Live thread at the RBC
by Jerome Armstrong, Sat May 31, 2008 at 08:12:35 AM EDT
I got a seat up in the front row of the balcony. On the way in, I chatted with Chuck Todd, who predicted that Florida will get seated with half the delegates, based on the primary results, and that Michigan gets seated 50-50, not counting the primary results. He's got an article online that does a 'simulation' of the FL and MI results, finding Florida to Clinton by a margin of about six points (53-47), netting her nine delegates (97-88), and Michigan to Clinton, 51-49, which would have netted her approximately 4 delegates (66-62). So, if Clinton comes out with a net of 10 delegates, she'd meet the simulation.
Howard Dean is doing the intro, his guidelines, first "to respect the voters in FL & MI" and second to "respect the candidates" and third, to "respect the other 48 states". Regarding MI, it seems there's a incompatibility at play her. "In less than 90 days, we meet in Denver."
I'm expecting that, no matter what the resolution today, that it gets overturned by the time of the convention, with the full seating of the delegation occurring with a nominee, but this does bring to closure, or have the potential to bring, the issue of the math-- the number of delegates needed to become the presumptive nominee.
Update [2008-5-31 10:23:11 by Jerome Armstrong]: The background by the DNC. Long rambles by Herman and Roosevelt about "the context" of when the RBC over-stepped their own rules to make a 100% delegate reduction for FL & MI. In listening to their reasoning, it strikes me that what they 'thought' would occur -- other states might jump forward or that FL & MI would re-vote outside the window-- were just plain old wrong. They made the wrong choice, and are now in CYA mode.
Update [2008-5-31 11:26:40 by Jerome Armstrong]: Ausman is making the pitch for Florida. Their appeal is straightforward, wanting 23 superdelegates (full), 185 pledged-delegates (50%), and 3 unpledged delegates not included in the appeal. the gist being that the superdelegates are not chosen as other delegates, they are not chosen in the year of the convetion, they are not in the window of the timing rule, and not subject to the rules, "they shall be delegates". Nevermind for a moment that he's right, about the reading of the rules, it just goes to show that the process that gives so much institutional power to a group of voting delegates that have no role whatsoever in the actual nominating period needs to be reformed. But, as far as this committee taking away the superdelegates voting powers, I don't see how the rules can be interpreted any other way. The reduction of 50% of the pledged-delegates for FL is also according to the rules. Ausman makes a point to the RBC: "You don't get to cherry-pick your 'shalls' in the rules based upon who you prefer as President", good line. He makes the point that the specific penalty is a greater authority of the general rule, the specific penalty being a 50% reduction.
Update [2008-5-31 11:26:40 by Jerome Armstrong]: Fowler says Ausman is "totally incorrect" in his reading of the rules, based upon what was the intention of the formation of the superdelegates. Fowler, no doubt. He's making more of a 'historical intention' point, but not debating the actual rules. Basically, then, they screwed up in writing the rules if thats the case.
Update [2008-5-31 11:26:40 by Jerome Armstrong]: Ausman pulls out some charts to make a point, based upon polling, saying there's broad public support for the 50% penalty, to a question asking what the split should be based upon. Kleinfeld asks about the 'equity' of giving the SD's a full vote and the PD's a half vote. Ausman replies that "you have the discretion of granting all 185 delegates", given this is basically another Republican move to disenfranchise Democrats in Florida, hearkening back to the historical 1876 & 2000 elections, and once again (big applause).
Update [2008-5-31 11:26:40 by Jerome Armstrong]: Senator Nelson follows up, making the presentation for Florida. He recognizes all the supporters who have come up from Florida. I've got a bunch of photos from the signs and people outside the hotel, and will post those later. "In Florida, we're pretty sensitive about not having our votes counted." btw, if you are watching Nelson on the TV, that's the back of RBC member Mike Steed's silver head in the bottom of the screen. McDonald asks an "adversarial" question, asking why Democrats favored the move in their voting, and Nelson points out that, in a bill that was like a 'motherhood bill" to have a paper trail for voting, the Republicans inserted the language to change the date of the primary. So basically, McDonald, and those who claim that Democrats voted for the move, are taking it out of context of the election reform vote.
Update [2008-5-31 12:1:48 by Jerome Armstrong]: Brazile, getting a mixture of hisses and cheers from the crowd in attendance, asks about the diversity of the delegation in Florida, to state Senator Joyner of FL (who gave a rousing speech advocating for full seating). Joyner replies that yes, it is in compliance.
Update [2008-5-31 12:1:48 by Jerome Armstrong]: Rep. Wexler, on behalf of the Obama campaign, is here to argue the case that favors Obama. It seems unfavorable for the future of Wexler in Florida, statewide at least, that he becomes the spokesperson arguing against the best interests of Florida. We get a shout-out from the crowd, when Wexler states that Obama never campaigned in FL, about the TV ads that he ran there. Wexler agrees with the Ausman petition. Wexler isn't doing Obama any favors here, pretending like Obama is taking the highroad, pounding the table, he sounds like he's losing, not winning. More hisses around the SD's allocation (Wexler/Obama say 1/2 a vote), and more gavel pounding. Its unbelievable that Wexler would come in here and be so personally confrontational.
Update [2008-5-31 12:58:56 by Jerome Armstrong]: Germond asks Wexler about turnout, but that doesn't really address the problem. The only sticking point is going to be around the allocation of the superdelegate votes. My guess is that the RBC does not grant the SD's a full vote if they are taking the PD's down to a half-vote. Flourmoy asks whether Wexler would opposes full representation, and Wexler waffles, Wexler/Obama would only want reinstatement according to the rules. Again Flournoy asks the question. Wexler won't answer directly, and the crowd laughs when he says "we have already answered", with crowd shout-outs of "yes or no", and gavel pounding. Ickes thanks him for his "passionate presentation", asking why refers to the Ausman proposal as a "concession" and then why is it a "concession" if its according to the rules, what was the concession? The "effort" of the "concession" by Obama/Wexler is to support the rules. "Fair reflection", isn't a concept that Wexler knows about, and Ickes refuses to "educated" Wexler. A question by Dawson, about reslating-- Obama/Wexler want a total review of the delegate slate.
Huffman asks about how "no penalty" is "disunity rather than unity"? Wexler says, "I wish you would have answered that question last year." Wexler makes the point that he asked that FL not be penalized to begin with, but now is arguing that they shouldn't? Huffman on the follow-up, asks the question again, asking why shouldn't they now have their full vote. "No one in the state of Florida has championed voting rights more than me". No sign of humility in Wexler.
Update [2008-5-31 12:58:56 by Jerome Armstrong]: Onto Michigan. Brewer asks for 69-59 split among the pledged delegates, and full seating of the super delegates.