Monday, March 17, 2008

Laying the Blame for Florida

The Florida Democratic Party officially announced today that it will not hold a re-vote to replace the invalid primary it held in January. There's plenty of blame to go around in this political clusterfuck, but I'll give you my views of some of the more noteworthy targets of my ire.

  • The Florida Democratic Party. Knowing that the Democratic National Committee would not seat delegates based on a primary held before Super Tuesday, they went right ahead and held the primary early and did nothing to prepare for the shocking and unexpected result that the DNC refuses to seat delegates based on a primary that intentionally flouted the rules. They continued to press for a result that cannot and will not happen — seating the delegates as if it had been a valid election — and then blamed lack of time when they couldn't reach a solution that would allow Florida's voters to be heard in the selection of a nominee.

  • New Hampshire and Iowa. These two states demand that their contests precede all other primaries and caucuses. They're not representative of the country, they're not representative of the Democratic Party, and there's no reason they should be permanently in the catbird seat. The arguments about "retail politics" and the way that voters in those two states take super-seriously their responsibility to lead the pack in selecting nominees, are hogwash. The DNC needs to shuffle the primary deck, perhaps choosing four states at random for pre-Super-Tuesday contests, with no preference at all for New Hampshire or Iowa.

  • Hillary Clinton's campaign. Immediately after the vote which they had agreed would not count, the Clinton campaign, including the candidate herself, began a full-court press to have the votes count. They are intent on changing the rules in the middle of the game, and also on disenfranchising the voters in Florida (and Michigan) who stayed home because everyone agreed in advance that those primaries were meaningless. They're even threatening to go to court to compel the DNC to seat the delegates from Florida, in a cynical effort to game the system to give them a victory in court that they couldn't achieve fairly at the ballot box. I was already leaning towards Obama for other reasons, but the Clinton campaign's rhetoric about the Florida primary cements my negative opinion of her candidacy.

  • The Democratic National Committee. As soon as Florida and Michigan announced their illegal primaries, the DNC should have been working behind the scenes to create a fallback plan that would allow those states to seat legally chosen delegates. It's as if the DNC is trying to shoot the Party in the foot by doing everything it can to ensure a nasty floor fight at the Convention. The old Will Rogers quote is no excuse for this level of disorganization.
Well, Florida, your options were crystal clear: re-vote or lose your delegates. You have chosen the latter. Don't you dare whine about it now, 'cause it's your own damned fault.

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