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  1. brandann
    brandann February 1, 2008 at 3:04 am |

    zuzu, i applaud you for your position and for standing up for clinton in these rules. there is almost no use arguing w/ people when they get like that…and you did so very well any how.

    as a michiganian (though living in hawaii), the primary situation angered me so much, as i have never understood why it must be rule of law that NH and IA have to be the grand pubas of primaries. an arbitrary rule made eons ago is now able to victimize voters in SWING STATES…states that have had hardships this year, full of voters who want to matter. states that were used in the election fiasco last time around. the DNC is penalizing voters b/c of what state governments did, and i was thrilled w/ the candidates who stayed on the ballot!

    now i don’t understand a lot about politics and how primaries work or why these arbitrary rules get to be used to punish voters, and i am no scholar. i can’t speak for florida, but michigan is a great state for assessing opinions of minorities, having the largest population of middle eastern people outside of the middle east in both dearborn and coldwater, and also many prominent native american tribes and other POC groups. to disregard the state is cruel and undemocratic. it seems to me that these sacred rules are in place simply b/c they have always been there.

    the whole situation has boggled and angered me, and furthered my hatred of the election process the way it is. what is wrong w/ wanting to simply allow some of the delegates of florida and michigan sit in? this is in no way a coherent answer or the proof or citation you were looking for…but i wanted to give my own background and say thank-you for your thoughts on this sensitive topic.

    and sorry for the novel.

  2. Nathan
    Nathan February 1, 2008 at 3:26 am |

    I think either I don’t really under stand this argument, or you and the LGM people don’t really understand each other.

    Isn’t the main claim that the LGM folks are making that HRC at least implicitly agreed with the Democratic Party’s decision not to seat the delegates from Michigan and Florida, and that now she is attempting to change this rule because doing so would be favourable to her?

    They also claim that “staying on the ballot clearly violated the pledge,” but that doesn’t seem to be their main point, because they admit that “this violation is trivial as long as it doesn’t actually affect the outcome”.

    Your argument seems to be that the second claim they are making is false, and that HRC’s decision to remain on the ballot did not violate the pledge she made.

    I don’t have much of an opinion over which of you is correct on that (from what you’ve posted I’m inclined to think you are, but obviously that is an incomplete picture of the context).

    But it seems to me that you’re largely arguing about different things. You are saying HRC’s decision to stay on the ballot did not violate the pledge, and they are criticizing her for attempting to give the Florida and Michigan delegates votes at the convention.

    They seem to disagree with you on the point you are making, although they don’t seem to think it’s particularly important. You don’t really address the point they are making, aside from where you say that “she’s not petitioning the DNC to seat the delegates, she’s asking her own delegates to let some of the MI and FL take some of their seats”.

    Unfortunately the LGM people did not address that point, because it seems to be the main source of your disagreement. If you are correct, then according to the LGM people HRC violated the pledge, but it is only a “trivial” fashion, so it would seem unreasonable for them to be so upset about her. If you are incorrect on this point then, even if one accepts your arguments, you have not addressed the main point the LGM people are trying to make.

    Unfortunately, the people from LGM did not address your point, and you only mentioned it parenthetically. I would suggest that neither of you has understood (or at least you’re not addressing) the main point the other is trying to make, and that is the source of the unpleasantness.

    Specifically, I think the LGM people are making the John Yoo comparision to what they allege are HRC’s attempts to give the delegates from Florida and Michigan votes at the convention (which according to you HRC is not attempting to do). I do not think they are comparing your argument that HRC was correct to remain on the ballot to John Yoo.

    I stand to be corrected though. I did read the LGM posts when they came out, but I haven’t waded through all their comments.

  3. exholt
    exholt February 1, 2008 at 4:33 am |

    Pardon my ignorance, but is there any reasonable argument justifying why Democrat delegates from Michigan and Florida should be denied seating because those two states decided to move their primary up??

  4. Pinko Punko
    Pinko Punko February 1, 2008 at 4:43 am |

    I don’t think there is, but that is a different point. We have a totally effed up primary system. The primary system is the political version of the state of Delaware and Red State Senators. Disproportionate representation. Into the sea with delaware, and scrap the primaries.

  5. Pinko Punko
    Pinko Punko February 1, 2008 at 4:45 am |

    Did Trollypants get modded or deleted? I wonder if in his Trollish way he was trying to say something untrollish? Only the Shadow knows what evil lurks in the pants of Capt. Trollypants. He was probably on his way to backstab us with a battle rap attacking myself and my cob loggers.

  6. Pinko Punko
    Pinko Punko February 1, 2008 at 5:00 am |


    there is no reasonable ex post facto argument in my mind but prior to the primaries, I don’t see why the DNC should act like a cartel and prevent states from moving up, perhaps they can make an argument that the smaller states allow a cheaper platform for which more cadidates can complete. If the first state up were Florida, that would be even more prohibitive cost-wise than say Iowa or New Hampshire, but I’m not really sure anything matters anymore.

    I’m still trying to wrap my head around how this particular post was born into this earth and the way these things always seem to happen, and what it is that keeps us hurtling over the precipice.

  7. INotI
    INotI February 1, 2008 at 5:28 am |

    Yeah. Well. THANKS for the non-apology there, bud. Especially coupled with one of those fact-free assertions and the “since you insist on being offended, I will offer an apology for your being so easily offended” formulation.

    I don’t see him as having offered any sort of apology there. From the text of it, it was just a clarification: “I meant you are Woo-like in your reasoning, not in the outcomes you reach”. There’s nothing apologetic about it, nor is there any sort of “since you insist on being offended…” in there. He’s still standing behind the analogy.

  8. Emily
    Emily February 1, 2008 at 9:22 am |

    I’m interested to see if Scott responds here…

    I appreciate your bringing us snippets of the debates that go on on other lawyer blogs. Because I really can’t take reading them myself. But it’s nice to know what’s going on.

  9. Hawise
    Hawise February 1, 2008 at 9:29 am |

    I dropped out of that argument early on. I still read her statement as asking some delegates to voluntarily offer their seats to others- a one-on-one switch that gains no votes at the convention but could buy goodwill in the general election. Since there seemed to be a bad case of PSBS (pre-Super Bowl Syndrome- a condition that is cured by the end of the second half but whose symptoms can be contained with large quantities of beer and Cheetos) going on, I’m glad I left. Sorry you had to go through that.

  10. Holly
    Holly February 1, 2008 at 10:01 am |

    As I understand it, which is dimly…

    The arguments against letting states move their primaries whenever they want basically says: every state will want to be earlier in the process because it means lots of politics-related money flowing into the state, more media attention, and a chance to play a more decisive early role in the primary. Every state wants to be New Hampshire or Iowa, basically, so if the dates were completely up to each individual state, there would be a rush of scrabbling to be earlier and earlier. This would shrink the primary campaign season to be even shorter (it’s already just three weeks) and even sooner than it already is, which has a deleterious effect on democracy, and with no rules about when things happen, who knows where it would stop?

    “States have gradually awakened to the fact that if you can be in on the process early, you can have special influence in choosing the two nominees – one of whom will be president and will be indebted to you,” says Mr Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.

    “It’s pure self-interest.”

    (from this story)

    Now, I am in favor of a single day for all primaries. I don’t understand this “New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina have a special role to play” stuff where the Clinton campaign and the DNC seem to agree. I guess maybe they were grandfathered and don’t have to pay attention to the new Super Tuesday rule, but it seems like the whole thing would be a lot less contentious — no “NH envy” on the part of other states — if those four states were forced to hold their primaries on Super Tuesday as well, just like every other state in the country. Nobody gets an advantage.

    So, Michigan and Florida broke the rules. If there’s no penalty for that, it’s not really a rule. The Republicans also took half of Michigan and Florida’s delegates away, which is still quite significant but not quite the noisy PR splash of taking all of them away. Basically, it seems like the state governments figured they could get away with breaking the rules because they’re important swing states, and if you read articles like this one they’re still assuming they can get away with it. And yeah, it does punish the voters, but I wouldn’t blame the RNC or the DNC, I’d blame the state governments.

    Where does that leave Hillary Clinton? I don’t know. It certainly seems like there is a healthy dose of Hillary-bashing going on in the attacks on her and then on zuzu. But I just don’t get it — nobody else was even on the ballot in Michigan, right? How is that an election? The voters of Michigan barely got to choose anything in the primary, other than whether to show up and punch her name. (I guess they could do a write-in, but those wouldn’t be counted even if they said Obama, Edwards, etc.) Regardless of whether Clinton’s campaign broke a pledge — it’s a pledge, not a binding rule, so I think all the craziness aimed at zuzu is ridiculous — I don’t see how it’s anything but wrong for the DNC to seat delegates from a state where there was a fake election. Regardless of what resulted in that one-choice election.

    The real issue to me is — why would Clinton advocate something that seems so obviously wrong for the DNC to do? And I guess “self-interest” springs to many minds as the first answer, although I wouldn’t be so hasty to judge if there are actually other reasons why a one-choice election should be represented at the convention. However, given other startling evidence of her disregard for the process of law and the Constitution I have to say any more evidence of a process blind spot is scary to me.

    It would be different if the Clinton campaign was just asking their own delegates to swap seats with delegates from Michigan and Florida. That sounds like a very inclusive move that wouldn’t necessarily shift the total number of electoral votes in anyone’s favor, no extra votes from fishy elections. Is that the case, zuzu? I couldn’t find a link or a source for that.

  11. Rhiannon
    Rhiannon February 1, 2008 at 10:03 am |

    Okay, I know this will show my ignorance about the whole primary process. But I keep reading over and over how the DNC DISenfranchised MI and FL and that BUGS THE HELL OUT OF ME. Every vote should count. Everyone in the USA has a right to vote and what I keep hearing over and over is that… for some arbitrary reason like what DAY they voted, their votes don’t count. And, like I said – I know I’m showing my ignorance here, but that just seems fundamentally wrong on all levels. So I’m glad Clinton is saying.. you know what, their votes should count and they should get delegates at the convention too. And I’m really not liking the DNC right now.

    I don’t even vote in primaries because I’m registered as Unaffiliated.

  12. pennylane
    pennylane February 1, 2008 at 10:08 am |

    I don’t think you’re John Yoo, nor do I think that they’re like Jonah Goldberg. That form of arguing that winds up with finger pointing analogies never goes anywhere.

    That said, the primary system is screwed up (though in the interests of staying dry I’d rather Delaware not be shoved into the sea. At least we have two Democratic Senators. Start with Wyoming, please). But there are similar problems with remedying it by allowing states to arbitrarily move their primaries up in order to make themselves more important. My understanding of the process is that changing the process requires some sort of consensus within the DNC. Every other state who has tried to change their date unilaterally has had similar punishments (and most? all?) have backed down. Including Delaware.

    Whether a specific rule was broken I think Clinton should have made the move to have the delegates counted before she won the primaries rather than waiting until she won. Her actions seem to violate the spirit of the boycott (party unity) if not the letter. Frankly, after a week of some ugly campaigning (including Bill’s assertion that unions in Nevada were suppressing the vote for Hillary, but failing to be concerned enough to, say, file a complaint) this just seems to reconfirm some of the worst fears that Clinton values power more than any substantive (Democratic) values. The other candidates seem to have understood when they signed the pledge that they were respecting the DNC’s decision and if they dissented from part of it (like the seating of the delegates) then they should have said so at the time.

  13. Holly
    Holly February 1, 2008 at 10:10 am |

    I did find this quote, which I find puzzling:

    Political activists have long said that the eventual nominee would end up seating the states’ delegations, and the Republican candidates have indicated they will do that.

    None of the Democrats had made the same pledge until Friday.

    This basically makes it sound like whoever ends up being the nominee for each party can decide (or have great influence over) whether the rogue delegations are seated. After the fact — after they’ve already got the nomination. That’s a whole lot more innocuous, because it implies that those delegations wouldn’t be counted until the nominations were decided without them. If that’s the case — or if Clinton simply wants a more representative group of delegates for her by swapping Michigan and Florida delegates with others — then this whole thing is a ridiculous tempest in a teapot. And another deplorable Clinton witch hunt.

  14. Rhiannon
    Rhiannon February 1, 2008 at 10:13 am |

    but it seems like the whole thing would be a lot less contentious — no “NH envy” on the part of other states — if those four states were forced to hold their primaries on Super Tuesday as well, just like every other state in the country. Nobody gets an advantage.

    That’s brilliant! Why aren’t we doing that? (and here I was thinking the solution might be to have the states with the lowest electorate vote first and then to the higher ups.. that would really extend the primary and everyone would feel like they counted at some point… but I like Holly’s idea better.)

  15. Doug
    Doug February 1, 2008 at 10:14 am |

    My beef is not that Hillary Clinton broke any rules, but that she’s trying to change the rules after the fact. The DNC warned Michigan and Florida that their delegates would be spiked if they moved their primaries up, they did it anyway, and the DNC made good on their promise. At the time, this was something HRC agreed to, but now she’s saying she wants those delegates to count after all — after she won both those states, which I don’t think is a coincidence at all.

    It’s like if I, as a Redskins fan, agreed to an exhibition game with the New England Patriots, but then the Redskins win 52-17 and all of a sudden I’m clamoring that the game should count in the official regular-season NFL standings.

  16. gordo
    gordo February 1, 2008 at 10:18 am |

    I see a lot of people here saying that there is no good argument for forbidding Michigan and Florida from moving up their primaries. Actually, there is a VERY good argument: if you let big states move their primaries forward, then they’ll all just keep moving their primaries ahead until we’re having presidential primaries before we have midterm elections.

    There are only two ways to stop the madness:

    1) Have a national primary. This would have the effect of making it impossible for any candidate without national name recognition and a lot of money in the bank to get the nomination. It would also ensure that candidates spend a lot more of their time in states like California and New York than in states like Michigan and Florida.

    2) Penalize states that move their primaries ahead too far. This is the option that the DNC chose, because it gives candidates like Edwards and Obama a chance to show that they’re viable candidates before the big states go to the polls.

    The DNC is the governing body of the party, so the DNC gets to make the rules for Democratic candidates. If Clinton doesn’t like it, she can run as an independent.


    One of the reasons that people who live in big states don’t like the current system is that they believe that the early states dictate who the candidates will be. But that’s not the case. Clinton came in third in Iowa, for example, but that didn’t fool anyone into thinking that she wasn’t the front-runner. Why? Because everyone could read the polls that were being taken in the big states, that’s why. Even if Clinton had lost in New Hampshire and Nevada she’d remain in contention, because of her leads in New York and California.

    By the same token, no reasonably objective person think that Huckabee has a chance at winning, because he’s polling so badly in the large states. In other words, the bigger states still have a much greater impact than early states like New Hampshire and Iowa.

  17. Holly
    Holly February 1, 2008 at 10:20 am |

    As for the whole “every vote should count” thing… yeah I’d advise reading more about primaries. They’re totally bizarre and highly undemocratic in a number of ways — if you ask me, although I know some people really like the unstraightforward electoral politics for one reason or another. A lot of states (such as Iowa) don’t even have elections. They have caucuses, which function very differently and generally only cater to the most committed and partisan, who can spare two hours and relish having bickering and persuasion tactics exercised on them while they’re voting. Sometimes caucuses are decided by coin toss or picking a name out of a hat. Plus, you can’t vote for whoever you want, because the caucus (i.e. “a bunch of people from your neighborhood”) can usually declare your candidate unviable due to lack of popularity.

  18. Erik
    Erik February 1, 2008 at 10:25 am |

    The primary system is stupid and that Florida and Michigan delegates aren’t going to be seated is bad. Hopefully, this causes major reforms of the system for 2012. But that’s not really the point here.

    It’s quite simple–if Obama had won those states, Clinton would not be standing up for their votes to be count. Clinton agreed to the rules, however bad they were, and then when it served her interests, she tried to change those rules in the middle of the game.

    That’s the kind of politics that a lot of Americans are rejecting by supporting Obama. What she is doing is cheating.

    Zuzu, I respect your writing on so many issues. I think you are great. But you are totally wrong about this one. I think you are overreacting a bit on the backlash against you as well and it seems unfortunate and unnecessary to not read LGM anymore. I hope you that you take a deep breath and maybe reconsider that decision.

  19. pennylane
    pennylane February 1, 2008 at 10:26 am |


    I think the difference is that the Republicans had their names on the ballot and did campaign in Michigan (and, obviously, Florida) so it was still a meaningful competition. If the race is determined well before the convention then it really won’t matter but if the count is close enough that Florida and Michigan determine the nominee it is a big deal. Obama is out campaigning in smaller states and trying to keep it close in the larger states. It’s clear he’s trying to win the delegate count rather than outright winning states so this handful of delegates could really be significant.

  20. Erik
    Erik February 1, 2008 at 10:27 am |

    “And did you stop to consider that *she* can’t change those rules, and that *asking the DNC to consider changing its own rules* isn’t actually cheating?”

    Come on–you are really splitting hairs here. As an extremely powerful member of the Democratic party, one of the most powerful members in the country and much more powerful within her party than Obama, she is asking the DNC to change the rules in the middle of the game solely to help her, when you know that if they didn’t help her, she would be fighting such changes all the way.

  21. Holly
    Holly February 1, 2008 at 10:32 am |

    Since the big states would undoubtedly command a disproportionate share of the attention (you know, the same kind of reason we have a Senate AND a House) I think a better solution would be to have a lottery that determines which states go first.

    All Clinton has done so far is ask that her delegates allow the MI and FL delegates to be seated at the convention, which won’t be until late summer. By then, pretty much everyone expects the DNC to have gotten its head out of its ass, and will probably seat them as long as their seating doesn’t change the outcome of the primary election. Because if Obama wins by a decisive margin without them, it doesn’t hurt to seat them. Same if Clinton wins. It’s only a problem if it will be outcome-determinative, and in that case, they can hold additional primaries because they were stupid the first time.

    If this is a non-issue because of the reasons you say, then that’s kind of the only argument that needs to be made. My sense is that the only reason most people are bothered about this is either because

    1) it seems wrong to strip MI and FL of their delegates (about which, see gordo and my posts above)
    2) it seems like seating delegates from a fishy election where not all the candidates were truly represented would be a really bad an undemocratic thing for the DNC to do, since it might change the outcome of the election

    If it won’t change the outcome of the election, why does anyone care? (Well, other than to get in some lashes on Clinton.)

    As for the pledge itself, Kucinich broke it by campaigning in Michigan, since his name was still on the ballot. So was Gravel’s (I think Dodd had already dropped out by then). And yet there wasn’t a whole lot of screaming about Kucinich’s power-grab.

    I think it’s obvious why there wasn’t. I just looked it up and only 4.7% of Michigan voters wanted to support the choices besides Hillary, even in the absence of the more popular candidates. No screaming about 4% is hardly surprising. The other 95.3% of Michigan folks who didn’t like Kucinich or Gravel had one choice left. But still, 40% decided to vote “uncommitted.” Those people’s votes were simply not counted, and I believe Clinton was awarded all of those delegates, taking 92% of the total. Since the absence of her opponents meant getting 92% of the delegates for 55% of the vote… it seems clear that this is not an election that should be honored. I still wouldn’t characterize it as a “power grab,” but mostly because it wouldn’t change the outcome of the election.

    In fact now it just sounds like a really bad PR move (considering she could have waited to ask for those delegates to be seated) because it makes her look like she wants the results of a fishy election to influence the nomination, even if that’s not really the case. This stuff is too confusing for most people, I certainly didn’t understand it until you explained and I read some more.

  22. Rhiannon
    Rhiannon February 1, 2008 at 10:33 am |

    … we (USA) REALLY need to drag our primary and voting system out of the 18th century. This may have all been fine and dandy and somehow made sense back when the country first started… but it’s really overdue for an overhaul. Maybe it’s time for me to donate to the National Popular vote people that keep sending me emails. /sigh

    when you know that if they didn’t help her, she would be fighting such changes all the way

    No, she doesn’t know that and neither do you. NONE OF US ARE PSYCHIC, it would be incredibly difficult to KNOW something that didn’t/hasn’t happened. You strongly suspect it but you can’t KNOW it…. unless… OMG… are you>…… GOD???? Sh*t… guess I gotta stop being an atheist now. /end semantic rant.

  23. Holly
    Holly February 1, 2008 at 10:38 am |

    Holly – I think the difference is that the Republicans had their names on the ballot and did campaign in Michigan (and, obviously, Florida) so it was still a meaningful competition.

    That makes sense, and it actually seems to me like the RNC’s route — punishing a bunch of states by reducing the amount of influence they’ll have over the final nomination — makes a little bit more sense. Heck it sounds like it would work great if the delegations were penalized by being reduced to 25% of their number — still enough to be worth voting, but possibly not worth disporportionate campaigning, which is ideal. I guess it’s for media and “momentum” reasons that even states with a small number of delegates can have a disproportionate influence, but in the end it’s the number of delegates that will be counted.

    As for MI and FL turning into a big deal as swing states, one would hope they were forced to hold another primary later on if that turns out to be the case. Since there’s no central control over what states do, it would be impossible to mandate this, but that also seems like a good outcome for “cutting in line” — your state can still vote, but you have to go to the back of the line, you’re forced to have another primary late in the season which will be the “real” one.

  24. Erik
    Erik February 1, 2008 at 10:41 am |

    While I think you are really trying to deny what Clinton’s motives are here, that’s not really the point I want to address here.

    I’m concerned that all of this heated primary talk is fracturing people. The rhetoric gets heated, people get upset, and movements get fractured. That’s bad considering the evil we are facing on the other side and how much worse the Republicans are than Clinton or Obama or whoever on our side.

    Look, I think what Hillary is doing is wrong. Quite wrong in fact. I think she represents a way of doing politics that is dismaying to say the least. It is this kind of politics that made me, mistakenly, vote for Nader in 2000.

    But regardless of that, I’d like to see people cool way down over the primary stuff. I don’t want to vote for Clinton this fall, but obviously I will. And I’d like to think that all of this infighting will seem minor after the convention. I sure hope it will.

  25. Holly
    Holly February 1, 2008 at 11:05 am |

    I sympathize with wanting to get the discussion back on track, zuzu, and like I said earlier, I think the attacks on you were totally unwarranted and hyperbolic, especially the whole argument over “cheating” and comparisons to John Yoo. In fact I think it basically boils down to a milder version of Godwin’s law. You weren’t compared to Hitler, you were compared to someone who argues for the legality of torture, and it’s underhanded because it’s a ludicrous comparison.

    However, like you said, “it takes a great deal of background to explain not only why the attacks were nasty, but why the attackers were simply dead wrong.” I think that’s why all the discussion about the primaries, about Clinton’s pledge, and most importantly, about whether this is just a tempest in a teapot because it won’t actually affect any real outcome. I don’t know if people will read through all these comments, but I know I had to go over a bunch of stuff before I could understand “why the attackers were simply dead wrong.”

  26. Acer
    Acer February 1, 2008 at 11:09 am |

    I’m a Michigan voter, and since I’m registered as an Independent, I voted in the Republican primary, where my vote would actually count for something. My respect for Clinton has grown– I appreciate her keeping her name on the ballot here and I appreciate her trying to seat some of our delegates. Swapping out some of her delegates for some from MI and Florida isn’t going to change the outcome, but it’s a nice symbolic gesture. But since our media’s narrative is Power Hungry Ambitious Clinton, nobody seems to realize that. Nobody seems to WANT to realize that.

    What makes me angry is that the Democratic party is purportedly about increased participation and increased power of the people, but when its archaic and prejudiced rules are violated takes away the vote of a whole lot of people, and there’s not a lot of outcry about THAT. Yeah, our legislature broke the rules. Boo-hoo. They were stupid fucking rules, and we are not supposed to be bound by an allegiance to a party in this country anyway. Taking away our delegates was underhanded. Trying to get some of them seated, in a PURELY SYMBOLIC gesture that will not affect the outcome of the primaries? Not underhanded, unless you live in a world where anything a powerful woman does is suspect.

  27. pennylane
    pennylane February 1, 2008 at 11:22 am |

    I agree with Holly that one of the biggest problems is going to be the perception of what Clinton is doing no matter what her motives are. It certainly looks like she is concerned about her delegate count and wants the DNC to change its rules in a way that favors her. Whether it is or not, the parsing of the agreement comes across as a “depends on what the definition of is is” moments. And she puts her opponent in a position of appearing openly dissing the voters of two important states.

    The primary system is quite odd. The nominee is usually chosen early and most voters get little to no input. And while the Iowa caucuses are bizarre I’m not sure a caucus is an entirely bad thing–participating them is generally pretty illuminating and is an interesting participatory format (though the way they are conducted now is absurd). I like the idea of a lottery and I think the modified punishment (like the GOP) makes sense. I hope these shenanigans prompt the party to reconsider the nomination process. Though election reform is always painfully slow.

    But if the decision to sign the pledge was merely about pandering to IA/NH/SC/NV or giving an advantage to weaker candidates and counting the votes is more important, then don’t sign the pledge. And if it had nothing to do with the DNC’s action, then a Clinton campaign spokesperson shouldn’t have said “We believe Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina play a unique and special role in the nominating process, and we believe the DNC’s rules and its calendar provide the necessary structure to respect and honor that role.”

    If the rules were early primary=no delegates then Clinton does not respect the rules, doesn’t think they should be honored and should clarify that statement.

  28. Kristen
    Kristen February 1, 2008 at 11:30 am |

    Clearly these guys became unhinged over this topic. I think HRC is skating on the edge of breaking her pledge (particularly having that fundraiser in FL with the photo op right before the primary) and that remaining on the ballot in MI was a bit sleazy. But she didn’t cheat.

    Regardless, of whether or not you agree with their position…such vitriol was completely uncalled for. I’m sorry that some people can’t have a civilized difference of opinion. I haven’t paid much attention to their site in the last few months (mostly because I got a new computer and couldn’t remember all the blogs I used to check), but I certainly won’t be going back now.

  29. pennylane
    pennylane February 1, 2008 at 11:38 am |

    OK, I completely agree that unless one is actually advocating for torture then comparisons with John Yoo are a silly distraction. Nor do I think a propensity to win at all costs in an election is likely to be an indicator that as President HRC would support torture.

  30. Hawise
    Hawise February 1, 2008 at 11:44 am |

    re. the Yoo comparison- that is way over the line. It is fair for people to get heated when there are opposing readings of a statement or a situation. The whole Primaries Now and Then has been a mash up anyway with multiple interpretations of the actions of State parties, the national party and all participants. What we do know is that the rules need to be clarified, modified and explained in under 72 pages, what we don’t know is which of numerous statements issued is in fact operational. I don’t think it is fair to go ballistic over someone asking for clarification.

    I wouldn’t like to see a National party as that would give a truly unfair advantage to the most monied candidate. It would also reduce all the information people get to the filtered news coverage, some large scale rah-rah sessions and the websites/ads.
    I would like to see the Nation divided into parts- Northeast, Central, Northwest, Southwest and Southeast and each to hold primaries a week apart for 2 of their states. This would allow the candidates time to hold some smaller meetings, get their feet under them and reduce the travel pressure they are under. Then the remaining 40 states vote in a large primary like Super Tuesday. The whole thing is over in six weeks and less monied players have a chance to get their voices heard before their finances force them out of the running.

    I feel the greatest problem with the American system at the moment is that it is unending, the day after the general election is the start of the next election cycle. No wonder everyone’s temper is frayed before the first convention is held.

  31. Hawise
    Hawise February 1, 2008 at 11:48 am |

    I wouldn’t like to see a National party as that would give a truly unfair advantage to the most monied candidate.

    That is supposed to be National primary- I am in support of more parties, I like parties.

  32. Lauren
    Lauren February 1, 2008 at 12:06 pm |

    The thing that really gets me is this insistence that only Clinton has ambition, only Clinton is playing the game. That’s not true at all. They’re all politicians, and they wouldn’t be where they are today without being willing to throw some sharp elbows on occasion. I mean, the idea that Obama, who came up through the Illinois system, is pure is utterly laughable.

    The Illinois system is practically Tammany Hall (or however you spell it).

    But yeah, the insistence that Clinton’s tactics are somehow different and her ambition is somehow malicious while the others’ isn’t is getting on my nerves. We’re talking politicians here. Just because somebody is preaching hope and change doesn’t make them somehow more pure. Their rhetoric, maybe, but rhetoric is easy. Some of this I will willingly chalk up to unchecked sexism and unhinged fear of Bill. All major news outlets are trying to peg Hillary as a sock puppet for Bill’s ambitions, like she’s not a politician in her own right, or simply chalk it up to some inherent evil in her blood.

    We can argue about whose blind spots might be where, but frankly all I care about is that we don’t get another corrupt-ass Republican in the presidential seat.

    As far as the primaries go, I’m tired of watching everyone fight over NY, Michigan, Illinois, and Florida, knowing full well that us Democratic voters in red states get ignored. What would the likelihood of greater Democratic voters turning out in the actual election if the Dems paid attention to the factory workers and farmers in a place like Indiana (a state very fond of our Democrats on local and state levels)?

  33. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie February 1, 2008 at 12:08 pm |

    Zuzu: Scott & John are not now, nor have they ever been, your “friends.” They do not/did not ever have your back.

    F*** them. You’re right — they resorted to ad hominem attacks on you because you had the audacity to disagree with their lofty, expert pronouncements. You advocate torture because you think they’re wrong. Yeah. I see that logic.

    Get back to your little femmy blog, now, and leave the expert analysis to us. (That’s how I read it, but then again I’m bitter & man-hating.)

  34. Lauren
    Lauren February 1, 2008 at 12:16 pm |

    And frankly, I don’t even need an explanation as to why being compared to John Yoo is offensive. If you’re even remotely aware of his role in our current state of politics, you would find it offensive too. Especially when you’re arguing over the nothingness.

  35. Josh
    Josh February 1, 2008 at 1:00 pm |

    I mean, the idea that Obama, who came up through the Illinois system, is pure is utterly laughable.

    Has anyone got a source for his impurity other than “OMG everyone knows Illinois is so dirty dirty!” Odd to just throw out a charge like that in a post complaining about how Rob and Scott won’t cite their assertions.

  36. Mel
    Mel February 1, 2008 at 1:06 pm |

    You are completely right. Thank you for upholding logic and reason.

  37. Thomas, TSID
    Thomas, TSID February 1, 2008 at 1:13 pm |

    First, John Yoo is like Hitler, Stalin and Vanilla Ice. Comparisons are nasty and inflammatory, and are usually only made because they are nasty and inflammatory and not because they are the best available analogy. IMO, especially when dealing with other progressives, there better be a good reason to whip that one out of the bag. If someone argued that the Democratic frontrunner had to have unconstrained power to imprison and torture opponents within the party … well, that would actually be a good Yoo parallel. I have not seen that argument made.

    Anyway, the “age of Yoo” is without meaning outside the context of torture. Making an argument to marginalize and trivially comply with rules while circumventing their substance, which is what Scott said Zuzu was doing, is as old as … well, as old as rules. The thing that was new about Yoo is that it is a return in Western countries to justifying torture, which we had moved away from with the Geneva Conventions. So the “age of Yoo” is only meaningful regarding the sea-change in the conception of human rights and conflict in the West, not as a new phase in the history of legal argument.

    Second, leaving the offensive name-drop aside, the substance of Scott’s and Robert’s position is that the underlying issue is so clear that anyone taking the opposite side is making a transparently fictitious and unreasonable argument. Well, that’s just bullshit. As Zuzu has pointed out, actual violation of an actual pledge or rule is not readily in evidence. I’d have to see the text of the pledge before I accept that it’s categorical.

    Violation of the spirit of a pledge or rule … well, those are much slipperier things. In the absence of a concrete rule violation, arguing for a violation of the spirit of a rule is an equitable argument. I’m speaking lawyer here, but this is all about an argument between lawyers and people who study the judicial process, so: equitable arguments are about fairness, and one with “unclean hands” can’t get equitable relief. In the “sharp-elbowed conduct” competition, the argument that the major dem candidates ganged up on Hillary and dropped out of Michigan at the last minute to make her look bad is, if true (I wasn’t there, all I know is what I read in the papers), a pretty decent argument for unclean hands. If that’s the way it happened, they tried to strand her on the ballot to damage her in IA and NH, that’s kinda dirty pool. Kinda dirty pool is a bar to equitable relief under the doctrine of unclean hands.

    So there you go. Passionate though the sides may be about the merits of the Clinton position on asking for reconsideration of the delegates, the argument ought to be on the merits. Declaring the other side’s position frivolous (to use a lawyer term) is without basis here. And, as lawyers know, moving for sanctions for frivolous practice when the sanctions motion is itself frivolous, is itself sanctionable.

    Not only were Scott and Robert nasty, but I think there were wrong in declaring Zuzu’s arguments frivolous. (And I’m not saying that out of HRC sympathy on the substance. I don’t support HRC because I expect her judges would be too pro-corporate America for me.) Scott at least seems to have recognized that the Yoo namedrop was offensive, though he could been a lot clearer about saying that he was wrong to do it, which he was. I thought Robert’s defense of the remark was unmitigatedly appalling.

  38. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne February 1, 2008 at 1:45 pm |

    Has anyone got a source for his impurity other than “OMG everyone knows Illinois is so dirty dirty!” Odd to just throw out a charge like that in a post complaining about how Rob and Scott won’t cite their assertions.

    It’s not supposed to be an assertion that Obama himself is corrupt. It’s pointing out that claiming that someone who came up through Chicago and Illinois politics is a political naif is, well, ridiculously naive.

  39. SEK
    SEK February 1, 2008 at 1:46 pm |

    zuzu, I know this isn’t the argument, but here are the rules Clinton might have already violated (via her appearance in Florida and the presence of campaign workers there and in Michigan):

    Presidential Candidate Sanctions on the Window

    There is a new rule that imposes new sanctions on presidential candidates. If a state, any state, violates the rule on timing/the window, presidential candidates will face sanctions if they campaign in that state. Examples of campaigning include: making personal appearances in the state, hiring campaign workers, and buying advertising and so on.

    Currently, the only punishment for states that violate the window was on State Parties. This new enforcement provision recognizes that presidential candidates must also bear a responsibility in enforcing the window or face sanctions.

    Clinton clearly violated these rules, and should (I think) clearly be sanctioned for it. She should not be rewarded for flouting the party’s rules, no matter how trivial they may seem. Given how complicated intra-party electoral politics are, her decision to turn this into a public issue is an attempt to make Obama seem small-minded (or pro-disenfranchisement) if he protests. Obviously, all of this falls squarely under the heading of “politics”: if Obama decides to protest, if he decides not to, if he supports the seating but not the counting of the FL and MI delegates, &c.

    I think the complaint is that the Clinton campaign has forced Obama into an untenable position, and did so knowingly, boldly and gladly … because they want to win.

  40. SEK
    SEK February 1, 2008 at 1:50 pm |

    (I apparently convinced myself that Clinton violated those rules while quoting them.)

  41. pennylane
    pennylane February 1, 2008 at 1:53 pm |

    I think Thomas has hit on one of the problems here with the Yoo-ing. While I disagree with zuzu in terms of the legitimacy of seating the delegates I don’t see her position as defending an abomination or as completely disingenuous. Yoo made an obfuscatory argument about how 1) the definition of torture is exceedingly narrow 2) we don’t torture 3) if we can if we want to anyway. The argument not only justified something horrendous but was also not made in good faith.

    I hate it when conversations disintegrate into “you’re just like [x that we both find abominable].” It’s just not a useful addition to the discussion. Just as pairing liberal and fascism in your book title does not make it so.

    Josh, I agree with you that the “Chicago politics–nudge nudge wink wink” is pretty annoying. Though I would note that both Democratic candidates are from Chicago. Perhaps this is a vast Cubs conspiracy, realizing they will never win the World Series again on their own accord they are hoping to benefit from an executive order by engineering a Chicago-an victory?

  42. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne February 1, 2008 at 2:00 pm |

    Clinton clearly violated these rules, and should (I think) clearly be sanctioned for it.

    Reading the article, I don’t think it’s clear that she violated the rules. She skated right up to the edge of them and did the campaigning equivalent of deciding what the meaning of “is” is, but there was no clear violation like running an ad campaign or making campaign appearances. The article you linked to states that the fundraising appearances that she made were permitted under the rules.

    When we’re getting into technicalities like that where the hairs are being very finely split to find violations of or adherence to the rules, I think it’s pretty extreme to start throwing around accusations of being just like a torture apologist.

  43. Josh
    Josh February 1, 2008 at 2:00 pm |

    It’s not supposed to be an assertion that Obama himself is corrupt. It’s pointing out that claiming that someone who came up through Chicago and Illinois politics is a political naif is, well, ridiculously naive.

    Nonsense. Zuzu said it’s laughable to think that Obama could be “pure”. If she meant naive, presumably she would have said naive. Pure is the opposite of corrupt. Naive is not the opposite of corrupt. And Chicago politics are known for corruption (dead people voting, the Daley machine) not sophistication.

  44. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne February 1, 2008 at 2:05 pm |

    Perhaps this is a vast Cubs conspiracy, realizing they will never win the World Series again on their own accord they are hoping to benefit from an executive order by engineering a Chicago-an victory?

    Given that Obama is an avowed White Sox fan (that’s from his official Senate website) while Hillary is a lifelong Cubs fan, I think that what we’re seeing here is the Crosstown Classic played out on the national stage.

    I, too, am a lifelong Cubs fan, but I only have one t-shirt from a Chicago baseball team that won the World Series, and that’s the White Sox. Take from that what you will.

  45. SEK
    SEK February 1, 2008 at 2:10 pm |

    I think it’s pretty extreme to start throwing around accusations of being just like a torture apologist.


    She skated right up to the edge of them and did the campaigning equivalent of deciding what the meaning of “is” is, but there was no clear violation like running an ad campaign or making campaign appearances. The article you linked to states that the fundraising appearances that she made were permitted under the rules.

    My understanding is that they were permitted because they were 1) small, 2) not to be broadcast and 3) scheduled prior to the DNC sanction. (Larger scheduled fundraisers were rescheduled until after the contests.) But Clinton did allow her “victory” speech to be broadcast. Maybe she got an exemption for that, too, but I would wonder from whom. (I honestly don’t know.) Point being, yes, we’re in “what the meaning of ‘is’ is” territory, and that’s not a place I’d like to revisit.

  46. SEK
    SEK February 1, 2008 at 2:12 pm |

    However, that’s not the argument that was made — the argument was that calling for the delegates to be seated was per se a violation of the pledge and of the DNC’s rules, or that the failure to withdraw from Michigan was a per se violation of the pledge and/or the rules, and that’s just not so.

    You’re right, it isn’t. I’m just trying to stir the pot without having to season it with Yoo.

  47. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne February 1, 2008 at 2:12 pm |

    Nonsense. Zuzu said it’s laughable to think that Obama could be “pure”. If she meant naive, presumably she would have said naive. Pure is the opposite of corrupt. Naive is not the opposite of corrupt. And Chicago politics are known for corruption (dead people voting, the Daley machine) not sophistication.

    Wow, have you got a simplistic view of Chicago and Illinois politics.

    Let me try to put it in a nutshell: there is and always has been a huge rivalry between the city of Chicago (the most densely populated area in the state) and the rest of the state. Chicago has been solidly Democratic for years, while the rest of the state was pretty firmly Republican until the extreme corruption of George Ryan and the rest of the Illinois Republican Party got Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich elected.

    Obama managed to successfully negotiate his way between these two opposed camps and walked away with 70% of the vote. Even before Jack Ryan shot himself in the foot, Obama was polling ahead of him.

    I can’t speak for zuzu, because for all I know she was implying that he’s corrupt, but the reason you keep seeing the meme all over the web that Obama’s not as inexperienced as people keep trying to say is because of his record in Illinois. I’m just pointing out to you that those of us who are saying this are saying it because of our knowledge of Chicago and Illinois politics, not to imply that he’s corrupt.

  48. Nathan
    Nathan February 1, 2008 at 2:15 pm |

    Nathan, the argument I’m making boils down to: If you’re going to argue that Clinton broke the rules, then show me the rules she broke. And there was a lot of talk about “implicit agreement” and “spirit of the agreement” but nobody bothered to cough up the actual agreement.

    As I understand it, the LGM claim isn’t that she broke the rules, but that she is trying to change the rules to seat the delegates now.

  49. DaRulez
    DaRulez February 1, 2008 at 2:22 pm |

    Specifically which rule has been changed? I assert no rule has been changed. Based on the links I gave above, if the FL and MI delegates ARE seated it will be under the rules as they already exist. Go read my previous post. Then you might want to read these documents:
    Delegate Selection Rules of the 2008 Democratic National Convention
    Call for the 2008 Democratic National Convention

    In a nutshell, if the FL & MI delegates _ARE_ seated at the convention it will be based on the current rules as they are with no change. If someone is arguing that only Hillary Clinton’s campaign as astute enough to read all the rules and understand their implications as a whole, well, I don’t see how that damages her.

  50. pocochina
    pocochina February 1, 2008 at 2:31 pm |

    Ugh. I am so deeply annoyed by the general animosity towards people who fail to OMG HATE HRC FOR EVERYTHING SHE DOES. Not even just Clinton supporters – and honestly, reading the post, I can’t tell if Zuzu is one or not, which I get was not the point – but people who fail to hate her MORE THAN WE HATE GWB OMG. God, I’ve been accused of being an Evil Warmongering Republican because I’ve pointed out that things were true were not, in fact, lies.

    BUT SHE IS A POLITICIAN! Unlike all the other people running for elected office! Makes you wonder why “ambitious” is such a horrible, despicable quality in only one candidate, hmm?

    I’m okay with people disagreeing with her politics, sometimes I am one of those people, but I am not okay with the knee-jerk loathing towards her or people who point out the fact that it’s sometimes, well, not warranted.

  51. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne February 1, 2008 at 2:37 pm |

    Yep, Barack sure knuckled under to those healthcare lobbyists in Illinois for no reason:

    Obama later watered down the bill after hearing from insurers and after a legal precedent surfaced during the debate indicating that it would be unconstitutional for one legislative assembly to pass a law requiring a future legislative assembly to craft a healthcare plan.

    Geez, changing a bill just because it would be unconstitutional! What’s the world coming to?!?

  52. SEK
    SEK February 1, 2008 at 2:45 pm |

    At the point when you’re giving a “victory” speech, the primary is by definition over.

    That’s crazy talk. (he says, slinking away)

  53. Pinko Punko
    Pinko Punko February 1, 2008 at 2:49 pm |

    Thanks for explaining yourself RE: our little stuffs, Z. I totally understand all of your positions regarding the Yoo, regarding the deleted comment. I’m just saying that even given other peoples’ whatever probs, in each case you made a choice. I’m not putting this on you, but I’m saying you could have chosen to take the burden yourself. You didn’t. People usually don’t. I wouldn’t want to. This is why arguments about things get personal because people get mad and they see red, and they don’t want to take the time to express themselves clearly, so they express their emotion because these are f***ing blogs and comments and not term papers or legal briefs. Given that all of this has happened before and will happen again, what did you expect?

    Yeah, I sound like a pedantic fortune cookie, I will proceed to go f*** myself, etc. Please think about it.

  54. Josh
    Josh February 1, 2008 at 3:01 pm |

    Wow, have you got a simplistic view of Chicago and Illinois politics.

    Wow, do you have an amazing ability to ignore people’s words. I didn’t make any claims about the nature of Chicago or Illinois politics. My comment was that if you make comments about how a politician came up in Illinois politics, people think corruption. Key phrase: “known for”.

    Josh, I wasn’t talking about corruption, which you can clearly see from the context of my comment.

    Actually, you can’t. Part of your objection to Scott/Rob is that they’re unjustifiably claiming that Clinton is playing dirty, as in unethical. In that context, a comment about how Obama is not “pure” suggests corruption, not hardball.

    And now you’ve cited an article describing his “dealings” with lobbyists, as if that was relevant to either corruption or hardball. The Rezko thing is the only thing that bears on corruption, and there isn’t much there. Good job hitting the “slumlord” theme, though.

  55. Nathan
    Nathan February 1, 2008 at 3:06 pm |

    Yes, that’s their claim. But if you read the text of the pledge and of the DNC rules, you can see that they’re wrong. All she’s doing is asking that the delegates consider seating the FL and MI delegates. Which isn’t prohibited by the pledge, and it’s not prohibited by the DNC rules.

    I don’t think they’re claiming that changing the rules to allow the delegates to be seated is prohibited. What they’re claiming is that it’s unfair to change the rules after the primary has been held.

  56. DaRulez
    DaRulez February 1, 2008 at 3:10 pm |

    I hope I am misreading PP, but I believe the suggestion is to ignore logical positivism and instead of asking others to prove their assertions (re: Hillary broke THE RULES) one should instead prove their assertions wrong. The whole “shifting burden of proof” thing.

  57. DaRulez
    DaRulez February 1, 2008 at 3:11 pm |


    Again, which rule was changed? Name it specifically. Think links are above this post. Let us know what you find. mkthxbye.

  58. Nathan
    Nathan February 1, 2008 at 3:17 pm |

    DaRulez, there’s probably a better link to be found that explains it better, but from a link posted earlier:

    Michigan and Florida wanted to have more of an impact on the selecting the political parties’ nominee for president so both states moved their primary dates up — Michigan to Jan. 15 and Florida to Jan. 29. As a result, the Democratic National Committee punished the states by ruling that no delegates from the states would be seated at the national convention.

    Now, at least according to LGM, Zuzu suggests something different, HRC proposes to reverse this decision, and seat the delegates.

  59. DaRulez
    DaRulez February 1, 2008 at 3:23 pm |


    And so far you have not shown there is any rule change. And as I already pointed out, and you conveniently ignore, IF the FL & MI delegates ARE seated it will be based on rules that already exist, not because of any change to the rules. Take another try. You can do better. I know you can.

  60. Pinko Punko
    Pinko Punko February 1, 2008 at 3:24 pm |

    The burden of being able to ignore the Yoo thing or step back when the argument is going off the rails. Yes, there is no reason for you to back down when massively offended, but you could have, or it could have gone another way. This was not your obligation, in fact it would have been a burden based on how you felt about the “Yoo” comment. I suggest it would have been a bearable burden. Yes, I would have loved if those guys had said “I’m sorry about the Yoo thing, here’s how I meant it, yes, it was offesnive, I don’t want it to affect the discussion of the salient points, let’s move on, I’m sorry again.” They didn’t, but everyone kept arguing, so it didn’t seem to stop anything related to the discussion. A deeply cynical observer would say that the Yoo comment was used initially to be hyperbolic, which it clearly was, but that the offense taken in relation to the comment, while real, was then subsequently used to score points in the same debate. Just another form of escalation. I’m not deeply cynical, so I don’t even know that dude, but maybe hypothetical he/she has a point.

    Or also what DaRulez said, which would be a longer route to any debate, but since the internet is not filled with super genius infallible logicians, and everybody is bound to type a comment in the heat of the moment that has some illogic or less than tenable assertion, all arguments are bound to go off the rails, especially 50 way arguments in comment threads. See, I think I was being clear, but I wasn’t being clear. The reason I wasn’t being clear even though I think I was, because I didn’t want to seem like I was piling on, so I tried to say what I wanted to say sideways.

  61. DaRulez
    DaRulez February 1, 2008 at 3:28 pm |

    Sits back and listens to the crickets.

  62. Nathan
    Nathan February 1, 2008 at 3:43 pm |

    DaRulez, I suppose you could be right and it might be a bit inaccurate to call it a rule, but I don’t see why that is important. I don’t think anything essential changes in the LGM argument if they accept your point and change their claim that HRC is trying to change the rules after the election to a claim that HRC is trying to reverse a decision of the DNC after the election.

  63. DaRulez
    DaRulez February 1, 2008 at 3:52 pm |


    Except that is a strawman and not my argument at all. I have stated quiet clearly many times there there is NO RULE CHANGE and asked you to state where it is specifically. I have even posted the links to a 27 page and 42 page set of rules I found at which specify the rules. I even posted a link to the MyDD page which points out the CURRENT rules whereby the FL * MI delegated could be seated.

    So once again, tell me which rule Hillary wants changed. I do not see anywhere that “HRC is trying to change the rules after the election ” or “HRC is trying to reverse a decision of the DNC after the election”. I reject both claims because YOU have supplied no proof for either. Neither of them is my claim.

    You have made a lot of assertions. Put up the proof based on the RULES. Not based on some op-ed. Not based on your feelings. Show me the specific rule that HRC wants to change. So far you haven’t done that though you’ve been asked to many times.

    Who knew someone would make me feel sorry for HRC today? If someone told me that yesterday I would not have believed it.

  64. DaRulez
    DaRulez February 1, 2008 at 4:03 pm |

    I want to point out that “__ is trying to change the rules after the election” is the same trolling nonsense lie the reichwing used against Gore in 2000. Positioning this meme in case HRC gets the nod would be a typically Rovian GOP move.

  65. Nathan
    Nathan February 1, 2008 at 4:09 pm |

    DaRulez, I can’t follow your argument.

    Do you accept that HRC wants to change the decision of the DNC not to seat delegates from Florida and Michigan? And is your claim that this change would not be a change in “the rules”? Or are you trying to say something different?

  66. DaRulez
    DaRulez February 1, 2008 at 4:18 pm |


    I’ve been very clear in what I’ve stated and what I’ve asked you. If you are having trouble comprehending one or more of my words I suggest you try a dictionary.

    My question, which I have asked numerous times, is still outstanding: What specific rule is HRC trying to change?

  67. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne February 1, 2008 at 4:22 pm |

    Wow, do you have an amazing ability to ignore people’s words. I didn’t make any claims about the nature of Chicago or Illinois politics. My comment was that if you make comments about how a politician came up in Illinois politics, people think corruption. Key phrase: “known for”.

    Yes, if you’re looking for offense in everything someone says, I’m sure you can decide that it’s a dig at Obama and not an acknowledgment of how tough Chicago politics are.

    I guess we should stick to saying that Barack Obama is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful candidate to ever run for President rather than, say, pointing out that a sneer at “Chicago politics” doesn’t hold up when you actually look at Chicago politics.

  68. DaRulez
    DaRulez February 1, 2008 at 4:25 pm |

    Go ahead. Call me Sore-Loserman. I know you want to. :)

  69. Nathan
    Nathan February 1, 2008 at 4:33 pm |

    First off, I’m just trying to say what I understand to be the LGM position, I don’t necessarily agree with it.

    If one accepts the definition of “rule” you have implicitly adopted, then I don’t think LGM is suggesting HRC is trying to change the rules. I think, however, that LGM would include the decisions of the DNC rules panel to strip Michigan and Florida of their delegates as “rules” of the primary.

    What I am trying to say is that a person could agree with you that the DNC decisions are not, technically, “rules”, while also agreeing with LGM’s position that it’s too late to challenge them once the primaries are over.

    My main point is that I think even though Zuzu and LGM seem to think they are disagreeing, in fact they are not and they are only misunderstanding each others position. (They obviously disagree about whether what HRC is doing is justified, but even though they reach different conclusions the claims they are making are largely compatible.) I am suggesting that the reason the debate became so uncivil isn’t that the people at LGM are nasty people insulting Zuzu for no reason, but rather that everyone is frustrated because the other is ignoring the points they are making.

  70. Holly
    Holly February 1, 2008 at 4:36 pm |

    The DNC can choose to seat delegates from Florida and Michigan, and not break or reverse any rules. If you read the rules, this is pretty clear.

    I still contend that it would be ethically wrong to seat the delegates from states with “problematic” elections (particularly Michigan, where 40% of the votes were for nobody, but got taken by Clinton) if the outcome were to change the nomination. However, zuzu already pointed out that this is really unlikely. Nothing is going to happen on this issue until all of the other states have gotten their primaries done with. At that point if it does come down to Florida and/or Michigan, it’s far more likely that they’d have to hold primaries again.

  71. DaRulez
    DaRulez February 1, 2008 at 4:39 pm |


    I think you are full of it and pushing the “__ is trying to steal the election” meme. Whether you are doing it for the GOP or were goaded into it, is not important to me.

    A ruling by an organization is not the same thing as a rule the organization must obey. You are ducking the question I’ve asked you (and you still haven’t answered) by conflating those two things.

    The RULES specifically allow HRC to take the actions she’s taken. YOU prefer to tar her as a cheater for whatever reason. It’s hysterical, unsupportable, unreasonable, and pretty damn tacky.

    So once again, which RULE is HRC trying to change? You’ve got 27 pages and 42 pages of rules to pick from. Find one. Let us know when you figure it out.

    Meantime, how is old Rove doing these days?

  72. DaRulez
    DaRulez February 1, 2008 at 4:46 pm |


    I agree with you. I think this is more of an attempt to set up the “Hillary is an election stealer and cheater” talking points in case HRC wins the nomination. Same old game they used on Gore in 2000 and Kerry in 2004.

    This is not about facts or reasoned discourse imho. It’s the worst sort of positional political hatchet job that occurs during elections. Setting this up many many months in advance is very smart.

  73. Nathan
    Nathan February 1, 2008 at 5:03 pm |

    The problem is that LGM keeps referring to rules that have been broken [my emphasis]

    With respect, that is not the LGM position. The LGM position is that “Clinton is trying to steal votes based on an ex post facto changing of the rules [my emphasis]”

    The point you have made is that HRC did not break any rules. The point LGM is making is that HRC is trying to change the rules (or, if you prefer, a decision of the rules committee).

  74. DaRulez
    DaRulez February 1, 2008 at 5:05 pm |



  75. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne February 1, 2008 at 5:05 pm |

    The point LGM is making is that HRC is trying to change the rules (or, if you prefer, a decision of the rules committee).

    Which rule is she trying to change? Please name it.

  76. DaRulez
    DaRulez February 1, 2008 at 5:17 pm |

    A decision of the Rules Committee is not etched in stone any more than a decision of Congress is etched in stone. There are other committees that can have a say and decisions which can be made that are ALLOWABLE under the rules. Just like there are two other branches of government that Congress shares power with, well, except when the GOP is in the White House, of course.

    The argument that “Once the Rules Committee has made a decision then any other decision, even if allowed under the rules, is cheating and changing the rules” is absurd. Not that anyone here would say something so foolish.

    {whistles and looks at Nathan}

  77. Holly
    Holly February 1, 2008 at 5:19 pm |

    The rules committee is going to have to make a decision about this when the convention rolls around, regardless of who says anything at this point. So it’s not like anyone is trying to make that committee break a rule, change a rule, or change a decision. They’re going to make a decision, as part of the agreed-upon, documented process, about what should happen to the “rogue” delegates, as has happened in many previous elections, and Clinton has said she supports them being seated. That’s not breaking a rule or changing a rule or trying to reverse a decision.

    I did think of one other angle on this though. If Obama were to agree with Clinton and call for the delegates from FL and MI to be seated… then for all intents and purposes, they would be considered like any other delegates. The media would include them in total of “who’s winning” and the national discourse would be changed. This would probably affect a whole lot of voters, and influence the outcome of the entire primary. That is an undesirable outcome — and I can’t see a reasonable disagreement to this — because those two elections were flawed, or at the very least, the Michigan one certainly was, because nobody there was even allowed to vote for Obama.

    So of course Obama isn’t going to agree with Clinton. He not only can’t because it would be shooting himself in the foot, he shouldn’t because it’s wrong. This is why it was perfectly advantageous (and politics as usual) for Clinton to endorse seating those delegates. It puts Obama in a bind, and I doubt his campaign will utter a peep about this subject — because as Rhiannon demonstrated earlier (through no fault of her own) to most people the DNC taking away the delegates looks unfair and undemocratic. But you know, putting the Obama campaign in a bit of a bind is a very far cry from “a power grab” or “cheating and trying to change the rules.” It’s politics, and if the Clinton campaign were needling the Obama campaign about whether they cared about the poor disenfranchised voters of Florida and Michigan, I might consider that playing very dirty. But they haven’t done that, at least not yet.

  78. Nathan
    Nathan February 1, 2008 at 5:26 pm |

    I do not think any rules are being broken. Where LGM says rules are being broken, I think that is an unfortunate choice of language for what they claim are attempts to change the rules.

    The rules that LGM say HRC is proposing to change are the decisions not to seat delegates from Florida and Michigan.

    According to my Oxford English dictionary, a rule is “one of a set of explicit or understood regulations of principles governing the conduct or procedure within a particular area of activity”.

    You have implicitly adopted a more restrictive definition, and use “rule” only to mean the regulations published by the DNC. LGM has accepted a broader definition than you, and include decisions by the relevant DNC committees as rules.

    I would suggest that the question of whether or not what HRC wants changed can be called a rule, or whether some other label should be attached to it is, ultimately, an uninteresting semantic question. LGM would have to modify the language they used if they adopted your definition of a “rule”, but I don’t think their substantive argument would be undermined. Perhaps you could suggest a term other than “rule” they could use to describe the decisions of the DNC, to see if their argument still works.

  79. Nathan
    Nathan February 1, 2008 at 6:00 pm |

    LGM has been using “rules” to refer to the pledge and to the decisions of the DNC.

    Exactly, so according to the LGM definition, the decision of the DNC not to seat delegates from Florida and Michigan is a “rule”, because it is a decision of the DNC.

    You, on the other hand, say the only rules are “[the regulations] that govern the seating of delegates”.

    Now, you also say that “there’s no rule in the DNC’s set of rules and regulations for the 2008 seating of delegates that prohibits anything that HRC has done so far, or needs to be changed in order to accommodate the seating of delegates”.

    Now, using your definition of rule this is true, but let’s use LGM’s definition and see how it would read.

    there’s no [pledge or decision of the DNC] in the DNC’s set of [pledges and decisions of the DNC] and regulations for the 2008 seating of delegates that prohibits anything that HRC has done so far, or needs to be changed in order to accommodate the seating of delegates

    That is clearly not true, because the decisions of the DNC not to seat delegates from Florida and Michigan would need to be changed.

    That is why I say that there is only a conflict between your position and the LGM position because you are defining the word “rule” in different ways. If you “translated” either of your arguments into the others terminology I do not think there would be a conflict.

  80. Holly
    Holly February 1, 2008 at 6:08 pm |

    This whole line of reasoning and pointless semantic arguments is rendered moot by the following:

    1) There was a decision made last year not to seat any delegates from Florida and Michigan.

    2) Another decision will be made as to whether or not to seat these delegates at the Democratic National Convention.

    3) Between #1 and #2, the rest of the primaries will occur, and the nomination will likely be decided.

    So really, that’s all that matters.

  81. DaRulez
    DaRulez February 1, 2008 at 7:09 pm |


    Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. You are still inaccurately conflating terms.

    A decision is not a rule. A decision is a ruling. Those are not the same things. Do you comprehend english? You are making up meaning for words as you go along which they do not posses in order to smear HRC. It’s a pretty pathetic thing to do imo.

    rule: 1. An authoritative, prescribed direction for conduct, especially one of the regulations governing procedure in a legislative body or a regulation observed by the players in a game, sport, or contest. 2. The body of regulations prescribed by the founder of a religious order for governing the conduct of its members.

    ruling: An authoritative or official decision: a court ruling.

    decision: The passing of judgment on an issue under consideration.

    You cannot replace “rules” in a sentence with “decision” and expect it make sense anymore than you can replace “erection” with “post-natal depression” and expect it to make sense. To pretend that a decision or ruling is the same as a rule is idiotic. But it does show the lengths the GOP and HRC haters will go to in order to smear her.

    To make this easy for you in simple terms: The lower courts can make rulings and decisions but the law allows them to be overruled on appeal and appealed to the highest court after lower appeal courts have made rulings. You are claiming the Rules Committee is equal to the USSC on this issue, and it is not. You are claiming one the Rules Committee makes a decision it cannot by the rules be changed. That’s untrue, as you’ve been shown over and over.

  82. Pinko Punko
    Pinko Punko February 1, 2008 at 7:20 pm |


    You argument is what I most agree with, and I thank you for stating it clearly and rancor-free. Refreshing.

  83. Nathan
    Nathan February 1, 2008 at 8:08 pm |

    DaRulez, you quote the first two definitions of “rule” in the American Heritage Dictionary. Conveniently, you omit the third definition from that same dictionary: “A court order limited in application to a specific case.” That explicitly contradicts your claim that “A decision is not a rule. A decision is a ruling. Those are not the same things.”

    Anyway, I’ll leave you and your stylish tinfoil hat to fight the good fight. Because clearly an irrational hatred of Hillary Clinton is the only imaginable reason someone might think “rule” means what your dictionary says it does.

  84. Hawise
    Hawise February 1, 2008 at 8:12 pm |

    Wow, this whole thing has reminded me of when I first started wargaming. The first rule of rules lawyering was not to argue about any rule that you couldn’t immediately point at with your Cheeto-stained finger. The second rule was ^$&$%&^% did you touch the rule book with your Cheeto-stained fingers? It invariably went downhill from there.

  85. DaRulez
    DaRulez February 1, 2008 at 8:24 pm |

    Conveniently I did not get those definitions from the American Heritage Dictionary. You’re wrong again.

    “A court order limited in application to a specific case” does not mean what you think it means. Maybe if you take off the tinfoil hat you’ll be capable of comprehending English words. I don’t think so, but it’s worth a try.


  86. Michigan Chick
    Michigan Chick February 1, 2008 at 11:03 pm |

    Regardless of the mudslinging involved, I don’t think that the delegates should be seated. I do not support Hillary Clinton in the Democratic race, and I abstained from the primary because voting would have required a trip home and missing several days of classes and work, for a vote that really would not count. However, had there actually been delegates at stake, I believe that I (and many of my classmates) would have voted- and voted for Obama. The primary was held under the guise that the delegates would be withheld, and it would disenfranchise the voters who operated under those premises to allow the delegates to attend the convention. It would be a bait-and-switch operation and I do believe it is fiendishly underhanded and a very dirty political trick.

  87. Bianca Reagan
    Bianca Reagan February 1, 2008 at 11:59 pm |

    Oh zuzu, I have so been there. It comes with the territory of being female and opinionated, whether it’s online or off. Sometimes I can’t believe it’s 2008 and we all are still being attacked simply for being women with something to say. And when we are clearly correct in our statements, the animosity hurled at us is that much greater.

  88. Brad Jackson
    Brad Jackson February 2, 2008 at 5:36 pm |

    I think there’s no denying that Zuzu was mistreated by Rob and Scott. Rob and Scott behaved like assholes of the first degree, and Zuzu shouldn’t have to take that kind of shit.

    That said, I think Zuzu is full of it re: HRC and the entire situation. Whether its an actual violation of genuine written down rules, its a sleazy attempt to paint Obama as an evil Michigan/Florida hater, and (if Clinton lucks out) for her to pick up some extra delegates in a race that’s as tight as a tick.

    The two positions aren’t mutually exclusive. Rob and Scott were assholes, and of that there’s no doubt in my mind at all. I also think Clinton is being sleazy here, and that Zuzu’s position is utterly wrong. While she may not be, technically, breaking rules, she ain’t doing what’s right. But the fact that I completely disagree with Zuzu doesn’t at all make me want to say she’s like our worst enemies, or to support people who say that kind of shit.

  89. I'd Rather Not Say
    I'd Rather Not Say February 2, 2008 at 7:48 pm |

    I think, Zuzu, that it’s somewhat akin to playing a board game. There’s no written rule that says you can’t shake maracas in the opposing player’s faces while they’re considering their move, and there’s no written rule that says you can’t offer sexual acts to other players in exchange for consideration in-game.

    But if you do those things, you’re being an asshole. And other players who don’t want to come right out and say “you’re being an asshole” are likely to say something like “you’re breaking the rules!” The rules you’re breaking are the unwritten host of understandings and agreements between people on “how not to be an asshole”, not the specific rules of the game you’re playing.

    So maybe technically, she didn’t break the rules. She’s just breaking the “don’t be an asshole” rule. Perhaps these other bloggers aren’t articulating themselves well, which is too bad. But your defense of Hillary amounts to saying “there’s no rule that says you can’t play the trumpet during other people’s turn!”

    And there isn’t, but that defense is nonetheless full of it.

  90. Hawise
    Hawise February 2, 2008 at 7:49 pm |

    Brad, my problem with this whole thing is the histrionics people have shown towards the political ramifications of this brouhaha. Rules-wise, HRC is clearly in the right about asking for a change. The DNC is in no way required to acquiesce nor are her own delegates but she can ask. So on the side of the rules, she is in the clear.

    The political ramifications result in the whole “Clinton is out to get Obama and Edwards” hysteria (remembering that Edwards was still in the race at the time). Yet the memo that started this never mentions Edwards or Obama. Its relationship to them is at best ancillary. It essentially asks that, at the national convention, a way be found to have those two states represented so that the party appears whole. How evil is that, she wants the party to represent a united front going into the national race. Now, it sucks for the Edwards and Obama camps that they didn’t think of this first, possibly by a different angle. The problem that I see is that there is an element out there that is so desperate to sell the “Clinton is divisive” meme that they simply cannot allow her to have a gracious thought or to pony up to it. It is absolutely essential for the party to leave the convention united behind a nominee and somehow bringing Michigan and Florida into that would be a huge benefit. If the party doesn’t find a way to do that, then it is conceding some very good electoral strategies.

  91. sotonohito
    sotonohito February 2, 2008 at 8:32 pm |

    There is a large amount of insane Clinton hating, much of it (most of it) has the unmistakable stench of misogyny. However, the fact that there is an insane amount of Clinton hating doesn’t mean Clinton doesn’t do some sleazy things.

    Its like illegal immegration. There’s a huge amount of racism masquerading as concern over illegal immegration, but that doesn’t mean illegal immegration isn’t a problem.

    Personally, I don’t care for Clinton’s politics she’s horribly right wing and she brings people like Terry fucking McAuliffe (who I hate with a burning passion), but that has nothing to do with the fact that I don’t approve of what she’s doing re: Michigan/Florida. I also happen to think the current primary system is massively fouled up and needs a fix that none of the politicians have the whatittakes to implement, which still doesn’t mean I approve of what Clinton is doing re: Michigan/Florida.

    If Clinton gets the nomination I’ll not only gladly vote for her, I’ll work my ass of campaigning for her and doing GOTV for her. Which also has nothing to do with the fact that I think she’s doing sleazy stuff re: Michigan/Florida. Or with the fact that Rob and Scott behaved in an unacceptable manner.

    But, again, just becuase there are some horribly misogynist Clinton haters doesn’t mean I feel any obligation to bend over backwards and attempt to excuse actions that I do think are genuinely sleazy on Clinton’s part.

    Zuzu, I also can’t agree that the two questions (what are the political ramification and was it technically a violation of the rules) are separate. She is doing what she’s doing for political advantage, therefore it seems unreasonable to disregard political questions when analyzing the issue.

    I agree completely that Clinton is getting unfairly bashed as powerhungry and whatnot. Of course she’s powerhungry, but so are Obama and everyone else running for president. People who aren’t powerhungry don’t run for president. And, again, there’s no doubt in my mind that a huge amount of the “OMG Clinton is powerhungry” crap is motivated by misogyny.

    But, still, from my POV what she has been attempting to do is sleazy. You say it isn’t technically a violation of the written rules, and you know more about the written rules than I do so I’ll assume you are completely correct there. But that doesn’t make it any less sleazy.

    None of which has anything to do with Rob and Scott, who (as I said previously) not only stepped over the line as far as civilized behavior goes, but apparently joyfully leapt over the line and ran a few kilometers in the direction of “absolute asshole behavior”.

  92. Brad Jackson
    Brad Jackson February 2, 2008 at 8:33 pm |

    Sorry. I’m switching from using my real name to using a pseudonym and somehow my two comments got posted under two different names. I didn’t intend that to happen at all. I think I need to flush my browser password cache.

  93. EG
    EG February 3, 2008 at 1:37 am |

    the idea that she’s the first politician EVAH to press an advantage plays right into the concept of women as backstabbing untrustworthy bitches.

    Heh. Whereas that’s exactly what I expect of politicians. What I look for in a politician is: a) is she/he good at pressing and spinning advantages and working the system sleazily? and b) will she/he use that talent to advance the issues I care about. I do not want Mr. Smith going to Washington. I want someone who knows how shit works.

  94. Hawise
    Hawise February 3, 2008 at 10:30 am |

    Yeah, but she’s a politically savvy, backstabbing untrustworthy bitch in a sea of untrustworthy backstabbing bastards and that’s what gets people upset. I’ll take the politically savvy over the tiresomely whiny anyday.

  95. KH
    KH February 3, 2008 at 11:03 am |

    For reference, the membership of the DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee is here:

    Alexis Herman, Washington D.C.
    James Roosevelt Jr., Massachusetts
    Harold Ickes Jr., Washington DC.
    Donna Brazile of Washington, DC
    Donald Fowler, South Carolina
    Allan Katz , Florida
    Elizabeth Smith, Washington D.C.
    Mark Brewer, Michigan
    Ralph Dawson, New York
    Hartina Flournay, Washington DC
    Carol Khare Fowler, South Carolina
    Alice Germond, Washington DC
    Jaime Gonzalez Jr., Texas
    Janice Griffin, Virginia
    Alice Huffman, California
    Thomas Hynes, Illinois
    Ben Johnson, Washington DC
    Elaine Kamarck, Massachusetts
    Eric Kleinfeld, Washington DC
    David McDonald, Washington state
    Mona Pasquil, California
    Mame Reiley, Virginia
    Garry Shay of California
    Michael Steed, Washington DC
    Sharon Stroschein, South Dakota
    Everett Ward, North Carolina
    Jerome Wiley Segovia, Virginia
    Sarah Swisher, Iowa
    Yvonne Gates, Nevada
    Martha Fuller Clark, New Hampshire

    Given the RBC’s composition, it’d have been surprising if the contemporaneous preferences of the Clinton campaign weren’t reflected in the committee’s deliberations on Florida & Michigan. And in fact the campaign was pleased with the rulings at the time they were passed down.

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