Why Obama Should Support Fully Seating MI/FL

When the RBC meets on Saturday it looks like they will cut the MI and FL delegations in half (or give them half votes). I believe that this is the worst possible outcome for Barack Obama. Herewith are several reasons why Obama should support Hillary's request to have the delegations seated in full.

1. Obama wins anyway. I won't go over the full math, but looking at the DemConWatch numbers with MI/FL included, you can see that Obama needs 128 delegates under Hillary's preferred scenario. After the three upcoming contests that number will be reduced to about 93, assuming narrow Obama wins in MT and SD and a 30-point blowout for Clinton in PR.  

That means Obama will need only 1/3 of the remaining delegate pool, which consists of uncommitted superdelegates, uncommitted MI pledged delegates, and Edwards delegates. That is an easy threshold, and it will be even easier once the rest of the MI delegates are assigned and the Pelosi Club endorses.

2. Clinton and her supporters will shut up about MI and FL. Giving them everything they want is the one and only way to keep these people from continuing to tear down the results of the nominating contest as a rigged result which is morally equivalent to African dictatorships and slavery. Of course she will continue to piss all over the party with her "popular vote" argument, but she will be denied any process arguments, which are more persuasive.

3. It won't hurt the party in the future because this nominating system is dead anyway. There is no doubt at all that the party will change the nominating system before 2016 (2012 if Hillary gets her wish), so setting a bad precedent is not an issue. The system will be fixed so this kind of pigf*ck doesn't happen again.

4. It avoids the embarrassment of moving the goal line after Obama crosses it. With the delegate count set to the maximum, there is no way that Obama can clinch a majority only to have it yanked from underneath him by further power plays among Hillary's cronies in the party. He will be the presumptive nominee, period, and Hillary's only chance will be to convince delegates to switch to her. Fat chance.

5. Did I mention that Hillary and her supporters will shut up about subverted democracy? This is enormously important, because we can't stand an entire summer of a sore loser traveling the country on borrowed money complaining that the nomination is illegitimate. She will poison public opinion against our nominee. With this argument neutralized, all she will have left is pointless whining, which I fully expect she will engage in all the way until the convention but it will be robbed of its power. And hopefully we will never hear from that doofus Lanny Davis again.

Somehow I doubt that the RBC will give Hillary everything she wants. That's too bad, because even if she gets everything she wants she will still lose. No point in letting her cling to one more weapon she can use to slash at our nominee and our chances for victory in the fall.

Tags: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, jim crow, slavery, Women's Suffrage, Zimbabwe (all tags)



Re: Why Obama Should Support Fully Seating MI/FL

Give her what she wants, and maybe people will stop listening to her poisonous rants.

by alvernon 2008-05-28 09:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Obama Should Support Fully Seating MI/FL

She won't stop until she gets the nomination.

by spacemanspiff 2008-05-28 09:05PM | 0 recs

But if FL and MI are seated "as is," she has no excuse to keep fighting.

by maxomai 2008-05-28 09:08PM | 0 recs
She could argue popular vote

but if Obama were to make this gesture with sincerity, without pouting, he would improve my image of him immensely.

by catfish2 2008-05-28 09:54PM | 0 recs
She can't really argue popular vote

The easy-win Obama counterargument is to point out how many people votes for anyone but Clinton. That would include not only Michigan's "uncommitted" vote (conveniently excluded in Clinton's numbers) but the Edwards vote, the Richardson vote, etc.

It's no more a BS metric than counting "popular votes" from a state where she and Kucinich were the only ones on the ballot.

by maxomai 2008-05-29 07:22AM | 0 recs
She'll make one up

it doesn't matter what it is.  She'll find some pretext and her supporters will swallow it whole.  See how catfish2 already came up with one and also laid the groundwork for being unsatisfied if Obama does what Alvernon suggests?

by JJE 2008-05-28 10:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Maybe

She'll create another excuse to go on.  That's all her campaign has been since the end of February--excuses.

by LordMike 2008-05-29 04:55AM | 0 recs
Heartily rec'd.

Even the "it will get her supporters to shut up" part. (Though if he continues to trash her over faux RFK controversies, we'll have to defend her."

But seriously, I agree.

by catfish2 2008-05-28 09:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Heartily rec'd.

The current Clinton-supporter argument seems to me to be that the Uncommited votes must be split 50-50 (so that basically Clinton gets around 80% of Michigan's full delegates). And ofcourse that Obama must be stripped of his Florida delegates as well.

And that the caucuses must be invalidated ofcourse as undemocratic.

So honestly, I don't have much hope that anything will get her supporters to "shut up".

by Aris Katsaris 2008-05-29 12:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Obama Should Support Fully Seating MI/FL

I guess the question at this point is, even with the protests and such, can either Senator Obama or Senator Clinton affect the ruling the RBC comes up with?

I'd be all for letting them be seated in full, although I think something ought to happen to contribute to them jacking the process up- strip their superdelegates or something- but Obama's position so far has been, I think, just do whatever the RBC rules, and be done with it.

by ragekage 2008-05-28 09:04PM | 0 recs
Can Obama affect the RBC?

I think this is a good question, and I don't know the answer. Certainly the DNC lawyers are trying to tie the committee's hands. But I suspect if Obama came out publicly and said, "It doesn't matter anymore, let's not fight about this, give her what she wants and let's get busy with McCain," the committee might listen.

Hillary won't listen. In fact, it would probably be declared some kind of conspiracy. But sane people would recognize that she got every delegate that could possibly be given to her within the bounds of pity and reason, and she still lost.

by alvernon 2008-05-28 09:10PM | 0 recs
I'm in complete and loud agreement

But the fact is, Obama doesn't really have a say on Saturday, and neither does Clinton. The Rules Committee is only hearing proposals from the states, not from the candidates.

Would that it were otherwise. Then we could get this stupid debate, and the dishonest idiots who are promoting it, behind us.

by maxomai 2008-05-28 09:07PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm in complete and loud agreement

This is true, but as noted above, the states could set forth a proposal matching what Clinton wants if they know they have Obama's support.

Besides, if any state were to propose anything less than what Clinton wants, then by Clinton's logic those leaders would be dictators who are destroying our Glorious American Democracy. Who wants to get caught in her line of fire if they give the baby her bottle and shut her up?

by alvernon 2008-05-28 09:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Obama Should Support Fully Seating MI/FL

The R&B committee cannot and will not fully seat the delegations, regardless of what Obama wants. They are going to penalize the states for breaking their rules.

by BlueGAinDC 2008-05-28 09:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Obama Should Support Fully Seating MI/FL


I think all of the diarist's listed reasons are equally applicable to any compromise.

There is simply no way to seat all delegates without making a complete mockery of the process. And that's saying a lot, because we're pretty darn close to a mockery already. It would be utterly absurd to seat them as-is after all these months of arguing. If that's their grand solution, the DNC could've done it months ago and spared us all the overheated rhetoric about Zimbabwe.

And once the DNC agrees to seat them in some fashion, the issue will be off the table anyway. I can't exactly imagine the fierce Clinton battle cry of, "They should've seated them all instead of half!" By now, most everyone is tired of this and just wants a resolution; no one will be rioting over the lost 50% of delegates.

Seating them all also would unequivocally prove that the DNC is spineless, gutless and can be trampled upon with impunity. Florida and Michigan MUST be punished. The only question is the degree. If the DNC wants to show some mercy and divide the delegate votes in half, great. But imagine the absolute havoc we'll face in 2012 if every state knows the DNC is full of crap when it threatens to punish calendar-jumpers.

Frankly, given how Michigan and Florida totally flubbed this whole thing, they should be thankful if they get half (demagoguery notwithstanding).

by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner 2008-05-28 10:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Obama Should Support Fully Seating MI/FL

I respectfully disagree. Hillary has been painting Florida Democrats as victims of a GOP-controlled state government that changed the primary against their will. That's a lie, but that's her argument. She will continue to say that the DNC and Obama disenfranchised innocent voters who could do nothing to stop the changing of their primary date. A big filthy lie, but that's what she will say.

I can't stand the idea of listening to such bullshit for the next three months.

by alvernon 2008-05-28 10:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Obama Should Support Fully Seating MI/FL

And do you think that seating them fully will result in her cheerfully accepting that she's lost the primary? She'll move on to the next argument for why she should be nominated or why the process was broken, unfair, etc.

I fully understand the politics of this, and how giving her what she wants takes away her last, biggest weapon.

But I just can't abide by that. I'll risk the consequences before I endorse giving in to someone who's made ridiculous demands and attempted to bring down the house when no one yielded. What the heck kind of lesson does that teach? Invoke Zimbabwe, the Florida recount, women's suffrage and other hoary ghosts of disenfranchisement past and then poof!! you get just what you want?

Man, if that's the case, 2012 or 2016 is going to be insane.

by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner 2008-05-28 10:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Obama Should Support Fully Seating MI/FL

Hillary will never cheerfully accept her loss. No matter what the RBC does, we can expect to hear more about the boy's club that took the prize from the lioness or whatever.

It's just that the argument about "innocent Florida voters being disenfranchised" is particularly persuasive, and it would be best if she couldn't keep making that argument. Punishing the states is a secondary concern to making Hillary stop talking about the Dem nomination as if it were stolen or otherwise tainted by corruption.

by alvernon 2008-05-28 10:44PM | 0 recs
RE: Clinton's Battle Cry

I can't exactly imagine the fierce Clinton battle cry of, "They should've seated them all instead of half!"

Oh, I can! No doubt in my mind.

As if the Clinton flip-flopping and distorted logic regarding Florida is asinine enough.

But MI with her name being the ONLY fricking one on the ballot? That is her battle cry for American democracy? Haven't certain murderous dictators held similar elections? Seriously.

by USArmyParatrooper 2008-05-28 10:41PM | 0 recs
Re: RE: Clinton's Battle Cry

I've got $20 that says that Hillary or a top campaign surrogate compares the 1/2 delegations to the fact that the constitution counted slaves as 3/5ths of a person. If she hasn't already.

by alvernon 2008-05-28 10:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Obama Should Support Fully Seating MI/FL

I think everyone needs to calm down.  As you mentioned, whatever happens later this week won't change anything, so there's no point getting worked up over it.  Plus, once there is a decision, the optics look bad for an appeal in August - it will look like nothing more than sour grapes and will present another roadblock to acceptance, plus this week's decision will have an air of legitimacy - it will be the second decision by the party on this issue.  As for the Democratic leadership, they have no stomach for a convention fight.  Every argument that Clinton could use in August is available now, and still no one is budging, so why would they prolong the contest when it's clear what the result will be?

The only bargaining chip I see at this point is the VP slot.  If that is what is going on here, then it's an awfully high stakes game.

by rfahey22 2008-05-28 09:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Obama Should Support Fully Seating MI/FL

It's more than a high stakes game she's playing for VP, it's an outright shakedown. She is implicitly threatening to burn him down if she can't be added to the ticket.

What her supporters seem to forget is that the game goes both ways -- the half of the party who voted against her is just as likely to abandon her if she steals the nomination. The only reason she is "winning the general election" as Bill puts it is that her opponents know she won't get the nomination so it is easy to say they will vote for her purely in the hypothetical.

Frankly, I think an Obama administration with Bill and Hillary constantly plotting and scheming behind his back would be worse than a Hillary administration anyway.

by alvernon 2008-05-28 09:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Obama Should Support Fully Seating MI/FL

Well, I'm not going to go there.  The Clintons will be integral to our chances in November.  But, until proven otherwise, I'm convinced that this will end in two weeks or so.  

by rfahey22 2008-05-28 09:27PM | 0 recs
I don't think so

Obama will have to win despite the Clintons.

by JJE 2008-05-28 10:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Obama Should Support Fully Seating MI/FL

It's not Obama's decision to make.  The RBC has at least some incentive to penalize the states, and since the seating isn't going to determine the nomination outcome anyway, I expect them to follow through with their punishment.  (Probably mitigated though).

by Deadalus 2008-05-28 09:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Obama Should Support Fully Seating MI/FL

There is an incentive to penalize the states, but there is also an incentive to mollify Hillary and her supporters. At this point I think the latter is more important.

It's not Obama's decision to make, but he can certainly endorse it. Even if the RBC went forward with the 1/2 penalty, he could still claim that he supported full representation and tried to make it happen. That is worth something.

by alvernon 2008-05-28 09:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Obama Should Support Fully Seating MI/FL

I agree.  Let's hope they make the decision to mollify her.  They could do so and still punish the states by stripping the super-delegates of their vote.

by Deadalus 2008-05-28 09:26PM | 0 recs

See, just go full throttle. Why not? He would win anyway would he not?

by catfish2 2008-05-28 09:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Eh.

He will win anyway, yes.

by Deadalus 2008-05-28 10:13PM | 0 recs
Also mollify MI, FL voters

especially Florida. FLORIDA. Have they not been through enough?

by catfish2 2008-05-28 09:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Also mollify MI, FL voters

Won't somebody PLEASE think about the Floridians?!?

by alvernon 2008-05-28 09:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Also mollify MI, FL voters

They haven't been through a campaign for the primary they 'voted' for - that would have been nice.

by gcensr 2008-05-28 10:07PM | 0 recs
Respectfully, I disagree
Here is how I see things playing out if Obama comes out publicly in support of seating all of FL / MI.

  1. Obama supports...
  2. Rules committee rules: 1/2 delegates for FL/MI
  3. Hillary calls for Obama to honor his call to seat by taking up the fight in the Credentials committee
This could go one of at least two ways:
    Obama defers to the Rules Committee ruling, or
    Obama supports Hillary's fight.

In case 1, the battle continues, leading to a Credentials Committee fight and, potentially, a floor fight.

In case 2, Obama comes off as a spineless waffler (almost certain to be a Repug talking point, with probable sexist overtones implying "Pu**y whipped" or "beaten by a girl" - I can hear the talking points now, and they make me sick already), weakening his "brand" and strengthening Hillary's position.

In either case, the result is probably a net negative for Obama, may be a net positive for Hillary, and damages the Democratic chances to be elected president, no matter who the nominee is.

Since IMO Obama has some pretty good analytical capabilities (either his own or through his staff), I just don't see this happening. There is, at best, only a minimal upside to this for him, and there could be a huge downside.

by Vancouverite 2008-05-28 11:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Obama Should Support Fully Seating MI/FL

This is a bigger decision than just placating Hillary.  Please realize that even if she gets everything she wants she will find a reason to continue the election (her bogus popular vote argument for example).  She will go after the superdelegates full force and will argue that in such a close election where she "won the popular vote and won the most 'important' states, she should see it through to the convention."  She keeps saying that she won't quit, I really don't understand why people keep refusing to believe her.  If Obama gives her an inch she will take a mile, this is not the kind of competitor that you EVER turn your back on.

I have a couple of other issues with doing what she wants: 1) It disenfranchises the voters who believed it when they were told that their vote wouldn't count 2) It sets a bad precedent about the leniency the party will show towards states that break the rules in the future.  It really won't matter how the party changes its rules before the next election, if no consequence is given there is nothing to stop states from holding their 2012 primaries in February 2009.  

by Renie 2008-05-28 10:02PM | 0 recs
Agreed and Recommended

Your arguments for seating Florida and Michigan are self-evidently reasonable.  It doesn't benefit Obama to exclude them because he still has a delegate lead and it doesn't benefit Clinton to have two huge states that voted for her not counted.

The fact that this resolution is so clarion and obvious that it calls into question why Obama and surrogates would still oppose it.  Something more must be going on behind the scenes.  It's possible he foresees a convention flight and just wants to be as insulated numerically from defections as possible.  

by BPK80 2008-05-28 10:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Agreed and Recommended

Well, I admit that I don't see all of Clinton's angles on this (since she would be unlikely to win even if she received everything she wanted).  Until I did, I would probably be reluctant to give in.  Plus, if my opponent had been insinuating for months that I personally disenfranchised a few states, I don't know how open I would be to capitulation.

by rfahey22 2008-05-28 10:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Agreed and Recommended

The 48-state-strategy looks like a fix anyway you slice it and is horrible for the Dem brand in both states not just in the 2008 presidential election but in downticket races both in the fall and beyond.  

by BPK80 2008-05-28 11:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Obama Should Support Fully Seating MI/FL

Hillary seems like the type of person that appeasement would work on.  She definitely wouldn't use any sort of victory Saturday as a sign that her scorched earth strategies are working, and it certainly wouldn't seem to her campaign as incentive  to continue her campaign into the summer.

by Sarcastro 2008-05-28 10:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Obama Should Support Fully Seating MI/FL

I never said that Hillary can be appeased. Quite the opposite. I'm just saying that giving her everything on the MI/FL question takes away her last remaining argument with any real power to persuade.

by alvernon 2008-05-28 10:18PM | 0 recs
We're already stuck with Clinton til Denver

No matter what happens.  The Clinton campaign has taken on a life of it's own, totally devoid of logic or reason.  It thrives on faux outrage, soundbites, and the false rallying cry of Sexism--their own St. Crispin's Day speech.

This will continue until August, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.

by bjones 2008-05-28 10:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Obama Should Support Fully Seating MI/FL

Look, I'm a Democrat AND an Obama supporter but I think the Democratic primary rules are a joke. Super delegates?  Apportioned pledged delegates?  Give me a break.  With that said however the rules is the rules. The RBC decision is NOT about how it benefits Obama or Clinton, it's about consequences to Florida and Michigan for moving up their primary date.  It's not about settling this election, it's about enforcing the rules for the next election.

by ConsiderIt 2008-05-28 10:31PM | 0 recs
It's a myth that Obama is the one

who is blocking the delegates -- or the revotes. As the nominee, it's in his interest to make the political organizations in FL and MI happy.

It's always been Hillary and her people obstructing a process she can't win.

But it has to be admitted that spinning it so that even some of Obama's supporters think he's the one doing it is the one thing her campaign has done well.

by Freespeechzone 2008-05-28 10:33PM | 0 recs
Re: It's a myth that Obama is the one

I'm not sure that many people outside of the Hillary dead enders believe that Obama is blocking the delegations from the convention. I certainly don't think that.

Hillary's attacks on the penalty are necessarily passive voice attacks. She can't finger anyone, because then she has to admit that her old friend Harold Ickes is the equivalent of a slave owner. Or something.

by alvernon 2008-05-28 10:41PM | 0 recs
It has nothing to do with Hillary.

No, you cannot give them full votes.  There must be consequences or they will pull the same shit next time.

Also, have you ever been to a Democratic meeting at any level?  It's always a clusterf*ck.  Everyone is arguing about the procedure so long that they barely have time for the issues.  Fairness is important, but every time I go to a caucus or attend a county meeting, I understand people's reservations with us.  I have no doubt that nothing will happen with the nominating process, just like nothing happened with the electoral college.  And we'll rehash this same shit in 30 years when it resurfaces.

by The Distillery 2008-05-29 01:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Obama Should Support Fully Seating MI/FL

Irregardless of what Obama or Clinton wants the DNC is not going to invite chaos by having no penalty at all imposed.

It won't hurt the party in the future because this nominating system is dead anyway

What's to stop a couple of states from disregarding the new system if their are no consequences? If the party cannot enforce it's own rules the long term consequences would be disastrous. They will probably go more then half way towards Clinton's demands with Obama's support but even if Obama approved doing so they will not remove all sanctions.

Clinton can want what ever she wants but a lot of her high profile super delegate supporters will not follow her over a cliff. Once the primaries are over and the DNC works out a formula to seat MI & FL Obama is likely to get the needed delegates declaring for him to make him the presumptive nominee. At that point even many of Hillary's Super Delegates will expect the losing candidate to concede.

by hankg 2008-05-29 01:57AM | 0 recs
The Solomonic Compromise

The Solomonic compromise, as I understand the rules, is to have all of each state's super delegates seated with full voting rights, to have all of each state's pledged delegates seated but with half voting rights, and to effect such other measures as to maintain the approximate margin of delegates which would have occurred between the candidates had the delegates of each state been fully seated.

The point is not to punish the candidates but to sanction the states, and certainly a half seating as anticipated by the 2008 DNC rules is adequate especially in light of the extenuating circumstances that existed, at the very least for Florida.

My suggestion for the additional measures that should be taken as to maintain the margin of delegates which would have occurred between the candidates had the delegates of each state been fully seated would be to strip the Obama campaign, with its agreement, of its Florida pledged delegates for violating the campaigning rule, and to award the uncommitted Michigan votes as uncommitted pledged delegates.

2008 DNC Delegate Selection Rules
http://a9.g.akamai.net/7/9/8082/v001/dem ocratic1.download.akamai.com/8082/pdfs/2 008delegateselectionrules.pdf
[Rule 11.A (page 12 of the document; page 16 pdf)]
[Rule 20.C.1.a (page 20 of the document, page 24 of pdf)]
[Rule 20.C.1.b (page 20 of the document, page 24 of pdf)]

by Liame 2008-05-29 02:17AM | 0 recs
Re: The Solomonic Compromise

As an additional thought, this compromise also promotes two otherwise competing interests of the two campaigns:
A) Obama campaign: it keeps the final threshold of necessary delegates lower;
B) Clinton campaign: it shrinks the delegate differential.

2008 DNC Delegate Selection Rules
http://a9.g.akamai.net/7/9/8082/v001/dem ocratic1.download.akamai.com/8082/pdfs/2 008delegateselectionrules.pdf

by Liame 2008-05-29 03:18AM | 0 recs
by Liame 2008-05-29 03:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Obama Should Support Fully Seating MI/FL

 Yep. Give her what she wants, I agree. She's then forced to come up with a new reason to take it to the floor - which will just exasperate the Super Delegates and turn her into a footnote in History.

by xdem 2008-05-29 02:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Obama Should Support Fully Seating MI/FL

Regarding Florida and Michigan

Let me predict what the outcome is likely to be.
On May 31 2008. The Rules and By-laws committee will rule that Michigan and Florida will get half of their pledge delegates. Michigan will get 64 Pledge Delegates to be seated at the Convention. Florida will get 93 Pledge Delegates to be seated at the Convention.

In Michigan - Clinton gets 37 Pledge Delegates,Obama gets 27 Pledge Delegates if he gets all of the Uncommited votes.

In Florida- Clinton gets 51 Pledge Delegates, Obama gets 41 Pledge Delegates- if he gets all of the Edwards voters.

Michigan and Florida will lose all of their SuperDelegates- This is too punish the Party Leaders and Elected officials in MI and FL.

by nkpolitics 2008-05-29 05:08AM | 0 recs


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