Ever since Hillary Clinton waged the battle to have the votes in
Florida and Michigan count, the Democrats have wrestled mightily with
how (and whether) to discount their own rules to do that. So, this was inevitable.
Michigan held its presidential primaries on Jan. 15 and
Florida did the same on Jan. 29, breaking national Republican and
Democratic rules that said most states couldn’t hold their 2008 primary
contests before Feb. 5…
That led to a bruising intraparty squabble. Democrats in both states
warned that the eventual Democratic nominee risked losing their states
in November if they were punished. Some Florida Democrats took legal
action to get their delegates seated, and neither state got preprimary
campaign visits from candidates Barack Obama or Hillary Rodham Clinton.
But we all know Clinton won both states anyway. Which is why she wanted those delegates seated at the convention.
Now, the same committee that stripped Florida and
Michigan of their delegates for violating party rules by holding early
primaries is poised to suggest those delegates regain their full voting
powers when the Denver convention starts in eight days.
This, by the way, has been going on for months.
For former Florida Democratic Chairman Scott Maddox, it was a year of party infighting that didn’t need to happen.
“When this first occurred … I said whatever the Republicans do with
their delegations, we will do the same. The difference is we will have
a food fight in the middle,” said Maddox, who sits on the Democratic
National Committee’s Credentials Committee that will take up the matter
next Sunday. “It seems our party cannot avoid having a free-for-all.”
It’s been a rough and tumble year for both parties. Democrats especially, though Obama keeps trying to settle these eruptions.l
In his letter to the Credentials Committee, Obama said it’s time to heal the party and concentrate on the November election.
“I believe party unity calls for the delegates from Florida and
Michigan to be able to participate fully alongside the delegates from
the other states and territories,” he wrote. “Democrats in Florida and
Michigan must know they are full partners and colleagues in our
historic mission to reshape Washington and lead our country in a new
Maddox said he’s glad the drama has played itself out.
But a larger one is about to begin next week.