Who can stop Scott Brown?

I don't expect that Scott Brown will be running for re-election to the Senate in 2012.  More likely, he'll be running for President.  And he could be darn hard to stop.

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New for 2012

This seems like a significant change of rules for the DNC nominating process. If adopted, the superdelegates would remain with the status of being a delegate (there is not a decrease in number), but they would no longer be able to decide who to vote for based on their own, but instead rely upon the contests in their states.

The reform would increase the amount of delegates to the winning candidate in the contest. This is much needed. It was not a good system that produced results like the NV caucus, where the candidate who had the most popular votes did not also lead in the delegates. It's also a fault of the nominating system, that a candidate can win a contest by a good margin 5-10% margin, but not gain much in the way of delegate advantage from winning.

The winner-take-all system, as was California in the disaster of '72 for Democrats, and still is that way in many Republican states (they await their disaster in '12 imo), gave way to the proportional system, but adding back the superdelegates from their states to a winner-take-all scenario strikes a nice balance.

The only question I have about it though is the preponderance of superdelegates from nearby DC states (MD & VA) and DC itself. I don't know the exact numbers, but its a lot. Is DC going to become a megastate because of its bulk of superdelegates?

I don't expect the Rules committee to take this recomendation without some resistence. Its a committee that's packed with people that like to exert influence, and this will take away their being able to play phone tag with the Presidential candidates in the future. Hopefully, that's a mute point because Kaine & Obama are on board.

This is a much needed reform that is very much welcome.

 

The recommendations include pushing back the window of time during which primaries and caucuses may be held; converting unpledged delegates (DNC members, Democratic Members of the House and Senate, Democratic Governors and Distinguished Former Party Leaders) to a new category of pledged delegate called the National Pledged Party Leader and Elected Official (NPLEO) delegates, which will be allocated to Presidential candidates based on the state wide primary or caucus results; and establishing a “best practices” program for caucus states to improve and strengthen their caucuses. Under the Commission's recommendations - the pre-primary window could not begin until February 1st or thereafter, and the primary window could not begin until the second Tuesday in March or thereafter.

 

 

The commission had 3 orders:

 

1. Changing the window of time during which primaries and caucuses may be held

2. Reducing the number of super delegates

3. Improving the caucus system.

 

They fell short on all three imo.

I don't think much of caucuses (other than Iowa's great tradition), and "best practices" are what the NV caucus gave us in 2008-- a fiasco.

The calendar direction is probably not going to have much power I predict, to states like NH & IA-- they'll decide what they want to decide and the parties will follow. The only way it might work is if its in concert with Republicans, but there's been no indication of that happening to date.

And there was not a decrease in the amount of superdelegates.


Still, they came up with a very good reform measure that was able to gather near-total support in the committee, and one which makes a not-so-great system somewhat-better than it was before.

Leaning out

It's actually an interesting time, seeing who is lining up to swallow this thing anyway, and who is saying no way. What swung me was Nelson gutting the bill to allow the insurance companies to retain exemption to anti-trust laws. You can't get much more anti-progressive than that feat-- and it didn't even get Nelson on board. Without that there, I just believe the whole bill is an exercise of bad faith-- we are going to just trust that insurance companies are going to hold down their costs, when many have a monopoly, in the face of a flood of money coming their way? You have to be really naive to believe that's going to be the case.

Anyway, I've always said that having a mandate was a bad electoral move. When you alert an American to that sort of thing, it gets a pathetic 21% of support (and that's before the Tea Party attack). It's basically un-American to many-- to force costs onto people (even granting that the wish is that it lower costs on the whole). I think there are arguments around that with a public option and a non-monopoly situation in place, but not really otherwise-- its soft teeth to a hard kick.

So when I see people like Jonathan Cohn, Ezra Klein, Nate Silver, and Joe Klein say things like "the left is playing with fire" and argue the merits of incrementation in support of privatized mandates, I just have to shake my head and say no, its just the opposite. It's the Senate Democrats that are playing with electoral fire here. It really is an electoral death-wish to pass this bill in its current form. And people who live in campaign mode, like Jim Dean and Markos, see it plain as day.

Look there's a reason why the Tea Party now has more favorable ratings than the Democratic Party, and its not because of the Deaniacs either. The ethos that increasingly dominates the electoral landscape right now is populist and libertarian.  Neo-liberalism and Neo-conservatism are vilified, exemplified by another damn surge of troops overseas and another round of bailouts/subsidies/giveaways to massive corporations that line the pockets of politicians with campaign donations. What's killing the Democrats in DC is that they are doing the work of the Republicans for them right now.

A friend asked me if I thought that Dean was positioning for a '12 campaign. No, I seriously doubt it (though Gibbs did imply it with his trash-talking Deans motives). And besides, that's not the outcome; the real factor here is an independent run against both parties. Imagine if the Tea Party is going to be there, then why not flood it with some real progressive populists/libertarians in the primaries? I jest, but have to wonder what we are left with doing. I had thought that, through vehicles like Accountability Now, that we'd have a role in the upcoming primaries, ousting problem D politicians that are in stronger Democratic districts. It just hasn't materialized yet, but I think the votes over the next month might just make it happen. If not, its going to be a long 2010 on the sidelines for many, though there are certainly people, like Alan Grayson and Russ Feingold that I'll do whatever it takes to help re-elect.

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DNC changes in the air

It looks like everyones (including Obama) desire, of lessening the power of super-delegates in the nomination process, is running into a bit of resistance.

There's a "change" committee. The "Draft Report of the Democratic Change Commission" is at work now. Any changes proposed will have to go through the Rules committee. Here's what seems to be a compromise, as a manner of protecting the super-delegate's self-interest, while decreasing their importance:

The real fight will happen when the Change Commission gives their recommendations to the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee. Each member of the RBC is a super-delegate, making it unlikely they will happliy give away their own power, or that of their colleagues on the DNC.

Brazile, who is not on the Change Commission but is a member of the RBC, previewed one potential compromise by suggesting the number of elected delegates pledged to future presidential candidates be increased, so that the percentage of total delegates who are unelected is reduced.

I think to be real meaningful, it'd have to move the 19% of unpledged delegates to single-digits, which is probably impossible, given how much that would increase the total number of convention delegates. So what are we looking at-- a change of 19% decreased to 15-17% through an increased amount of pledged delegates? Incremental, but better than the status quo.

On to the other change, that of the calendar:

Commission members, who range from lawmakers and grassroots activists to President Obama's campaign manager, are charged with putting forth recommendations to help expand the Democratic base and increase more ethnic and regional diversity in choosing the party's presidential nominee in 2016 and beyond, assuming Obama seeks a second term.

A commission suggestion would be to allow the first four states that held nominating contests in the January 2008 maintain their early, privileged calendar positions. But these states - Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina - would be directed to delay holding their caucuses and primaries before February 1. All other states would be forbidden from holding their nominating contests until at least the first Tuesday in March.

Another recommendation in the report suggested grouping states by "region or sub-region."

"This would not be a mandatory obligation upon the state parties," the commission stated. "The commission recommends that these clusters be staggered throughout the window to allow for a deliberative process that benefits all voters and caucus-goers through the country."

States parties that abided by the DNC's calendar would be rewarded by getting special perks at the national nominating convention.


yep, Iowa and New Hampshire go first. Its fine with me.

The best case scenario for these sort of fiascoes is not increased control by the DNC of the nomination process, but having no calendar control at all. Until crazy total-control ideas like regional primaries no longer get brought up as solutions, I'll stick with the prediction that the process will only work as long as it doesn't matter, and when it does matter, we'll get things like '08.

But not in '12 for Democrats. '12 is going to be the year of the Republican nomination fiasco. Given their winner-take-all glut of contests, its ripe for happening if they don't decide quickly (like they always do).

Oh yea, the 3rd change (or lack thereof): Caucuses. How could I forget. It only really worked in Iowa, and even there, it took a lot longer than it needs too. I really liked the caucus from a political standpoint, as I could stand there and examine the total demographic that existed in each candidates space for 45 minutes while they all stood together. Other than that, well, neighbors got to talk to eachother, terrific too. As an electoral process, its weak, and needs to be abolished everywhere but Iowa. It sounds like they will implement a "best practices" like the "learn from Iowa" process that was used in Nevada (oh, that worked like a gem).

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2010 & 2012 ramifications

Well, you have this:

I support President Obama's decision.

- Sarah Palin

"Finish the job" will do down with "In it to win it" and "Mission Accomplished" from the looks of it.

One of Mike Huckabee's main political persons has resigned from HuckPAC: "Some have asked about the timing. As most could imagine, the recent news of the last two days along with the response did play a role in this decision but was not the sole factor."

From what I can tell, Democrats on the Hill are waiting it out to see what sort of temperature they take in response to Obama's speech.  I agree with John Nichols, that

Obama Has Spoken; Now, Let's Have a Debate

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Diaries

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