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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 01:01 PM
Original message
Saturday morning UPDATE: FL revote debate
Edited on Sat Mar-08-08 01:08 PM by seafan
Ideas floated for Democratic redo

By Jennifer Liberto, Wes Allison and Adam Smith
March 8, 2008

The Democrats can't figure a way out of their presidential primary mess, so maybe the Republicans can help them out.

Adding confusion to a process already beset with it, Gov. Charlie Crist on Friday reopened the door for taxpayers to help fund a do-over mail-in Democratic primary run by the state. Democrats variously dismissed it as a Crist publicity grab, a crafty way to weaken the Democratic contenders, or a potentially nifty idea.

Meanwhile some state legislators are toying with a hardball tactic to try to force the national Democratic Party to seat Florida's delegates: pass a law that says any party that doesn't seat delegates based on Florida's Jan. 29 primary doesn't get to have its nominee on the November ballot.

"The danger is, based on the general maturity level of the national party, they are more interested in protecting their authority than winning the election. They may not care," said state Senate Democratic leader Steve Geller.


When it comes to dealing with their primary mess, divided Democrats nationally and in Florida are reading from countless conflicting scripts. Amid their leadership vacuum, Florida's Republican governor has happily stepped into the media spotlight.

His offer to help Florida Democrats is infuriating some of them.

"If Gov. Crist really wants to make some news, he ought to stop offering up improbable ideas for the Democratic primary instead of dealing with the state's Republican recession as a governor should," Florida Democratic Party spokesman Mark Bubriski said.

But U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, Florida's senior elected Democrat, said Friday that he was encouraged by Crist's offers to help and said he would support a primary by mail that's run by the state.

"The enemy here is time. We're going to run out of time if we don't get going pretty quick," said Nelson.


OK, so now, Bill Nelson, an ardent Clinton supporter, favors a mail-in revote plan, with the caveat that *the state runs it,* instead of the Democratic Party. That's unsettling, at the least, in a state run (over) by Republicans, lurking operatives and secret deals. Thanks, Bill, for giving your blessing to these people by exposing our Democratic primary process to Republicans. We're still scratching our heads over why you just don't get it over with and officially become a Republican.


The DNC steadfastly refuses to seat delegates based on the results of the January primaries. Holding new statewide primaries appears prohibitively expensive - as much as $25-million for Florida. Regional caucuses are off the table in Florida because voter participation is low. The most plausible option is a vote-by-mail election, which could cost as little as $4-million.

But the state Democratic Party doesn't have the money, and neither does the national party. Crist said he would consider a "blend" of private dollars and taxpayer dollars, but Bubriski said the state party opposes public money for the election when education and health care face funding cuts.

Other legislative leaders suggest public funding of another primary is off the table.

"I can't save the Democratic Party from Howard Dean," said state House Speaker Marco Rubio, R-Miami. "Democrats voted, a lot of them voted. They voted and Hillary Clinton won. And those delegates should be seated. The only thing standing between Florida and its delegates being seated is not the Florida Legislature. It's Howard Dean."


WHOA. Marco Rubio, Jeb's minion and ideological heir, is the LAST person we want barging in on all of this. And Rubio's gratuitous attacks on Howard Dean are unrelenting. And, isn't it interesting that Rubio *supports* Clinton's position in all of this?


Democratic leaders disagree on whether the party or state should run a second primary, on whether a mail election makes sense, and on whether such an election requires legislative approval.

Even within the Clinton camp, there's no agreement on whether Florida should push for another election to comply with the DNC. Nelson, a Clinton supporter, backs the idea. But U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Broward County, a national co-chair of the Clinton campaign, called it "totally unworkable.

"I am not aware that either the national party, the state party or the two campaigns have the ability or the resources to run a do-over, and a do-over in this case is absolutely inappropriate," she said.

State House and Senate Democratic leaders say they could support a mail-in ballot redo. But House Democratic leader Dan Gelber says the state should stay out of it and Senate Democratic leader Geller thinks the state would have to get involved to "ensure the integrity."


Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a staunch Clinton backer and of questionable leadership in other matters of grave importance, wants no part of anything other than seizing illegitimate delegates for her girl.

See what we mean about Bill Nelson?

The idea of a state-supervised mail-ballot vote grew out of a conversation Crist had Wednesday with Sen. Nelson. "We were chatting, and saying, what can we do to resolve this?" Crist recalled. He and Nelson both support the state overseeing the election, as Crist put it, "to preserve the integrity of it and be sure it's done right."

Even though Dean has said the DNC won't pay for a revote, Crist said Democratic Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm made the point to him that "there might be some wealthy individual out there who may have an interest in doing so."

Nelson said Florida doesn't technically need the candidates' approval - if the state holds a binding primary, they essentially would have to participate or risk losing the delegates. "But just think how much easier it is if you have the candidates willing to go along with this, instead of throwing up roadblocks," Nelson said.

Roadblocks like this, Bill?

Clinton rebuffs calls for new Florida and Michigan votes, Guardian, March 7, 2008

And how's this for ultimate distortion of reality, from Murdoch?

Hillary Clinton may get her way on Florida vote, UK Telegraph, March 8, 2008

The spectre of a disputed election in Florida has returned to haunt the race for the US presidency when it emerged that the state might be allowed to re-run its vote for the Democratic candidate following pressure from Hillary Clinton.


The take-home points, as I see them:

1. The Florida Democratic Party leadership bear the heaviest blame for what has transpired here, when they did not fully consider the unintended consequences of moving our primary up. When complicit Democrats in the FL legislature then put this idea forward, and voted unanimously for it, the Republicans were only too happy to lock them into the new, earlier primary date by attaching to the bill the paper ballot legislation that we desperately needed. When the FL Dem leadership was warned ahead of their actions of the stark position the DNC would take against them, the FL Dem leadership ignored Dean's warning and barged ahead with their plans anyway.

Then, when the DNC enforced long-standing rules and stripped FL's delegates, the FL Dem leadership was given 30 more days to change course. Now, shoved in a corner, the FL House and Senate Dems went back to the Republicans, begging to go back to the original later date for our primary. The Republicans grinned, and said, '*CHECKMATE*, you fools.'

2. The guilty parties (FL Dem leadership and legislative members) are blaming Howard Dean for their own pigheaded mistakes, and the Republicans are only too happy to add to the fray by *blaming Howard Dean*---Marco Rubio in particular.

3. The Clinton people are also blaming Howard Dean, exerting extreme pressure on him to break the rules for their candidate.

4. The Republican FL legislature will NEVER lift a finger to provide funding for a Democratic primary revote of any type.

5. Governor Crist should stay out of this, stop hanging out with John McCain and get back to his day job.

6. The only fair solution is a mail-in revote, completely funded outside of the FL legislature and under total control of the Democratic Party, including outside, vetted accounting firms to tally the ballots.

7. Contributions to funding should collectively come from outside donors, FL Dem Party, the DNC and the candidates' campaigns. Four million dollars should be collected fairly easily under this scenario.

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ekwhite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 01:22 PM
Response to Original message
1. I partially agree with you
I don't think the DNC or the candidates' campaigns should have to pay for the cost of the mail-in vote, as it was the Florida Democratic party that violated the DNC rules, despite having been warned of the consequences up front. I don't understand why a mail-in vote managed by the state would be a problem. Aren't primaries typically managed by the Secretary of State's office in Florida?

I do agree that there should be a do-over vote. I hope that the state of Florida and the DNC can work this out.
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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 02:08 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. My reasoning is that it is now in the interest of all parties involved to come up with the money.
The ultimate looming consequence of doing nothing until the convention, we now know, will be catastrophic.

Setting fault aside now, since neither the DNC nor the FL Dem Party can raise this money on its own, everyone with a dog in this fight needs to step up. Maybe raising money on the 'net will also help raise the $4 Million for the mail-in vote.

We can do this.

The main thing to pay attention to is to keep the Republican Legislature, happy warrior Charlie Crist and those with self-serving agendas out of it. And when this is resolved, taking a hard look at how our nominating process can be improved to avoid debacles such as this in the future.

This quote from the OP's article is a big reason that we ought to keep our Republican legislature out of this:

Meanwhile some state legislators are toying with a hardball tactic to try to force the national Democratic Party to seat Florida's delegates: pass a law that says any party that doesn't seat delegates based on Florida's Jan. 29 primary doesn't get to have its nominee on the November ballot.

FORCING the DNC by new legislation to seat these illegitimate delegates?? And keeping our nominee's name OFF THE BALLOT IN NOVEMBER if they don't? ?!?!

Would this be blackmail, extortion or hostage-taking by these threats from *our legislators*?

I'd bet these are not nonpartisan folks cooking this up.

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