the nomination when there was only one candidate left to secure the anti-McCain vote, and that that candidate had won. Now imagine that that candidate was a complete Froot Loop. I'm fine with casting Huckabee in that role, but if you're not, imagine Ron Paul or, I don't know, Mike Gravel, or whoever: just some candidate that there was good reason to think had won as an anti-McCain protest, and would be a disaster in November.

In that case, part of me thinks: go with the popular vote. (The small-d democrat side.) But another part of me thinks: sheesh, it would be worth having a decent candidate in November. Probably neither McCain nor my imaginary catastrophe candidate. Maybe Romney, or someone else who really would seem like an acceptable choice to most of the party, and who would give many voters what they wanted (not-McCain) without handing it to Mr. Catastrophe.

At any rate, it's not (imho) a crazy thing to want some mechanism for avoiding disasters of that kind.

The thing is, the entire point of that mechanism is to avoid a disaster, not to provide a regular mechanism for overriding the will of the voters. And the situation envisaged is not the situation we're in. I think Clinton has major electability problems, but I don't think she'd be a disaster, and if the superdelegates decided to override what the voters wanted to block her, I would think that was overstepping their role. Likewise, I don't think Obama would be a disaster either, so ditto.

The superdelegates were, as I understand it, given their power to deal with something more like a Kucinich or Sharpton nomination. But that's not what we're facing, either way.

This is all unrelated to Seb's point, with which I agree: that it's just nuts to be telegraphing this strategy now. Though I think Ara's point -- that this might be a means of communicating determination to wavering fundraisers -- is also a good one. (I have to say, if I were a Clinton donor, I'd be wondering about sending more money. Specifically, I'd be wondering about where all the money they already had went.)

I really don't get the claim that Obama is trying to change the rules because he thinks the Superdelegates should follow the will of the people.

What is the rule that he is changing? None that I'm aware of. Seems that this argument is being solely to counter the very clera attempt by the Clintons to change the rules regarding Florida and Michigan.

Yes.

"The superdelegates were, as I understand it, given their power to deal with something more like a Kucinich or Sharpton nomination."

I think it was considerably more generalized than that: they were simply given the power to exercise their best judgment, as they see fit.

And just in case it isn't obvious to all, let me remind everyone that in every case (that I'm aware of; I've not investigated every state's rules, so it's possible I'm ignorant of an exception), the superdelegates are all elected to their position in democratic elections. We choose delegates by a wide variety of means across the states, including both in caucuses and primaries, and including by electing officials to office. We're free, of course, to urge the party to change the rules in future as we see fit.

But the superdelegates aren't any more inherently undemocratic a part of the process than are the delegates chosen in primary states, who are, after all, appointed, not elected in any way, although they are bound by party rules in certain ways.

If superdelegates decide for whatever reason -- good of the party, good of their state, good of their district, good of their constituents, good for their own future, good for the country, good for the world, good for puppies and babies -- that one candidate or another is the better choice for those reasons -- that's how they were intended to vote, so far as I am aware. There was no more specific provision than that, that I am aware of, although if someone has some citations on documentation from the time to demonstrate otherwise, I'll certainly welcome any supportable correction.

Again, then, what voters make of those choices is up to them. If we don't like the way one of our elected officials voted at the convention, we're free to vote them out. That's the fully appropriate way to punish any elected official we think has "over-stepped."

But until then, they're free to vote as they like, and we're free to think of them what we like.

George McGovern was elected to the Democratic nomination for president in perfectly Democratic form. (And I think he was an infinitely better choice for the office than Richard Nixon was.)

But the Democratic Party decided that his candidacy was a sort to avoid, and they created a mechanism to allow certain officials to have a free vote, on whatever basis they wished. They did not create a mechanism to allow a vote only a certain basis. I'm afraid that before I'm going to give credence to a theory that the intent was limited in some fashion, I'd have to see some citations and documentation to support that claim, myself.

But, as I said, I'm entirely open to reconsideration if such evidence is put forth.

Again, then, what voters make of those choices is up to them. If we don't like the way one of our elected officials voted at the convention, we're free to vote them out. That's the fully appropriate way to punish any elected official we think has "over-stepped."

I would think that we are also free, as individual voters, to urge these elected superdelegates to vote as we wish them to, since that is, after all, part of why we elected them. (And they're free to ignore our wishes, too, since that's why they were elected, but only at peril of being voted out of office).

These are the delegate selection rules. Rule 9 covers the "Unpledged and Pledged Party Leaders and Elected Official Delegates." It covers who they are and how they are to be recognized.

Of limitations of their vote, or intent, there is nothing whatever. There just is no such rule.

"I would think that we are also free, as individual voters, to urge these elected superdelegates to vote as we wish them to, since that is, after all, part of why we elected them."

Was I, perhaps, unclear in some part of this?

Mind, I'm an Obama delegate, and I long ago called for all Obama supporters to pressure their elected officials with a convention vote to vote in alignment with the preferences of their constituency. That's my opinion.

I've been reading through large chunks of this book, The Presidential Nominating Process: A Place for Us?, by Rhodes Cook, a history of the nomination processes.

He writes:

[...] In creating this new class of delegates, party officials had several goals in mind. They wanted to reengage Democratic leaders across the country in the presidential nominating process, add an element of "peer review" that had been missing in the process in the 1970s, and create a firewall to blunt any party outsider that had built up a head of steam in the primaries. Superdelegates have comprised roughly 15 to 20 percent of the Democratic convention since 1984 and have often lined up en masse behind the front runner.
That seems to be about all he wrote that's relevant, for what it's worth, although slices of the book aren't accessible.

It's interesting to be reminded, however, that Ted Kennedy, in his 1980 challenge to President Carter, also won the New York, California, Pennsylvania, Massachussets, and New Jersey primaries before losing the nomination to Carter 51% to 37%. (Over a million primary voters voted for a variation of "none of the above," says Cook.)

Kennedy also tried to get the rule binding delegates to a candidate lifted, but lost that vote.

adam: "Jay, I'm really curious whether for some reason you just don't get the issue here, or whether you're yanking everyone's chain. We've all gone over this at length, and yet your argument hasn't changed at all. You're either being disingenuous or not listening,"

Duh, uh, yeah, you must be right, adam, I just don't get it: the issues are much too complex for my inferior mind to absorb; and no, I wasn't being disingenuous, it's just that my attention-deficit foggy brain kinda phases out on any explanation with words longer then three syllables, making it oh so difficult to grasp the complexities of the issues with the same brilliant flashes of perspicuity you exhibit with such regularity.

And by the way, can you recommend a community health clinic here in Los Angeles where I can get injected with politically-correct serum to prevent me from making incorrect hysterical faux-pas statements in future postings? I certainly would appreciate that, because I don't want to offend anybody's delicate sensibilities by using words with hidden offensive meaning.

ara: "Is anyone here arguing that she's entitled to all the Michigan delegates or are people conceding that point and arguing only for Florida?"

The Florida vote was a level field for both candidates: neither one campaigned or advertised there, and to be fair to the Florida voters who went to the polls, it should stand.

For Michigan, because only Hillary's name was on the ballot (even though substantial Obama supporters voted 'uncommitted') another vote is in order.

G. Farber: "WHEREAS, it is the desire of Presidential campaigns, the DNC, the states and the American people to bring finality, predictability and common sense to the nominating calendar..."

Common sense to the nominating calendar...? Well, it's obvious the pledge in invalid on it's surface, based as it is on a faulty premise.

THEREFORE, I _______________, Democratic Candidate for President, pledge I shall not campaign or participate in any state which schedules a presidential election primary or caucus before Feb. 5, 2008, except for the states of Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina, as "campaigning" is defined by the rules and regulations of the DNC.

I'll split a hair with you, on the above, Gary: the pledge promises not to campaign or participate in states that schedule primaries or caucuses before Feb 5, 2008, except for the exceptions; it doesn't say anything about promising not to contest the results of those exclusions down the road, especially, as noted above, they're based on mistaken assumptions.

I agree that both candidates signed the pledge; and at the time, neither forcefully spoke out about the unfairness of excluding state delegates from the nominating count: instead, both cavalierly deferred to the DNC's authoritarian calendar strictures, to the detriment of the citizens of Michigan and Florida.

In other words, they were both too chicken-hearted to do what was right, Instead, they opted to act in what they perceived to be their own best political interests: Obama playing ball with the DNC because at that time he was slim on campaign funds and didn't want to waste money in Florida and Michigan where he trailed Hillary in the polls; Clinton because she wanted to win Iowa, and didn't want to antagonize voters there upset over the idea of primary competition from other states.

As screwed up as the two-party system is, when it comes to narrowing down the choices foisted on us, the electorate is supposed to collectively 'hire' the nominees by voting for them (it's a stacked deck, but at least we get to cut the cards). But the DNC short circuited the process, arbitrarily acting like a Star Chamber tribunal, treating the voters of both states like surfs, They tossed the Michigan and Florida votes into the trash, and in so doing inherently flawed the nominating process nationwide.

This shouldn't be a partisan issue. Or about Hillary's ambition or Obama's ambition. Or what they promised to do or not promise to do about the DNCs ruling to punish Florida and Michigan for moving up their primaries.

It's about having an inclusive election process where the nominees are chosen by all the states, not by the whim of political operatives.

G. Farber: "And just in case it isn't obvious to all, let me remind everyone that in every case (that I'm aware of; I've not investigated every state's rules, so it's possible I'm ignorant of an exception), the superdelegates are all elected to their position in democratic elections"

Don't all former Democratic Presidents and Vice Presidents and Speakers of the House and Minority Leaders, and all sitting Democratic governors automatically become super delegates? Which would make them more like titular appointments then democratically chosen delegates?

At best, I'd say the superdelegate system is a quasi-democratic process. And the growing number of registered Independents have virtually no input in the process.

But the superdelegates aren't any more inherently undemocratic a part of the process than are the delegates chosen in primary states, who are, after all, appointed, not elected in any way

Maybe in some states, but not in all, or even most, I think. The delegates are often elected, sometimes as part of the primary election, sometimes in a separate election or caucus, and those elections generally have more people voting in them than the ones that choose the superdelegates who are party leaders rather than elected officials.

Sitting Democratic governors aren't elected, Jay? And why are you singling them out as different from the sitting Democratic senators and representatives?

But the DNC short circuited the process, arbitrarily acting like a Star Chamber tribunal, treating the voters of both states like surfs, They tossed the Michigan and Florida votes into the trash, and in so doing inherently flawed the nominating process nationwide.

the FL and MI Dem parties did that, knowing full well what the consequences would be.

You know what I would like to see? I would like to see Clinton fight as hard for General Election Electors as she does for Democratic delegates.

"I'll split a hair with you, on the above, Gary: the pledge promises not to campaign or participate in states that schedule primaries or caucuses before Feb 5, 2008, except for the exceptions; it doesn't say anything about promising not to contest the results of those exclusions down the road,"

It explicitly does:

[...] C. Each state party shall provide for a thirty (30) day1 period of public comment to solicit opinion on the state’s Affirmative Action Plan and Delegate Selection Plan prior to adoption. All written public comments submitted to the state Democratic Committee shall be submitted along with the plans to the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the Democratic National Committee (“DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee”).

D. State Delegate Selection and Affirmative Action Plans shall be submitted to the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee for approval on or before May 1, 2007.

E. The DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee shall act on the proposed plans as soon as practicable, but in no case later than September 16, 2007, or four months before the respective state’s first determining step, whichever is earlier. Its decision shall be final and binding.

There's no provision for do-overs, or reserving your objections until later, or going back on your pledge.

The rules, which Senator Clinton and Senator Obama pledged to adhere to, further state:

[...] 11. TIMING OF THE DELEGATE SELECTION PROCESS
A. No meetings, caucuses, conventions or primaries which constitute the first determining stage in the presidential nomination process (the date of the primary in primary states, and the date of the first tier caucus in caucus states) may be held prior to the first Tuesday in February or after the second Tuesday in June in the calendar year of the national convention. Provided, however, that the Iowa precinct caucuses may be held no earlier than 22 days before the first Tuesday in February; that the Nevada first-tier caucuses may be held no earlier than 17 days before the first Tuesday in February; that the New Hampshire primary may be held no earlier than 14 days before the first Tuesday in February; and that the South Carolina primary may be held no earlier than 7 days before the first Tuesday in February. In no instance may a state which scheduled delegate selection procedures on or between the first Tuesday in February and the second Tuesday in June 1984 move out of compliance with the provisions of this rule.
Italics mine.

And finally:

[...] C. 1. a. Violation of timing: In the event the Delegate Selection Plan of a state party provides or permits a meeting, caucus, convention or primary which constitutes the first determining stage in the presidential nominating process to be held prior
to or after the dates for the state as provided in Rule 11 of these rules, or in the
event a state holds such a meeting, caucus, convention or primary prior to or after
such dates, the number of pledged delegates elected in each category allocated to
the state pursuant to the Call for the National Convention shall be reduced by
fifty (50%) percent, and the number of alternates shall also be reduced by fifty
(50%) percent. In addition, none of the members of the Democratic National
Committee and no other unpledged delegate allocated pursuant to Rule 8.A. from
that state shall be permitted to vote as members of the state’s delegation. In
determining the actual number of delegates or alternates by which the state’s delegation is to be reduced, any fraction below .5 shall be rounded down to the nearest whole number, and any fraction of .5 or greater shall be rounded up to the next nearest whole number.
b. A presidential candidate who campaigns in a state where the state party is in violation of the timing provisions of these rules, or where a primary or caucus is set by a state’s government on a date that violates the timing provisions of these rules, may not receive pledged delegates or delegate votes from that state. Candidates may, however, campaign in such a state after the primary or cauccaucus that violates these rules. “Campaigning” for purposes of this section includes, but is not limited to, purchasing print, internet, or electronic advertising that reaches a significant percentage of the voters in the aforementioned state; hiring campaign workers; opening an office; making public appearances; holding news conferences; coordinating volunteer activities; sending mail, other than fundraising requests that are also sent to potential donors in other states; using paid or volunteer phoners or automated calls to contact voters; sending emails or establishing a website specific to that state; holding events to which Democratic voters are invited; attending events sponsored by state or local Democratic organizations; or paying for campaign materials to be used in such a state. The Rules and Bylaws Committee will determine whether candidate activities are covered by this section.
All the issues raised are covered. There was a 30-day period for any candidate to protest any state rule they objected to. The candidates signed a pledge to adhere to these rules, including the only option for protest being during the 30-day period. To not adhere to these rules is to not adhere to these rules, which would be breaking the signed pledge.

Like it or not.

Okay, so even you Jay Jerome, think the Ickes position is a little sleazy when it comes to Michigan. The Clinton camp is not calling for a revote in Michigan. They want to seat those delegates, as if she had won a fair election.

Oops, I accidentally left this part out:

[...] 4. Upon a determination of the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee that a state is in violation as set forth in subsections (1), (2) or (3) of section C. of this rule, the reductions required under those subsections shall become effective automatically and immediately and without further action of the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee, the Executive Committee of the DNC, the DNC or the Credentials Committee of the Democratic National Convention.

5. Nothing in the preceding subsections of this rule shall be construed to prevent the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee from imposing additional sanctions, including, without limitation, those specified in subsection (6) of this section C., against a state party and against the delegation from the state which is subject to the provisions of any of subsections (1) through (3) of this section C.,

[...]

6. [...] Possible sanctions include, but are not limited to: reduction of the state’s delegation; [...] reducing, in part or in whole, the number of the state’s temporary and permanent members to the Standing Committees; reducing, in part or in whole, the number of guests, VIP and other passes/tickets to the National Convention and related functions; assignment of location of the state’s delegates and alternates in the Convention hall; and assignment of the state’s housing and other convention related facilities.

Thus the sanction of no delegates.

Jay, I, and I think most people, would have no problem seating both MI and FL if they ahd a new election, either a conventional primary or caucus.

That is the only way to amke sure the process is fair.

Obviously, in MI it is important since Clinton was the only major candidate on the ballot.

But in FL, one thing we don't know is how many people did not vote because they knew (or at least were assured by the DNC and the candidates) that the results were unimportant. This is form of disenfranchisement far worse than what Clinton talks about concerning the caucus system.

Many of the people that did vote did so because of referendum on the ballot concerning property taxes. In fact, that was really the only significant thing on the ballot. So how many that didn't care about that referendum chose not to vote that would have voted if they ahd been told that as of now the election is really just a beauty contest, but there is a good chance that it may turn out important, so get your ass in gear and vote?

Even more so if they knew from the beginning that it meant something.

So without a new election in FL seating the delegates is bogus, just like seating the delegates from MI would be.

BTW, glad to know that you don't care about promises made by candidates and also that you are that good a mind reader.

A Hillary superdelegate (Ohio Governor) is on TV defending the righteousness the ability of superdelegates to override the popular vote. He is also defending seating the Michigan and Florida delegates.

He does not ‘have the intention’ of being the Vice President.

She ain’t going away. This one could make for good TV.

Jay Jerome: "Obama playing ball with the DNC because at that time he was slim on campaign funds"

When was that, exactly?

Am I the only one who, hearing Ickes statements, is reminded of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster? Here's a quote from an engineering ethics page on Challenger (http://ethics.tamu.edu/ethics/shuttle/shuttle1.htm):

Boisjoly and Thompson tried to convince their senior managers to stay with their original decision not to launch. A senior executive at Thiokol, Jerald Mason, commented that a management decision was required. The managers seemed to believe the O-rings could be eroded up to one third of their diameter and still seat properly, regardless of the temperature. The data presented to them showed no correlation between temperature and the blow-by gasses which eroded the O-rings in previous missions. According to testimony by Kilminster and Boisjoly, Mason finally turned to Bob Lund and said, "Take off your engineering hat and put on your management hat." Joe Kilminster wrote out the new recommendation and went back on line with the teleconference.
(emphasis added)

Different hats indeed...

Jay Jerome: And by the way, can you recommend a community health clinic here in Los Angeles...

So can I assume from this that you are not, in fact, from either Michigan or Florida yourself?

"If this isn't resolved it's going to be a no-win situation for the Democrats, and a windfall for the Republicans"

I agree. The spectacle of HRC making a move based on MI and FL would be a windfall to Republicans if HRC eventually received the nomination. BTW, I am very curious how the Obama supporters would react in such a situation. Could you really hold your nose to vote for HRC in the general election?


it was resolved before the primaries started. quit pretending the rules weren't perfectly clear going into it.

It seems to me the rules were perfectly clear reading Gary's excerpt. What is not perfectly clear to me is how the pledge was in support of those rules. It seems to simply say a candidate agrees to not "campaign or participate." It doesn't say, for example "I agree completely with the Delegate Selection Rules and pledge to support those rules."

If I have stated things correctly, this distinction poses no real challenge to a Clinton and in fact is a hole big enough to drive a truck through. Nothing required as nuanced as say, the meaning of the word "is."

Gary, could you or someone else explain how the pledge directly ties into the Delegate Selection Rules? While to me there is a clear moral link and HRC should have stomped her feet earlier if she saw a problem here, it seems that she has an argument to make however unsavory.

A final point: I find it no small irony that so many arguments are being raised once again with respect to FL, but this time entirely within the dem camp ("disenfranchised" and "following the established rules" being the two that predominate here). As I do not know any of the posters' positions back in 2000, so I dare not say the positions are hypocritical. Just ironic.

"BTW, I am very curious how the Obama supporters would react in such a situation. Could you really hold your nose to vote for HRC in the general election?"

Yes. The Supreme Court alone would ensure that I could vote for HRC. The idea of electing a candidate who regularly draws analogies between our occupation of Iraq and our presence in Korea or Germany would do the same. And even if I were preoccupied solely with process, rather than substance, I would think: the Republican establishment has such an edge in the Evil Dirty Tricks category that I don't think that what HRC does could possibly compare.

I said earlier that one (secondary) reason I hope Obama wins is that I want the "safe" Democratic consultants to lose their lock on the party. But that pales in comparison to my desire to see the "dirty tricks" school of Republican operatives consigned to the dustbin of history, and to see the Republican Party come to regard them as emblems of a shameful time in its past.

Yes. The Supreme Court alone would ensure that I could vote for HRC

That I can identify with on the opposite side. I may have to hold my nose and vote for McCain.

And even if I were preoccupied solely with process, rather than substance . . .

IMHO, HRC is making it rather clear that no party has a corner on dirty tricks. Obama certainly has that in his favor up to this point as a candidate.

Anyone else think the stupid Obama "plagiarism" story is going to blow up in Clinton's face?

I haven't heard the plagiarism story, but I just heard on the radio the authors of a new book on doublespeak claiming that Al Gore lied about his mother singing him to sleep with "Look for the Union Label" (a joke he made once), so apparently no smear is too stupid to live on indefinitely.

"Gary, could you or someone else explain how the pledge directly ties into the Delegate Selection Rules?"

Yes.

"_______________, Democratic Candidate for President, pledge I shall not campaign or participate in any state [...] as 'campaigning' is defined by the rules and regulations of the DNC."

"Participating" includes accepting votes that the rules and regs forbid.

Dolis Soyle, speaking for Clinton, wrote: "And we believe the DNC’s rules and its calendar provide the necessary structure to respect and honor that role. Thus, we will be signing the pledge to adhere to the DNC approved nominating calendar."

Adhering to the calendar and rules and not "participating" means adhering to the rules, said rules stating that Florida and Michigan have no votes this year. You can't accept votes in an election that officially didn't happen and didn't count, which you pledged to adhere to.

"IMHO, HRC is making it rather clear that no party has a corner on dirty tricks."

Clinton hasn't engaged in any "dirty tricks" that I'm aware of, unless we're changing history and the meaning of the term.

As I've written before, "dirty tricks" are such things as firebombing your opponent's HQ, burglarizing it, forging documents, putting out phony flyers in your opponent's name, sabotaging their transportation and comunications, caging voters, jamming phone banks, wiretapping phones, and so on and so on.

Trying to be tricksy with rules and rhetoric, or telling direct lies, is not, by any shade of language or imagination, engaging in "dirty tricks." You can lie 100% of the time, every day of the week, every day of your campaign, and that has never, ever, ever, ever, ever, been considered a "dirty trick," that I'm aware of.

If you are aware of Dick Tuck/Don Segretti/Chuck Colson type activities by the Clinton campaign, though, please bring them to everyone's attention.

Hilzoy: Jay Jerome: "Obama playing ball with the DNC because at that time he was slim on campaign funds" When was that, exactly


In the fourth quarter, of 1987.

Compared to Obama's yearly total receipts ($102,170,668) he had spent $83,544,420, was in debt another $792,684, and although he had $18,626,248 on hand the Iowa and Nevada and New Hampshire and Michigan and South Carolina caucuses and primaries were fast approaching.

Hillary at that time had $37 million on hand, about double what he had. In those early 'window' states, the two Democratic candidates spent about $35 million between them. Capitaleye.org says Obama spent the most, but not how much. But even if you split the number in half, that's close to the dollar amount he had in reserve at the end of December. And Super Tuesday was fast approaching as well, where a single ad running only 10 times in a state like California would cost about $3 to $4 million dollars.

So compared to what he was going to need to continue to vigorously compete, $18 million really was slim pickings.

cleek: "the FL and MI Dem parties did that, knowing full well what the consequences would be."

No they didn't. The DNC had allowed New Hampshire to move up it's primary without penalty. So why not Florida and Michigan too? At best they thought they would get a mild slap on the wrist.

And they weren't alone in that assumption. After the Florida Legislature changed the primary date,
Stacie Paxton, the press secretary for the DNC, told the NY Times that the committee was working with the state party to find alternatives complying with the rules.

"This is not the first time that a state legislature has set its primary on a date outside D.N.C. party rules," she said, suggesting Florida's delegates could still be seated at the nominating convention "if the state agreed to hold a caucus later in the year."

The Obama campaign didn't think it was going to be a big deal either.

"The D.N.C. and the Florida state party will arbitrate this and we will compete on the final field vigorously," Bill Burton, a spokesman for Mr. Obama, said in an e-mail message, referring to the Democratic National Committee.

G. Farber: [re: my contention that the Pledge he posted doesn't prevent the candidates who signed it from contesting the results of the delegate exclusions]

and to the above Gary says:

"it explicitly does"

And I say, no, it explicitly doesn't.

If I wrote that a giraffe is an animal having a very long neck, would you say, no, it explicitly isn't, and to prove your point post a paragraph from the animal encyclopedia about aardvarks: animals with long narrow snouts?

That's what you did with your 'explicitly' link. You blurred one document (the Pledge) with another (the DNC Delegate Selection Rules).

You should know the difference between the two, since you posted the Pledge:

THEREFORE, I _______________, Democratic Candidate for President, pledge I shall not campaign or participate in any state which schedules a presidential election primary or caucus before Feb. 5, 2008, except for the states of Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina, as "campaigning" is defined by the rules and regulations of the DNC.

So, when I said it (the Pledge) doesn't say anything about promising not to contest the results of those exclusions (nullifying the Florida and Michigan delegates) that's 100% accurate.

And when you said it (the Pledge) explicitly does, you were 100% wrong.

The Pledge is about campaigning. Period. It doesn't mention the exclusion of the Florida and Michigan delegates. It doesn't ask the candidates to state if they in favor of the ruling, or against it. Nor does it ask them to promise not to contest the ruling, after those primaries have been completed. It just asks them to promise not to campaign in those states.

With me so far?

So lets examine the Delegate Selection Rules you posted, to see if they have anything whatsoever to do with contesting the results of the Primary exclusions down the road.

To begin, I have no idea why you think sections C, D, and E are relevant. They have nothing to do with scheduling primaries, or contesting them. They're about Affirmative Action and Delegate Selection procedures.

It's also unclear what you mean when you say Senator Clinton and Senator Obama "pledged to adhere to" the rules in section 11: TIMING OF THE DELEGATE SELECTION PROCESS.

Did they they put their hands on the Rules book, like witnesses in a trial swearing an oath on the bible? Or sign specific copies of the rules, with smears of blood?

The Delegate Selection Rules aren't holy writ. The 'rules' are works in progress. They're certainly not set in stone, like the 10 Commandmants. For example, in the section you posted above (11.A) - the Selection Rules say: "the New Hampshire primary may be held no earlier than 14 days before the first Tuesday in February."

Well, the first Tuesday in February was February 5th (Super Tuesday), and fourteen days before that was January 22nd, the earliest it could be held according to the rules you posted. But lo and behold: the New Hampshire primary was held on January 8th, twenty-eight days earlier then the Selection Rules stipulate.

Guess what: the DNC changed the rules: they let New Hampshire move the primary date after numerous complaints from New Hampshire officials and party members. Where those people who complained in violation of the Delegate Selection Rules because they asked to change those rules?

Nowhere does it say in any of the DNC rulebooks that members of the Democratic Party, including candidates, can't ask for a ruling to be changed or overturned. The only thing both candidates agreed to abide by, was the ban against campaigning in the two states.

And your assertion that "there was a 30-day period for any candidate to protest any state rule they objected to" is a red herring, and a non-existant one to boot. Thirty days to protest what? In the rules document you linked to there are six 30-day references, mostly to jurisdictional challenges, or public comments about Affirmative Action plans. There are no references to 'candidates' protesting about anything..

All in all, Gary, aside from a good job of cut-and-paste from the link, you pretty much got everything else bollixed up.

Jay: In the fourth quarter, of 1987.

I'll assume you're not totally daft and mean 2007, but even so -- 4th quarter? Correct me if I'm wrong, but the delegate decision was made in August.

I mean, seriously... what?

And if Obama's excuse for "playing ball" with the DNC is a lack of campaign funds, what's Hillary's?

Gary:

I don't define "dirty tricks" so restrictively. If HRC follows through on trying to claim the FL/MI vote, that is a dirty trick in my book, especially if there is a link between the pledge and rules as you say. There is an element of reliance on the pledge on the part of the other candidates that is lacking from a simple lie.

And in terms of dirty tricks on the dems at large, let's not forget the tire slashing of tires of the Repub "get out the vote" vans in Milwaukee, Hsu, the threats of felony convictions to Ralph Nader petition signers,Chinagate, crack for voter cards.

I'm not here to argue which party is worse. However, I think it is disingenuous or naive to think it is one-sided.

Anarch: "So can I assume from this that you are not, in fact, from either Michigan or Florida yourself?"

Correct. But I do live in the U.S., and am effected by what will happen nationally if Florida's primary votes are ignored, just as I was effected when Florida votes were ignored in a recent Presidential election, tipping the balance to the Bush-League president presently in office, and all the calumny he's brought down on us.

Therefore: Let Our People Vote!

"The Pledge is about campaigning. Period."

"I shall not campaign or participate in...

So that claim is false. "or participate in" is there, before the period. Your statement is untrue. Period.

"...any state which schedules a presidential election primary or caucus before Feb. 5, 2008, except for the states of Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina, as 'campaigning' is defined by the rules and regulations of the DNC."

"The Delegate Selection Rules aren't holy writ."

No. But Clinton swore to abide by them. As they were.

But, fine, carry on explaining why it won't matter. Clinton is going to win, Obama is "the perfect Republican mole," and any losses are all because of it being so unfair, and they don't matter anyway, and we're all "pie-in-the-sky latte-liberals," "liberals are as blockheaded as conservatives, maybe more so," you're a "a registered Independent now, and we’re the ones who are going to decide who the next president is – and that’s a good thing.."

It's a little unclear to me why, since you assert that "if the Democrats take over the reigns of power and there's a disaster comparable to Katrina, they'll screw up as badly," you favor Clinton so much, unless you think she's most apt to lose to McCain.

It's your claim, after all, that:

[...] With Democrats in charge, it won't be any different. All the government agencies -- FEMA and DOD and DOJ and ETC -- will still be saturated with graduates from the same colleges, inculcated with the same values, the same views, the same way of talking, writing, gossiping, emailing, and covering their ass when they screw up. In other words, the same ole you know what.
So why are you now arguing so... charmingly... against Obama, but for Clinton?

Jay, just because Hillary didn't pull the same shenanigans in FL as she did in MI doesn't mean FL was a "level playing field." The whole point of a campaign is to allow the candidates to make themselves and their positions known to the voters. Without a campaign, the primary was largely about name recognition, an area where Clinton had a huge advantage over Obama. There's simply no way that Clinton's campaign (or supporters) can honestly claim that she won FL fair and square. An election which doesn't allow the candidates to communicate with the voters is just not legitimate.

Gary, I feel that your argument is having little affect. Perhaps this is all just an effectation?

To Answer the question:

"BTW, I am very curious how the Obama supporters would react in such a situation. Could you really hold your nose to vote for HRC in the general election?"

I am an independent in Virginia. I have voted Republican in every election I have voted in. I support Obama because I believe that we need change in our political process. I believe that the Clintons are the epitome of what is wrong with the political process today.

If Hillary managed to "steal" the Democratic nomination, I believe that it would alienate the independents (and republicans) that are supporting Obama and would result in a Republican in the White House.

I know that I would put all of my resources and influence into defeating Hillary.

Correct.

Then would you please mind not telling those of us who are what's best for us? Yeesh.

Also:

Therefore: Let Our People Vote!

No offense, but they're not your people: you're not a Democrat. You've said so yourself. You're perfectly free to shill for Hillary in the general election should she win the nomination -- and I encourage you to do so -- but a) coming from another state and b) not actually being a Democrat makes your interest in this matter more than a little suspect, and my interest in your interest less than a little.

Someone was going to contribute 5 bucks to Obama every time the Clinton campaign did something stupid, and I have the urge to contribute 50 cents to Obama every time Jay Jerome posts any comment over 100 words. If I were to start with this thread, the total is $4.50. If anyone else wants to join, I'll try and keep a running total.

I should add that if Jay would like to contribute on some subject other than HRC vs. BHO, I'd certainly welcome that. However, the whole "I'm an independent fighting for the rights of voters in the Dem primary" is a comment too far for me.

Deal. Except that I'm planning to kick in one hundred bucks at the ennd of the month, so ...let me know what the numbers are and I'll add it to my onne hundred.

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