Saturday, May 31, 2008

Democratic Rules Committee Meets Today

Over at FireDogLake, they're live blogging today's meeting of the Democratic Party's rules committee. It seems there have already been at least one hissy fit, one ejection, and they didn't break for lunch until 3PM.

In other words, business as usual.

For those who may have forgotten, this meeting is supposed to determine how the Florida and Michigan delegations will be represented at the convention. For once, this sort of thing actually will have consequences, as they're two of the states Hillary Clinton carried by wide margins, and they're big states. Circumstances, combined with political manuevering, have so far prevented them from being seated. Since they might be swing states this year, the Democrats don't want to be seen as slagging them. They also don't want to be seen as making an arbitrary decision that gives the nomination to one candidate or the other.

A bit of irony was provided by a Democratic official today:

As secretary of the Democratic National Committee, Alice Travis Germond will call the roll of states later this year when the party nominates its presidential ticket at its convention in Denver. She took note of that today as a member of the party rules committee that met in Washington to try to figure out if -- and to what degree -- the Michigan and Florida delegations would be part of that confab.
Germond -- for many years a key behind-the-scenes player in California's Democratic Party before she moved East -- seemed loath to use the term "primary."

Her favored term for the votes: "events" (which drew a chuckle from the committee's audience the first time she used it).

Michigan and Florida voters participated in "events," not primaries

As far as I'm concerned, if you can term anything that was used to determine the Democratic nomine "events" this year, it would be the caucuses. As emptypockets has pointed out at Next Hurrah, Obama has won those events, and Clinton the real primaries. While that is somewhat less true than it was in February, it's still true.

As usual, though, none of that matters to the partisans.

UPDATE: Apparently, the woman who was ejected from the meeting was bruised. A look at indicates that this may not prove she was handled roughly:

Some people who have great health and get plenty of vitamin C and B complex vitamins and who are in good muscular shape, don't show a bruise at all, unless they take a very hard blow in an area where the skin and muscles and vascular system is much more fragile and "thin" (the facial area for example, like around the eye). How fast a bruise shows up is very individual, and likewise, how long it takes to fade to the yellow-green colors then disappear is also very individual, based on the factors mentioned above. How long does it take for a bruise to appear?

On the other hand, in contrast to what some know-it-alls at that FDL article have asserted, it's possible for bruising to show up very soon after an injury. While I wouldn't look to for serious medical advice, this is consistent with my own experience. This site, supposedly run by a medical doctor, seems to confirm that bruising sometimes can appear with little actual trauma. This is especially true as we get older. There's also a page on bruising at WebMD, which also states that bruising is a very individual thing.

This and other disturbances apparently happened after the DNC decided to give each state half its votes, and to award Obama a rather large share of the Michigan delegation, given that he wasn't even on the ballot:

It may take more than a Solomonic, split-the-baby decision on delegates to undo the months of accumulated bitterness between Obama and Clinton supporters. Clinton - who outpolled Obama in Michigan and Florida - had hoped the committee would recognize the full delegations along with a full vote for each delegate. Saturday's rulings frustrate her effort to gain on Obama in the delegate count, and she is rapidly running out of time and states to make up the difference.

Dems compromise on Florida, Michigan primaries

My own opinion remains that in Florida's case, the full slate of elected delegates should have been seated. What to do about Michigan is less clear, since most Democratic candidates stayed off the ballot in protest of Michigan's early primary. Clinton was the only one who decided not to support the DNC's position there. Perhaps this ruling was fair in that case. In the case of Florida, I think it wasn't fair, and it was a foolish decision besides. All that it did was make sure that the results were not changed by the DNC's decision.

But then, cowardice is something I'm used to seeing on the part of this Democratic Party.

UPDATE 2 (Jun. 1): Emptywheel summarized the results of the rules committee meeting, at least as they applied to Michigan.

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