March 17, 2008


Behind Closed Doors, Democrats Seek Answers (JOHN HARWOOD, 3/17/08, NY Times)

The public phase of the Democratic presidential race will now pause, briefly, for a back-to-the-future experiment in back-room deal-making.

It’s an unusual turn for the self-styled party of the people, which four decades ago began to throw open the doors of its nomination process to rank-and-file voters. [...]

What no one anticipated was that the nomination race would go on long enough that the exclusion of the two states mattered. So some Rules Committee members who voted to strip Michigan and Florida of their delegates want to give both states another chance.

“They should do them both over,” said Elaine C. Kamarck, a lecturer at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and a former aide to Vice President Al Gore.

Do-overs could help Ms. Kamarck’s favored candidate, Mrs. Clinton, who trails in the delegate race and needs more victories. But Ms. Kamarck would not abide the alternative advanced by Clinton forces, to simply count delegates based on the discredited balloting which had Mrs. Clinton ahead in Michigan and Florida. “They won’t be seated,” she said.

Yet the complications of staging new contests, which under party rules must take place by June 10, are daunting even to the most experienced Democratic professionals. Proposals for mail-in balloting, “firehouse” caucuses and full primaries — at costs of up to $30 million — have all faced procedural and political objections.

“I’m worried about the integrity of the process,” said Donna Brazile, who, like Ms. Kamarck, is a member of the party’s Rules Committee. “There are so many technical, legal, political challenges. Everything we do will face an enormous test of fairness.”

The integrity of a process where the DNC decided some elections wouldn't count, no one know who has how many delegates and a set of unelected super-delegates are perched where they can intervene if they don't like what the voters decided?

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 17, 2008 7:54 PM

Billy Jeff actually SMOKES cigars?

Posted by: ghostcat at March 17, 2008 11:37 PM

... which four decades ago began to throw open the doors of its nomination process ... . True, but certainly not for the input of rank and file voters, but as a ploy to push through the candidacy of Joseph Kennedy's son. That done, the process was left to mutate into the current entertaining food fight.

Party elders will put a stop to it soon, leaving plenty of time for bright minds to present voters with a brand new reality show using the real world as its stage.

We'll survive, but at what cost.

Posted by: erp at March 18, 2008 8:42 AM