A Sad Day For Democracy
I watched the entire DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee meeting yesterday on C-Span via the net. It was a really long meeting and the committee also took a really long lunch (2 3/4 hours) and took that little opportunity to meet behind closed doors completely flying in the face of “public hearings” as we were led to believe it would be!
During this long meeting there were many impassioned speakers. I was quite proud of the truly brilliant statements of some of my fellow democrats. And then there were some who felt more strongly about their agendas than the democratic process itself.
Now before you start accusing me of partisanship, hear me out. No matter which side of the current fight for the nomination you are on the one side we must ALL remain on is the side of the people. ALL of the people.
While I am somewhat disappointed in the outcome in Florida I can live with it. It’s fair enough. The GOP also penalized them 50% for the perceived “high crime of timing” and they did allocate the delegates according to the vote as cast with each vote counting as half. I can live with that. I suspect most people can live with that. Not ecstatic but I can deal.
The thing that completely flies in the face of all that democracy stands for is the farce of a decision in regards to Michigan. Seated delegates with 1/2 vote as in Florida but here’s the kicker!
They decided first of all to award all the “uncommitted” votes to Obama even though it’s clearly in violation of party rules. Uncommitted is a legitimate option for presidential preferences by the very rules these folks claim to be perverting, er, I mean following. (Freudian slip) There was quite an argument on this as how do you determine who those votes were cast for?
During the days before the Michigan primaries it’s a well known fact that both Barrak Obama and John Edwards, having removed their names from the ballot, had large grass roots campaigns urging people to vote “uncommitted” in support of them. Michigan law prohibits write in votes unless a candidate agrees to such in writing ahead of time. They could not do this as they had already removed their names and doing so would be in effect putting them back on the ballot albeit, unofficially. (BTW Doesn’t THIS constitute advertising? Wasn’t the rule NO advertising in MI? Just sayin’!)
This point was actually used in the meeting as a rationale for giving the votes to Obama. Flawed. Obviously, some of those votes would have been for Edwards and some could really have been for “uncommitted”. The point is we have no real way of knowing what the intent of those voters was. In the past in accordance with PARTY RULES we have sent all uncommitted delegates to the convention as such. They are free to vote as they see fit at the convention like super delegates. I’ll get to the other part of their flawed argument shortly as it is the same flawed reasoning they used for the next travesty.
The next completely “bone-headed” thing they did (Hmmm…. heard that phrase somewhere before) was to decide between three options on the issue of allocating the delegates.
1. Fully reflect the actual vote count (giving the uncommitted votes to Obama because he took his name off the ballot)73 Clinton 55 Obama
2. Split delegates 50/50
3. 69 Clinton 59 Obama
WHAT? What’s wrong with allocating them as they were cast?
Here is the argument(s) put forth by committee members supporting Obama.
We have to consider the will of the voters who didn’t vote as well as those who have? WHAT? Since when have we counted votes that were NOT cast? Even if you could how do you determine who those people would have voted for? What’s the magic formula for that one? (I thought the way it worked is if you don’t vote you can’t bitch because you chose NOT to make your voice heard. Am I wrong?)
The argument was that if the primary had not been flawed and people had known their votes would count many more would have voted. OK I can buy that but how do they decide that those votes would be for Obama? Again we are supposed to read the minds of voters who were not serious enough to get off their you-know-whats and vote.
Also they want us to consider the 30,000 write in votes that were not considered or even looked at according to the very people making this argument. They were not counted and no one knows exactly who they were for because of it yet, they say that “most of those 30,000 votes we’re certain were for Obama.” Um, if you didn’t examine them and didn’t count them how are you “certain” they were cast for Obama?
Not to mention the fact the as mentioned above the voters know that write in votes would not count by Michigan law. So they were now claiming to be all about rules and in the same breath going against them. Oh, they said, the voters didn’t know that at the time. Is it not in the voter’s pamphlet? Oh, I get it we can’t expect them to read the pamphlet. Just like we couldn’t expect people to come out and vote. They can just stay home and let the DNC decide who they voted for!
So in reward for doing their patriotic duty by getting to the polls and actually, gasp, voting, the DNC committee voted to take away 4 delegates earned by Clinton (YES, I said earned as in real voters voted for her and didn’t stay home!) and giving them to the Obama campaign because you know, he really deserves it. I mean if people who had supported him had actually come out to vote…and if he hadn’t pulled his name off the ballot and decided not to bother competing there…and, and..well you get the picture.
So this is what we have come to? As Harold Ickes said so eloquently “That’s what I call democracy!” If you did not see the meeting or any of the snippets on the news go to youtube and check out the video of Harold talking about democracy and fair reflection a true and loyal champion of the voters he is!
In 2004 every democrat I know was screaming “COUNT THE VOTES” from the rooftops yet here we are in 2008 and we actually have Party leaders, the DNC Rules & By-laws Committee no less, VOTING NOT TO COUNT VOTES! Actual democrats arguing to change the actual will of the voters!
You cannot give delegates earned by one candidate to another. You cannot use “judgment” to discern the will of “uncommitted” votes and you cannot discern the will of votes that were not ever cast!
I have been a democrat since before I could actually vote. If this is not righted and the DNC is going to start substituting their judgment for the will of the people I will change my party! I have given a lot to the dems but if the corrupt forces within cannot be contained I and many others like me will be affiliating ourselves with a party that can adhere to it’s own rules and to democracy! I don’t want a republican in office but if they continue to shove this sub-par candidate for the nominee that is exactly what will happen!
It’s far from over! I love my party and I will fight for it! The credentials committee has the ball in their court now! Denver here we come! Democrats must stand for democracy! If this party has been hi-jacked so severely by far left opportunists that they cannot solve this dilemma I and many others like me will vote independent or even gasp, republican. (Not sure I could go as far as becoming GOP but it will have the same effect in the end.)
I’m sick of people screaming about party unity and in the same breath they want to distort the will of the voters! What they really mean is shut up and go along with what we want! Let’s be one big happy family, the family that takes one for the team. It’s ONLY democracy! Shut up and unify! WE already TOLD you who you voted for! Besides, YOU’RE opinions don’t matter! WE have NEW VOTERS! UNITY! SHUT UP! UNITY!
This is really all about affirmative action isn’t it? I mean affirmative action has it’s place. It is meant to give opportunities to those who otherwise might not get them however when it comes to the commander in chief I want the job to go to the person most qualified. Not the one who we “gave an opportunity” to because we feel guilty about our past history or because poor Barrak didn’t get a fair chance because his name wasn’t on the ballot and to know him is to love him so he’s sure those who didn’t show up to vote were either supporters being “kept down by the man” or people who just didn’t get a chance to know him yet. If they had they would have voted for him.
If they are really so sure their guy is the winner then why try so hard to distort the vote? Why if Hillary is really dead, done, toast as the media keeps telling us why can’t he close the deal? If he’s so qualified why do they keep changing rules and stifling democracy? Can’t he win on his own merits? Do we really need a nominee who needs to be given preferential treatment in order to win? One who constantly tries to push his opponent from the race rather than just try beating her in good old fashioned competition? Do we think other countries will cut him the same slack if he were to get elected?
COME ON! Democrats should NEVER allow the actual votes and the will of the voters to be changed! It is what it is! That’s what voting is about! It’s called DEMOCRACY! Let’s all try it!