The Democratic National Committee’s rules and bylaws committee voted Saturday evening to seat the full Michigan and Florida delegations, but with each delegate getting only half a vote. Florida’s delegates will be allocated according to the unofficial contest, netting Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, 19 delegates.
Michigan, where Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, was not on the ballot, posed a more complicated dilemma.
The Obama campaign wanted the delegates divided 50/50; the Clinton campaign wanted to allot Clinton 73 delegates and give Obama zero, with the remaining ones going to "uncommitted."
Senior Michigan Democrats devised a hodge-podge of a compromise that allocated the delegates at a ratio of 69 for Clinton, 59 for Obama. At half strength, this nets Clinton five delegates.
"Not only will this motion hi-jack four delegates from Mrs. Clinton, it will take 55 delegates from uncommitted status… and convert them to Barack Obama," said Clinton senior adviser Harold Ickes. "I am stunned that we have the gall, the chutzpah, to substitute our judgment for 600,000 voters" in Michigan. "Was the process flawed?" he said of the Michigan primary where Obama was not on the ballot. "You bet your ass it was flawed. It’s hard to find an election in the United States that isn’t flawed. Did a lot of people not vote? You bet your ass a lot of people didn’t vote."
That said, Ickes said, "you cannot take delegates from one candidate and give them to another."
"There has been a lot of talk about party unity — lets all come together, wrap our arms around one another — I submit to you ladies and gentlemen that taking four delegates is not the way to start down the path to party unity," he said. "Mrs. Clinton has instructed me to reserve her right to take this to the Credentials Committee" in July.
In Aberdeen, SD, Obama was asked what he thought of Ickes’ (and Clinton’s) threat to keep the fight going through July and perhaps even to the Democratic Convention in August.
"I’m not gonna do anything to dissuade Sen. Clinton to do what she thinks is best," Obama said. "I would point out that Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., who really has been a leader in the Michigan delegation on this issue, in my understanding expressed satisfaction, a sense that the issue had been fairly dealt with," he responded, added, "But you know I think that Sen Clinton and former President Clinton love this country, they love the Democratic Party. I think they deeply believe that Democrats need to win in November so I trust that they’re gonna do the right thing."
What is "the right thing?"
Obama responded, "Well, I think that they’ll have to make a determination on it. But I think that they will be motivated by an interest in bringing the party together and making sure that we’re in a position to win Florida, Michigan and the presidency."
And what does last night’s decision mean for The Math?
Clinton picked up 94.5 total delegates Saturday. Clinton now has 1,872.5 total delegates.
Obama picked up 65.5 total delegates. Obama now has 2,050.5 total delegates.
There are 305 delegates left — 86 pledged delegates in the three remaining contests in Puerto Rico, Montana, and South Dakota; and 219 uncommitted superdelegates.
With the two rogue states included, the new magic number of delegates needed to secure the Democratic presidential nomination is 2,118.
Clinton needs 245.5 delegates to achieve the new magic number — or 80.5% of the remaining delegates.
Obama needs 67.5 delegates — or 22.1% of the remaining delegates.
Clinton supporters were heartbroken, enraged, dispirited — and angry.
Some disrupted the committee proceedings, chanting, "Denver! Denver! Denver!" as a sign they want Clinton to take her fight all the way to the Democratic Convention in August in Colorado.
Clinton supporters for the past several months have heard Clinton, her husband, and their surrogates suggest that Obama has not passed the commander-in-chief threshold, while she and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., have.
They have been told that Obama offers nothing more than a good speech, that he doesn’t have enough experience, that he wouldn’t be where he is if he weren’t African-American, that his campaign played the race card against former President Bill Clinton. They have been told that Obama wanted to disenfranchise voters in Michigan and Florida.
They have been told that there is a media/Obama campaign sexist conspiracy to drive Clinton from the race, to prevent her from winning the Democratic primary and the November election.
These messages have not evaporated into the ether. They have been heard.
I have met some of these voters, and they are fired up.
Bill Clinton may have been privately, reasonably, telling contributors in April that "probably the only option then is to seat them (Michigan and Florida delegates) under our rules at half-delegates,"
(listen HERE Bill Clinton) but his wife’s Zimbabwe rhetoric was heard.
Check out Clinton supporter Harriet Christian (watch HERE) railing against the nomination of "an inadequate black man," who angrily shouted, "I got news for all of you, McCain will be the next president of the United States!" With her support, natch.
They say they don’t care that McCain is conservative, it doesn’t bother them that he will likely appoint that final Supreme Court Justice who will vote to overturn Roe v Wade.
Then there’s the scene captured by the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein, a table full of Clinton supporters furious at it all:
"[Obama] is a cult. His campaign is an anti-woman cult."
"I will actively campaign against him."
"You know who is backing him is George Soros. It’ll be George Soros, not Obama, who is running the country."
"South Dakota is totally rigged for Obama because of Tom Daschle. Obama’s going to win South Dakota because he’s buying it and rigging it."
"[Obama] is a socialist! You know what the Nazi Party was before it was the Nazi Party? It was the Socialist Party."
What have ye wrought?