Live Thread II at the RBC
by Jerome Armstrong, Sat May 31, 2008 at 09:03:13 AM EDT
Walking around the corridors outside the hall, I heard that there is 17-11 support (an agreement shook out last night) for the Ausman proposal that would resolve Florida. As for Michigan, there's nothing tangible. No one knows. Brewer is looking for a "unique remedy" but its not clear what it will be, and his doesn't seem to have much support in a reading of the rules.
Update [2008-5-31 13:13:5 by Jerome Armstrong]: Senator Levin says that there is support among the candidates here, in support of the plan they've offered, for full seating. Obama says to divide the 128, 64-64, because the primary was flawed. Clinton says the 128 should be divided 73-55. The MDP asks for a 69-59 delegation. Seated in full. "If you don't do that it will interject a element of disunity." Levin is great, advocating for a reform of the nominating system for many years. And he throws the issue right back on the RCB.
Update [2008-5-31 13:48:49 by Jerome Armstrong]: The RCB is worried about the precedent of giving "uncommitted" delegate to a candidate, and giving delegates to a candidate that voluntarily removed their name from the ballot. It is troubling. When Obama removed his name from the MI ballot, his campaign officials told the Edwards staffers that they would only remove Obama's name only if Edwards did so as well (I've confirmed this with 3 top Edwards directors). It was a backroom deal that Obama made to take his name off the ballot, with Edwards (and Richardson) agreeing on it (keeping Clinton out of the talks). It was a gamble Obama took, and now, in a sense Obama's getting rewarded for having lost that gamble by taking away delegates that Clinton won to give to Obama.
Ickes talks about "fair refection" (which Wexler has never heard of before) as a fundamental value, and this proposal would do violence to that principle. Taking those 55 delegate slots, and converting them to one candidate, based on off-the-mark exit polls. The 55 delegates are "fair game" because that's what an undecided vote means. Plus, taking 4 delegates from Clinton and just "giving them to Obama. Hell, why not take 10, 20, keep on going."
Ickes makes good points. This would be a terrible precedent, if the RBC went down this road, which the MDP has raised in its proposal. Levin gives a great pragmatic argument, that fair reflection doesn't apply to a flawed primary, but that still doesn't address the issue of appointing something other than either accepting the vote as it happened, or throwing it out completely. The RBC is in a tough position with MI. Basing the delegates on splitting the difference of what the two candidates desire has no basis in the rules. If this doesn't reach resolution, its going to the credentials committee.
Update [2008-5-31 14:55:44 by Jerome Armstrong]: Rep. Bonior argues on behalf of Obama. His position, reslating with a 50-50 split. Its hard to believe that anyone would try to say with a straight face, that Obama and his campaign had no role whatsoever in their not being a re-vote in MI, but Bonior gives the revision his best shot. Bonior gets some hisses at saying 50-50 is fair, Herman throws down the gavel again. Cheers and boos (mostly from the balcony in the back) near the end of his conclusion. No unity here.
Bonior agrees with Ausman about the superdelegates, asking that they also be reinstated, at full representation. Obama is going to be in Michigan again on Monday. I imagine Clinton will be in South Dakota.
Update [2008-5-31 14:55:44 by Jerome Armstrong]: Smith asks about Obama removing his name from the MI ballot, and adds: "The caucus is a flawed process." I get the feeling that we have seen the beginning of the end of the caucus system in the Democratic nominee process. Bonior says "we were following the path set by this committee that the votes would not count." Second, they agreed to not campaign in the state, so why not remove your name. The gambit was that if they took their name off the ballots, then they would be able to declare the whole contest being void.
Reiley asks about the need to "honor the integrity of the vote." Bonior, who has been much more professional than Wexler was for Florida, replies that those who didn't get to vote need to be respected as well. Reiley proposes that we stick to allowing the vote to stand and provide them with half a delegate-- the same solution for Florida. It does make sense, right, to treat FL and MI the same.
Update [2008-5-31 14:55:44 by Jerome Armstrong]: Gov Blanchard is representing Clinton. Michigan is a loyal Democratic state, he points out, with the only exception being Carter'76 win as the exception to a Democrat winning the Presidency while winning MI. He points out that the Obama campaign had a "flawed strategy" in taking his name off the ballot, that nothing required them to take their name off the ballot, and that Obama, Richardson, and Edwards held a rigorous "Uncommitted" campaign drive in Michigan.
The Blanchard/Clinton position though, as I understand it, of a 73-55 split, doesn't make sense. It's making up rules on the fly to decided that Uncommitted can be allocated to a candidate by the RCB. I don't see the RCB going along with this proposal either.
Update [2008-5-31 14:55:44 by Jerome Armstrong]: Hynes asks, should their be DNC rules of timing? Blanchard says yes, but I say no. That's what has gotten us into this mess to begin with, and there is no way in hell that it will ever change from IA and NH having a protected position, and having this situation repeat itself, unless this is changed. The rules come from the states. All the solutions of a rotation or otherwise setting the rules are pipe dreams.
Update [2008-5-31 14:55:44 by Jerome Armstrong]: Blanchard clarifies the Clinton position, that 73 will go with Clinton and 55 remain as Uncommitted. He believes you could assume that those 55 go with Obama, but "who knows, by August, you might have some of them switching back and forth." OK, strictly by the rules, that makes more sense. Katz tries to say that there is not equivalence in what happened in FL in 2000 with what's happened in MI in 2008. Blanchard says the principle is the same, counting votes, and punishing someone for staying on the ballot is wrong.
Update [2008-5-31 14:55:44 by Jerome Armstrong]: Clark, brings it back to the point of thinking about those that didn't vote. Where does this argument lead too? She says it important that we recognize that, but OK. That MI didn't have a write-in process disqualified 30,000 votes, very good point. MI needs to clean up their ballot process. Brazile wants to follow up on the use of the word "disenfranchise", and those 30K votes, and hints toward supporting the Levin/MDP proposal. "My mama, you mentioned your mama... taught me to play by the rules", says Brazile, and changing the rules in the middle of the game is "cheating", so we need to pay "tribute" to those who voted by write-in and those who didn't vote. Blanchard replies, "Hillary Clinton did play by the rules... whatever it is, we'll try to win it."
Ickes with the final question, has three comments... but Roosevelt points out that this is the question period. It's kinda fun to think about these guys father and grandfather having the same back and forth back in the 30's during the Roosevelt presidency.
See you in a few hours after the break.