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Put on your thinking caps

Lambert at Corrente found this article in the Review-Journal.com about Harry Reid’s prediction that the race would be decided before the convention. Some of it is really funny but I find this section very cryptic:

Reid also weighed in on the controversy over Michigan and Florida, states whose Democratic convention delegates were stripped when they scheduled primaries before Super Tuesday, Feb. 5, without permission from the DNC.

The DNC authorized only Nevada, Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina to hold nominating contests before that date. Those four states teamed up to demand successfully that the Democratic candidates not campaign in the two renegade states.

The punishment was intended to be symbolic, on the assumption that a nominee would be decided early and delegate counts wouldn’t matter.

That has turned out to be a bad assumption. Now Hillary Clinton, who won both states and trails in the delegate count, says Michigan and Florida shouldn’t be left out, even though Barack Obama wasn’t on the ballot in Michigan.

Both states came to the conclusion last week they couldn’t hold new primaries.

“Michigan and Florida wouldn’t play by the rules,” Reid said. “They’re not my rules. They’re not the caucus’ rules. They’re DNC rules. They broke the rules.”

Adding delegates for those states, he noted, would alter the number of delegates needed to get the nomination, currently 2,025. It wasn’t crystal clear, but Reid seemed to suggest that delegations from those states should get to attend the convention, but not vote.

“Michigan and Florida delegates are going to be seated. They’re going to be a part of the convention,” he said. “It’s a question of whether anything can be worked out to change this prior to the 2,025.

“They’re the ones causing all the problems. No one else did. And so they will be seated. They’re big states. They represent 29 million people. We want to make sure their delegates are part of the convention that takes place in Denver.”

Now, I find that people are too apt to jump to conclusions on the first pass when a skillful politician plays with words. On first pass, it looks like Harry is saying, “They broke the RULZ!” and sensitive bloggers tend to get upset. But what is Harry really saying here? Let us remember that Reid endorsed Hillary. In all likelihood, it is in his interest to get these delegations added to her total either through the delegate count or the popular vote.

This is what I am reading into his statements here. The rules that were broken weren’t *his* rules. They’re DNC rules. He is placing the blame with the DNC. He is also saying MI and FL caused all of the problems, not any other state. So, is he saying that they are at fault? No, he may be saying, “None of the other jump ahead states were penalized, just MI and FL and that is why they are problematic.” He’s also saying that they will be seated but doesn’t say in what capacity. So, my layman’s interpretation is: Reid is PO’d at Dean (there is an reference in the beginning of the article to this). Harry’s pissed off and probably many others as well. Dean has gotten the message and this will be settled before the convention. The delegates will be seated but may *not* be counted in the vote total unless there is a decision by the superdelegates that the popular vote winner, as counted by the number of voters that those delegates represent, takes priority when they break the tie. (Does Reid know that the SDs for Hillary will win the day? He must be counting the votes) And this is important because neither candidate will have enough delegates to reach the magic number, the SDs will break the tie and the popular votes will be the defining factor.

Ok, now it’s your turn. Go read the article and tell me where I’m wrong.

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32 Responses

  1. With regards to the Fla. primary, the State Legislature which is controlled by the Republicans attached the early primary schedule to the bill that would mandate a paper trail to the ballot. So the Democrats who were at the minority have no other choice but to vote for the bill mandating a paper trail with the early primary schedule attached to it. That is what I understand happened in Fla.

    I dont have any facts about the circumstances with regards to the Mich. primary. Anybody could give me(us) the circumstances leading to it?

  2. It doesn’t matter which legislator was responsible for MI and FL. Voters are being disenfranchised for the sins of their legislators. If you’re happy saying that it is A-OK to disenfranchise voters because of arbitrary rules so be it. I reject that and will be happy to take my case to the voters as is.

  3. Lemonv: Yes, I know and so does Reid. But he is a pol and clever ones don’t say stuff that will get them into too much hot water with the regular public. He’s got to tread a fine line here. I think even Reid would acknowledge that Florida got a raw deal. You could argue about Michigan.
    Nevertheless, he is acknowledging that he a.) spoke to Dean and there will be an arrangement and b.) we’re not going to piss off 29 million voters.

  4. gqm: I agree completely. But what if Florida and MI can decide the outcome without the haggling over pledged delegate counts? Would the voters take such a deal? Especially if it means their preferences are recognized as legitimate and unchangeable? I think the popular vote is where they are going with this. That way the tiresome RULZ are respected but the Superdelegates are free to vote their consciences and go with the popular vote total, which Clinton would have if FL and MI are seated. It might also explain why Markos is foaming at the mouth over the superdelegate ‘coup’ and why Big Tent Democrat has been pushing this line of thinking. We are being primed for just such a scenario. The party has decided that the SDs will make the call and they are going to do it based on the popular vote.

  5. sorry about the html glitch.

  6. CC77: Er, I think you just did and I have no objection.

  7. rd, If Kos and Bowers and Marshall and … want to leave the Democratic Party I won’t shed a tear. They are lying liars and bullies and openly contributed to sexist and misogynistic attacks. They seem perfectly happy to throw Social Security and Universal Health Care under the bus for political reasons even after they fought the GOP not too long ago on precisely those issues.

  8. riverdaughter,

    That is a very interesting article. I think you may be right. Logically, superdelegates who support Hillary have to be as PO’d as we are right now. I don’t know who Reid has been supporting, do you? In any case, most Democrats are probably not as self-destructive as the “gang of four.”

    You just made my day with this post!!

  9. rd– I forgot to add. I’ll bet Reid is going to have more to say about all this than Nancy Pelosi.

  10. gqm–

    I always knew those guys wouldn’t stand up for abortion rights. Now I know they couldn’t care less about most of the Democratic agenda. They are dead to me now.

  11. It’s been reported that Dean cancelled the hotel rooms that the MI delegation had reserved in Denver (and that Florida never booked room)…so now they can come and party, but just not count?

    Think of all of the RV’s that will be needed to house them. I’ll bet downtown Denver will be thrilled!

  12. riverdaughter – I didn’t read Reid’s comment as the MI and FLA delegates will count toward the nomination…I thought he meant they they could come and be “a part of the convention” but just not vote.

  13. Sha: How the hell did Dean get away with that? And what does that say about the sincerity of the previous promise that the delegates would get seated? (The DNC said this would be done by the nominee) So, I guess Dean *never* intended to honor this promise if he went out of his way to cancel the hotel rooms. He must have known they would be delegates for Clinton.

  14. I don’t think there is anything necessarily sinister about Dean canceling hotel rooms. The guy has bungled everything and probably doesn’t have the money to secure the rooms.

    Don’t blame me, I supported Donnie Fowler. (I think I should make that my new signature. Haha.)

  15. Really guys, the whole MI/FL debacle is soooo yesterday. What I want to know is if Clinton is related to Madonna or not.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080325/ap_on_el_pr/candidates_genealogy

  16. Oooo, oooo Nancy is to endorse McCain…..I thought Obama is the one who liked Reagan, I bet he will be disapointed.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080325/ap_on_el_pr/mccain_nancy_reagan

  17. riverdaughter:
    I just got this from the AJC. I hope it’s more the result of the hard work your peeps did in PA. Moreover, knowing that PA seems to be heavily pro Hillary, this could be a very good sign.

    More than 4 million have registered as Democrats

    Democratic Party enrollment surged past the 4 million mark Monday, setting a state record on the last day Pennsylvanians had to register to vote in next month’s presidential primary.

    The figures, which showed modest declines in the ranks of Republicans and independents, reflected intense interest in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination and recruitment efforts by both candidates, Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois.

    Since last year’s election, which featured races for judicial and municipal offices, the number of Democrats increased by more than 161,000, or more than 4 percent, to at least 4,044,952. No political party in the state had previously reached the 4 million threshold.

  18. MABlue: I know that Hillary’s campaign sent out voter’s registration forms to many households in PA and that we called a lot of people yesterday to remind them that if they wanted to vote for her, they had to be registered Democrats. I think the Clinton campaign is probably pretty on the ball. They seem to have gotten over the shock of February and adjusted their game plan accordingly.
    I met Brian at the Harrisburg office. He’s a sweety from Michigan. He seems very, um, *motivated* for some reason. I wonder if she should recruit from MI and FL for campaign volunteers.

  19. What if, as Senator Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York, recently suggested, the president’s phone rang at 3 a.m., but instead of finding the National Security Adviser on the line, it was the chairman of the Federal Reserve? That’s what happened last weekend (albeit without an actual call to President Bush), when top economic policy makers worked around the clock to try to prevent a global financial meltdown. Their interventions worked – for now. But the prospect that the “3 a.m. crisis” that the next president might face could be an economic crisis — not just a downturn, but a full-fledged, economic crisis — seems higher now than it has in a long time. And with talk of a multitrillion dollar, publicly financed bailout needed to cope with the current financial mess, a potential economic catastrophe looms in our consciousness in a way that seemed very unlikely when the primary season began.

    In its most stark terms, what if the 2008 election isn’t a reprise of 1992 — when voters sought a change in direction to reverse a mild recession — but is closer to a reprise of 1932, when voters were looking for powerful new leadership to clean up a cataclysmic economic mess?
    http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/03/23/fear-factor/index.html

  20. Before the MI primary Obama fully anticipated that its delegates might count – he had his supporters running ads pushing the “uncommited” option, on the understanding that those from areas like Detroit would vote for him at the convention. It’s when Clinton pulled a big 55% that he had to go to Plan B, discrediting the vote.

    I’m so tired of voters in FL and MI being pointed to as criminals while the WATB pols in IA and NH especially have the party continue to genuflect toward them.

    The Powers That Be forbid that a populous state (MI) with a Dem governor and two Dem senators, and that went blue in the last four presidential elections, should have a nefarious undue influence on the selection of this year’s presidential nominee.

  21. It is my understanding that pledged delegates are bound (but not required) to vote for their pledged candidate on the first vote. If no nominee has the magic number, the delegates are then all unbound and the floor fight begins. If delegates and superdelegates move in a large enough number to one candidate, there won’t be a second vote. If neither is nominated on the first ballot, anyone can throw his/her hat into the ring and secure the nomination on a subsequent vote.

  22. My family is from the Philly suburbs and have always been registered as Republicans due to the political machine in their area. Apparently if a person wants their street plowed or a pothole repaired or a county contract for work as an electrician etc..etc.. one has to be a Republican.
    Jeez. how 1950ish..
    My aunt told me that she was switching so she could vote for Hillary, as did my brother. I have not lived there since I was 18, so asked my Dad about this. He says that he never voted for a Republican and then I asked, so does that mean you never voted in a primary? He said, ‘yes, I could only vote in the General cause it is open, my livelihood depended upon it.’
    I cannot believe this is still happening, but am delighted to see so many people thinking this election is important enough to risk switching so they can vote in this primary. Hopefully, the numbers will be great enough that the old strong arm tactics will be questioned and people can be registered according to their own beliefs instead of worrying about getting potholes fixed.

  23. tusconlynn– That sounds a lot like old time Boston poltics, except here you have to be a Democrat.

  24. bostonboomer,
    funny. The minute I graduated high school, I left town and headed to Boston. Early 1970′s, Newbury Street was acutally affordable.

  25. Hmmm, like Shainzona – I didn’t read Reid’s comments the same way as you do, Riverdaughter. I keep reading them over and over, but I don’t see anything that makes me think he’s mad at the DNC. When he says “They’re the ones causing the problems,” he’s talking about Michigan and Florida. And, I agree with Shainzona that he means they can be seated but their votes won’t count. In fact, to make them count, they’d have to raise the number of votes needed over the 2025, because it sounds like they calculated that number, assuming that Michigan and Florida were going to be shut out due to their “bad behavior.”

    I keep trying to see what you see in these comments, but I’m afraid I don’t. I wish I did. If someone else would like to enlighten me, I’d be happy to hear how I’m misreading this.

  26. I don’t think Sen. Reid endorsed Hillary, but his son, Rory Reid, endorsed her. Rory Reid worked for her campaign in Nevada I think.

    DemConWatch has a list of uncommitted superds and Sen. Reid is on the list:

    http://demconwatch.blogspot.com/2008/01/superdelegates-who-havent-endorsed.html

  27. WS: You are right. So, does the apple fall far from the tree, do you think?

  28. derridog: I don’t think we’re that far off. FL and MI *did* cause some problems for the DNC but in FL’s case, it’s not like it was intentional. In any case, even if you rigorously enforce the rules and make it so their votes don’t count for delegates, that doesn’t mean the actual total number of votes from Florida can’t go into the Clinton column. Then, when the superdelegates break the tie, they would have to agree to give priority to the popular vote total. That’s the tradeoff: You get to exclude the delegates from the final delegate count but you must make up for it with a higher number of popular votes. So, if Obama can rack up more popular votes, he gets it. Same with Clinton. They’re her delegates that are being excluded. You can’t make the states count for nothing. There are too many voters to consider who will walk away and Obama is NOT going to get a 50/50 split like I heard he was still demanding at the clinton conference call yesterday. So, the compromise is exclude the delegates, include the total # of voters.

  29. rd, I don’t know if thats the case, but if I was Rory Reid, I would keep up the pressure on him.

    Upon reading the quote, I think Sen. Reid just believes everything will fall into place and a winner will emerge. He seems like a serene guy on the Senate floor.

  30. The apple can fall far from the tree … and I can think of several power couples where he’s for Clinton and she’s for Obama or vice versa.

    I read this exchange adversely, but take it with a grain of salt (the Review-Journal leans far enough right to plays mindgames on this).

    Sounds like Reid wants to give FL and MI VIP passes but no votes (or the equivalent, 50/50 delegations).

    Flashback: When Dean was up for DNC Chair, I thought “Why not? Either he’ll succeed, or he’ll crash and burn so fast we can get another Chair in there in time for the 2006 cycle.” Bad call on my part.

  31. Dean has been saying for months that deals will be made long before the convention to determine the ticket if the race appears deadlocked.

    So all that Reid is saying is that 1) the ticket will be known one way or the other before the convention, and 2) the nominee will seat the two delegations. They’ll get to vote because it won’t change the outcome. The only question in his mind is whether they play a role when this gets to a deal-brokering stage.

    In other words, nothing new.

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