Cross-posted at Daily Kos
Now, there are a lot of Hillary supporters out there calling the exclusion of Florida and Michigan from the Democratic primary “disenfranchisement.” These Hillary supporters are saying they won’t vote for Barack Obama because he’s disenfranchising millions of voters. They say their opposition has nothing to do with what’s best for Hillary Clinton, that they’re taking a principled stand against voter disenfranchisement.
Alright, so I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say you are taking a principled stand against voter disenfranchisement. Let’s say this has nothing to do with your support for Hillary. Then I have some questions for you, like…
Where were you when the rules were being set?
The rules governing the primary were set by the Democratic National Committee nearly in August of 2006. Those rules said only Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada could vote before February 5th; any state that voted before then would be stripped of their delegation.
Thus, the potential for millions of Democratic voters to be disenfranchised was written into the 2008 primary back in ’06.
So, where were you guys then? If voter disenfranchisement is such a big issue to you, why weren’t you opposing the proposed rules back then? Why weren’t you doing anything back when this could have made a difference?
That brings us to…
Where were you when the states were rescheduling their primaries?
It was well known that any state holding a primary before February 5th would be stripped of its delegation. Yet, knowing this, the governments of Michigan and Florida went ahead and voted to break the rules. By changing the dates of their primaries, MI and FL’s governments disenfranchised their own voters.
So where were you guys then? Why weren’t you opposing the proposals to reschedule those states’ primaries? If this is about taking a principled stand against voter disenfranchisement, why didn’t you take action months ago when this all started?
What about Terry?
In 2004, Michigan wanted to break that year’s rules and hold their primary early. At the time, the Chairman of the DNC threatened to strip MI of their delegation if they went through with their plan. This is from the DNC Chairman’s book:
“You won’t deny us seats at the convention,” [Michigan Senator Carl Levin] said.
“Carl, take it to the bank,” I said. “They will not get a credential. The closest they’ll get to Boston will be watching it on television. I will not let you break this entire nominating process for one state. The rules are the rules. If you want to call my bluff, Carl, you go ahead and do it.”
The DNC Chairman in 2004 was Terry McAuliffe. Where’s McAuliffe now?
He’s the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign.
If Hillary is taking a principled stand against voter disenfranchisement, why is McAuliffe the chair of her campaign? Why hasn’t she fired him for his pro-disenfranchisement views? Why haven’t you, her supporters, demanded McAuliffe be fired from the campaign? Where’s the consistency?
If it’s disenfranchisement now, it would have been disenfranchisement then. If you can’t support Obama because he’s not doing enough about voter disenfranchisement, then how can you support Hillary after she appointed pro-disenfranchisement McAuliffe to her campaign?
That brings us to…
What about Jenny?
Jennifer Granholm is the Governor of Michigan. She signed the law that moved Michigan’s primary before February 5th. With a stroke of her pen, Granholm disenfranchised millions of MI voters; had she acted differently back then, millions of Michigan voters wouldn’t be disenfranchised.
Granholm is also a Hillary supporter. If this issue is about taking a principled stand against voter disenfranchisement, why hasn’t Hillary rejected and denounced Granholm? Why haven’t you all called on her to do so? Why have you allowed Hillary to benefit from the support of someone who single-handedly disenfranchised millions of voters?
A lot of you are blaming Barack Obama for this situation. But how? Obama didn’t set the rules. Obama isn’t in charge of enforce the rules. Obama didn’t move Michigan and Florida’s primaries up. Obama had nothing to do with these decisions. He might be benefiting from the situation, but he’s not responsible for it.
If you’re going to place blame, blame the DNC. Blame Howard Dean. Blame Jennifer Granholm and Charlie Crist. Blame MI and FL’s legislatures. There are dozens of people you can blame for this situation, but Obama isn’t one of them.
So let’s not delude ourselves into thinking he’s somehow responsible for this mess that we’re in. And while we’re not deluding ourselves…
Stop the Spin
Let’s be honest. The fight over Michigan and Florida isn’t about taking a stand against voter disenfranchisement. It never was. This is a political ploy by the Clinton campaign to get more delegates. Want proof? When asked why she didn’t take her name off of MI’s ballot, even though every other candidate did so, Clinton said it was because Michigan “is not going to count for anything.”
That’s right— Hillary Clinton didn’t take her name off of MI’s ballot because she said MI wouldn’t matter. She accepted and acknowledged that MI wouldn’t play a role in the nominating process because they broke the rules.
Want more proof? Here’s a statement from the Hillary campaign, released September 1, 2007:
“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. Thus, we will be signing the pledge to adhere to the DNC approved nominating calendar.”
It was only after Obama started winning that Clinton made FL and MI an issue. This was clearly a political decision. Now, there’s nothing wrong with making political decisions—all politicians make political decisions. But let’s stop pretending this is about voter disenfranchisement, because it’s not— it’s about giving Hillary a better shot at the nomination.
The very day Clinton sent a letter to Obama criticizing him for not doing more to seat MI and FL, she rejected a plan to seat MI’s delegation. Why? Because it wasn’t politically advantageous enough for her. This isn’t about giving MI or FL a voice— it’s about whatever works best for Hillary Clinton.
It’s About Integrity, Stupid!
So you say you can’t vote for Barack Obama because he’s disenfranchising millions of voters (even though he’s not really responsible for that).
Well, then I say I can’t vote for Hillary Clinton because of her lack of integrity.
The DNC makes the rules for the primaries. You might not like the rules— I certainly don’t, I think Iowa and New Hampshire have too much influence and I support overhauling the entire primary system— but you have to follow them. That’s the price of trying to be the Democratic nominee— you have to follow the Democratic Party’s rules.
We just had eight years of a President who freely broke the rules. We spent eight years suffering under a President who ignored any rule he didn’t like. Yet now we have Democrats supporting a Democratic candidate who’s also trying to break the rules when it’s convenient to do so.
That doesn’t bode well for a Hillary Clinton administration— America is a nation of rules, and Clinton’s attempt to break the rules for the sake of politics speaks volumes about her lack of integrity.
So you might not like Obama. You might not want to vote for him. That’s your decision to make, and you have the right to make it. But don’t feed us this garbage about Barack Obama “disenfranchising” Michigan and Florida, because that’s nothing but spin. And for people who are supposed to be part of the reality-based community, I expect better from you.