Thou Shalt Not Steal

Well as you might have guessed, I was at the protest in DC today as the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC) met to decide what to do with the votes my family all cast back in Michigan, and those in Florida.

We turned up to make our voices heard in the hopes that the RBC would do the right thing and NOT punish the people for what their state party leaders – and those of the respective state republican party leaders did in moving up their primary dates. It’s always been my view that they were talking about punishing the wrong people but that doesn’t count for much as I’m not one of the 30 people on the RBC.

I didn’t even make it inside the meeting but others were there. Some were chanting when it was clear what was the RBC was doing with the delegates from Michigan, and JaneHamsher at FireDogLake grabbed this video of one of the women who were forcibly ejected from the meeting

They manhandled and bruised a teacher and a Democrat of over 40 years for crying out loud..

Harold Ickes – who serves on the RBC and is widely recognized as an expert on the DNC rules and their history – talked about Michigan’s delegates during yesterday’s press conference call when an AP reporter asked him if it’d be acceptable to Hillary’s campaign if BO got any delegates from Michigan’s primary. Here’s what he had to say…

AP – is it acceptable to you if BO gets any pledged delegates from MI?

Harold – Uncommitted status is considered as a presidential candidate. Closed in and given the same rights and protections as a named presidential candidate. There were 4 candidates who VOLUNTARILY took their names off the ballot. She [Hillary] didn’t – there was no requirement that she do so. Some 238,000 people voted for uncommitted – no way to discern the wishes of those voters. Our view is that while delegates who fill out those 55 slots have the absolute right to go and support whomever they want. They must be certified to the convention as uncommitted delegates. The RBC has no right to award those delegates to another candidate any more than they’d have the right to award any of her 73 delegates and give them to another candidate. Short answer – NO.

Giving away some of her delegates. How prophetic that one turned out to be.

I’m too pissed and disgusted to really go into all the ways in which the RBC screwed over 2.35 million people today. I’ll just let Harold Ickes sum up what I’m thinking right now. What follows are my notes, taken as he spoke prior to a vote on the motion to seat all 55 uncommitted delegates as Obama’s delegates (which is illegal according to the DNC’s rules that folks have been blathering on about for the past few months). On top of that injustice, the motion involved stealing 4 of Hillary’s delegates and giving them to Obama.

He spoke of the audacity (my word not his) of the RBC in thinking that the judgment of 30 people should take the place of the 600,000 voters in MI…

Was the process flawed?
You bet your ass it was flawed.

I’m stunned that we have the gall and the chutzpah to substitute our judgment for that of 600,000 voters.

You can not take delegates from one candidate and give them to another.

Not only will this motion hijack 4 delegates from Mrs. Clinton, it will take 55 uncommitted delegates and give them to Obama.

I submit that hijacking 4 delegates… is not the way to start down path to party unity.

Finally – one final word – we are … Mrs. Clinton has instructed me to reserve her rights to take this to the Credentials Committee.

– Cheers –

Here’s what Hillary’s campaign manager – Maggie Williams – had to say a little while ago…

Decision on Florida and Michigan

Hillary has consistently stood up for the voters of Michigan and Florida. She, like you, has insisted that the voice of all Americans be heard. Today, the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee announced their decision on seating Florida and Michigan’s delegations. In recent days, almost 350,000 of Hillary’s supporters wrote in to the committee to make clear what an important principle it is for our party to count every vote.

Our campaign has released an official statement about the results of the Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting and I’d like to share it with blogHillary readers. I know how passionate Hillary’s supporters are about the importance of counting every vote cast in Florida and Michigan and I hope that they continue to express their feelings with the respect and thoughtfulness they’ve shown during the course of this campaign.

Harold Ickes and Tina Flournoy made the following statement:

Today’s results are a victory for the people of Florida who will have a voice in selecting our Party’s nominee and will see its delegates seated at our party’s convention. The decision by the Rules and Bylaws Committee honors the votes that were cast by the people of Florida and allocates the delegates accordingly.

We strongly object to the Committee’s decision to undercut its own rules in seating Michigan’s delegates without reflecting the votes of the people of Michigan.

The Committee awarded to Senator Obama not only the delegates won by Uncommitted, but four of the delegates won by Senator Clinton. This decision violates the bedrock principles of our democracy and our Party.

We reserve the right to challenge this decision before the Credentials Committee and appeal for a fair allocation of Michigan’s delegates that actually reflect the votes as they were cast.

The RBC, in their infinite ignorance, stole delegates from Hillary and gave them to her opponent – a guy who saw the polls in the lead-up to the MI primaries, knew he was going to get his @ss handed to him, and took his name off the ballot in order to kiss up to the voters in IA.

IN other words – he told the voters of MI that their votes didn’t count and used his gigantic FU to them to win votes in another state.

And his little stunt worked.

Adding insult to injury… when the folks in Michigan tried to cure the problem (as seen by the DNC) by holding a new election – a plan that was signed off on by the DNC, the state leaders AND Hillary – BO told the voters in MI to eff off again by refusing to face the voters in that new primary.

There was even a plan in place to PAY for this new election AND – if memory serves – polls at the time were showing a much closer race in MI then than back in January. He stood a chance of it being a wash so what was he afraid of?

BO couldn’t be bothered to face the voters of Michigan not once – BUT TWICE!

And now he’s rewarded for his refusal to face those voters with FIFTY-NINE DELEGATES?

This makes absolutely no sense. None whatsoever.

BO and his supporters on the RBC might be celebrating folks – but they’ve just handed Hillary a damn fine reason to keep fighting at least through to the meeting of the Credentials Committee.

If they’re so convinced that BO has this locked up – that there are scads of super delegates waiting in the wings to help him claim “victory” in a day or three then why couldn’t they have just followed their own rules and left Hillary’s delegates alone and sent those 55 delegates to the convention as uncommitted delegates?

The RBC has just violated their own rules here by stealing 4 delegates from Hillary and giving them to a guy who couldn’t be bothered to put his name on the ballot so please spare us any more talk about your precious rulz .

They’ve completely ignored their rules in giving BO any delegates from MI.

They’ve completely ignored the fact that people – in good faith tried to cure the situation by holding new primaries and that it was BO who stood in the way of that cure.

I’m beyond disgusted by this whole fiasco and I lay a lot of the blame at Dean’s feet for his complete and utter failure to lead us through this mess that he and Obama have created. The only people who are paying for their failure are my family back home, and the 600,000 voters of Michigan.

Florida voters didn’t fare so well either. Half a vote. Is that all Florida is worth to us in the general election?

Well I’ve got news for you guys – if the votes of my family are only worth half a vote, don’t be surprised if our party loses a lot of support over this come November. I’m already hearing a lot of Democrats talking about leaving our party over this shite.

This is NOT the way to bring a fractured party back together guys.

Not even close.

Rather than clean up the mess Dean has created, they poured gas on the flames.

If you’re as pissed as I am over the way they’re railroading our party toward defeat in November, you know what to do dammit…


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14 Responses to Thou Shalt Not Steal

  1. JP says:

    you can’t ‘steal’ delegates that did not exist in the first place.

    all the delegates were stripped from both these states and everyone agreed that’s the way it would be. so we started from a point of 0.

    they were flawed elections, and MIchigan’s had only 1 person on the ballot. whatever the reasons behind that, you can’t seriously believe that was a fair election.

    so here we are with a split decision. it’s better than it could have been for the party, and let’s be real about this and realize that no decision is going to get Hillary enough to change the numbers in the race. it’s the math, and it’s hard to change.

    i’m not celebrating as an Obama supporter, i’m just thankful that this race is going to end next week.

  2. JoeSky says:

    It’s a no no no for a political party to move votes from one candidate to the other. It’s just dead wrong.

    The election was held. The vote was rectified by the state. But the result and the will of the voters was not uphold by DNC. They didn’t allocated the delegates to the candidate as the voters wanted to.

    DNC took 4 delegates from HRC and gave it on the silver platter to BO.

  3. JP says:

    it’s also no-no to change th rules of the process mid-stream. how fair is that?? especially when the change benefits one party more than the other!! you do see how this could appear differently to others—not just a “count every vote” issue but one of fairness to those who campaigned for a nomination based on certain rules that were agreed to.

  4. JP

    Chris Dodd, Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich were also on the ballot in MI, FYI.

  5. JP

    Also FYI, No one campaigned in either MI or FL.

    What is fair is that the votes of the people count for something. The DNC is wrong on this and I would say so as an Obama supporter too.

  6. AC-n-NC says:

    I am so ashamed of the DNC and RBC. Taking delagates from a candidate that did nothing wrong and give them to someone that took his name off the ballot. Unbelievable.
    Hillary or McCain baby.!!!!

  7. Pingback: *I* Didn’t Leave the Democrat Party, the Party Left *Me* « Semidi

  8. Lucille Arneson says:

    The will of the people is reflected in the popular vote, not this crazy way of selecting delegates that varies from state to state, not to mention the results of the arcane caucus system. The DNC has outlived its purpose by wrongfully rewarding an unqualifed zombie. It’s time to bury it.

    If Hillary Clinton is not selected as the Democratic candidate, I’m off to defeat the unqualified one in November. It’s that simple. Yes I will!

  9. I watched every minute of that meeting yesterday. Frankly the Clinton shouters and screamers, and Pam and others who said the room had a lot of Clinton supporters in it were correct, were out of line many times.

    A Party committee meeting can have audience reactions without the horrid screaming and chanting from the crowd. Senator Clinton, I’m certain, would not have approved of the conduct of some immediately after the Michigan settlement.

    Do I think it fair that Hillary lose 4 delegates in the process? No..
    Do I think that outcome is better than simply eliminating the entire delegation? Yes.
    Did the committee come back with a far more fair outcome than I anticipated? Oh hell yes. I was worried about a much more draconian outcome.

    As to those who were ejected from the meeting: If a person stands up and obnoxiously continues a protest they are going to be ejected. It wouldn’t have matter which side the protester was on., I’ve been on the receiving end of enough protest violence to know that the people I saw on TV at the end of the proceedings were out of line.

    The RBC did their best in a horrid situation. They deserve respect for the painful work they had to do at a difficult time. As one commentator repeated over and over again, he was happy the American people finally got a view of how politics really works on The Hill, in committee etc.

    Ickes did Hillary Clinton no favors with his closing remarks. They made me cringe and I’m a die-hard Clinton supporter.

    Hillary herself said the Presidential Primary will be over sometime next week. Mounting a credentials challenge on behalf of the states may make some sense. The states have that right. Mounting a credentials challenge on behalf of a candidate does not.

    If the nomination comes down to just four votes combined with extreme anger and emotional investment on each side then I think we do think we risk fracturing the Party.

    Anybody that called themselves a Democrat who, as a result of an outcome, then votes for 4 more years of death and destruction in Irag was no Democrat at any point. The only unavoidable outcome of that action is the continuing death of OUR men and women in Iraq. That’s an unacceptable reality.

    Will I suddenly become an Obama idealist? No. Will I work hard to insure that we win in November. YES! And so will a woman named Hillary Clinton..

  10. coldH2Owi says:

    Stuart O’Neill:
    Thanks for actually seeing & hearing & commenting on the behavior of Sen. Clinton’s supporters. It was embarrassing for any Democrat to see & hear. I sure hope other Sen. Clinton supporters feel as bad about the behavior in that room as you do.

  11. beachmom says:

    I’ve stayed away a long time, but now feel I need to weigh in. Both sides “lost” yesterday, in that it was a compromise. Voters in Michigan and Florida were told their votes would not count — my parents in Florida, who favored Obama but are registered Independent — did not bother changing party affiliation to vote in the primary because they thought it did not count. (And they are left leaning Independents, who will definitely be voting Dem in November) They DID come out to vote that day, because there was a property tax initiative on the ballot, but understanding full well that Florida had been stripped of ALL of its delegates, my parents did not vote in the primary. Similarly, I have a friend in Michigan who was not allowed to vote for Obama because he was not on the ballot — because everyone was told Michigan would not count. In case you didn’t notice, Clinton has a high name recognition and owns the party machine in many states, including Florida and Michigan. Obama, the insurgent candidate, had to create his own grassroots organizations in states in order to compete which he did superbly. He was not allowed to do that in FL and MI; it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that Clinton had an overwhelming advantage over Obama because of her machine and name recognition. Obama is better known now, but back in January, not so much. Therefore, it is patently unfair that the rules were changed midstream. Had we known in January that the delegates would have been 50% counted, then both sides would have campaigned there, and more people would have come out to vote. So what to you is “stealing” is to me giving Clinton a HUGE favor for counting delegates that we were told would never count. As to the complaints on Michigan: blame the state Michigan party. They are the ones who came up with the numbers, not the Obama campaign who wanted a 50/50 split for an illegitimate primary (so they didn’t get what they wanted either).

    You guys need to figure out what you want to do, but if this goes on much longer, we can look forward to a President McCain. John Kerry has been doing a great job as surrogate for Obama, what with McCain making gaffes every other week. I definitely think this general election is winnable (and remember polls this early are not indicators of what will happen in November when McCain’s negatives will have gone way up), BUT we need to start getting busy in softening McCain up. I do hope Hillary concedes next week for the good of her and her supporters, as well as the party. I don’t ever want to see something like this again:

    The sooner this nominating process comes to a close, the sooner cooler minds will prevail.

  12. Beachmom

    10’s of thousands did vote in the FL and MI primary and frankly name recognition or not, it’s not fair that the delegates have split this way. I say this a Democrat not a Clinton supporter.

    Personally, I’ll be supporting the nominee, as I have said here many times and have stressed to our readers, I hope they will be too.

  13. AC-n-NC says:

    Hillary or McCain 08 !!!!!!!!!!
    NO Barack Obama !!!
    No means No.!

  14. AC-n-NC

    Sorry but here at The Dem Daily it is absolutely NO to McCain in ’08.