Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Michigan J. Leapfrog

Michigan J. Leapfrog

Update: Michigan Senate votes for Jan. 15 on party lines -- GOP for, Democrats against. The bill moves to the Democratic-controlled House, where amendments are likely.

No story involving the words "Michigan" and "leapfrog" would be complete without a gratuitous reference to Warner Bros. mascot Michigan J Frog. I'm starting to bear a remarkable resemblance to the scheming construction worker. Hello my baby, hello my honey, hello my ragtime gal indeed.

More substantively, as Michigan looks to make its move as soon as today to a Jan. 15 or Jan. 8 primary, here's a roundup of the leapfrog related news.

On Saturday, Iowa Senate Majority leader Mike Gronstal told Iowa Independent, "There's a remote possibility we may have to have a special session" to address Iowa's law that required the caucuses to be eight days before any other nominating contest.  Gronstal also said Iowa officials are working to discourage candidates from campaigning in unauthorized early states, and that the Iowa parties won't hold caucuses on different dates.

Former Iowa Congressman Dave Nagle, who chaired the Iowa Democratic Party in the 1980s, told Iowa Independent Saturday that a December caucus was still a possibility. 
The Concord (NH) Monitor has an extended article on Nagle, emphasizing his words "New Hampshire is still mad at us, as they should be."  The Monitor also mines the archives for a series of anti-New Hampshire quotes from and about Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, the number one foe of Iowa and New Hampshire's special status.

Just a reminder: The event that started the chain reaction of leapfrogging primary and caucus dates was the Republican-led Florida legislature's move to  a Jan. 29 primary date,  in violation of the Democratic National Committee's calendar.  Florida Democrats, powerless to change the date even if they wanted to (which they may not want to anyway), have asked the DNC for an exemption from the calendar.  The DNC rules committee meets Saturday to consider the Florida request.

The Politico reports on the Saturday DNC meeting and quotes an anonymous committee member: "You are going to see big signs on the floor of the Democratic Convention that say `Florida' and `Michigan' and you are going to see rows of empty seats beneath them."  But the article also states, "a secret 9 a.m. 'off the record' breakfast will precede the open meeting and the 30 sometimes contentious members of the rules commitee will try to achieve some kind of consensus."

In the New York Times, Cook Report Editor Charles E. Cook Jr. recommends a Dec. 17 Iowa caucus: "Whoever wins Iowa would be in a very strong position for a few weeks because they would freeze the ball over the holidays. Who's going to interrupt Jimmy Stewart and `It's a Wonderful Life' with a negative ad?"  The Times also has a handy chart of dates.

Jerome Armstrong at MyDD joins Kos in the Screw Iowa contingent:

"Michigan and Florida have courageously decided to send more than a message to New Hampshire and Iowa, that they don't own the primary calendar... The DNC rules committee, and whatever they fancy their power to be, is irrelevant and will not be able to do anything, other than agree that they created this situation with their timidity and lack of providing a substantive solution to the calendar problem."

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