Saturday, March 15, 2008

To hell with Florida and Michigan

Guest post by Greg Prince

For the latest on the delegate debacle, see this piece in the NYT. -- MJWS.


I'm sick to death of the arguments over delegate counts for Florida and Michigan for so many reasons. But the first reason has to be simply this: It doesn’t matter.

That's right. It's not warm and fuzzy to face this little dose of reality, but it really doesn't matter. As things stand, Obama is the clear leader in popular vote, states won, and delegate count.

If they split the contested delegates between the campaigns and allow them to be seated, then Obama will still be the clear leader in popular vote, states won, and delegate count.

That's just the reality of it -- Hillary doesn't have a majority of the votes. Period. End of discussion. And the only way that's going to change is if they bring on an accountant from the Bush Treasury.

From some of the incendiary rhetoric emanating from the Hillary campaign you'd think nefarious forces of evil were conspiring to disenfranchise hosts of anxious voters. That is revisionist bilge. Two states chose not to participate in the process by deliberately and willfully violating the policies everyone agreed to well in advance. Another facet of reality is that we choose our actions but not necessarily the consequences of those actions. If we want to fall off the "fairness" cliff, how about we pause to consider the interests and fairness to the voters in 48 states who followed the rulebook ratified by all 50 states?

Florida and Michigan knew the rules. Florida and Michigan agreed to the rules. Then Florida and Michgan broke the rules and are now demanding to issue a signing statement. I'm sorry, but rules are rules, and, particularly in elections, you don't change the rules mid-stream. The current administration notwithstanding, we are not a banana republic!

Look, nobody would be happer than I to see a shakeup in the process, especially one that gets rid of the sanctified status of Iowa and New Hampshire. But Florida and Michigan must be penalized. Period. Otherwise, the party loses control over its entire nominating process.

If the rule-breakers want pledged delegates to be seated at the convention, let them hold a legal primary or caucus, at their own expense, to assign them. And, in the interim, the whiners can quit their bitching. Do the math. No matter what ultimately happens, Obama is still in the lead.

Hillary would be a credible candidate and would probably win in November. Hillary would do a respectable job as president. But nominating someone because it's his or her turn is how the Republicans do things, not Democrats, not liberals, and not progressives. I have problems with Obama, just as I have different problems with Hillary, but he too would do a respectable job as president, and would probably win in November. And I don't see how Hillary pulls this out without destroying the party's ability to compete in the fall. And we really don't want the risk of a third Dubya term.

John Aravosis asks:

Hillary can only tell Democratic voters so many times that McCain is more qualified to be president than Obama before her supporters (and lots more Americans) end up listening to her. Or is that her plan after all? If Hillary can't win, then no Democrat deserves to win?

My friend Michael Stickings has a good analysis of the topography, including the question of what the candidates want. Good commentary, but if we get too focused on what the campaigns "want," we veer back into banana republic territory. I recognize the political reality and danger of not seating any delegates from those states, but a way needs to be found to accomplish representation that doesn't compromise the rules. Allowing the system to be gamed establishes a catastrophic precedent.

Kos gives a good discussion of eight ways in which Hillary is losing -- similar to my thinking. only he tallies everything up. He concludes:

Team Clinton has nothing except schemes of coup by super delegate, which they apparently think they can do by insulting entire Democratic constituencies and most of our nation's states.

But really, what else do they have? Their campaign is losing by every metric possible.

This is an issue only because Hillary refuses to see the writing on the wall. It's nice to have the attention on Democratic issues, but this party needs to be unified going into the fall.

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  • I truly believe that if Hillary doesn't get the nomination she does want McCain to win, figuring because of his age he won't seek a second term and even if he does, she can try again in 2012 because if Obama gets the nomination and wins, she couldn't run again until 2016, when she'll be closing in on 70. Everything that Hillary does is about what's best for Hillary. She could care less about her party, let alone her country.

    By Blogger Edward Copeland, at 2:52 PM  

  • Florida. Doesn't. Matter.

    Ohbrudder. Say hello to President John McCain!

    By Blogger Carl, at 8:34 AM  

  • Florida only matters to Democrats if it can get them an election for their favorite candidate. But uh-oh, God forbid if it supperts Bush or even Hillary. Then we don't want "those people's" votes. They're stupid to know what they've done.

    By Blogger QueersOnTheRise, at 7:38 PM  

  • Florida and Michigan dont matter? I saw somewhere else someone said Ohio doesnt matter for Obama either because he can win VA and CO. Here is a bet: if the Dems lose Michigan, Florida and Ohio, McCain is the next President. To those who think Hillary wants (a) to destroy the democratic party, and/or (b) McCain to beat Obama, you are really ill informed.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:02 PM  

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