Saturday, May 24, 2008

Rules? What Stinking Rules?

Rules…there are no stinking rules…well not if you’re Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton anyway. When the DNC rules committee decided to punish Florida and Michigan for moving their primaries up Senator Clinton agreed and like her opponents didn’t directly campaign in either state but she didn’t go as far as the majority in Michigan and left her name on the ballot there.

When she won in both states she began to change her rhetoric, at first it was subtle but after her major losses on Super Tuesday her voice began to grow loader and clearer. When she began to bleed superdelegates after a big win in West Virginia failed to change their minds she realized that Florida and Michigan were her only hope and she became their champion, every vote must count she bellowed both in public and to the press. Her supporters make up a majority of the DNC rules committee that will meet on 31 May to hammer out a deal on what to do about Florida and Michigan that will surely make or break her argument to those remaining superdelegates that are still up for grabs.

Fully counting Florida and Michigan also goes to her other major argument and that is that she is leading in popular votes as if that somehow matters. Again the contest has rules and nowhere in the DNC rule book does it mention popular vote as a way to pick the nominee but that doesn’t seem to matter to Senator Clinton and her supporters.

Jonathon Last of the Philadelphia even wrote a long piece about the way Real Clear Politics is keeping track of six different versions of the popular vote and that currently Senator Clinton is leading in two of the six versions and that with a good turnout and 20 point victory in Puerto Rico on 01 Jun she’d be ahead in four of the six versions, but with a 28 point lead she might even be ahead in all six. Who cares I say…this is no different that Al Gore and Democrats never ending whining that he won the popular vote by 500,000…get over it he lost the election because of the Electoral College rules that both parties have won and lost with for over a century now.

And now we have Florida DNC members taking the National DNC to court to say they were disenfranchised by their own party even though court case after court case has said a private organization can make it own rules (as long as they don’t discriminate based on the usual suspects like gender or race) and the members are free to play by those rules or not be members.

If the DNC wants to change their rules fine, make each state and territory have a primary vice a caucus and make them have the exact same rules in each state (no independent or non-DNC members can vote in DNC primaries) that says there are no more delegates pledged or super. A simple vote adds up to a total number of votes and the person with the most votes after all states and territories have voted wins period. If a candidate drops out his votes drop out with him and cannot be transferred to another candidate but his name is removed from any future ballots and there is no write in names allowed, you either vote for one of the running candidates for your parties nomination or you don’t play that year. Group large and small states together in groups of five based on their region and have 10 rotating election dates so each group is small enough and close enough together so that candidates can visit all the state yet with rotating dates each group has equal importance.

The same applies for the General Election. If Congress wishes to change the rules then fine, let them, screw the tiny population states like New Hampshire or Montana that will never again see a Presidential candidate in their state. At the end of the day if you strictly want a popular vote President then fine.

But and it’s a big but we can’t be messing with the rules in the middle of the game period. Florida and Michigan were warned by Howard Dean both publically and privately but they went ahead anyway, the rules committee sat down and voted on the punishment and all candidates including Senator Clinton agreed with the outcome so to claim to be their champion now is not just disingenuous but a flat out fabrication related to the desperation of her current situation. If the people of Florida and Michigan want to mad at somebody then they should talk to their state governments and state DNC committees that ignored the warnings and forged ahead.

I can only imagine if the Clinton campaign strategy had come off as planned and she had locked up the nomination as expected by Super Tuesday Would we be hearing the same kind of rhetoric today…well really I don’ t need to imagine or guess of course we wouldn’t.

The rules are the rules, popular vote doesn’t matter nor does Florida or Michigan this year I’m sorry to say, but then again if you’re Senator Clinton and your motto is rules…what stinking rules it’s another story and so we await the great decision from the DNC rules committee and hope they are brave enough to demonstrate the conviction of their initial ruling.

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