As I mentioned last night, the meeting of the RBC today is meaningless. Harold Ickes, in high dudgeon, dramatically reserved Senator Clinton’s right to ‘take the Michigan compromise to the credentials committee.”
Clinton supporters, in addition to being incredibly rude and unruly, are unhappy that Obama was given ANY delegates in Michigan, just as I suspected. Everything turns on the Four State Pledge signed by all candidates where they agreed to this paragraph:
THEREFORE, I _______________, Democratic Candidate for President, pledge
I shall not campaign or participate in any state which schedules a presidential
election primary or caucus before Feb. 5, 2008, except for the states of Iowa,
Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina, as “campaigning” is defined by
rules and regulations of the DNC.
Everything turns on the word “participate”. A couple of facts:
- Michigan automatically adds names to their ballot for their primary on the day that candidates declare their candidacy. Michigan also has a rule allowing candidates to remove their names from the ballot.
- Florida does not have a similar provision allowing candidates to remove their names from the ballot. Once names are there, they’re there.
Participate has an active and passive definition. The active definition is “be involved in; enter a race; enter an agreement; enter negotiation;” The passive definition is to ‘become a participant’ by default (e.g., having one’s name added to a ballot)
If one does not actively pursue adding their name to the ballot, then the term ‘to participate’ has to be interpreted as leaving it there.
Therefore, the only way to stay consistent with the pledge was to withdraw their name from the ballot. Further, voters for Edwards, Obama and Biden were urged by the Michigan Democratic party to vote ‘uncommitted’ to express their preference for unlisted candidates. They did so, with the assumption that either no votes would count, or their ‘uncommitted votes’ would be allocated to some candidate in some fashion later on.
For anyone to argue that Obama wasn’t entitled to any delegates is simply dishonest. For any DEMOCRAT to argue for voter’s rights while simultaneously moving to disenfranchise 238,000 Michigan voters proves the cynical basis for the original argument.
Obama needs 68 delegates to reach the now-firm delegate number of 2118. He will likely win 43-45 after the final primaries. He only needs 28-30 superdelegates to reach the nomination. If an additional 40 superdelegates make a public commitment, the threat of the credentials committee appeal will be irrelevant.
It would be good for Hillary Clinton to be gracious on Tuesday night. It would certainly go far toward healing the very large breach and softening me toward her and her rude, obnoxious supporters who were so incredibly harsh in Washington DC today.
It would be good, but don’t hold your breath.
For more info about the credentials committee, see my post on Delegate Voodoo.