Obama must stop stalling MI/FL revotes for the good of the party

We’ve been treated to a hefty load here from the Obama camp about how he has no obligation to do anything to try to fix the Michigan and Florida messes, too bad, the rules are the rules - which is *technically * true, but not a demonstration of leadership. But we’ve also seen that argument often buttressed by bizarre claims, with no substantiation offered whatever no matter how strongly stated the request, that the voters of Michigan and Florida don’t even want to be represented (!!!). That’s just silly, of course - but it’s the only rationalization available to those who are scared that it might cost Obama both a claim to be “the people’s choice” and the nomination itself. And that is far from a single-person position here, as regular readers all know.

But can we please stop seeing that bit of falsehood get promulgated as Conventional Wisdom here? Chew on this for a bit:

IOW, exactly what you’d expect from people who take their role in a democratic republic responsibly.
Now, for what that means for the Democrats in general and their putative “certain” nominee in particular : The last 2 elections were, as we should all remember, decided by who took 2 of 3 among Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Florida. There may be some reshuffling amont the tighter-margin but low-EV-total states this time, sure, but is there any reason to think those 3 won’t decide this one either? Unless you think Ohio has become safely Dem at the electoral-college level, I think not.

So, even setting aside the importance of following the basic principle of democracy here (the one about all the people having a say, that is, since some of you need reminders), is it really wise to antagonize the voters of 2 of the 3 battleground states the Dem nominee needs to take in November? It isn’t too late for Obama to quit his stalling and take the risk of seeing Clinton win there straight up (a risk that should be tolerable if he’s already got this thing won, eh?), and, in essence, start his general-election campaigns there. Clinton has quite solidly and publicly tried to get that done, and don’t doubt that the voters there have noticed. But you could certainly expect Obama to get punished for his participation in their disenfranchisement, or at the very least have a higher level of mistrust to overcome there first.

I would eventually ask, too, for an end to the claim that Clinton is running only because of an obsession with power that is even more important to her than the party or the country, while Obama’s motivations are something inchoate yet noble. The evidence of their actions on the ground would seem to indicate the opposite. But one step at a time on this stuff.

As I understand it, both proposed revotes are dead as coffin nails. In one case the state legislature is out of session and the governor will not recall it. In the other case something else technical prohibits a revote.

In both cases, the state parties did not want to pay for a second election. (Give me the delegates, for free) In both cases the national party refused to pay.

In the words of Bones;

“He’s dead, Jim.”

IIRC, the DNC Rules & Bylaw committee meets again in July - I think that’s right. So to have a do-over after the primary season is officially over [June 3rd right?] is more than likely not going to happen.

I have no doubt FL and MI voters want to be heard, I would too if I were a resident. However, if I were a resident of those two states I would want a revote, as the first vote for whatever reason was flawed. Can we at least agree that it was flawed? Of not fault to HRC or Obama right?

Ok Elvis, I really do not like going on the defensive as it so often leads to arguments, but Obama is not holding the entire FL and MI debacle up. The DNC has to readjust not Clinton or Obama. I don’t really know if they will or not. I doubt it. But I do know it won’t happen before the end of the primary season, I can just about guarantee that.

I guess what I do not like, is people blaming Obama for this debacle, when it is not his fault this entire thing originally happened. It’s hard to find a pundit, or talking head who thinks Clinton will actually take this nomination. People all over the country are wondering about the general and how Obama can beat McCain. Even if FL and MI were sat as is, I still believe Obama would take the nomination. If there is a redo - I think Obama will do well enough to hold his current lead.

You’re both right that it’s late, after all this stalling, but is it really *too * late?

phl, don’t you think the DNC needs the assent of *both * campaigns to act here?

And that opens the question of how Obama could lead the Free World if he can’t even lead his own party. Unless, that is, they really *are * going along with his wishes, both antidemocratic and shortsighted as they may be, ya know?

PS: If you don’t like being on the defensive, you’ll really hate the campaign McCain will run in the fall, against either opponent. Better buckle up.

PPS: Yes, I do know the Big Three the last 2 times were PA/FL/OH, not PA/FL/MI. Sorry 'bout dat. But do take note of which Dem candidate is stronger in each of those deciding states. I trust the supers will do so.

I’m buckled and locked and loaded. I don’t want to see another 4 years of a republican any more than any other dems.

I personally believe that the democrats will back their candidate enough to get them in the white house - whoever that candidate is. If the tables were turned and this were Clinton in the lead…Obama would have been muscled out long ago. But it’s not and the people doing the muscling are former Clintonites…former. People will come out for Obama with FL and MI sat or not. As they would for Clinton if the tables were turned.

What is this “muscling” you refer to?

I’m just so happy that everyone is only interested in everyone else’s well-being, not just getting what they want.

We’re surrounded by a veritable sea of altruism. We live in heartening times.


You only have to be interested in winning, Joe. You reach the same conclusion either way.

What I love most about this crap, is the extraordinarily stunning hypocrisy from the actors in the Clinton camp.

Clinton’s own people12 of them, including her chief strategist, Harold Ickes – sat on the Rules Committee and voted unanimously to strip Florida and Michigan of all of their delegates, not just half, which would have allowed both candidates to campaign there, and we’d have at least had fair results at this point. The only dissenting vote came from the only Obama supporter on the committee.

And of course when Terry McAuliffe was Chairman of the DNC, he sang is different tune, as well.

And now the Clinton folks are having an aneurysm because their girl didn’t wrap it up by Super Tuesday like they thought. They don’t give a rat’s ass about the voters in Florida and Michigan. If they did, they wouldn’t have created this mess in the first place. But they did. It’s entirely their fault. They were so damn arrogant in their confidence that she’d take this nomination without them, they were willing to play hardball in an effort to shut Obama out in those states and not let him have his voice heard.

They screwed him over, and now they have the utter gall to blame him. There’s nothing more Republican in tactics than that.

Elvis, what happens in 2012 when state after state after state tries to jockey its way to the earliest primary? Are you okay with New Hampshire having its primary in, say, October 2011 to protect its primacy among states? Without some legitimate enforcement mechanism, where does it end?

This is the part that really infuriates me about the Clinton campaign. They have been dipping into Karl Rove’s bag o’ tricks since South Carolina, including the meme we’ve seen occurring for the last 8 years of taking the faults you’re guilty of and trying to glue them to your opponent, regardless of the absolute absurdity of it to people who still maintain some connection to the reality-based community.

I believe muscling is conducive with but not quite the same as when supers and other upper echelon endorsers jump to one candidate to force the other to drop out. Right now Obama happens to be the one people are endorsing, and jumping to…he has been for a couple months.

This election cycle I’ll admit is different, as we may have a POTUS who did not carry OH, PA et al in the primaries. But there is nothing to say he won’t in the general. There is a lot of time between now and then for his campaign to strategize…The republicans will surly hit and hit hard, bit it’s not like Obama isn’t preparing for that. His recent talks on his electability and voter registrations have been giving him gains in the national polls. I see that as a good thing.

Why do they require Obama’s permission to hold a revote?

How does he have the power to stop it?

What actions is he taking to stop it?

I may be wrong - maybe he is intentionally sabotaging legitimate efforts in which case it’s a dick move. But no one has made that case.

The revotes aren’t being held because no one wants to pay for it. But you try to make people believe someone said “All set Obama, we’ve got all the resources we need for a revote, we just need your go ahead” and Obama refused.

I think the important thing here is that Obama is building the party. The voter registration drives he did in Pennsylvania, the massive 50-state voter registration drive he’s planning in conjunction with the DNC, his financial support for special election candidates…his interest is in growing and expanding the Democratic party, and his coattails will be HUGE.

The Clintons have never really cared all that much about the party in general (the pseudo-Democratic DLC, on the other hand…). While Clinton was in office, the Democratic party saw themselves stepping into the wilderness as they lost Congressional seats left and right, ushering in the nightmare of legislative/executive collusion of 2001-2006. They’re more concerned for their corporate clientele than for the people who make up the Democratic party and the Unites States, for that matter. “Lobbyists are people, too,” you know…

I concur. If the OP is claiming that Obama is stalling, he should at least offer some evidence other than a simple claim that Obama is doing so.

It is rather ironic that both Hillary and Giuliani had their people deeply involved in the rules setting process early on, and they thought they had jiggered those rules to benefit them only to have those efforts produce the opposite result. But that’s not really germane to the OP, since we’re talking about what to do going forward. Still, I’d like to see the case actually made for what efforts Obama is actively pursuing to prevent a revote in FL and MI.

Elvis seriously … Paul nailed it in one. This is a dead issue.

The elected representatives of Florida and Michigan screwed over their voters trying to muscle their way to the front of the line. They have been trying to hold the possibility of losing those states as threat to get their way and they were not allowed to do so. At this point Obama couldn’t magically make it all better even if it was in either his or the party’s best interests to do so, and it is in neither (IMHO). Boy, I thought it was Obama supporters who thought he has divine powers! He is just a politician Elvis. I think the best candidate for the job by a long shot and the one who has won the most elected delegates and the most votes in the elections that can count, and the one who will continue to be endorsed by more and more superdelegates as time goes on, but just a politician. Don’t grant him superhuman abilities. You’ll be as disappointed as some Obama supporters may end up being when he inevitably proves his humanity.

His best shot at fixing the Michigan and Florida messes was to beat Hillary soundly enough early enough to get her to drop so that he could magnaminously seat them anyway. That is the only way they will get seated and was the way that was expected all along: the winner asks for them to be seated. He failed by just one percent in Texas (if he had won the popular vote there then that would have likely been it), and he failed by a bit more in PA. (Under 5 may have done it, 9 and first reported as 10 doesn’t come close.) Now he has a chance on May 6. Win soundly in NC and tie or better in IN and the party can sart to focus on November with Michigan and Florida welcomed as is. Faces saved all round.

His lack of action is not evidence of that? Really? Oh well, you’re worth five seconds on The Google. I can spend another five seconds if that isn’t enough, but so can you.
Gadarene, I agree it’s way past time to put the primary schedules under national regulation (whether by national parties or by national government, either is okay with me). I’d also like to see it rotate among states, preferably starting with a few small ones that have to be campaigned in personally rather than on TV, but that’s a different thread. Perhaps you can tell us why you bring it up - why, that is, you are willing to disenfranchise (and, perhaps more to the point for some here, piss off) the voters of states needed to win in November. *This * November.
jayjay, don’t the PA results suggest that, for all of Obama’s huge financial advantage, Clinton did more to “build the party” there?
Shayna, the problem to be faced is the current one, i.e. the one nobody thought last winter would matter. But those decisions are obsolete, for one thing, and are not in the spiit of fairness or democracy, for another, and are damaging to either candidate’s ability to beat McCain, for a third. Kindly address the actual, current problem, okay?

(It’s a relief to see you not repeating your traditional claim, in giant font sizes and color at that, about “the voters” thre not *wanting * to matter, at least. Congrats.)
DSeid, your wishing the problem to go away won’t make it go away.

Lordy. The OP is a mess. Where to begin?

It’s not “technically true”; it’s simply true. Frankly, I like it when my leaders follow the rules. Leaders who don’t follow rules is exactly what we’ve had for the past seven years.

Even generously giving you your uncited assertion, isn’t your own position just as silly? Wasn’t your non-response here, that “Oh yes, it’s all about your guy winning, at whatever cost, isn’t it?” immature? Haven’t you staunchly supported Hillary in every encounter with people discussing Obama and the primaries? Not that two wrongs make a right, but should your criticism be so damning and shrill when your own contributions are littered with “fuck off” and rolleyes smilies?

Thanks. I believe I will. Now, I’m going to deal first with the poll, but I also want to deal with its commissioners, since we all know that figures don’t lie but liars do figure.

The overall top lines (PDF) of the poll reveal some problems. For example, the poll’s respondents were overwhelmingly old white women — Hillary’s core constituency. 56% were women. 66% were white. A whopping 77% were over 45 years old. And these figures include both states. Even if one ignores the Cuban Hispanic population of Florida, which apparently comprises most of the 6% (yes, six percent) of them polled, one cannot convincingly argue that Michigan is the Boca Raton of the North. And even with all that advantage, less than half in both states combined say they’d vote for Hillary if the election were held today.

Also, the statement by SaveTheVoters.Org that “A significant majority (58%) of Florida Democrats support seating delegates based on early primary results; more Michigan primary voters support this option than any other individual option”. That majority is a percentage of people who answered the previous question in a particular way, namely that the DNC should not have stripped all its delegates. And so the real percentage is only 58% of 77%, which is 45%. Plus, the leading question contained a leading suggestion, stating that the DNC broke its own rules and then asking whether its decision was fair.

While the survey goes out of its way to inform people of how unfair the process has been to Hillary, it says nothing of what happens to other people who were running at the time. What happens to votes that went to Edwards and others? Should their names go on the Michigan ballot as well if it’s redone? Should Obama’s.

Finally, the survey reveals that in Michigan, 26% of those polled didn’t vote at all in the early primaries, and the same for 14% of Floridians. If these people didn’t vote at all, why is their opinion relevant for the remaining questions about how their votes should be considered by the DNC? If the survey excluded them, it makes no mention of it.

Okay. Now, because of the weirdness of this poll, I decided to look into the SaveTheVoters organization itself. Who are these people, and what is their agenda if any? Is it a case of tobacco companies gathering data about smoking or oil companies gathering data about energy consumption? Was there some reason that the organization cherry picked this poll for only its tidbits that most flattered their alleged cause?

Well, it turns out that other people have been wondering the same thing.

The website itself was registered with false information. The telephone number given, 202-111-1111, is not a working number. (Feel free to try it yourself.) Why would they do this? The principles seem genuine enough — two geeky-types who don’t, on the surface, leave the impression that they have a political agenda. But digging deeper, one finds their strong connections to — surprise! — George Soros. One of the guys, Achal Achrol, is a Soros Foundation fellow, and a contributor to Hillary’s campaign. Here is his FEC Form 3P. He’s a recipient of the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship, which is helping pay for his medical degree. (Paul is George’s older brother.)

The reason this information is important is because the organization has applied for 501(c)(3) status. (It’s easy to miss the “-pending” on their website.) According to this voter registration guide, “Nonpartisan means that the activity or program shall not be influenced by, affiliated with, or supportive of the interests [or] policies of any political party or candidate.” In light of that, I wouldn’t send them any money right now and deduct it on my tax returns.

But even after all that, one question still nags at me. According to SaveTheVoters.Org itself, their total contributions to date have been $1,280. Where did they get the money to commission the poll? Polls are expensive, and although Public Policy Polling (a Raleigh, NC company) does not bother listing SaveTheVoters.Org in its client listing, nor the survey itself in their list of surveys, I don’t suspect that the whole thing is made up. And it’s hard to imagine two struggling college kids with scholarships and loans, working on a tiny budget, financing all the things they claim to be doing.

ElvisL1ves, my friend, if I were you, I’d think twice about hanging my hat on this.

The PA results confirm what everyone thought would be the outcome for the six weeks before. Nobody expected him to win. The demographics of PA are not in his favor (they’re not necessarily in hers as regards the GE, either). And yet his share of the demographics improved over Ohio. In a six-week period that began with him 20 points behind, in which his worst two-week period re publicity occurred, in which ABC hosted a “debate” which was a thinly veiled hit job reveling in completely irrelevant trivialities, in which she threw the kitchen sink and two other major appliances of your choice at him…he still held her to a single-digit lead.

The fact that Clinton’s dirty hands are all over this mess is germane to this conversation, since you’re claiming it’s Obama’s fault. It’s not. He cannot single-handedly go in and fix the mess Clinton made! If it’s going to get fixed, she needs to step up and be willing to make some concessions herself, not simply claim these ridiculously undemocratic results are “fair” and should count “as is” just because they favor her.

If she gave a shit about Florida and Michigan, a) she wouldn’t have had her people vote to strip them of 100% of their delegates, b) wouldn’t have said that “It’s clear, this election they’re having is not going to count for anything,” c) wouldn’t be poisoning the well for the future Democratic nominee by painting him as the responsible party for her mess, and d) would broker a result that both candidates could live with, instead of playing Rovian and Bush politics, both blaming her opponent for her mistakes and stomping her foot and saying “it’s my way or the highway.”

Big, fat waste of typing, since you’re utterly unwilling to accept the truth if it doesn’t fit into your partisan worldview. But congrats to you for being completely predictable in beating this dead horse again, since you have no other way to claim victory for your girl.