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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-30-08 09:34 AM
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Hillary and Bill: shadow boxing and changing the rules

Hillary Clinton: Changing The Rules On Florida And Michigan Delegates?

January 26th, 2008 by Joe Gandelman



First, there was former President Bill Clinton, upsetting some Democratic bigwigs who fear his unprecedented massive and aggressive presence in Senator Hillary Clintons campaign could hurt party unity and chase away some voters. Now, heres Hillary Clinton challenging the DNC, making what some consider a thinly-veiled pitch to get votes in Florida where Democrats agreed not to campaign and possibly turn the Democratic convention into a bitterly divisive event.

The now clichd comment referring to Vietnam combat is to save a village you have to destroy it. Have the Clintons decided to substitute the word party for village?

Perhapsbut perhaps not. In the end, it was likely that the delegates would be seated anyway.

But the keys to this controversy are (1) Hillary Clinton is willing to get ahead of the game and not play by the existing rules but set her own rules, (2) she is a skillful, adept and highly nimble political game player, (3) she is accentuating polarization within the Democratic Party itself on this issue and is clearly ready to do whatever it takes to win the nomination.

A new raging controversy about Mrs. Clintons about-face over delegate seatings doesnt bode well if its a close delegate count and these delegates win it for her (she is already ahead in Super Delegates so it may not come to that). But this also doesnt signal a shift from the Bush/Karl Rove years of polarization and bitter partisan mobilization politics into a new era of national unity where consensus and reconciliation are perceived as virtues, rather than signs of wussy weakness.

The long respected political mantra do whatever it takes to win seems to be the overriding theme in this, boiled down best by Marc Ambinder:

Sen. Hillary Clinton pledged today to work to seat Florida and Michigans delegates at the Democratic National Convention, thereby negating the penalties meted out by the Democratic National Committee.

This is essentially an about-face from her earlier position.

Its true that the partys eventual nominee will essentially take over the operations of the DNC and the DNConvention, so the pledge carries weight.

Clinton acknowledged that not all DNC members would be happy with her pledge and she insisted that she was abiding by an earlier vow not to campaign in Florida.

But Florida Democrats will find out about her kindly disposition through the media, and through the Florida Democratic Party, whose chair, Karen Thurman, thanked Clinton for her support and commitment to the Sunshine State.

How could that POSSIBLY influence the votes of Florida Democrats?

And heres part of the comment Barack Obamas campaign manager, David Plouffe:

When Senator Clinton was campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire, she made it clear that states like Michigan and Florida that wouldnt produce any delegates, dont count for anything. Now that Senator Clintons worried about losing the first Southern primary, shes using Florida for her own political gain by trying to assign meaning to a contest that awards zero delegates and where no campaigning has occurred. Senator Clintons own campaign has repeatedly said that this is a contest for delegates, and Florida is a contest that offers zero. Whether it is Barack Obamas record, her position on Social Security, or even the meaning of the Florida Primary, it seems like Hillary Clinton will do or say anything to win an election. When he is the nominee, Barack Obama will campaign vigorously in Florida and Michigan to put them in the Democratic column in 2008.

And that is now the Democrats dilemma:

(1) If the final delegate count is close (probably unlikely since Clinton is way ahead in the vital Super Delegates) and she wins the nomination this way there is no question a certain number of Democrats will stay home at the polls. Democrats and Republicans have both lost elections due to angry party members not voting. Would Obamas youthful voter contingent go out of their way to vote for Clinton who did what it took to take it away from their candidate?

(2) The Democrats have long complained that they have been out-gunned in The Ruthlessness Department since the entrance of the late (in)famous Republican operative Lee Atwater under the first President George Bush. But the exception was in 1992 when Bill Clinton won with his famous War Room and a campaign outfitted to match or surpass the GOP ruthlessness machine.

If the idea is winning at all costs, will the Demmies in the end prefer to hold their noses and go with the person deemed tough enough to do anything to win? Or will they opt for Obamas more mannerly approach and argument about the need not just to defeat and make political foes submit but to expand the Democrats winning coalition and decrease national polarization?
(Prediction: In the end, theyll go for victory) Hillary Clintons statement is HERE.

Heres how it plays in the media via the AP. Note that they see the political vote-getting angle to this. Shes not campaigning but shes campaigning.

It all depends on what the meaning of the word campaigning is:

In a bit of political theater, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Florida Democratic Party clamored to restore convention delegates that had been stripped by the national party.

At stake: 185 delegates in a state where Clinton leads almost 2-to-1.

The presidential candidate said Friday just four days before Floridas primary that she wants the convention delegates from Florida and Michigan reinstated. The national party eliminated all the delegates from those states more than 350 in all because they broke party rules against holding their primaries before Feb. 5. All the major Democratic candidates also made pledges not to campaign in those states before their primaries.

Clinton could claim most of the Michigan delegates because she won that states primary after the other major candidates pulled their names from the ballot.

American Prospects Ezra Klein writes:

This is a very, very, very big deal.This is the sort of decision that has the potential to tear the party apart. In an attempt to retain some control over the process and keep the various states from accelerating their primaries into last Summer, the Democratic National Committee warned Michigan and Florida that if they insisted on advancing their primary debates, their delegates wouldnt be seated and the campaigns would be asked not to participate in their primaries. This was agreed to by all parties (save, of course, the states themselves).

With no one campaigning, Clinton, of course, won Michigan she was the only Democrat to be on the ballot, as I understand it, which is testament to the other campaigns beliefs that the contest wouldnt count and will likely win Florida. And because the race for delegates is likely to be close, she wants those wins to matter. So shes fighting the DNCs decision, and asking her delegates those shes already won, and those she will win to overturn it at the convention. Shes doing so right before Florida, to intensify her good press in the state, where Obama is also on the ballot. And since this is a complicated, internal-party matter that sounds weird to those not versed in it (of course Michigan and Florida should count!), shes adding a public challenge that, if the other Democrats deny, will make them seem anti-Michigan and Florida.


But if this pushes her over the edge, the Obama camp, and their supporters, really will feel that she stole her victory. They didnt contest those states because they werent going to count, not because they were so committed to the DNCs procedural arguments that they were willing to sacrifice dozens of delegates to support it. Its as hard as hardball gets, and the end could be unimaginably acrimonious.

Adds Josh Marshall:

The question of course is what if we have a divided convention, or one where the votes of Michigan and Florida prove key to the result? For decades these have only been hypotheticals. But this year, on both sides, its a real possibility.

Thats what Hillarys trying to do here, lay the groundwork for seating those delegates which is now seems shell win the majority of even though each of the candidates had accepted the decision of the DNC not to do so. I see no way that thats not trying to change the rules midway.

If put together in the context of Bill Clintons intensive campaigning for Mrs. Clinton and controversial attacks on Obama so intense that some pundits are now calling the double-teaming Hillary Clinton campaign Billary it seems clear that the Clintons are going to do what anything they can possibly do to prevail no matter how some segments of the party feel it may impact party unity.

more


Hillary's defense of Bill: All the Spouses Do It

Simon Rosenberg Slams Hillary's Florida Grandstanding


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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-30-08 09:37 AM
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-30-08 09:38 AM
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global1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-30-08 10:02 AM
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3. Some Example The Billary Campaign Is Setting For Our Young Voters..........
It scares me is that the Billary campaign is wielding it's power to strong-arm this nomination.

We have a generational wave happening now. The youth are engaged in this primary process - primarily because of the vision of one man - Barack Obama.

Given that the Billary campaign is playing dirty - and as the your post indicates - is clearly ready to do whatever it takes to win the nomination - including not playing by the rules; changing the rules; parsing their words (my hand is extended....); using surrogates (including Bill) to play the race, drug, slumlord card.... (And may I say that this appears to be supported by MSM) What kind of example does this set for the youth of our party?

Lie, cheat, steal, bend the rules - all is ok to get ahead in this world. Nice guys finish last. Integrity means nothing.

I mentioned 'power' in my first sentence. What I'm more concerned about is the old adage:

Power corrupts - absolute power corrupts absolutely.

We've seen what the last 8 years has done for this country. What do we have in store for the next 4?

I'm sorry if I've offended any Hillary supporters. I've been on this board for a long time now and shared with all of you (Hillary supporters included) my feelings about the current administration of this country and their strong-arm tactics. I'm sorry - but I see the same thing I've criticized in *Co happening in our own party - and it isn't pretty - and it scares me.

I looked to '08 with great hope (and I'm not using hope because Obama said it) - this is my word.

Now I'm having misgivings and face the future with much trepidation. I lived through the Kennedy years and I wish the current generation could be inspired - now - like I was then.

I've given up hope on my 'boomer generation'. They've seemed to change their ideals that they held so dearly in the 60's & 70's. I hoped that this new youthful and energized generation - could be - and would be - drawn into the process - given what *Co has burdened them with to last over their lifetime and take charge and change things.

Romney in his defeat in Florida yesterday said it - "Our system is broken and we're not going to change it by sending the same people back just to take on different chairs".






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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-30-08 12:05 PM
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5. "I looked to '08 with great hope (and I'm not using hope because Obama said it) - this is my word. "
Nice! n/t
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-30-08 10:02 AM
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4. Hillary Supporter Makes Florida Robocalls in Support of Hillary
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