Wednesday, May 28, 2008

DNC Lawyers: FL, MI Must Be Punished

DNC Lawyers: FL, MI Must Be Punished

At the Democratic National Committee's rules and bylaws committee prepares to meet on Saturday to decide the fate of calendar cheaters Florida and Michigan, attorneys for the DNC are arguing that party rules require that the two states lose at least half their delegates for violating the party's nomination calendar.

The 38 page brief looks at several aspects of the issue and underscored an understated fact about the fight. "Most overlooked is the agenda of the committee itself," as opposed to the agendas of the Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama campaigns, writes The Politico. "It is a rules committee; its members believe in rules and that rules must be enforced, even as political realities are addressed."

"I think we're moving toward half votes for everybody," Florida DNC member Jon Ausman told the St. Petersburg Times. That paper also notes that delegate selection in Florida may need to be reopened; the Obama campaign never fielded a slate of delegates because, as of the Jan. 29 vote in Florida, the state wasn't going to have any delegates.

Tickets to Saturday's meeting of the once-obscure committee were scooped up in "a matter of seconds,” wrote the DNC, and a circus atmosphere reminiscent of the 2000 Florida recount is expected. Clinton supporters are organizing protest, but the Obama campaign is officially discouraging counter-protests. “We look forward to the meeting proceeding smoothly — and we’re asking our supporters not to show up to demonstrate, passionately as they feel about this campaign,” said in internal campaign email obtained by The Hill.

Democratic Convention Watch runs the math based on five live scenarios:

  • Do not seat Florida or Michigan, as the rules currently state.
  • Seat Florida at a half vote per delegate, and Michigan at a split of Clinton 69, Obama 59. That's a compromise between the 64-64 split proposed by Obama and the 73 delegates Clinton "won" on Jan. 15, and is the current official position of the Michigan party. Superdelegates would get a full vote under this plan.
  • Michigan and Florida seat at a half vote per delegate.
  • Michigan and Florida seat at a half vote per elected delegate, and a full vote per superdelegate.
  • Finally, the Never Mind scenario of seating Florida and Michigan as elected, with no punishment.

    Not on the table: Clinton supporter Lanny Davis' proposal to give Clinton the 73 delegates she "won" in Michigan and half of the uncommitted delegates. His argument that some of the uncommitted voters who voted against Clinton really had her as a second choice was greeted with web-wide derision.
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