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The Usual Suspects

Harold Ickes at RBC Meeting, May 31, 2008

Harold Ickes at RBC Meeting, May 31, 2008

Dan Balz has a piece in the Washington Post today about the efforts by both parties to “reform” the presidential primary system. The article is mostly about the Democrats’ problems though. Surprisingly, Balz to some extent acknowledges that the 2008 Democratic primaries were handled in a way that severely damaged Hillary Clinton’s chances. But he has it mostly wrong.

…there’s no disputing that the rules governing the nomination process can affect candidates’ fortunes. Just ask supporters of Hillary Rodham Clinton. The DNC’s decision to punish Florida and Michigan for staging their contests in violation of party rules, particularly the penalty against Florida, robbed her of victories that could have changed the outcome. The Obama campaign’s mastery of the nominating rules clearly contributed to his victory over Clinton.

Um…Dan, “the Obama campaign’s mastery of the nominating rules?” Obama won by taking the small red-state caucuses, while Hillary won the big states. In the end, Clinton had more popular votes than Obama, and she would have had almost the same number of pledged delegates as Obama if it hadn’t been for the DNC’s refusal to count the votes of Florida and Michigan voters. The DNC rigged “the roolz” from day one in favor of Obama and they got plenty of help from the media in doing so. The RBC committee had to fiddle with the Michigan primary results, taking away four votes from Hillary and giving them to Obama along with “uncommitted” votes he didn’t earn in order to cement his “victory.”

Let’s get in the way-back machine and go back in time to May 31, 2008, shall we?

Michigan’s 128 pledged delegates will be heading to Denver, Colo., this August for the party’s national convention but with one half of one vote assigned to each delegate, the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee ruled this evening in a 19-8 decision.

The delegates of the contested Jan. 15 primary were given a 69-59 split in favor of Sen. Hillary Clinton, who won the contest. That split means 34.5 delegate votes for Clinton, and 29.5 delegate votes for Sen. Barack Obama.

Meaning that four of Hillary Clinton delegates were given to Barack Obama and once the votes were fully counted, he would get nearly 60 unearned votes handed to him.

Opponents of the decision, including Clinton senior advisor and committee member Harold Ickes, condemned the move because Obama was awarded delegates he did not earn outright because his name did not appear on the ballot.

“This is not a good way to start down the path of party unity,” Ickes said, who admonished the committee for their “gall and chutzpah” in the ruling. Ickes also warned that this may not be over yet. “Sen. Clinton has asked me to reserve her right to take this to the credentials committee,” Ickes said, to cheers from Clinton supporters in the hotel ballroom.

No, it certainly wasn’t. In fact, an Unparty was born. As Riverdaughter wrote recently,

Let’s look at what actually happened last year. Barack Obama ran a terrible campaign. Oh, I know this isn’t the conventional wisdom but that’s why conventional wisdom is so often wrong. Obama spent a king’s ransom on trying to win the big states on SuperTuesday. He couldn’t pull it off. Instead, he focussed his attention on the caucuses, which were far easier to game. And game them he did. We have the affadavits to prove it. But at the end of the day, he still needed the delegates from a state he didn’t even run in in order to get the nomination. It all came down to Michigan. Forget what ever the Obots were screaming about The Roolz. The RBC had to bend the roolz to give Obama the win.

He wasn’t on the ballot in MI. He wasn’t entitled to diddly-squat. In normal years, we would have called this a very foolish political decision.


Please do not tell me that MI wasn’t going to count. It was always going to count and count fully. Withholding Clinton’s MI and FL delegates from her win column just made her look like a loser all primary season. The whole thing was smoke, mirrors and psychological one upsmanship. It was a haka. We knew it but would people listen to us? But I digress.

The reason why the 2008 primaries are still important is because the powers that rigged them emerged triumphant. Not only did they rig them and get away with it, they had the support of half of the people they were planning to screw with the continuation of Bush’s policies. Obama has capitulated to the bankers, he’s capitulated to the religious right on gays and women, he’s making no effort to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and he’s become a party to torture.

And now we have the Democratic Change Commission, which had its first meeting yesterday. And who are the leaders and members of this committee? The usual suspects, that’s who.

Heading up the commission is Obama’s hand-picked DNC Chairman Tim Kaine. The co-chairs are South Carolina’s Jim Clyburn, who did so much to stir up racial animosity before the SC primary, and loyal Obama sycophant Claire McCaskill of Missouri. Members of the commission include Alexis Herman of Virginia and James Roosevelt of Massachusetts, former chairs of the infamous DNC rules and bylaws committee (remember them?); Obama campaign manager David Plouffe (he must be there to serve as enforcer in case any supporters of small “d” democracy managed to worm their way in), California Congresswoman Linda Sanchez; along with other DNC functionaries and assorted large donors such as Jeremy Alters of Florida.

Yep, that’s “change we can believe in.” Not that I expected there would actually be positive change in the primary system for 2012. One of the commission members, Suzy LeVine, has a lot of information about yesterday’s meeting on her blog. She reports that the commission’s main goals are:

1. the issue of timing and frontloading of primaries
2. the issue of superdelegates and their out of proportion representation
3. the question of caucuses and how to run them better

Another commission member, Frank Leone of Virginia, liveblogged the meeting here.

At yesterday’s meeting Elaine Kamarck of the Harvard School of Government and author of a new book, Primary Politics: How Presidential Candidates Have Shaped the Modern Nominating System, proposed that superdelegates be completely eliminated in favor of a more “public process.” But I’m not holding my breath waiting for that to happen. As ABC News’ David Chalian writes, any changes are likely to favor the “Obama worldview.” The main goal of the commission seems to be the same as the one for 2008: preventing states from battling over who goes first. That didn’t work out too well last time.

Here is a list of future Democratic Change Commission meetings.

One positive note: I haven’t seen Donna Brazile’s name anywhere so far. Did she finally quit the party because they let the superdelegates choose the candidate?

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107 Responses

  1. From the Balz piece:

    The Democrats have been charged with looking not only at the timing of the calendar but also at the role of superdelegates. This became a source of genuine controversy during the Obama-Clinton battle over whether these elected officials and party leaders might override the will of the voters, and hand the nomination to Clinton.

    Where was the controversy when the superdelegates overrode the will of the voters to hand the nomination to Obama?

    • Same lie, different source. From ABC News:

      Touching on what may prove to be one of the more contentious issues considered by the DNC, one presenter, Democratic Party activist and Harvard University lecturer and former superdelegate Elaine Kamarck, suggested that it may be time to completely eliminate superdelegates since most of those party leaders clearly determined their role in 2008 to be one of ratifying the decision made by voters in primaries and caucuses.

      Then why wasn’t Hillary the nominee?

      • Exactly.

      • Bingo. Of course she was if you counted the votes properly and went by reasonable rules. But the party didn’t. They cheated so Obama could win. Because he was selected by the powers that be. The media pushes who is selected. The pushed Bush, the pushed the Iraq war, and Obama. The media and the parties are just the same machine. We only have two parties as a means of fooling people into thinking we have a democracy. Time to wake up.

        Wait, is this not tin-foil hat day? I know I have mine on.

    • Yeah, I saw that, but it pissed me off so much I left it for you to find. I said he got it mostly wrong.

      • The ABC guy also says that Obama’s “worldview” will be to reduce the number of superdelegates, which I don’t buy because he won by bribing them in 2008.

        Why would he want to make any major changes at all? I’m betting the only thing they will do is try to keep states like FL and MI from moving up. Good luck with that.

  2. They need to get rid of the screwy rules that make some votes worth more than others.

    IIRC in some states it was one delegate for every 3000 votes, in others it was 1 per 15,000

    • Hell, that can’t even do that for the general election.

    • And in most cases Hillary needed more votes to aquire the same amount of delegates. Does anyone have a link to that btw?

      • Someone, can’t remember who and unfortunately I didn’t save a link, made postcards comparing votes and delegates for respectively Obama and Clinton. The numbers were astounding!
        To say the least.

        Again I can’t believe that is supposed to be democratic!

  3. Great (but depressing) post BB

  4. Oh No! John Edwards made a sex tape with his mistress.


  5. It is currently 103 degrees outside my shanty

    • It’s back to dark, dingy and 60s here after two halfway nice days.

    • It is currently 103 degrees outside my shanty

      the time stamp says 7:16 pm. That better be Eastern Time or something. If it’s 103 at 7pm, it’s time for the rest of us to start the relief convoy rolling. We’ll bring moral support.

      • It’s 99 at 8:30 local time here. It’s hot.

        • Jeeze, I guess I should be grateful that all I have to deal with is 63 degrees and rain. I just had to close the windows.

      • I think the time stamp is for central time, so for myiq that would be 5:16. That’s still time for it to be cooling down a bit. Hell is right!

      • It’s 8:23 local and it’s 102 degrees

        • Ouch. Sounds like your summer there has been like mine. It’s been an odd weather pattern since it’s usually not this hot this early or this late in the evening.

  6. Hey, myiq,

    I found something you might like on Twitter.

    Knitting for Psychopaths

  7. Speaking of healthcare “reform,” they’re getting closer to taxing health benefits.

    I’m guessing that they are either gonna use that as a poison pill so Obama has cover to veto the bill or he will “demand” that it be removed so he can claim credit for standing up for us peons.

    • If the Democrats tax health benefits they are dumber than the Republicans.

      • Well who is taking the bets on this one???

      • Is that the only criteria you have for that? I have a much longer list. It starts with if the Democrats cheat and steal the election and nominate Obama, then they are dumber than the republicans. And goes on from there. 🙂

      • If anything passes, they are gonna tax health benefits and the reform will be pure crap. If it doesn’t benefit the insurance companies bottom lines, nothing will pass.

  8. Caucuses should be eliminated totally. Primaries all on the same day…see how easy that was?

    • Oh, and that eliminates the need for superdelegates too. Convention activities involve elected delegates carrying out their duties as assigned by the voters.


    • The fact that they are ripe for fraud is why they won’t be eliminated.


      The Caucuses are WIDE open to be gamed as 0bambam proved!! ANY votes that come out of the caucus system are frauds — useless, worthless — and UNDEMOCRATIC.

      Oh what the hell what do I care — the democrat jerks have given over control to the Chicago mob and 0bambam. No matter what they say — they will leave a wide open door in order to manage the outcome.

      Democracy is DEAD and buried

    • I never paid any attention to caucuses, or tried to learn about them, prior to 2008. But during and after the cheating last year, I heard many voices talking about how a caucus used to be kind of a nice, peaceful and friendly communal get-together. Not that many people attended, but those who did, approved of the caucuses.

      Isn’t it only with the 2008 election they were gamed?

      (But I still don’t understand how they could ever be viewed as democratic!)

  9. Speaking of The Usual Suspects – Can anyone tell me who the good guys are in Honduras?

  10. Baaaad Democrats, no votes for you!

  11. OMG! Eliott Spitzer is a complete pig.

    “I didn’t fall in love with any of them,” Spitzer was overheard telling LMDC executive director Avi Schick the other day at Solo in the Sony Building on Madi son, where they had the $24 prix-fixe lunch. And Spitzer didn’t use any taxpayer money on his trysts, while Sanford is reimbursing the state about $12,000 for travel expenses to Buenos Aires. Schick had Vietnamese beef spring rolls and a grilled chicken salad.

  12. Unless a certain someone we all know and love is a candidate for the Presidency in 2012, I don’t give a rat’s ass what happens in the next Democratic Primaries. I’ve told all my Congressmen/women to not count on me for support any longer, I’m no longer comitted to their party. I’m an INDEPENDANT. I will vote for and work for the candidate of my choosing whether,Democrat (unlikely), Republican, Libertarian, Green or whatever we may cook up for the next election. Actually, I’ve never seen America so ripe for another alternative besides Dem or Republican. Wonder if it could be possible. It would sure throw the media for a loop.

  13. It seems that Billy Mays may have died from a head injury:

    MSNBC reported that Billy Mays was on a US Airways flight that experienced a rough landing, caused by a blown front tire. During an interview with Tampa Bay’s Fox TV affiliate, he told the reporter, “All of a sudden as we hit you know it was just the hardest hit, all the things from the ceiling started dropping. It hit me on the head, but I got a hard head.” It was also reported that Billy wasn’t feeling well went he went to bed last night sometime around 10:00 PM. In the morning, emergency workers rushed to his home, and pronounced him dead at 7:45 AM.

    With no known cause of death, one has to wonder about a possible head trauma scenario. Like Natasha Richardson, Billy Mays did not experience any serious symptoms after a blow to his head. However, several hours later he complained of a headache, just like Natasha did after returning to her hotel. The circumstances seem eerily similar.

    • It does sound like what happened to Natasha Richardson.

    • That happens a lot, people are in minor car accidents, think they’re fine, and then later

      • Two of my male cousins died after seemingly minor accidents — now I’m thinking that they also got a bump on their heads. One was mugged and hit on the head — and was found dead in bead the next morning — death due to unknown reasons. The other cousin had a minor traffic accident — also a bump on the head — dead the next day.

        I have a friend who got bumped her head and started having head aches — she went to the doctor — who ignored the symptoms and give her a series of exercises to help with the “tension”. It turns out that the slight bump caused bleeding in her brain — and because she wanted to sleep all the time her husband insisted that she have an MRI. She was rushed into surgery and she almost died.

        She wrote a novel and used her experience — I learned a whole lot from reading her book about so called minor bumps on the head and now I suspect that my cousins may have suffered undiagnosed head trauma.

    • I should explain that I have a deep fear of those delayed reaction head injuries.

      • If it ever happens to me, I’m heading for the emergency room and demanding an MRI.

        • (nodding) Me too!

        • It may not immediately show. Sometimes it’s a small bleed that doesn’t become obvious for a while. That’s why ERs send you out the door with instructions to have someone awaken you every 2-4 hours to ascertain that you are allright, and to take nothing stronger than a tylenol.

    • Indeed, get head hits checked out! Better to look ” foolish” than be dead.

  14. How many obots will donate to this?




    • the DNC get rid of that crazy way of handing out DELS in there precincts theirs no way that a precincts with smaller smaller population’s should get more dels in there precincts than lager precincts

  15. You guys might want to find reports of the meeting. Someone in the meeting facebooked that DNC party members have voiced a desire for MORE caucuses. When it needs to be fewer. We need to work on making sure there are fewer caucuses.

    here is the quote:

    “Many of the board members feels that caucuses are better than primaries because they involve the community, build democratic strenth, and produce future elected officials. My first impression is that there is a feeling that more states need to move to a caucus system.”

    THIS IS ANTI-DEMOCRATIC. We need to put an end to this. this is serious.

    • My understanding of caucuses is that fewer people have the chance to vote due to the hours they are open. Also don’t they have to basically vote twice for it to count?
      Maybe the dems feel that they can control them easier the really having people vote their choice.
      Which party is trashing the Constitution? Seems to me both no longer represent the American people or ideals.



    • It’s too late. The only way to enable reform was to defeat the O-thugs. They control this party now and they’ll never agree to democratic reforms. Caucuses will ensure that the Village picks the nominee and the pesky voters can be run off.

    • nyc — thanks for that quote — which was the worst BS ever.

      ON MY SOAP BOX . . .

      After enduring the f&&king caucus crap in Washington — I will never ever be part of a party that continues to use an undemocratic BS system ever again.

      0bambam gamed the system — he bought the WA state Dem party — the dems in WA state leadership are a bunch of wh$res.

      0bambam is a bought and paid for wh$re.

      Gee that really works!! wh$re!!! wh$re politicians.

    • MORE caucuses?? It’s F-ing over

  16. From the NY Daily News report linked above:

    According to our source, Hunter confided to Young that she and Edwards talked about getting married should the candidate’s cancer-stricken wife, Elizabeth, pass away, even discussing what music they’d play at their wedding.

    What a pig!

  17. This is doomed or is only a dog and pony show because:

    Alexis Hermann and James Roosevelt are on it (in addition to others but they are the worst)

    They aren’t doing away with the caucuses.

    IMO that makes it mere window dressing.

  18. I keep getting emails from Democratic/Progressive/Liberal organizations wanting money, because, in their words: Republicans are still a threat. Some of them I email back and say: It’s not the republicans I’m afraid of, it’s the democrats!!!

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