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FL, MI will sit on Credentials Committee [UPDATE 2]

Amid great confusion and garbled clarifications, FL and MI members will be seated on the Convention’s three standing committees including the Credentials Committee, with or without an agreed settlement of the delegate seating controversy.

Doesn’t put Fl or MI (or Hillary) over the top, but brings them within much closer bargaining distance. See Politico for details.

[UPDATES] Marc Ambinder tries his hand at interpreting the applicable rules … and his readers in comments try their hand at refuting his interpretation.

Custom can weigh heavily in disputes of this nature, and the inventory of applicable Custom may be perilously thin, especially in this age of pro forma conventions. I confess confusion, and seek clarification of the clarifications.

In related matters, TalkLeft has a very interesting post and comments thread regarding Donna Brazile’s role in pushing Rules to apply the “death penalty” to FL and MI delegations:
Donna Brazile Was Behind The Stripping of The FL/MI Delegations?

[UPDATE 2] Washington Monthly publishes a timely and significant analysis by bona fide “rules geek” Josiah Lee Auspitz. See The Law of the Rules … and prepare for lively further discussion. Excerpt:

Until it was almost too late for a state-initiated solution, the Clinton campaign insisted that the Florida and Michigan votes be counted as if the rules did not exist. … The Obama campaign wants two token delegations to be seated as if the voters did not exist.

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OBAMA: Apply directly to the forehead

Three weeks ago I posted “Pursue essential purposes calmly”, suggesting we had a free interval of six weeks to drag the media focus to an examination of the “Obama for President” proposition. I also suggested BO08’s preference would be six weeks of gaffe, scandal and horserace coverage.

For the first half of this interval, BO08 got their druthers. Rev. Wright, the Gore-ing of Hillary, electability, delegate seating, straws in the superdelegate wind, and horserace-horserace-horserace. No attempt to tease out the meanings behind the words in Obama’s beautiful set-piece orations, or what they imply for his prospective conduct as POTUS.

Today’s morning call with Penn, Wolfson and Singer was all horserace. By my notes, question topics in order were electability, Cleaver’s expectations, March fundraising, Corzine’s leaning, dream ticket, polls, early versus late nominations, Jimmy Carter’s leaning, primary versus general election state prospects, Florida seating, electability, and Clinton Foundation donor confidentiality.

Nothing here advances the interest of voters or superdelegates in making informed, intelligent decisions at this critical, consequential, irrevocable fork in the American Road.

Back to essentials. Was my four-point agenda too complicated? Let’s boil it down, then:

What would Barack Obama do for America as President … and how?

When Obama speaks (and in the archives of what he has spoken), examine every word for the light it sheds on this paramount question.

Here’s a starter. The central claim of merit in Barack’s Big Speech is that we must resolve “the complexities of race [OR] we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs“.

HUH?

Faced with this proposition, what questions would responsible voters, responsible delegates, or responsible journalists ask?

  1. Has America ever made progress in domestic policy in spite of even wider racial divides (as during FDR’s New Deal or LBJ’s Great Society)?
  2. Has some knife-edge transition in social dynamics or legislative complexity hardened today’s reduced racial divide into an impenetrable barrier for constructive health, education or economic policy?
  3. Of the remaining racial divide, what reduction might Obama achieve … and how? What incremental closure would occur over the same interval in his absence? (He says racial reconciliation is static and stalemated, and implies “none”. Do you buy this?) Alternatively, what closure would have occurred during another Clinton administration?
  4. Will even Obama’s unique marginal contribution to racial understanding make enough difference to break the hypothetical jobs/health/education logjam … or will we remain dead on the water on all fronts?

This is Obama’s core argument. How many readers and listeners noticed the howling fallacies and false choices bobbing along in this babbling stream of flowing rhetoric? How many can take this seriously, exposed as it is immediately above?

Challenge Obama, head-on, at the strong point of his offense — his words — and the rest of his game plan unravels.

When he says Hillary represents the status quo … what does he mean?

When he says we’re at a defining moment … what is it? Is it real? Ask him to define it.

When he claims he can change Washington by tweaking the rules for lobbyists … how, specifically, is that going to produce the proclaimed effect?

When he tells you regulation was bad, and deregulation was bad, and something else is just right … what is that Goldilocks golden mean?

There’s your campaign agenda. There’s your winning strategy. Listen to what Obama says. Make his claims explicit. Ask yourself what they mean. Demand to know what his proposed remedies are, what they do, and how they work.

Challenge his rhetoric head-on, or resign yourselves to living with the unexamined drumbeat:

OBAMA: Apply directly to the forehead.

OBAMA: Apply directly to the forehead.

OBAMA: Apply directly to the forehead.

. . .

Howard, force the candidates to agree to SOMETHING

Here’s how it could be done.

  1. Howard Dean goes back to the last revote deals with each of the two states and asks EACH candidate to sign onto the plans.
  2. He makes it clear that they don’t, he (Howard Dean) will ask that his appointments to the committees (rules & credentials) recommend seating the delegations as is.

That way he sticks to his word that the candidates must agree. But this way, they must agree to something.

And we’ll have a plan for seating the delegations this month. In time to matter.

United we stand; divided we fall

Friends, this post is about Solidarity. Now, what does that mean exactly? Some people may think automatically of union movements and there is no doubt that unions understand that concept. That is, you are only strong if you stick together. If some of your membership get picked off by the bossies, you are diminished and it makes it that much harder to win the day.

So, this message is for all of you voters in NJ, NY, CA, MA, AZ, TN, OH, AR, OK, NH, TX and all of the other states that voted for Clinton, in many cases decisively. We voted for her not because we are ideologues. We’re not in it for the fame and fortune. We aren’t interested in testing some esoteric strategy. We voted for her because she is the best candidate we have to be president. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: she is so much better qualified than Barack Obama that if he weren’t the token male it is hard to imagine how they would be sharing the same stage.

But the bossies have picked off two of our members. I have to say that I am astonished that they think they can disenfranchise the biggest and most Democratic states by refusing to seat MI and FL but that is their goal. By shutting down MI and FL until the convention, they have weakened the other states that voted for Clinton, depriving us of our impact on choosing the nominee, who they have determined will be Barack Obama, the token male.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I think it is very important that we get MI and FL back on our side and let the bossies know that we will choose the nominee with our votes. We will not be bullied or intimidated by the press or by the RULZ or dimwitted bloggers. There is a possibility that the DNC Rules and Bylaws committee that will be meeting April 5 will wake up and smell the coffee. But the best way to wake them up is to let them know how you feel. If you are a voter in one of the states I’ve mentioned, your opinion carries special weight because unless MI and FL are seated, *their* fate is *your* fate. Your vote means nothing.

That makes me, a NJ voter who proudly cast her vote for Hillary on super Tuesday, very, very angry. My vote is considered somehow less worthy than some Republican crossover in Utah. If my vote is thrown away because MI and FL are not seated, after all of the stonewalling by Barack Obama, Donna Brazile and Howard Dean, I may just decide to not cast a vote for president this year. My choice will have been made for me in spite of millions and millions of my compatriots who will see the best presidential candidate cheated out of her nomination.

But you can send a message to the Rules and Bylaws committee. There are still a few days left. If you are in a Clinton state, let them know that you know EXACTLY what’s going on here and you aren’t going to put up with it. See Hillary’s Action Alert: Florida and Michigan Deserve to be Heard. Be polite but forceful and let them know who the real bosses are. We Clinton state voters stand in Solidarity with Michigan and Florida.

And now I am going back to nursing my poor ski muscles…