Clinton Supporters are Spinning the Theft of an Election

The Clinton campaign has made the case that the Michigan and Florida delegates should be seated at the convention. This would give her a bump of over 200 delegates and put her in a safe lead. Over the weekend, Ted Olson called it “splendid theater” and I enthusiastically agree. Various spin machines are in high gear, making multiple–sometimes contradictory–arguments that the Michigan and Florida delegations should be counted. Here are some of them.

Seat the delegates because to do otherwise violates the principles of democracy.
This is the argument made by the Clinton campaign itself. The idea is that people voted and their vote should be counted even though they voted improperly (and were warned about the rules prior to voting). Somehow, Democracy Itself requires that all the circumstances of the vote be ignored. Set aside the fact that Obama and Edwards followed the rules and took their names off the Michigan ballots. Set aside the fact that none of the candidates campaigned in Florida. Under this theory, the fact that voters recorded votes is enough to overcome basic ideas about fairness and process.

This is similar to the theory proposed by Democrats during the Florida recounts in 2000: ballots which could not be counted during the initial count because of some flaw in the marking of the ballot should be added to the recounts and the “clear intent” of the voter upheld. Everyone is directed to ignore the fact that if the intent of the voter had be clear the first time, the ballots would have been counted regularly. It amounts to changing the rules after the fact, and that’s exactly what Clinton is trying to do now.

Seat the delegates because to do otherwise is racially discriminatory.
A variation on the above spin, this one points out that black and Hispanic people voted in the Michigan and Florida primaries. Argued most recently by the NAACP, the spin is that keeping these delegates from counting at the convention brings to mind the “sordid history of racially discriminatory primaries.” (I guess they’re talking about the Democratic White Primary cases!)

It’s a more, ahem, colorful way of saying that once votes are made, they must be counted, rules be damned.

Seat the delegates because the DNC didn’t apply the rules fairly.
This is the ruleslawyer spin. It’s most common among the Democratic “Netroots” who have largely picked Clinton to win, including Kos, Jerome Armstrong, and others. It goes something like this: any state that made their primary date earlier than February 5th without permission was automatically supposed to lose half their delegates. However, the DNC Rules Committee had discretion to take all of the delegates as sanctions for misbehavior. The DNC Rules Committee chose to exercise that discretion and take all of the delegates from Michigan and Florida, but took none of the delegates from Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina which also had primaries earlier than February 5th. Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina had permission to go earlier, but not as early as they did. Therefore, to be fair, all the delegates should be seated.

Like most ruleslawyers, their intent is not to uphold the rules but cajole some benefit from an exasperated gamemaster decisiontaker. For example, if they really want to uphold the rules then all of the early primary states should have their delegations automatically cut in half, not restored in full. Also, they have to ignore the fact that the DNC Rules Committee was entirely within its authority to sanction Michigan and Florida to deter other states from jumping the gun.

Don’t be fooled. These are Clinton supporters desperately looking for some way to claim that it isn’t the Establishment screwing Obama after he won. They want to “reluctantly” claim that they had no choice, that it’s just how the rules work. Again, ignore the fact that the rules say no such thing and that of the two Obama was the only candidate who tried to follow the rules.

BLEG: I’m on the lookout for more delegate-seating spin. If you see some, be sure and send it my way. I’m especially looking for spun reasons why Clinton supports think that the votes in Michigan and Florida should not be retaken before seating the delegates. (We know the real reason for this, of course.)


~ by Gabriel Malor on February 13, 2008.

2 Responses to “Clinton Supporters are Spinning the Theft of an Election”

  1. This is exactly why so many Americans don’t trust or like Hillary Clinton. She cheats and lies to get what she wants. Go Obama!

  2. Say what you want, Judy, Clinton is clearly the more electable, responsible, and experienced politician and candidate. McCain will destroy Obama in the general election. The point of all this is to elect a Democrat, and Obama’s not ready to play hard ball in the big leagues with a real opponent. Otherwise, he would have put Clinton away already. To her credit, it is not reasonable to expect Clinton to just quit while knowing she has the better chance to win in November.

    All this is great for Republicans. We don’t really like any of the candidates, but McCain is the least offensive. of the three. Good news for the country is that he is so old and will only serve one term, but the bad news is that his age makes the VP pick so critically important. Lots of us are afraid he will reach accross the aisle and pick Lieberman.

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