Oh, hell, no.

I appreciate that the Michigan Democrats are trying to come to some kind of settlement over the seating of their delegates, but this solution is a complete non-starter:

LANSING -- Michigan Democratic leaders settled today on a plan to give presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton 69 delegates and Barack Obama 59 as a way to get the delegates seated at the national convention.

Clinton won the Jan. 15 Michigan primary and was to get 73 pledged delegates under state party rules, while Obama was to get 55. The state also has 29 superdelegates.

The state party’s executive committee voted today to ask the national party’s Rules and Bylaws Committee to approve the 69-59 delegate split when it meets May 31. The plan would shrink Clinton’s delegate edge in Michigan from 18 to 10 and allow the state’s 157 delegates and superdelegates to be seated at the convention.

Oh. No. HELL, no.

Look, Obama took his own name off the ballot in Michigan. People keep pointing to the four-state pledge as some reason why he was *required* to, but that's bullshit. First, why didn't he remove his name from the Florida ballot as well if that were the case? Then, where was the promise to take one's name off the ballot? Where was the enforcement mechanism in the pledge vis-a-vis delegates? Nowhere, that's where. The pledge not only didn't promise anything the candidates weren't already bound to do by DNC Rule 20.C.1.b (oh, yes, people, look it up, please please do), but it wasn't between the candidates and the DNC, which is the body that assigns delegates, it was between the candidates and the first four states. And, as I said, since the pledge didn't really ask the candidates to do anything that wasn't already required under the rules, with penalties to back it up, it was pretty much so much political posturing.

Oh, sure, there was that "or participate" language. But a) that term was left undefined, so that its interpretation was very much open; and b) there was no enforcement mechanism anyhow. The states who received the pledges can't take away the delegates of any other state; only the DNC can do that. And the DNC can revisit its decisions. In fact, it's doing so on May 31.

But now we come to the question of why Michigan should not only assign the uncommitted delegates to Obama (my opinion: they shouldn't; those delegates should remain uncommitted (and free to vote for Obama at the convention should they choose) since Obama voluntarily took his name off the ballot), but also why the proposed solution should go beyond that. The proposed solution strips four earned delegates from Clinton and assigns them to Obama; not only that, it assumes that anyone who didn't vote for Clinton -- and that includes those who actively made the choice to vote for Kucinich, Dodd or Gravel, who all remained on the ballot, rather than vote for Clinton or uncommitted -- must have really meant to vote for Obama.

That, in my book, is simple vote theft. And that's not the path to legitimacy. And if there's one thing that Obama needs, it's legitimacy, not vote-stealing.

A revote would have been the way to go, and there was a good chance Obama could have won it in Michigan, fair and square. I remain utterly perplexed why he dragged his feet on that proposal, thus killing it.



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