I know, power corrupts and absolute power obviously does corrupt absolutely but I do not think you are not beyond redemption so I thought I would drop you a line and share my thoughts with you about this Florida-Michigan corner you have painted yourself into. For the non-cognoscenti out there, it seems that those two states decided to hold their primaries too early and the Pontiff (otherwise known as the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee) in his wisdom, excommunicated the elected delegates from the holy order of those chosen to have a vote at the Democratic convention and thereby in selecting the nominee of the Democratic party for president of the United States.
Just as an aside, I should point out that if those elected delegates were in the official delegate count, Hilary Clinton would have remained ahead in the delegate count despite the respectable showing Senator Obama was able to achieve since. But I digress. I wrote in an editorial published in early August of 2000, shortly after the selection of the vice presidential candidate to run with Al Gore that the 2000 election would be decided in Florida. Will 2008 be any different, one might ask and that depends on a few variables to say the least, and not the least of those is whether Senator McCain is smart enough to pick Florida’s charismatic governor Charlie Crist as his running mate, a selection that makes all the more sense if Florida’s democrats stay home because they have been excluded from the presidential selection process and hell, even I like Charlie Crist.
And Howard, forget about being a lawyer punishing those recalcitrant Florida and Michigan Democratic Cardinals who disobeyed your decree (I just realized why they call them Papal Bulls) and went ahead with their primary “against the law” as you so quaintly put it a few days ago. One cannot help but wonder whether it has anything to do with the hard line you are taking in opposition to all reason let alone political expediency by the fact that you will be out on your kiester if Hilary Clinton is the nominee while Barak owes you one if he is? I know, I know, you had a meeting with everybody who is anybody to try to come up with a solution and in the final analysis it came down to two ‘Hobson’s’ choices….do the primaries in Florida and Michigan over but if so, who picks up the tab, or whether to just suck it up and seat the delegates who were elected when they were elected despite having been so endowed by ignoring your prohibition and going forward anyway. Either way you have egg on your face and if memory serves, that is your least favorite makeup. So I am going to bail you out of this dilemma and offer you a suggestion you can’t refuse, several suggestions actually. First, punish the decision makers, not the beneficiaries of the delegate election, That is to say anyone who was in a position of power who decided to violate the rules on when primaries could be held and in what order of march, should be stripped of THEIR credentials and if they be delegates then their alternates can take their places.
So much for your pound of flesh…now lets talk money. Holding new primaries will be expensive to be sure and the states involved are not inclined to pay the bill twice. So, why not ship the question back to the very grass roots of the party and ask each congressional district to caucus to see if they want to hold new elections for delegates from that district and if they do they must raise 20% of the cost to hold the new election and do so by say May 15th and yes the DNC will have to pay the other 80% but hey, where did the money come from in the first place and the free publicity the Democratic Party will achieve will be worth a lot more literally and figuratively than the out of pocket costs of the new elections to the extent that they are required to be held. If the congressional district committees who have committed to holding elections do not raise their 20% to enable them to do so, then the DNC should be vested with the power to select the delegates from that district to the convention and that is the end of the matter. You get to reward or punish as you see fit Howard and I sense that you like things just that way.
Your friend and colleague,
Dwight (Owen Schweitzer)