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BREAKING: Caucus likely, DNC rules committee member tells The Plank

by: Eric B.

Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 18:26:14 PM EST

From The Plank:

A member of the DNC's Rules And Bylaws Committee--the committee that stripped Florida and Michigan of its delegates for moving their primaries before February 5th--told me that Michigan plans to get out of its uncounted delegate problem by announcing a new caucus in the next few days.

"They want to play. They know how to do caucuses," the DNC source said. "That was their plan all along, before they got cute with the primary."

From Hotline:

Statement by Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer on seating Michigan's delegates at the Democratic National Convention:

"We are currently in negotiations over the seating of a Michigan delegation to the National Convention. Any resolution must be agreeable to all four interested parties: the MDP, the DNC, and both the Clinton and Obama campaigns because we all want a united Democratic Party in Michigan to ensure a victory for the Democratic nominee this fall. A McCain presidency would continue the failed policies of the Bush Administration that hurt Michigan jobs, keep health care out of reach for millions, and make our country less safe. I am confident that we will reach a compromise that will result in Michigan being a full participant at the National Convention."


Update!  I'm told that state Sen. Tupac Hunter will be on CNN tonight at 8 p.m. to discuss the situation with Suzanne Malveaux and a legislator from Florida.

Eric B. :: BREAKING: Caucus likely, DNC rules committee member tells The Plank
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How will this affect this month's county conventions? (n/t)

"I never did give anybody hell. I just told the truth and they thought it was hell." -- Harry S Truman

...I mean district conventions!

"I never did give anybody hell. I just told the truth and they thought it was hell." -- Harry S Truman

Do not call it a CAUCUS---Call it a VOTE BY MAIL !
  If Democrats want to get the broadest participation possible in a re-vote it should be marketed as a vote by mail. People will be confused by anything that is called a Caucus with visions of Iowa voters publicly stating their positions and spending several hours at limited locations.
 That would be totally unfair to the working men and women of our state who would not have the time.
 If it is a mail in ballot---market it as such. We need to clear up the confusion that the Michigan Democratic Party has caused

Good point
I agree. don't call it a caucus cuz... well, Michigan's version of a caucus doesn't quite compare to the Iowa standard.

[ Parent ]
Money Talk
I hate to sound like a republican, but who is going to pay for this? I very much hope that if Michigan ends up having a redo, the DNC foots the bill. Lord knows we don't have the cash.

This is a key point
And you don't sound like a Republican.  When's the last time you heard a Rethug mutter something as fiscally responsible as "who is going to pay for this?"?  ;-)


To prepare for when your life flashes before your eyes, make sure it's fun to watch.

[ Parent ]
I don't understand
how this is going to fly with the general public outside of Michigan.

If I were a person who lived in a Super Tuesday state, I'd be pretty ticked off by all of this. I would've voted for Edwards, then would be asking the DNC to give ME a chance for a do-over, too.

After all, MI broke the rules, brazenly decided to ignore the clear punishment we'd receive for moving our primary too early. Now, MI gets rewarded as possibly being the deciding state between the two remaining candidates?

If I lived in another state, I'd want a do-over, too - that way I could vote only between the last two candidates standing. I would think that MI is getting a sweet deal - break the rules, then get to still be the state that makes the final decision.

What a horrible mess.

(Don't get me wrong - I am STILL furious at the MDP for moving the primary to Jan and then not moving it back. I hate the fact that our votes don't count, that our delegates won't be seated. But, the MDP broke the rules, they forced the DNC's hand. The MDP should be punished - not rewarded - for their actions. They represent us. They screwed up. They shouldn't be rewarded for breaking the rules.)

That's the least of my concerns, frankly.
I couldn't care less what the other states think and believe me, no state is going to throw their legitimate caucus/primary results (where the entire slate of candidates was included) out and demand a (costly) do-over.

I've got some issues with a do-over, am of two minds on it but don't care one wit what any other state may think or say about it.  If they don't like it too bad.  Maybe they will join us in demanding a better primary system.


To prepare for when your life flashes before your eyes, make sure it's fun to watch.

[ Parent ]
I care about it because of the precedent
it sets.

If MI is given a "do-over" as a reward for breaking the rules, and MI is a key player in deciding who gets the nomination, what will happen before the next election?

Will primaries begin in September - every state leapfrogging over each other? It defeats the purpose of having a national party and a national strategy for conducting our nomination process.

If those rebel states then face any sanctions, those same states could demand a do-over later in the nomination process.

I think this is selfish of MI. The MDP already disenfranchised MI voters. To create a "do-over" caucus so our votes are decisive in determining the nominee is not fair to voters of other states. We had our say - and the MDP knew our delegates would not be seated.

To me, I think it's simple: the number of delegates needed to win the nomination should be REDUCED so that MI (and FL) are not included. Take the total number and subtract MI and FL.

MDP made their bed. They screwed us, trying to get a leg up and flip Dean the finger. For the party to drop the sanctions and give us a do-over is not right. It's destructive to the national party strategy, and it's a way of rewarding MI for breaking the rules.

[ Parent ]
You missed a vital point
The big sticking point, as I understand it, is the cost of the do-over.  Millions of dollars.

No state now or in the future is going to be doing do-overs willy-nilly just so they can more strongly influence the nomination.  

And if a serious over-haul is done with the nominating process (after this debacle I believe it is more likely) then the scenario you describe is even less likely to ever occur.

I do agree with you on one point, part of this was an attempt to undermine Dean.  It's no secret the Clinton people have never liked him and have tried to oust him.  Graholm is firmly in the Clinton camp and I have never beleived Brewer to be a very strong supporter of Dean's either.


To prepare for when your life flashes before your eyes, make sure it's fun to watch.

[ Parent ]
Let's take a mulligan
For those of you who have been vacationing on Planet Democratic-Utopia-in-November, let us re-cap the primary caucus debacle.

Last Fall, Mark Brewer, in anticipation of having a pissing match with New Hampshire, asked local party officials to find caucus sites in our counties. We were to set aside FIVE dates on which would hold a caucus. Two Saturdays were scheduled in December and two Saturdays were scheduled in January.  The DNC sanctioned date for a caucus which would produce delegates to be seated was February 9.

A locally run caucus would be glorious. It would be a real grass roots effort to smack down those Live Free or Die jump to the head of the line bullies. All Democrats in the state could participate. All you needed was a utility bill to prove you were who you said you were. By participating in this truly democratic exercise you could socialize with your neighbors, have a cookie and a cup of coffee and vote your preference out of a full slate of presidential contenders. In Allegan County, we were psyched! We have a tough time dragging Democrats out of the closet in this Rethug area. We viewed this an a terrific opportunity to get to know our local fellow travelers. We found and staffed five locations for each of the dates. Mr Brewer trained those people to run the sites. The cost was minimal as far as getting people out to put their X on a ballot.  The real cost was printing and distributing the ballots and would be the MDP's responsibility. Money, to be sure, but but no where near the $12 million dollars the two major parties shook down from the taxpayers of this fair state. But no, grass roots efforts would never work. The smelly masses might show a preference for someone someone like Dennis Kucinich or Bill Richardson. As it planet turned, glory was no to be ours.

High Noon approached, neither Marshal Brewer nor the New Hampshire Kid blinked. What would it be? Who would draw first? All of us were holding our breath. Would it be the steely eyed Kid who had history and God's will on his side? Or, would it be the Marshal who would enforce DNC laws in untamed territory in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds? Laws that Marshall Brewer, himself, had a hand in crafting. Strains of "Do not forsake me, oh my Darlin" were drowning out mall Christmas carols. Momentous things were afoot. Would Marshal Brewer enforce righteousness of the "No cuts" policy of keeping primary states in line? Would New Hampshire intimidate other states by moving its primary up to...Thanksgiving!?

An exit was thoughtfully provided by Michigan's head Rethug and acquiesced to by Our Dear Governor. The Marshal scuttled out of town and the Kid jumped to the head of the line. Instead of cookies, cider and neighborliness we are, instead, treated to a taxpayer funded beauty contest in which Sen. Clinton overwhelmingly "trounced none of the above." By Golly, what a ringing endorsement! The fact that it went against the DNC's rules was just an inconvenience. The fact that it was an exercise in voter suppression was not to be mentioned.

Today, the political landscape has changed. The expected outcome of the so-called primary was to be a coronation. Instead, we have a real horse race! What is Michigan's role going to be? The people who drove this debacle into the wall are trying to figure out how to gracefully scrape up their teeth, hair and eyeballs. Hopefully, they will restore their formerly good looks. To this end, they blame the DNC for their own folly. They use this flawed rationale to demand the DNC rescue them from their own short sight. The straight forward thing to do is to go back to square one. If Michigan is going to have any relevance in this primary season it will be to hold a "do over."

Our Dear Governor has been all over the airwaves talking about how it is impossible to have a caucus. She tells us: "The previous voters will be disenfranchised, it will cost too much and there's nobody there to pay for it, and the Clinton and Obama campaigns will have to agree to participate. Well, horse hockey. As a voter in the so-called primary, the one where I couldn't vote for my candidate, I will not feel disenfranchised to exercise my vote and have it count. If the MDP was so eager to pay for a caucus in December and January, it can certainly pay for one, now. The Clinton and Obama campaigns don't have to agree to anything. Elections come from the will of the people. If the candidates can't bring themselves to participate when voters are this mad, then perhaps neither one of them deserve to be president. After all, there are several excellent people who have dropped out and are viable candidates on the second ballot at the convention. Hmm, d'ya think Al Gore could be drafted?

A prediction:  If Michigan goes ahead and announces plans to hold a caucus, the Clinton campaign will go nuclear/ballistic.  The howling from her camp will be heard from the redwood forests to the gulfstream waters.

And nothing would suit me better.  She would get roasted in the media, and her self-serving insistence that MI and FL should be seated at the convention based on those bogus January 'primaries' would be exposed as the cheap and devious shot it truly is.

Caucus?  Bring it on...!

Thank God!
There's hope for Michigan after all.

From this morning's Political Wire:
Michigan Plans Re-Vote

The New Republic reports that Michigan "plans to get out of its uncounted delegate problem by announcing a new caucus in the next few days."

Said the source: "They want to play. They know how to do caucuses. That was their plan all along, before they got cute with the primary."

"Michigan Democrats had originally planned on caucuses after the legally permissible Feb. 5 date, but then went along with top elected Democrats, including Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who pushed for an early primary."

The Hotline confirms the story.


Any guesses as to the identity of the "source"?

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