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March 10, 2008

Comments

I think it's also worth emphasizing that this has been put off for so long that it's put Obama into an extremely unfair double-bind. He never really had a rational option besides following the DNC rules, but having done so, if there's any sort of do-over in Florida or Michigan, he'll be painted as "the guy who tried to disenfranchise you" even though he never really had another option.

There's all kinds of other reasons why this is just totally screwed up, but that's the one that stands out in my mind -- and it's even problematic if there never ends up being a do-over. The Clinton campaign (or rather, many of their supporters, many of the folks at TalkLeft in particular) have been smearing Obama as anti-democracy (small-d) even though the bottom line is that he never had another realistic option that didn't involve sacrificing his entire campaign or otherwise disenfranchising all the other voters who supported him in other states.

One of the most underhanded political tricks you can pull is blackballing your opponent for something that they didn't actually do. It's the same tactic as putting a poison pill in a defense bill and then screaming to high heaven when the other person votes against it -- and the GOP already plays this card more than enough for both parties.

If Clinton wins by using superdelegates, that doesn't mean that I won't vote her. Hell, if she wins by getting the Michigan and Florida delegations seated, as currently constituted, it doesn't mean that I won't vote for her.

I will not vote for Hillary Clinton in the general election because I think that she is a particularly toxic combination of amoral and ineffectual. The amoral part bothers me a lot. She has become so transparent about winning being all that's important, regardless of method, that it's clear that were going to get a repetition of her husband's administration. Unfortunately, and it is unfortunate, this isn't the 1990s any longer. Where we need to go, an aura of moral legitimacy is needed that she can not provide.

I think that her election would be destructive to both the country and to progressive politics. looking out over the span of the next 1-2 decades, I think that we will be much worse off if Clinton is elected now, does the terrible job that her history suggests that she will do, and hands off to a Republican at the end of her administration, than we would be if McCain craters for a term, and all of the blame for the mess accrues to the Republicans. Regardless, I think that it would be a terrible idea for Hillary Clinton to be the next Democratic president.

Appointments to the Supreme Court are about the only thing that could get me to change my mind. Those are important, and a McCain presidency could be a disaster on that front. Whether that outweighs the disaster that Clinton would make of everything else is something I'm going to have to think about.

what about the Democrats in Florida and Michigan? What's the best way, one that respects the ex part rules, to include their votes?

but what bugs me is that Florida and Michigan broke the rules trying to disproportionately influence the selection process.

If we let them vote now, they could decide it, which ain't right.

I think ex ante fairness is, as you say, crucial. That said, I really, really, really hope that someone in the party is working very very hard to avoid a situation in which I have to decide what to do if Clinton wins through illegitimate means.

I will vote for her in November if she is nominated fairly. (Which means no Michigan and Florida, and also no raiding pledged delegates.) I very, very much want to avoid having to decide what to do if she is nominated unfairly. I suspect I will close my eyes and think of the Supreme Court. In fact, I know I will. To my mind, Clinton's various problems absolutely pale in comparison to those of the Republican party.

But I will be very, very angry at the party itself for putting my in this position, and counting on me and the rest of their voters to suck it up and be the responsible ones. Very angry. I will not express this anger by staying home on election day. I don't think I could live with myself if I did, and we elected John "100 years in Iraq, I was against waterboarding before I was for it" McCain. Let alone the idea of rolling back Supreme Court jurisprudence to 1937 (or 1837, or 1137, or wherever the Federalist society is trying to take us.)

I will express it by funding and working for a whole lot of insurgent Democrats. A lot. Because I will be very, very angry.

hil - i think having howard dean running the show helps on that front. imagine, for instance, if t-mac were still the DNC chair.

holding institutional power has its benefits. it's not that i think dean will throw it to obama. but he'll help make sure it isn't stolen (no love lost b/w him and the clintons, i understand)

It's been pretty widely rumored that Clark entered the 2004 race largely at the behest of the Clintons and some of the other DLC types in order to split Dean's netroots support. (Clark is, of course, good friends with the Clintons.) As you may recall, that it exactly what ended up happening. I really think Dean dislikes the Clintons even more than he lets on.

Seating FL and MI as is strikes me as unfair--NO ONE gave it their full effort. Taking them as is means taking a half-assed effort. That just strikes me as being unfair to the voters of FL and MI.

Have another go at it; let everyone give it their best shot. That's fair to the voters.

And by the way...if Obama and Clinton end up within 50 delegates of each other and within a percentage point of each other in popular voting, that says, to me, that the voters have found both of them worthy candidates. Either one of them would be an acceptable and legitimate candidate.

—That's not to imply that I think Dean would do anything to sabotage the Clinton campaign in any way. He's always struck me as a stand-up guy and he's clearly deeply committed to the party. I trust him to play it fair.

That said, I think that "no love lost" is a pretty mild way of describing the Dean-Clinton relationship.

That’s why it’s been so disappointing to see Jeralyn Merritt (whom I deeply respect) making the case for brazenly breaking the rules that all candidates agreed to.

You respect Fox News Channel's commentator Merritt?

I don't think that the candidates can be held fresponsible for everything every supporter says. I do howver think the the candidtes can set a tone and the tone will trickle down. Clinton's campaign messaging is consistantly dishonest in the up is down in is out way of her Rove mentor. That trickles down to otherwise decent people who then rationalize away like wingnuts on her behalf. Jeralyn is unreadable on campaign issues. The Dear Leader must be supported!

All signs seem to be that there will be some kind of do-over in MI & FL if Clinton doesn't withdraw after PA (or sooner). I share hilzoy's frustration (to put it mildly) that this would give an MI and FL just the kind of eyes-of-the-nation-are-upon-us position that they were jockeying for when they jumped the line in the first place.

I'm not as concerned that this would seriously affect Obama's numbers in MI. I don't see him getting hurt too badly there by a do-over, since voters could see that he wasn't even on the ballot. FL is perhaps another story, but I'd like to think that there are a plurality of rational voters in the state.

That faith in FL voters may be optimistic, however. Which prompts me to ask a question that's long troubled me. As much as I am a true believer in the 50-state strategy and am so thrilled by the wave of enthusisam for Democratic candidates across whole country, isn't there some way that the Democrats can identify another state or states with the same number of electoral college votes so they can feel free to say in any given election, "Tough it, Florida, we're not your gorram hostages"? Pandering to swing states is really annoying to the rest of us.

Er, I guess I'm agreeing with redwood, not hilzoy. (Not to say that I'm disagreeing with hilzoy.)

Clinton's campaign messaging is consistantly dishonest in the up is down in is out way of her Rove mentor.

Though I'm similarly baffled and repulsed by the disingenuousness of some of the people defending many of the Clinton campaign's cheap moves, we should really keep in mind that the comparison to Karl Rove is unfair and tends to belittle just what a scumbag he is. Remember, this is the guy who bugged his own office right before an election to get sympathy votes.

As far as I'm aware, the Clinton campaign hasn't engaged in anything like the push-polling Rove did against McCain in South Carolina, and monkeying with the DNC rules is a far cry from rigging Attorney appointments and throwing your opponents in jail, like Rove did to Gov. Siegelman in Alabama.

Not defending the Clinton campaign on this account -- just saying that we should really keep this in perspective.

I think that we will be much worse off if Clinton is elected now, does the terrible job that her history suggests that she will do, and hands off to a Republican at the end of her administration, than we would be if McCain craters for a term, and all of the blame for the mess accrues to the Republicans. Regardless, I think that it would be a terrible idea for Hillary Clinton to be the next Democratic president.

JMN,

Are you saying that because you expect the economy to nosedive?

That's the dilemma I'm wrestling with - if not Obama, then who does more damage in the WH for the next 4 years, taking into account Supreme Court nominees, the war, domestic policy issues, and putting a stamp of approval on the challenges to our Constitutional order under GWB so that they harden into established precedent?

If Hillary wins I can easily imagine a Jimmy Carter like episode where the WH handling of the war is deeply unpopular no matter what happens, the economy tanks, nothing useful comes out of a hopelessly gridlocked Congress, and the Democrats take all the blame and get hammered for it for an entire generation just like after 1980.

I'm trying to imagine if a combination of the economy, the impact of exploding debt service costs on the federal budget (which means no more money for the war regardless), and opposition in Congress is really enough to handcuff a President McCain and prevent him from doing much more damage than Hillary would, or if this is just totally unrealistic.

I keep thinking that at this particular moment we really need to follow the approach which Obama has articulated, to try to reduce the friction between the moderate wings of both parties so we can get something done in Congress over the next 4 years, or else it will be total gridlock. The problems we need to address are just looking too toxic for zero-sum games to work, and nothing is going to pass (especially in the Senate where 60 votes appears to be the new 50%) unless some sort of agreement can be brokered so that the political credit and blame is shared more or less equally between the parties.

I also don't know how to signal to the HRC campaign and my elected reps who are super delegates not to attempt to hijack the nomination, without threatening to withhold my vote in November. It's really the only leverage that I've got, but how can that threat be made credible if I'm not willing to follow through with it?

This feels far too much like the negotiations in a hostage-taking situation for my comfort.

krk - it is for this reason that i've grown to hate the state of ohio. (being from kentucky doesn't help on that front, but i'm so sick of campaigns having to be tailored to that frickin' state)

publius - Yeah, I think of Ohio the same way. Which is why Clinton's pandering victory speech there really boiled my blood.

TLTiABQ - I actually think that there's a clear and powerful way to signal to Clinton, superdelegates, and other party leaders how strongly you feel about the nomination being handled right: money and time. Tell them you might hold your nose and vote, but they won't get any donations or volunteering no matter how much they plead. (And, if you like, you can tell them exactly how much they'd be losing out on.)

Are you saying that because you expect the economy to nosedive?

I think that the economy is going to nosedive, and I worry about getting out of that dive in the next four years in a way that appeals to voters.

I worry that, even if the economy comes out of recession, it's going to be a recovery that doesn't help most people unless the right policies are implemented.

I'm worried that, not only will Clinton not get us out of Iraq, she'll fail to do so in a way that makes her look like she isn't trying. Obama might fail, but I suspect that he'll at least look like getting out is his goal.

I'm worried that Clinton won't be any more effective at passing health care reform than she was in 1993, and will manage only to galvanize opposition to reform.

I'm worried that this isn't the 1990s. This isn't a period where things are basically going well, and an administration that is devoted to small, incremental change, and not devoted to having any powers of moral persuasion, is going to find that it can't mobilize the public against its opponents, and also can't manage to overcome the most moderate elements of that opposition through arguments to ethics and self-interest. I think that Obama can frame debates in a way that will get the Olympia Snowe's and Susan Collins' of the GOP caucus to cross the aisle on important matters, while Clinton will make such cooperation almost impossible.

Lastly, I'm worried that Clinton will cement in people's minds the idea that the Democratic Party has no principles and just wants power. I think that this is an unfair characterization, but it is nonetheless one that many voters find persuasive. In this regards, John McCain is the worst possible opponent to run against, because of the perception that he has principles. I may think that they are hard to find, but that's the popular narrative. Even in victory, Clinton would confirm the worst stereotypes of Democrats.

I understand the fact that there is a misogynist streak that leads to all strong women being called "[female canine]." I think that this is a bad thing. That's one of the reasons that it's a damned shame that the first serious woman candidate for president is, in fact, a [female canine]. I contrast that with Obama, who runs the same risk of getting pigeonholed as the Angry Black Man. One, fairly small, difference between the two of them is that Obama recognizes the trap sitting before him, and either because he just doesn't lose his temper or because he has an iron discipline to never do it in public, he neutralizes that stereotype. Unfortunately, the [female canine] stereotype clings to Clinton. It may not be fair, but that's going to torpedo her effectiveness.

krk - it is for this reason that i've grown to hate the state of ohio. (being from kentucky doesn't help on that front, but i'm so sick of campaigns having to be tailored to that frickin' state)

I'm from Michigan originally, and I will testify that Ohioans are a special sort of stupid.

Although I respect Publius' position, it is, ahem, lawyerly.

Florida 2000 is a wound not yet healed. Although the "rules" were observed (the Supreme Court, however biased, did have jurisdiction) it was an election stolen by unblinkered and unpatriotic will to power by Bush and his camp.

If Hillary's strategy is to inflict as much damage as possible on Obama, truth & decency be damned, and then make whatever backroom deals are necessary to win over super-delegates, should her nomination be, as Publius puts it, accepted? Even if, say, racist appeals cause us to lose the black vote and consequently the election?

I am not convinced Hillary will stoop that low (and she has not yet), but if she does we should "accept" it? Because it follows ex ante rules?

As I said, lawyerly.

My bf is from Ohio originally, and is adamant that it is a sinkhole of stupidity, and that anyone with any sense leaves as soon as possible. He's watched me fret about the results - was it the red phone? was it the campaign by Rush? No no, he says. It's just Ohio.

It should be remembered that the "3AM" ad never aired in Ohio. The Clinton campaign split their messages: in Ohio it was all NAFTA all the time, and in Texas it was "Vote for Obama and your children will be murdered in their sleep."

Power was Obama and Rice was Bush and they all are real 'close.' Rice 300 am WMD school and Power 300 am book school. The article about Power and Obama has them real 'close.'

Re: Ohio and stupidity, q.v.. The only reasons I moved back after seven years away were 1) family and 2) cost of living. If not for those I'd still be in Northern Virginia.

Adam: Not defending the Clinton campaign on this account -- just saying that we should really keep this in perspective.

I agree.

Regardless of how you feel about either Democratic candidate, either one will make a far better President than John McCain - or, if McCain's health problems mean he has to drop out before November, whoever the next Republican candidate is.

Publius, I disagree with you on one point: I don't think the candidates fully endorsed the DNC's disenfranchisement of Florida and Michigan, or implicitly agreed to leave the issue off the table. I think they agreed not to campaign there, and it was a rather coerced agreement, so I don't think they have to be awfully gracious about it now. The DNC could have asked for more, and it could have ruled that Florida and Michigan could not participate in the primary season at all. It didn't go that far.

Granted, that's probably because nobody thought it would matter after Super Tuesday anyway, but still, the DNC left things open. I don't see a problem, in principle, with asking for some equitable solution.

In fact, in principle Obama, Clinton, the DNC, and the state parties have all indicated that they are ok with some kind of do-over. The problem is, as I understand it, that the states, not unreasonably, refuse to pay for another primary, the state parties don't have the funds to bankroll one, the DNC may not have enough either and is durned if it's going to spend that much to help scofflaws, and Clinton (and possibly the state parties) won't agree to anything less than a primary. I think a poll tax for a primary is unconstitutional, so they can't fund it out of contributions. I don't see how they're going to get out of this one.

"don’t see any lasting scars so long as the ending is legitimate – i.e., is consistent with ex ante rules."

Words to live by. But I don't see why you expect a party that doesn't live by them in the general election to hew to them in the primaries.

trilobite, the DNC could not have kept FL and MI from having a primary. Those are state run.

What gets me, particularly about MI, is that the candidates agreed not to campaign or participate in either state. In MI, Clinton keeping her name on the ballot is, to me, participating.

Also the 3AM ad ran several times in OH and it didn't cost the Clinton campaign one penny, thanks to all the news networks.

Brett: But I don't see why you expect a party that doesn't live by them in the general election to hew to them in the primaries.

But we're discussing the Democratic primaries, not the Republican party's primaries, Brett: so it's fairly irrelevant to the discussion whether the party that doesn't live by the rules in the general election hews to them in the Republican primaries.

Genocide, monster, Hillary. It's really Bill and his work with the only people he allowed to sue, since he's a lawyer and luciferian and shit...........

The Audacity(of hope) is a reporter program run throught the KIT Knight foundation..... like Problems from Hell and her clone, Chayes and pc....The Punishment of Virtue..... sounds like wierd Cahtolic shit to me.

He moved me, once in a lifetime............It's Condi and Power doing George and Obama on crank.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/03/06/wpower106.xml

Jes, remember Toricelli? The Democratic party was losing, so they went to court to swap candidates long after the deadline for ballot changes? And that's just one example. The Democratic party in recent years has become notorious for it's habit of going to court to change "ex ante" rules, when they prove inconvenient. Whether it's changing the deadline for recounts in Florida, having the polls held open longer in Democratic precincts all over the place, it's becoming endemic.

All that's novel here is a Democrat campaiging against a Democrat in the primaries in the same manner Democrats normally campaign against Republicans. It had to happen eventually.

yes......except that HRC DID campaign in Florida......! exhorting vogters in Florida on the day of the election, and telling them that whe would join them afterwards in a big elebration.

Cokie Roberts on NPR just said that depending on the count, Obama is ahead by 50 to 100 delegates, so it's really a tie. That's true, if by "50 to 100" you mean "95 to 110". Is it too much to hope that people you go on national news programs to talk about a subject actually know the basic facts?

I'm pretty sure that the delegates won't be seated as is. Dean has drawn his line in the sand, and he shows no sign of budging. AFAIK, practically nobody outside the Clinton campaign and those two states buy into seating the delegates as is. A do over, however, would be expensive and everyone is crying poor Maybe we can get Bill Gates and another nine billionaires together and have each of them write a check...

Another idea, floated by the Obama crowd, is to seat the delegates but have them split 50/50 for Clinton & Obama. Needless to say, the Clintonites object to that since it would take away their "victories". But hey, it would be cheap... and would reflect what would be the probable result if the was a do over. IMO, in a do over Clinton wins Florida and Obama takes Mighigan . Each would win by 8-10 points, and Clinton would net around 10 delegates out of the do- over.

The Democratic party in recent years has become notorious for it's habit of going to court to change "ex ante" rules, when they prove inconvenient.

The Republican party in recent years has become notorious for ignoring all "ex ante" rules when they will prevent the Republicans from "winning" the election. Also notorious for claiming that when Democrats take the Republicans to court because Republicans have broken the rules - as for example, Florida 2000, Republicans fighting the "ex ante" rule that every vote cast should be counted - it's somehow the Democrats who are breaking the rules.

I suppose: the familiar conservative rule of "gentlemanly behavior" - the lower classes don't protest when the aristocrats break their own rules in order to stay in power. It's ungentlemanly to protest that even plebian votes should be counted - but it's also democratic.

What I really love is that one minute Clinton talks out of one side of her mouth (re Michigan and Florida) about the urgency of respecting the will of the primary voters, and the next minute she talks out of the other side of her mouth about it being perfectly OK to try to poach pledged delegates. The hypocrisy and utter lack of principle are repulsive.

I still think the "poaching pledged delegates" charge is a bit bogus and a distraction from the real outrages by the Clinton campaign. Winning over pledged Obama delegates is far, far more unlikely and would be far, far more angering to people than winning over superdelegates, so the only reasonable interpretation is that she's talking about the Edwards delegates. Is there anything wrong with her and Obama trying to persuade the Edwards delegates?

While the early primary rules were certainly fair and democratic, the super-delegate process is not. The party implemented the super-delegate process precisely to insure that the voters would not choose the "wrong" candidate.

If the party wants to demonstrate its commitment to fairness and the democratic process, then the super-delegates should commit to voting for a 3rd individual (preferably someone with no presidential ambitions) on the first ballot. If neither Obama nor Clinton can win, then all delegates are released from their obligations to a candidate.

The best outcome possible is for someone to get the nomination who has not run in the primaries and thus, has not had to constantly defend their middle name or their tendency to cry or cuss, or the activities of their spouse or pastor. That would confuse the crap out of the Repugs.

Keep telling yourself that, KC, but the meaning of this:

"There are elected delegates, caucus delegates and super-delegates, all for different reasons, and they're all equal in their ability to cast their vote for whomever they choose," Hillary told Newsweek, when asked how she can win the nomination despite the current delegate math.

"Even elected and caucus delegates are not required to stay with whomever they are pledged to. This is a very carefully constructed process that goes back years, and we're going to follow the process."


is completely unmistakable. Please take your fingers out of your ears and stop humming.

Winning over pledged Obama delegates is far, far more unlikely and would be far, far more angering to people than winning over superdelegates, so the only reasonable interpretation is that she's talking about the Edwards delegates.

it really doesn't sound like she's talking about Edwards:

    How can you win the nomination when the math looks so bleak for you?
    It doesn't look bleak at all. I have a very close race with Senator Obama. There are elected delegates, caucus delegates and superdelegates, all for different reasons, and they're all equal in their ability to cast their vote for whomever they choose. Even elected and caucus delegates are not required to stay with whomever they are pledged to. This is a very carefully constructed process that goes back years, and we're going to follow the process.

here

Steve and Cleek, how do your quotes conflict with what I said above? I'd rather concentrate on whatever Clinton plans have a chance of success -- especially some of the possible ways of seating Michigan and Florida.

I know some of those pledged Obama delegates, and needless to say they're as disgusted with Clinton I am. I don't understand how you think she's going to get them. Giant bribes? Blackmail? Mind control?

I don't think she has a prayer of getting any. I was simply pointing out that this gambit is a) disgusting in itself, b) blatantly hypocritical when placed alongside her other pronouncements, and c) very revealing of what she's really all about.

Tell them you might hold your nose and vote, but they won't get any donations or volunteering no matter how much they plead.

If it's essential that the Republicans be defeated, then it doesn't make much sense to withhold donations and volunteering any more than to withhold votes. For people like me, whose electoral votes are pretty much set in stone, withholding votes would have no effect on the election outcome, whereas withholding money and time might make a McCain victory more likely.

I don't understand how you think she's going to get them. Giant bribes? Blackmail? Mind control?

it's not about her having a chance of getting them; it's more that, as usual, her M.O. is about working the system's boundaries and nudging the underpinnings, trying to make cracks she can wriggle through.

oh sure, "Even elected and caucus delegates are not required to stay with whomever they are pledged to," but they typically do, for damned good reasons. why even suggest that you'd go there if you don't want to?

as i see it, she sees possibility in places other people see sensible restriction. it's loophole seeking. and we've already had 16 years of those kinds of presidents.

and yes, i realize this legalistic wriggling is a big part of being an effective politician. i get the feeling she's a bit too eager to go there.

i promise i'm not trying to redo every post Steve makes.

That's OK, when she starts looking around for friends outside her little coterie, she'll increasingly discover that a LOT of Democrats could have written their own version of our comments. In my opinion she's talking her way into a serious primary challenge in NY 4 years from now.

The other annoying thing about Cokie Roberts was her talk about the "dream team": a Clinton/Obama ticket. A Survey USA poll says two thirds of Americans don't want that, including 61% of Democrats and 70% of independents. Whose dream is this exactly?

I wonder if it's ever occured to HRC that the if she's willing to give delegates freedom, it may very well come back to bite her hiny. That's the one thing I've discovered about her this campaign- she's really not very good at any sort of long term thinking.

i've grown to hate the state of ohio. and that Ohioans are a special sort of stupid.

Hey, I'm from Ohio, and even I hate the State, but I don't think our sort of stupid is any more special than that of many other states. One downside, your phone never stops ringing the week before the vote. Quite annoying.

OT, I ran my crossover calculations for the entire state, and came up with 195,000 crossovers, about 9% of the total D vote. Clinton won by 220,000. This agrees nicely with exit polls. It seems Ohio does have anti-crossover laws, but they were widely ignored by most election boards.

Her persistence of misjudgment seems to bear a certain resemblance to operational principles guiding the Bush administration. Willful ignoring of inconvenient intelligence requiring a rethink: Shove ahead with the preordained, create chaos, and pretend that everyone will emerge from the rubble smiling, with open arms.
Enough, already.

KC in DC, she is planning to turn Obama delegates into Clinton ones by gaming the caucus system. Many of the Obama delegates ate newbies. Most caucus states make the real determination of delegates through a system of tiers and the higher up the tiers you go the more Clinton people are in charge of the process. So it is failry easy to just slide stealth Clinton folks in to replace Obama ones.

I'm in the camp that says that it is better to endure four years of McCain than to have a lousy Deomcrats do to our party what Bush did to his.

Andrew Sullivvan has a piece sort of on this topic. The country is poised for a seachange. People wou;d like a really good President who is focused on creating reasonable solutions to real problems. Clinton isn't that person for three reasons:

1. She never thinks any farther ahead than what to do for her advantage now.

2. She's either scared of the right or is in fact a rightwinger herself on defense, terrorism and related issues,

3. She is repeating the Republican patern of paranoid, ruthless "leadership" by a l;eaders who inhabits a buble of yes-peoiple and who has a track record of questionalbe political and financial practices. She won't be as bad as the Republicans but bad enough to convince the public at large that our party is as incompenet and cynical as theirs.

It is really really unhealthy for anation that is facing serious problems to be saddled with two discreditted parties and no viable thrid.

Maybe like an alchoholic we haven't hit bottom yet. The repblicans have but too many Deomcrats have not.

Wonkie: I'm in the camp that says that it is better to endure four years of McCain than to have a lousy Deomcrats do to our party what Bush did to his.

You are not in the camp that would have to endure four years of McCain.

You may be among the Americans who don't care about the people in the camp enduring four years of McCain, but you're definitely not in the camp.

If you were in the camp, you wouldn't have the option of posting here to say you'd rather have a pro-torture President than a President who opposes torture.

Wonkie, I defer to Gary Farber on the likelihood of success for your Clinton caucus conspiracy, as I'm no expert on how things work in caucus states. He was one of the ones who convinced me my fears of that scenario were unrealistic.

OT but pretty stark & worth noting. re: Rice and pre-911 intelligence.

like Rove did to Gov. Siegelman in Alabama

Great. People are still listening to CBS for "news."

The other annoying thing about Cokie Roberts was her talk about the "dream team"

Any team with Clinton in it would be a dream team for the right.

But I wonder whether any of my progressive friends would forgive me for what they would undoubtedly see as my failure to repudiate the twin sins of misogyny and racism rather than my intent to keep the country safe and return SCOTUS jurisprudence to 1802 (sorry, 1137 is a bit too early even for me, Hilzoy!).

With all due respect to Gary ( and that's LOTS of respect) I grew up in a caucus stae, my mother was a delegate to the state convention in a caucus state and I am now for the second time a delegate to a county caucus and if someone wants to it is pretty easy to get a supporter of oe candidate elelcted to represent a groupf of delegates who like the other cnadidate. Most of thetime this doesn't happen because most of thetime people just aren't out to do each other down like that.

I don't think she can get a wqhole bunch of dlelegates this way. It only works if there are people right there at the conventions who are actively trying to promote themselves as supporters of A when they plan to later switch to B. But she has announced her intentions so I am going on the assumption that her campaign willbe looking for local folks to game the system where they can.

bc: But I wonder whether any of my progressive friends would forgive me for what they would undoubtedly see as my failure to repudiate the twin sins of misogyny and racism rather than my intent to keep the country safe

If your intent is to keep the country safe, you have to vote for someone who can be trusted on national security, and the Republicans have long since proved that none of their candidates can be so trusted. You may end up voting Clinton or Obama in order to vote against McCain, but there are worse reasons... ;-)

Andrew Sullivan and TPM are reporting that Bill Clinton appeared on the Limbaugh show during the Texas primaries, hoping to capitalize on Limbaugh's urging that Republicans crossover and vote for HRC.

Also, that the Clintons ran anti-gay ads in the Christianist South during the lead-up to the 1996 campaign.

Note to self:

Hope Obama wins and if he doesn't, shoot self, after sawing off all parts of America south of the Mason-Dixon line, which symbolically runs through the southern part of Ohio (my birthplace), and merging it into one large island with Cuba so that even racist homophobes receive basic healthcare as far away from my grave as possible.


TPM reports Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) appeared on FOX and, backing McCain, said terrorists would dance in the streets if Obama is elected because of his opposition to the war in Iraq, his Kenyan ancestry, and his middle name, Hussein.

Note to self:

Hope Obama wins and put a hold on shooting self. Consider that cynical Clinton was raised in the South (which just migrated to Iowa, like I didn't know that already) and knows all of the racist and homophobic buttons to push in an election in a country where racist, homophobic, Muslim-hating filth make all the decisions at the margin.

If Obama wins the primary and the Presidency, continue sawing but make sure the new island sinks and everyone on it drowns (holding Limbaugh's head under)without healthcare of any kind. Place the Clintons in reeducation camps, after they are done campaigning for him, attack dog style.

If Clinton wins the primary, understand that their racism and homophobia is cynical, Machiavellian advertising and that she must win the Presidency to avoid another victory by the Republican Party, where racism, homophobia, nationalisism, and Christianism have found comfy refuge. Steve King is the real item, and he apparently believes there are moderate Democrats who will heed his call, and I'm sure he's right.

Hold my nose.

Maybe shoot my nose later to spite my face which I can't stand looking at in the mirror. Invite Wonkie to witness the act.

In the meantime, hope Obama decides that remaining above the fray in the interest of setting a new tone might need to be abandoned for the time being, because America doesn't deserve a new tone as long as folks like Steve King breath and people like the Clintons believe they need to sound like King to defeat King.

Obama should attack King and his ilkalicious Republican and Democratic travelers in a stem-winding, podium-banging speech for the unAmerican, racist scum they are.

Hillary Clinton would.

bc: ".. return Scotus jurisprudence to 1802."

Well, when Abraham Lincoln is elected again 58 years later and faces the Civil War one more time, he'll have nukes to deal with the South this time. Plus, he'll know to not trust SCOTUS during Reconstruction, and for good measure, he'll know to avoid the theater. ;)

Jes:

With all due respect, no attacks on American soil since 9-11 is a pretty good track record, although it has to be perfect in order to be worth anything.

And, I may actually be able to be forgiven if McCain follows Hendrik Hertzberg's advice and names Condi as his VP.

no attacks on American soil since 9-11 is a pretty good track record,

anthrax.

People are still listening to CBS for "news."

Nah. That would be a very low-bandwidth solution.

People are reading Scott Horton and Marcy Wheeler.

Josh Marshall points out something else in the Clinton quote that Steve and Cleek provided. She's making a distinction between "elected delegates" (apparently meaning those chosen in primaries) and "caucus delegates" and thus pretending that delegates elected in caucuses are somehow unelected and not representative of the popular will.

Rice as VP. that would be spectacular. the worst National Security Advisor ever would make a great addition to the McCain team. nothing says "four more years" like dragging along the woman who was National Security Advisor on 9/11.

Wonkie:

Rest easy knowing that the Obama campaign is leaving field operations in place in all the caucus states to keep tabs on their delegates and work the county and state conventions. I know this because I almost took a position doing just that in Texas...

The results of that effort so far? Well, it seems his campaign actually picked up Edwards' delegates in rural Nevada and somehow was at a near draw w/ Clinton in Clark County before the vote was suspended b/c the 5,000-person convention center was over-run by the 13,000 Obama delegates + alternates.

Basically, the 2nd tier is going a lot like the first did for Obama in the caucuses, because he's taking the time and money to organize them like he did the 1st tier

Read about the Nevada 2nd tier caucuses here and here

We most likely didn't hear much about this because it was happening at the same time as Clinton was doing the whole "SHAME ON YOU BARCK OBAMA...MEET ME IN OHIO!!" bit that so dominated news coverage

bc: With all due respect, no attacks on American soil since 9-11 is a pretty good track record

I suppose no one proved the anthrax attacks on Democratic politicians were al-Qaeda: they could have been right-wing nutcases using al-Qaeda as a clever shield. Regardless:

April 2003, 20 months after the al-Qaeda attack, Bush gave al-Qaeda what they wanted: he withdrew the US military from Saudi Arabia. He had also toppled Saddam Hussein's secular regime in Iraq, and opened up Iraq for the first time to al-Qaeda to operate in freely. Why would al-Qaeda plan any further serious attacks on the US after that? What more could they want, that Bush wasn't busy giving them with both hands?

I'm from Michigan originally, and I will testify that Ohioans are a special sort of stupid.

Woo! Preach it, brotha!

hilzoy: Assuming the worst case scenario, I think you have to think long and hard about voting for someone who is nominated unfairly. For one, it only gives candidates the incentive to disrespect the rules in the future. The only way to keep candidates respecting the framework of the nominating process if HRC, were she to win unfairly, would be to repudiate her totally.

So that she, her party, and her supporters and all who follow in the great march know full well that there is nothing to be gained whatsoever for treating the rules like toilet paper.

And, by the way, does anybody honestly think she has a prayer of winning in November if there is a stink at the convention? Consider the Red Brain. The Red Brain already thinks the Clintons are a threat to the Constitution. It always has. Turning the Democratic Party into the Politburo would actually lend credence to the most paranoid thinking about the Clintons!

If there's a perception that she stole the nomination somehow, she may lose 50 states.

Jes, remember Toricelli? The Democratic party was losing, so they went to court to swap candidates long after the deadline for ballot changes?

As a somewhat off-topic anecdote: I lived in New Jersey when Toricelli first ran for Senate, in what was widely considered the dirtiest national campaign in the country. Here's the thing that I don't think gets appreciated enough: we all knew what a crook he was. We all knew what a scheming, conniving, corrupt sumbitch he was. We didn't vote for him because we liked him; we voted for him because the Republican was worse.

[And even worse? It wasn't even close. Toricelli was hands-down the better of the two candidates, God rest our New Jerseyan-by-proxy souls...]

OT, but this isn't good, for Spitzer, at least.

One aspect of this that I don't think is getting enough attention: the African-American vote, and the perceptions of those voters. If Obama goes into the convention with more pledged delegates, but Clinton wins on superdelegates, AA's are going to feel their worst suspicions (which led them to be reluctant to support Obama) have been confirmed: the opposition to an AA President is so strong that the party elders were willing to game the system, i.e. "the man" will never allow an AA to become President. You can talk to them all you want about how this is legitimate, but I highly doubt many of them will believe it. The most likely result would be that they'll stay home in droves, which could really hurt Dem chances.

I wonder if Spitzer will be the only one.

beckya57: If the Clintons somehow steal the nomination from the first really viable African American candidate, they'll secure their spot in the history of racial infamy.

Quite an ironic place to end up for two reform-minded 60s liberals. It has the storyline arc of Dorian Grey.

If they have a revote, that's cool. It's up to the candidates to do the best they can to win as many pledged delegates as possible under caucuses, mail-in vote, whatever the state and national party agree to. It's not up to the candidates to present a "disinterested" take on the situation that benefits them, unless that take is "we need to stick by the rules we had going in." Disenfranchising everyone who believed them about votes not counting isn't fair; it's also tactically suicidal for 2012. If Clinton pulls out mammoth landslides in a re-vote and manages to pull ahead in pledged delegates I'll ackowledge her as the winner. (I won't vote for her, but I won't try to vote out of office every one of her superdelegates.)

Cleek (re Spitzer) and ral (racial infamy):

Note to self:

Resume shooting self.

No, wait, Spitzer endorsed Clinton.

Lucky the safety was on.

Obama needs to go after this. If the cuffs of his trousers get a little muddy, he can change later.

No matter what happens, this election is going to be an awful thing to behold.


Can't reporters write more clearly?

"Gov. Eliot Spitzer has informed his most senior administration officials that he had been involved in a prostitution ring, an administration official said this morning.

Mr. Spitzer, who was huddled with his top aides inside his Fifth Avenue apartment early this afternoon, had hours earlier abruptly canceled his scheduled public events for the day. He had scheduled an announcement for 2:15 this afternoon after inquiries from the Times. But his appearance was delayed by at least 45 minutes.

Mr. Spitzer, a first-term Democrat who pledged to bring ethics reform and end the often seamy ways of Albany, is married with three children.

Just last week, federal prosecutors arrested four people in connection with an expensive prostitution operation. Administration officials would not say that this was the ring with which the governor had become involved.

But a person with knowledge of the governor’s role said that the person believes the governor is one of the men identified as clients in court papers.

The governor’s travel records show that he was in Washington in mid-February. One of the clients described in court papers arranged to meet with a prostitute who was part of the ring, the Emperors Club VIP on the night of Feb. 13."

I think that means his involvement was as a john. But the start of the piece makes it sound like he was involved in running it. Is there a need to be coy about 'involvement'? Or am I being hyper-technical?

This Spitzer thing could swallow all the political news for a while. Sex trumps all. The only silver lining (and it's a tiny one) is that it endangers a Clinton superdelegate.

Yes, that was badly phrased, Sebastian, perhaps intentionally, to make the story more sensational. I've already seen someone's Facebook status message talking about Spitzer being a pimp.

Maybe Spitzer's one of the prostitutes.

Wonkette is live-blogging.

I liked this from Josh Marshall:

TPM HQ is in Chelsea. And I'm expecting the streets to deluged at any moment now by joyously rioting stock brokers coming up from Wall Street.

A relative who works with the mutual fund industry noted that this news was sent around with "some glee."

Maybe Spitzer's one of the prostitutes.

Heh.

Lastly, I'm worried that Clinton will cement in people's minds the idea that the Democratic Party has no principles and just wants power. I think that this is an unfair characterization, but it is nonetheless one that many voters find persuasive. In this regards, John McCain is the worst possible opponent to run against, because of the perception that he has principles. I may think that they are hard to find, but that's the popular narrative. Even in victory, Clinton would confirm the worst stereotypes of Democrats.

J Michael Neal - we think very much alike, at least in terms of visualizing the same dilemmas and problems coming up.

Here's the thing which perhaps worries me the most about the HRC campaign - the attitude they exude of "we can change the rules to suit ourselves any time we want".

In the past I'd naively thought that our political system in the US was dramatically different from the British system (whose constitution is almost entirely customary rather than textual) because we rely on a written document (and courts which claim to interpret it) for our constitutional system. We are more like the British than I'd realized, however - we also have an customary informal constitution, not a written document but the entire body of customs and traditions which have accumulated over time regulating our political life and institutions (e.g., the rules regarding cloture in the Senate, or the idea of that the Justice Dept. is not to be used as an organ of political purges), and which are enforced by a shared sentiment that "them's the rules" and that to do otherwise would be unthinkable.

The formal written document which we call "The Constitution" acts like a skeleton upon which a whole body of soft tissues (our informal constitution) hang, but it is the muscles, ligaments and tendons of the latter that help to animate our body politic and make it functional.

One of the characteristic methods of the current Bush admin. has been to grab power not by challenging our formal Constitution directly (which would be easier to oppose by litigation), but by performing a systematic attack on the more vulnerable soft tissues of our informal constitution.

Much of their success has come from their ability to literally think "the unthinkable", leaving opponents and critics struggling to even find an adequate vocabulary to describe what they are doing, much less to anticipate their moves. This is because the administration is attacking unconscious assumptions built into our political system which have remained largely invisible up to now.

That is why critics of this administration are so frequently left with a feeling that something is deeply wrong with their actions but have a hard time organizing effective opposition to it, and are usually left spluttering inarticulately "but, but, you can't do that!". To which the administration replies - "just watch us!" (subtext: we're an empire now, we create our own reality).

Now the thing which I worry about with the HRC campaign, is that they embody this idea to a greater degree than anyone else currently in the Democratic party. If one group amongst the Democrats is able to think the unthinkable and attempt to create their own reality, it's them. That's not the kind of thinking outside the box I'm looking for.

If there is one positive thing that I've noticed about McCain and his people, it's that they are conspicuously lacking in imagination. In this context, that's a feature, not a bug.

I can understand why a democrat would consider voting for Clinton under these circumstances. But I must say, it rankles.

I'm an independent who typically votes republican because of the supreme court issue. (Sorry, I know that's way out of step around here.) My point is that this year the Republicans so desperately need to be out of office that I'm willing to sacrifice that and vote Democrat. Specifically, I'm willing to vote for Obama. The prospect of a fresh approach to politics is so appealing that I'm willing to take my lumps on the SC. (I get back some policy directions on other things that are better).

Needless to say, Clinton's approach to politics is a total deal-breaker for me. It's not just the cloud of scandals that follows the Clintons around that makes me feel like it's not much of a difference in kind to go from the Republicans to the Clintons, as it is the constant, daily barrage of hypocrisy and lying. Granted, I think the Republicans are well beyond the pale at this point. Hence the desire to vote Democrat. But she's cut from the same cloth even if she's a lighter hue of it.

And what is it about this country that lowball politics and constant lying and hypocrisy WORK? I can see that true-blue Democrats are in a bind here. But playing along with it doesn't help your party make your case to Independents like me.

Maggie, we're trying to elect Obama is how we're trying to appeal to independents. Whether the independents that will appeal to are like you, you would know better than I. But Hillary Clinton has a long, flthy way to go before she reaches the depths plumbed by the average GOP candidate, so I think your choice is still clear.

By the way, and this question is not meant sarcastically, is "the supreme court issue" abortion, fixing elections, gutting environmental, labor, and safety law, writing the 4th and 6th Amendments out of the Constutition, allowing torture, or what? I ask because I seem to come across an awful lot of single-issue voters who either don't know about or refuse to consider the parade of horribles they have enabled as a side-effect of trying to force an antiabortion judiciary. Occasionally it's some other issue, like guns, but usually abortion.

I'm with Maggie. I've tended very Republican, largely for the Supreme Court. I'm not thrilled by the idea of seeing a Brennan on the court again. But I agree that the Republicans have to be slammed for their activity in the last 8 years, so I'm willing to bite the bullet and vote for a Democrat. Under these circumstances I would vote for a Democrat if you ran Kerry or Gore again. I'll vote for Obama. But I can't throw away the Supreme Court AND vote for Clinton. It is too much to ask.

I see several comments above mentioning Cokie Roberts. I've seen her speak about the primaries about 4-5 times, and each time she's quite obviously pro-Clinton. Expect anything she says to be slanted that way.

I can't wait for this election to be over so Talk Left can go back to being readable.

I've learned to just tune out anything primary related.

On TalkLeft: Jeralyn would have to do a lot, in my book, to burn through the cred she earned for being one of the main voices of sanity after the Duke lacrosse players were arrested. (Armando is a different story.)

OT: More anti-science dumbf*ckery from McCain. He really is a piece of work. He's worse than Bush Lite, because he lets loose with this kind of garbage when he's smart enough to know better.

Sen. Proxmire used to do that sort of thing all the time with his Golden Fleece Award.

Another problem with re-voting is people who have re-registered since the first, non-compliant primary. Unless the rules on re-voting restrict the eligible voter list to the people who were registered on the original primary date, it would be possible for someone to have voted in the Republican primary the first time (which did count for delegate selection), re-register in the meantime, and vote for a second time in the rescheduled Democratic primary. Any system which lets people vote in both parties' primaries must be mistaken.

TKD, I'm not sure how to resolve that problem. Democrats in Florida and especially in Michigan may have voted in the Republican primary because they were told the Democratic primary didn't count, so there was no reason not to. I know someone who did that (an Obama supporter who voted for Paul in Michigan). Is it worse to let them vote in both or to deprive them of their Democratic vote by changing things?

"Is it worse to let them vote in both or to deprive them of their Democratic vote by changing things?"

Oh, definitely worse to let them vote in both. Hey, you make your choices, and take the consequences thereof. I've got less than zero sympathy for people who invaded the Republican primary here in Michigan to help foist McCain on us, and now whine about not getting to help pick the Democratic nominee, too.

I will vote for her in November if she is nominated fairly. (Which means no Michigan and Florida, and also no raiding pledged delegates.)

I'd like to see a principled argument that Michigan and Florida delegates should not be seated if there is a re-do -- which is increasingly likely.

And I'd like to see a principled argument that re-dos aren't the correct thing to do, given that they would prevent the disenfranchisement of millions of voters in MI and FL.

I'd think a philosopher would be both able and very willing to offer up those arguments.

frankly0: seating Florida and Michigan after a redo is fine by me. I should have been clearer.

I'd like to see a principled argument that Michigan and Florida delegates should not be seated if there is a re-do -- which is increasingly likely.

And I'd like to see a principled argument that re-dos aren't the correct thing to do, given that they would prevent the disenfranchisement of millions of voters in MI and FL.

This is a strawman argument, because it depends on a equivocation about the meaning of "principled" in this case. If you take "principled" to mean "no elections that have an unfair ex ante effect on the process," then all you have to do is read this thread to find a bunch of them.

However, the way you posit the question seems to indicate that you take "principled" to mean that the voters should not be "disenfranchised" despite breaking the rules -- i.e. that they must be represented by delegates at the convention that reflect their votes, regardless of the legitimacy of that voting process, and furthermore that re-voting is a proper remedy. However, those are exactly the problems at issue here. You're simply defining away the dispute.

frankly0,

I don't think anyone is going to be upset if MI&FL delegates are seated after a redo; I read the sentence you took issue with to mean "no MI & FL as they currently stand -- i.e., sham elections".


And I'd like to see a principled argument that re-dos aren't the correct thing to do, given that they would prevent the disenfranchisement of millions of voters in MI and FL.

I'm not a philosopher and no one ever lost money betting on my lack of principles, but I'll take a crack. The citizens of MI&FL decided to play chicken with the DNC and they lost. As a result, they don't get a voice in the nomination process. This possibility was quite obvious before they played their game of chicken: they took a risk and lost. So the only ones who "disenfranchised" MI & FL voters are...MI & FL voters.

But wait, you say! The FL primary got moved around by the state legislature, so we cannot punish democratic voters for the sins of republican lawmakers. I say that we can. FL legislators represent FL citizens; if this action and the obvious consequences were so beyond the pale, the proper remedy is for FL citizens to throw the bums out, not to seat delegates based on a sham primary. I don't think there is any principled reason for taking into account the fact that the republican legislature was involved here: lawmakers often trade favors across the aisle so there is no way we could know that republican lawmakers did not change dates at the behest of state democratic party leaders.

If full Florida and Michigan delegations are seated after a redo, then what was the penalty for violating the DNC rules? Hell, they've gotten far more attention and influence than they would have had either by taking their place in line with everyone else or by having their line-jumping primaries count normally in the first place. Why should any state pay attention to any DNC attempts to establish some sort of order next time around?

I agree that stripping them of all delegates is unreasonable, but how about the base penalty of halving the delegations, which is in the rules and is what the Republicans did? Or at the very least stripping them of their superdelegates, since the state party leadership were the ones that caused the mess in the first place?

I just followed a link that brought me here. I see this blog's byline begins This is the Voice of Moderation.

Sounds good, but after reading these comments, I suggest that byline should be removed, or modified to ... the Voice of Immoderation. That would be a more appropriate description of the irrational anti-Clinton vitriol that passes for opinions here.

Maybe I'll check back in a few months, after you've realized that Barack Obama can't actually fulfill everyone's fantasies.

"I just dropped in to say that I'm not dropping in to say anything."

I think it'd be pretty ridiculous to restrict the re-vote to only those who participated the first time around (in FL&MI). I mean, one of the main objections to the validity of the results is precisely that a lot of people who otherwise would've voted, didn't, because they were told for months that their votes would be meaningless. And as it turns out, that's not wrong...the results of those primaries were, in fact, without impact on the Dem nomination as of yet.

And yet, now to make participation in those meaningless primaries a threshold for participation in meaningful ones? That hardly seems fair, considering the amount of time and effort that went into actively discouraging Floridians and Michiganers (Michigonians? Michiganites?) from participating in the first

Yeah, they broke the rules, but the "they" who did that were the state committees (and the Dems who didn't say much when Crist did this in FL, iirc.) They are the ones who now don't get the early primary they wanted, and have to scramble around trying to figure out how to pay for it. That suits me fine.

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