Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Democrats Attempt to Put Lipstick on this Pig of a Process, and No One's Happy -- Least of All the Pig

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) summed it up accurately if rather blandly, "We've got a totally irrational system of nominating our president." It happened to be one of the more family-friendly statements that came out of the DNC pow-wow held in Washington, DC the last Saturday in May.

The billing of this long-awaited come-to-Jesus was that it would decide the fate of the Michigan and Florida delegates, and in so doing, possibly the fates of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and thus the outcome the seemingly never-ending Democratic Primary, too. And the deciders in this case? The DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee. And what did the deciders decide? Well, it seemed somewhat arbitrary, actually, given what was at stake, and both the Clinton and Obama camps have reason to be unhappy -- perhaps that's a sign they got it about right.

In fact, Harold Ickes, the longtime Clinton Campaign id and member of the Rules and Bylaws Committee, said during the meeting that he had already been empowered to let the gathering know that Clinton was prepared to take an unfavorable outcome all the way to the Credentials Committee at the convention. Oh, joy.

So anyway, here's the scoop: the deciders will give Florida and Michigan half of their voting rights -- in other words, each delegate from those states will have half a vote at the Democratic Convention in Denver.

For my part, I don't get treating Michigan and Florida the same. I mean, Michigan absolutely, positively flouted the party's rules. I'm not saying I liked said rules and that I don't agree with Michigan's fundamental premise that larger states should have more of a say in the primary process and -- most importantly -- that Iowa and New Hampshire should not continue to rule the world. I'm also not saying that the Democratic Party didn't mishandle the situation from the get-go, but nonetheless the fact is that Michigan did knowingly and willingly give the finger to the DNC.

Florida, however, was at the mercy of a Republican state legislature and a Republican governor who passed legislation changing the state's primary even though -- because? -- it would screw over the state Democrats and likely cause problems for the Democratic candidate in a swing state. Now, I'm not sure Florida Dems at the time raised the holy hell they could have, but nonetheless there was not a lot they could've done to change the date of their primary to satisfy the rules of the DNC. So, as I said, treating the two states the same seems off kilter to me -- but I bet the folks in Michigan wouldn't make that distinction.

The deciders also voted to award Obama 59 Michigan delegates, each with half a vote, even though his name wasn't on the ballot. This essentially takes away delegates Clinton would've had if they'd been passed out based out on the actual vote -- then again, the process in Michigan was undeniably flawed, so there was no easy answer. No one campaigned there, Clinton was on the ballot but Obama and Edwards followed party protocol and took their names off the ballot. So what to do? The deciders ended up using a complicated formula based on the vote itself, exit polls, and other data. Hey, Clinton can bitch if she wants, but the fact is she should've taken her name off the ballot, too.

"We are strong enough to struggle and disagree and to even be angry and disappointed and still come together at the end of the day and be united," Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean said, ever the optimist. But, we still have a few more primaries and the convention to get through -- in one piece. Truthfully, it's time for the donkeys to get a good swift kick in the ass and get their shit together -- it's long overdue, and the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue are at stake.

It's not too late to salvage this thing, and come back together as a party when the dust has settled. But if the contenders and their camps keep up this circular firing squad, the damage might well be beyond repair -- although its certainly already done some damage. There are no choir boys -- or choir girls -- here. Everyone is slinging mud of questionable origins and validity. The problem is, mud sticks to everyone eventually -- and true or not, fair or not, at the end of the day the voters will see only the dirt. There's nothing the deciders can do about that.

Copyright 2008. The Zaftig Redhead. All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This will all work out fine. It won't be long now.

As for Michigan and Florida? Well, if I lived in those states, I'd turn the legislature out on it's ear for screwing the state's voters.