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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Clinton's Rules's Fight Isn't About Democracy

On Saturday, the Rules Committe of the Democratic National Committee will meet to determine the seating of the Florida and Michigan delegation. This meeting is occuring because democrats from both states foolishly and intentionally went against their party rules and moved up the date of their primaries. Barack Obama's name wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan and, in Florida, their Governor, a Republican, persuaded democrats to move up the date. Now, when democratic leaders decide to heed the words of a Republican over their democratic leadership, you know they're inviting sanctions from party leadership and deservedly so.

Into the fray steps Senator Clinton who says all the votes from Michigan and Florida should be counted. Of course she only started to fight for the "enfranchisement" of Michigan and Florida voters after she realized she needed to use their votes to claim she has won the most popular vote and therefore should be the democratic nominee for the U.S. presidency. Harold Meyerson, executive editor of American Prospect, and columnist for the Washington Post, shakes out the nonsense of Senator Clinton's phony claims.

Last update: May 28, 2008

On Saturday, when the Rules Committee of the Democratic National Committee meets to determine the fate of Florida and Michigan's delegations to this summer's convention, it will have some company. A group of Hillary Clinton supporters has announced it will demonstrate outside.

That Clinton has impassioned supporters, many of whom link her candidacy to the feminist cause, hardly qualifies as news. And it's certainly true that along the campaign trail Clinton has encountered some outrageously sexist treatment. But somehow, a number of Clinton supporters have come to identify the seating of Michigan and Florida with the causes of democracy and feminism -- an equation that makes a mockery of democracy and feminism.

Clinton herself is largely responsible for this absurdity. Over the past couple of weeks, she has equated the seating of the two delegations with African-Americans' struggle for suffrage in the Jim Crow South, and with the efforts of the democratic forces in Zimbabwe to get a fair count of the votes in their presidential election.

The Clintonistas who have called Saturday's demonstration make it sound as if they'll be marching in Selma in support of a universal right to vote. The DNC, says one of their websites, "must honor our core democratic principles and enfranchise the people of Michigan and Florida."

Had Florida and Michigan conducted their primaries the way other states did -- that is, in accord with the very clear calendar laid down by the DNC well before the primaries began -- then Clinton's marchers would be utterly justified in their claims. But when the two states flouted those rules by moving their primaries outside the prescribed time frame, the DNC decreed that their primaries would not count and enjoined all presidential candidates from campaigning in those states. Obama and John Edwards complied by removing their names from the Michigan ballot. Clinton did not.

Seating Michigan in full would validate the kind of one-candidate election (well, 1.03, to give Dennis Kucinich, Chris Dodd and Mike Gravel, who also remained on the ballot, their due) that is more common in autocracies than democracies. It would mean rewarding the one serious candidate who didn't remove her name from the ballot when all her rivals, in deference to the national party rules, did just that.

What's particularly outrageous is that the Clinton campaign supported the calendar -- and the sanctions against Michigan and Florida -- until Clinton won those states and needed to have their delegations seated.

Not a single Clinton campaign official or DNC Rules Committee member, much less the candidate herself, said at the time that the sanctions imposed on Florida or Michigan were in any way an affront to democratic values. The threat that these rules posed to our fundamental beliefs was discovered only ex post facto -- the facto in question being Clinton's current need to seat the delegations whose seatings she had opposed when she thought she'd cruise to the nomination.

Clinton's supporters have every right to demonstrate, but their larger cause is neither democracy nor feminism; it's situational ethics. To insist otherwise is to degrade democracy and turn feminism into the last refuge of scoundrels.


SagaciousHillbilly said...

They knew the rules and Billary supported the rules right up until. . . it didn't aid their agenda.
More reasons why Billary has completely lost credibility with most left wing progressives.
I watched a billary supporter on TV last night talking about "America" and how "one person gets one vote" and "every vote needs to be counted" and I just wanted to slap the shit outta the two faced moron. If these were Obama votes, they'd be screaming about NOT seating the delegates.

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

I like that term, 'situational ethics'. It describes HRC's style perfectly.

MacDaddy said...

sagacious: Yes, it's not just Hillary who will say or do anything to win. She's hired what I call "value-free" spin doctors to do the same. And at the top of the list is hubby Bill, who's out there claiming she has the most popular votes (untrue), and saying nobody asked Kennedy to get out of the race in 84, I believe
(also untrue) . They asked him not to, but he took it to the convention, and tore the democrats apart. They're exaggerating,lying, and deceiving all the way to the convention. House democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said she's not going to let this race go to the convention. We'll see.
kit: Metaphors like "situation ethics" can really fit to a tee. And they can speak to a basic truth. A friend of mine, a Vietnam vet, said that, when his company got trapped in some crossfire, they didn't say, "Let's run! Let's get the hell out of here!" They said, "Execute strategic withdrawal." Uh, huh.

Anonymous said...

anon: Liste, brother, I like checking you out. But why do you write about Clinton all the time? Everybody knows she crazy. Write about something else.