Saturday, August 25, 2007

Latest Leapfrog Round: DNC Follows Through on Florida

Latest Leapfrog Round: DNC Follows Through on Florida

Saturday the Democratic National Committee's rules committee gave Florida 30 days to move it -- the primary -- or lose it -- all their delegates. The New York Times has the most comprehensive write-up; here's the nut:
Again and again, (Florida) party officials presented themselves as victims rather than protagonists, and asked the party to grant them relief because of that.

“We’re asking you for mercy, not judgment,” Jon Ausman, a Democratic leader, told the committee.

But James Roosevelt Jr., the rules committee’s co-chairman, said he was not convinced that Florida Democrats had done all they could do. He said it was “clear that the Republicans were the moving force behind the selection of a date that violated both the Republican and the Democratic rules, but that the efforts to oppose that were form over substance.”

Or, the DNC rules committee saw that the Florida Democrats' "efforts" to get the GOP legislature to move back to a later date were just so much please don't throw us in the briar patch.

Florida fought hard, says the Miami Herald:
Party leaders and members of Congress dispatched indignant e-mails to voters, staged conference calls with reporters and even threatened to take (NDC chair Howard) Dean to court.

They blamed the Republicans who control the Florida Legislature and invoked the biggest bogeyman of all: the 2000 presidential recount.

The Republicans, who run Florida, tend to let states do what they want in the nomination process, and they're unlikely to move from Jan. 29. So the Florida Democrats can capitulate -- hold the Jan. 29 primary but make it a beauty contest, then have a caucus or party-run primary on Feb. 5 or later for delegate selection. Or they can choose defiance and fight, either in court over voting rights issues (playing that 2000 card again) or at the convention.

Kos, who is in the running with Michigan Sen. Carl Levin for the title of Biggest Iowa Caucus Hater, urges defiance:
Does anyone really think that Democrats will disenfranchise the delegates of a large swing state, whether it's Florida or Michigan?

The DNC is powerless. All it has is bluster. And as soon as we have a nominee, the first thing that person will do is rescind any such decision.

This isn't even close to done yet. The main thing we've learned from Saturday is that the DNC is going to stand up for its calendar. So the standoff continues.

Back home, The Register notes: "Iowa legislative leaders said Friday they have discussed with Gov. Chet Culver convening the Legislature for a special session to change state law concerning Iowa's presidential caucuses." That eight days before everyone else law is a bit of a problem now that New Hampshire looks likely for Jan. 8. Didn't anyone see this was coming during the session? Or even think "you know, better safe than sorry?" New Hampshire's legislature did, and they updated their legislation to give their secretary of state even wider authority to move their election date.

A couple other interesting angles:

  • If the caucuses push back into calendar year 2007, it's possible that candidates could go back to their maxed-out donors for more money. That's one interpretation of campaign finance law, reports the AP: "A strict reading of the law means the contribution limits apply only to primaries and caucuses held in 2008. If a state moves its primary or caucus to 2007, it could mean a whole new cycle."

    Who would that help? Candidates who have relied most heavily on high-dollar donors -- Hillary Clinton for the Democrats, Mitt Romney on the GOP side.

  • Todd Beeton at MyDD asks, "Are Michigan Republicans Trying To Win Clinton The Nomination?" True, some of the key backers of an early Michigan contest are Democrats -- Levin, Gov. Jennifer Granholm. But just because they share the same goal doesn't mean the GOP shares their motives. The idea is that an early event in a big state helps the national front runner, and hurts John Edwards whose strongest state is Iowa. Much like the argument that Karl Rove's recent attacks on Hillary are designed to gets Democrats to rally around her, instead of around Obama, Edwards, or another candidate that Rove really thinks is more of a danger to the GOP.

  • Speaking of Edwards, he's issued new statements about how much he loves corn and pigs: "My campaign will – as all presidential campaigns should -- respect Iowa's special place as the nation's first caucus." And Dave Nagle, who ripped Edwards a new one on Thursday, is now somewhat happier.
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