And So It Begins...
by Todd Beeton, Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 11:07:13 AM EST
The first shot in the renewed fight to seat Michigan's and Florida's delegates is fired by the states' governors, Jennifer Granholm and Charlie Crist. From Marc Ambinder, their joint statement:
"The right to vote is at the very foundation of our democracy. This primary season, voters have turned out in record numbers to exercise that right, and it is reprehensible that anyone would seek to silence the voices of 5,163,271 Americans. It is intolerable that the national political parties have denied the citizens of Michigan and Florida their votes and voices at their respective national conventions.
According to the DNC and RNC, Florida and Michigan have violated party rules by moving up their primaries. Today, we each will call upon our respective state and national party chairs to resolve this matter and to ensure that the voters of Michigan and Florida are full participants in the formal selection of their parties' nominees. We must restore the rights of the more than 5 million voters whose voices have been silenced."
This statement doesn't exist in a vacuum, of course. Charlie Crist is a John McCain supporter and Jennifer Granholm is a Hillary Clinton supporter, both of whom would no doubt prefer that the Democratic delegates from these states be seated (assuming McCain shares the conventional wisdom among Republicans that they'd prefer to go up against Clinton in the fall.) It's interesting, then, that the statement makes this sort of vague call for the state and national party chairs to "resolve" the issue rather than calling for the results from the January contests to be ratified at the convention, which has been the Clinton position up to now. Does the fact that the statement from Granholm, a Clinton supporter and sometime surrogate, is leaving open the possibility of a re-vote represent some evolution in the Clinton party line? That may be reading a bit much into the statement, but one thing is clear: as Chuck Todd said last night on MSNBC, Howard Dean can no longer sit this out. It's your move, Chairman.
Results were too close to call in Texas early today, but even before Clinton won in Ohio, her campaign chairman, Terry McAuliffe, said he would welcome a second chance in both states (Michigan and Florida), where Clinton won what are, for now, meaningless primaries.
"We're all for a primary in both states because we can't go into a general election and say those votes didn't count," he said. "But do-overs cost millions of dollars. It's up to those states."
Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Clinton supporter, said the victory in Ohio changes "the landscape a bit" and could open the door to a Democratic caucus -- not a primary -- in Michigan, though it would have to be privately funded and both candidates would have to agree.
Why not a primary you ask? Blogging For Michigan has more from Granholm:
"It could not be a primary because a primary is publicly paid for, and the taxpayers would not spend any more tax dollars on a primary. So if there's anything it would have to be a caucus, but we'd have to have a way to pay for it without taxpayer dollars."
This insistence on a caucus doesn't bode well for Clinton who would obviously prefer a primary to a caucus but maybe the ultimate compromise is a caucus in one state and a primary in another. Either way, we're inching ever closer to two do-overs, you know, just in case this primary season wasn't unprecedented enough for you. Ironic that in their efforts to increase their relevance in the process by being first, Michigan and Florida may ultimately turn out to be the most important contests of all by being last.
Update [2008-3-5 17:21:25 by Todd Beeton]:I hate to say this but I sort of agree with David Brooks:
Shell have to make the case that everybodys vote should count. She should offer to split the $15 to $20 million cost of a Florida re-vote with Obama. If he says no, she can ask why he is against democracy. Why does he like the small turnout caucuses over the big turnout primaries?