The day the Democrats lost it

From Dana Milbank’s coverage of yesterday’s food fight and disenfranchisement festival:

The chaos and vitriol seemed to confirm Democrats’ fears that they might blow an election that should otherwise be an easy victory for them. Nor did the compromise fit well with the Democrats’ oft-voiced commitment to voting rights. They decided they would give Florida and Michigan half of their voting rights — one of the more arbitrary compromises since the 1787 decision that a slave should count as three-fifths of a person — and voted to award Obama 59 Michigan delegates, each with half a vote, even though his name wasn’t even on the ballot in the state.

Gold-colored ropes (along with some hired DNC muscle) kept the public and the press at a distance from the committee members. “We are strong enough to struggle and disagree and to even be angry and disappointed and still come together at the end of the day and be united,” Dean told his troops. But not this day.

Jon Ausman, representing Florida, likened the disenfranchisement of Florida to the election of 1876, in which “the Republicans stole three electoral votes from Florida and made Rutherford [B. Hayes] president instead of Tilden.” . . .

Only Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan had an irrefutable point. “We’ve got a totally irrational system of nominating our president,” he said.

  • Le’ts not lose the point (no pun intended). Even though I agree they have not done the most democratic thing, they are not nominating a president, they are nominating a candidate. And the US’s system is already quite arbitrary anyway, I don’t see it as such a bad thing. I live in a country with more direct election, but with a society set up in such a way that there is very little real democracy anyway.

  • Cooler Heads

    I live in Michigan and I still feel disenfranchised. Because of the idiocy of the state Democratic party the primary was moved. As result, the dopes at the national party muscled the candidates to remove their names from the ballot. The rules were changing by the minute, so most of the candidates complied with the DNC request.

    Clinton did not, and so when I got the precinct to vote I was left with Clinton or “uncommitted.” (Or Kuchinich….) I could not vote for the candidate of my choice. And what’s worse, another candidate was likely to clean up because she refused to follow the request of her party.

    I was disenfranchised the minute the state party screwed up, when the DNC stepped in to get my candidate out of the race, and when Hillary decided to stay on the ballot. We were told by the DNC the primary wouldn’t count anyway.

    So I did what lots of Michiganders do in primaries….I decided to take the GOP ballot and vote there. We have an open primary here. You choose the ballot at the polls.

    If I had known that the party would slip and slide around the rules, the intentions, etc.. And that Hillary would make the outrageous claim that somehow the vote Jan 15 reflected the desires of Michigan citizens. If I had known that, I would have made a point to vote “uncommitted.”

    BTW, uncommitted won my Congressional district. Given that candidates who win solid Democratic districts get a larger share of delegates, I have to wonder if the current Michigan split is fair. I think Hillary would have gotten clobbered in this state, had it been a real election.

  • What no one wants to discuss is holding the primary again. And fairly, this time.

    Creating uncertainty around the countability of one’s vote by moving the primary date, against “party rules,” coupled with placing candidates in the position of “breaking” party rules left candidates off the ballot and voters at home.

    Fair and democratic means holding the primary again. And let the Florida dems, instead of the voters, pay for the mess they created.

  • I think it is premature to claim the Democrats lost. They still have one great opportunity- to put Obama and Clinton on the same ticket. It will be a very strong ticket against McCain. And, Jeff, you will be happy too, no?

  • bz

    The entire electoral process in America is broken. Devastated. Unworkable.

    From election machines being determined on a county by county basis, to the series of caucuses or primaries at irregular intervals over, what seems like, 2 years – it’s all backasswards.

    Ever since the Dems swept to power in the house, the Bush administration has been crippled, as it seems always happens halfway through a second mandate. So, for 2 years, we have a lame duck president, not to mention lame, who has no agenda and no means to push one even if he had one.

    Canada can do in 6 weeks what America does in 2 years. We have a national body overseeing the electoral process.

    Have a look north if you want to fix things, actually have a look anywhere else in the world to look how to fix things. As the self proclaimed saviours of democracy worldwide, y’all sure have a fine way of messing it up in your own backyard.

    From hanging chads to super delegates and campaign budgets rivalling the GDP of most of Africa, America is an embarassment to us all.

  • Andy Freeman

    Umm, the 3/5 of a person rule was to REDUCE the political power of the south. The not-slave states didn’t want to count slaves at all for the purposes of allocating members of the house of representatives. The slave states wanted them to count just like women counted so they’d have more representatives.

    3/5 was a power-grab and the side that I’d guess you like is the one responsible for the number being less than one.

  • Harrison

    Everyone knew the primaries weren’t sanctioned. Those who voted, did so at their own risk. Those who didn’t vote are now the ones who are disenfranchised, because they believed the Democratic party when they said they wouldn’t seat the votes.

    The whole thing is ridiculous.

  • Q

    Boy, a little currency strength and the trash-talking comes out of the woodwork. America is an embarrassment to us all? Look north to fix things? Canadians are always good for a laugh. Get some perspective, you clown.

  • Only Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan had an irrefutable point. “We’ve got a totally irrational system of nominating our president,” he said.

    It’s refutable. Obama looked at how it was laid out and then built an organization and strategy to win on the terms of the system, rather than close his eyes and try to hit the target and then blame the game for his loss as Clinton and her supporters are doing.

    Which kind of President would you rather have — one who accepts the world as it is and then maps out a way to win, or one that grouses at how irrational it is.

    Yeah it’s irrational that all the oil is in the Middle East. Now what?

    Yeah it’s irrational that Bush started a crazy war and that the country’s education and health care system are inadequate to compete in a global economy. Now what?

    Our infrastructure is crumbling, our products aren’t competitive, we’re uneducated, unhealthy, angry and to make matters worse our houses aren’t worth shit. Now what?

    I want a President who welcomes the chaos and then figures out how we can be SMART about the hand we’ve been dealt. Not one that whines and complains about how irrational the world is.

    I can’t wait until the Clinton Democrats accept that their time has passed and the world their way worked in has passed too, and let’s get on with it.

    I didn’t know I had this in me, btw. It’ll obviously turn into a blog post on

  • The next time the Republicans pull a maneuver as they did in Florida with the Supreme Court, getting George Bush elected by manipulating the system rather than listening to the will of the people, the Democrats will no longer have the standing to complain. What they have just done is no better than what the Republicans did eight years ago. They disenfranched voters. I don’t care who’s fault it is — I’ll blame Howard Dean just as much for his effort to control the process as anyone can blame legislators or party officials in Michigan and Florida — but the bottom line is that voters were disenfranchised and party hacks changed their will. This year, the Democrats are no better than the Republicans.

    As Ickes said, we still need to hold up the principles of the constitution of the Democratic Party. Its leadership did not do that.

    We must insist on a new system: No caucuses, no superdelegates, no room for corruption and gaming but fair representation.

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  • I did post a story. Please ignore the trackback above.

    Jarvis, to your most recent comment, I’m sure Obama would have won it if it had been laid out on the terms you describe.

  • I watched every single minute of the festivities yesterday, and I have none of this doom reaction.

    Both FL and MI admit they held their contests in violation of party rules. W/o enforcement, the party has no standing. In both states – the presentation for the Ausman challenge and the MI DP challenge – the parties had come to a common state-level interest among all the players, and specifically requested the RBC not overturn their carefully crafted approach.

    Only in the case of the MI delegate award was there any controversy at all. In this case Clinton wanted all 73 delegates, even though EVERYONE KNOWS THIS ELECTION WOULDN’T COUNT, and Obama wanted a 50/50 split. The state party and the RBC compromised at 69/59. Yes, it’s arbitrary. Maybe next time the states will play by the rules.

  • Gloria P.

    How can anyone vote as a Democrat when the party is so flawed?

  • steve w

    Dems can’t seem to run even a simple primary. Can’t expect them to run a government with this crew in charge.

  • bbebop

    sour grapes? you chose a candidate back in 2007 when she was inevitable. she ran an awful campaign, demonstrating qualities (like reliance on loyalty over competence with patty solis doyle and mark penn) that should disqualify her as president, made strategic blunders like ignoring the actual rules of the contest and assumed the race would be won on super tuesday and that the caucuses could safely be ignored. and now you want to blame the process, the rules, obama and god knows what else rather than the person your candidate sees when she looks in the mirror.

    that’s rich!

  • The Other Ed

    Since the 50% penalty is exactly the same penalty that the GOP also imposed on FL & MI this year for violating GOP rules, how can they claim an advantage?

  • Ginny in CO

    First, for all the folks who seem to think this is so awful, awful that the Dems have such a system that is so clearly flawed.

    The whole party set up, rules,structure, etc is under frequent review and revision. This happens at the worker bee level of politics. The, put in MANY hours of time to contribute to minor change, kind of effort and sacrifice of your own leisure time.

    You have plenty of reasons not to like it. Any excuses for not being involved enough before this campaign in participating at that level? We have known for decades that the people heavily involved in the party are the ones who have the most influence in the primary wins. From the initial encouragement/discouragement to prospective candidates to the primary vote.

    The only way to correctly improve that was to increase the percent of worker bees. Since that was not a realistic possibility, the party developed the superdelegate function to balance the influence of people who do a lot of the work but represent the highest ideals of the party and therefore contribute to getting candidates that do not appeal to even more moderate dems. I think we have done a better job than most people think because of the media echo chamber and the GOP under the radar strategies.

    Meanwhile. The primary vote is not in any way governed by the Constitution. The courts have repeatedly said that they will not interfere. The parties have the right to determine their own process.

    The parties consist of 50 states + DC, PR, and Guam. Each of the states holds a certain power to determine how they will select their delegates. For the whole country to go to a single system, the national party would have to get enough states to agree. For that to happen, you will need a grassroots movement large enough to overwhelm the existing state power holders.

    The state parties determine when to hold the primary vote or caucus, and how to assign delegates. The only thing the DNC has chosen to rule on is that the delegates are apportioned rather than the electoral college winner take all method. The rules committee was limited to accepting or rejecting ** the proposals of the state Dem parties**. The candidates were allowed to make comments, but the committee could only go with a state party proposal that seemed as fair and equitable as possible in a situation that is as unfair and inequitable as this one is.

    Time to get on to ALL of the campaigns – cities, state houses, Congressional and Senate, as well as the WH.

  • Ginny in CO

    The short version of my post above:

    The parties and the primaries only exist because of volunteer work. The paid staff in any local and state parties, and campaigns, are few and the compensation for the time they actually put in is like wages in third world countries.

    So, if you are apalled at learning what should have been part of your HS American Government class; learn more. Then go put some time into your local political process. You do not have to do any more hours than work reasonably into your schedule. It can be sporadic, regular, whatever works for you.

    BTW, this goes triple for GOP. The people who have created this fiasco are vulnerable to challenges from newcomers. There is a vacuum at all levels that you can slide right into. It won’t make much difference in the outcome of this election.The goal is to start turning the party to viability in the future. I grew up a in a GOP household and have respect for the role the party should play in balancing progress with moderation. If it is rebuilt in that purpose it can again play a valuable role in American government.

  • Jimmy

    Let me remind everyone what’s most important here: getting W out of office. One can debate the idiocy of the Florida and Michigan brouhaha until the End of Days, but the fact is those states’ parties fucked up, and the voters paid a price. Hillary Clinton didn’t do this, Barak Obama didn’t do this, the national party didn’t do this — everyone knew the rules going in. If I had been on the that rules committee I would have fought to keep Florida and Michigan from being seated and I would laughed at anyone who tried that whole disenfranchised meme, because that’s what it is, laughable. Again, everyone knew the rules going in.

    Hopefully, we can now move on, get a candidate, and get W out of office. If this crap loses the Democrats an election, it’s their own fault, because it shouldn’t. Like all of us, Florida and Michigan will get to vote for a presidential candidate in November. Maybe it won’t be the candidate they wanted, but that’s what the whole primary process is about — there are always losers in that process. I’m an Obama supporter, but if somehow Hillary were to end up the candidate I would gladly vote for her. Eyes on the prize, people! Stop making mountains out of mole hills.

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  • Yes, what the Democrats did – penalize Michigan and Florida for not following the party rules – is exactly the same as Republicans blocking blacks and other minorities from voting in Florida, then attempting to invalidate the votes that were cast. Harold Ickes is a thug and people who see the world as he does are similarly ill-informed.

    I’m sure Barack Obama is truly sorry his campaign staff is not as incompetent as Sen. Clinton’s (apparently Mark Penn did not know the primaries had proportional allocation, that is before he was off lobbying clients while employed by Sen. Clinton).

    Were you Clinton voters all this clueless when we all voted for her husband in 1996?

  • Goofticket

    Isn’t it interesting that one day the whole thing is over and all of the hype in here, and elsewhere meant very little, to anyone.
    The number are the ones the DNC uses, not Harold Ickes bizarro abbacus.
    Count the caucuses, don’t count the caucuses. Don’t count the ones from when the moon was in a waxing quarter, and certainly count those when Hillary should have won, like Nevada.
    Now what will FoxNews do for the rest of the summer…play what if re-runs if some Rev was still in the pulpit?

    The primary rules were set, before the first vote was cast, and Florida and Michigan pushed the envelope, and to no avail.
    Florida’s whine about being victim to GOP skullduggery should have not made one iota of difference. The Florida Dems caved and failed to stand up, until it was time to whine about a do-over, then the GOP failed to let them.
    They were not helpless and could have made a real stink down there.
    They didn’t.
    Florida has always had ‘issues’ and they have to grow up and start dealing with them, or their elections will continue to be messy, fraudulent jokes.

    Michigan has one point. Rotate the primary states, which they should have made abig stink about after 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006…but they didn’t until well after anything could have been done. I agree with rotation.

    I do not agree with whining after the fact. I have no repsect for that.
    That is something Republican women do…like Michelle Malkin does.

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  • Boaz

    The Other Ed:

    The difference is that the Republicans always said that they would strip half the delegates from states that held their primaries early. The Democrats initially said that they would strip the entire delegations. The Republicans did exactly what they said that they would do, and states that broke the rules got punished as they knew they would be. The Democrats have decided to change their rules in the middle of things. Now if Dems did what the Republicans did (early states count for half, but everyone can campaign in them), then they would not be in this bruhaha now.

  • Dave


    Hate to tell you, son, but W, since he is a second term president, is out of office whether the Democrats bother to nominate somebody or not.

    Thought you’d like to know.

  • “Let me remind everyone what’s most important here: getting W out of office. ”

    You do realize he’s not running for re-election, right?

  • Darlene

    Yup. An absolute disgrace! I will never for Obama. If it’s not Hillary, I will vote for McCain.

  • solidstate

    Jeff Jarvis said: “The next time the Republicans pull a maneuver as they did in Florida with the Supreme Court, getting George Bush elected by manipulating the system rather than listening to the will of the people, the Democrats will no longer have the standing to complain.’

    They lack the standing now. It was the Gore campaign, not the Republicans, that took the disputed election outcome to the Supreme Court. And an exhaustive study by that notorious right-wing rag The New York Times documented years ago that Bush won the 2000 election fair and square (though not, as we know, the popular vote — though he’s not the first). I realize that the “disenfranchised” meme is common currency on the left. But facts are stubborn things.

    If the Dems’ nominating process worked as the Republicans’ does — with a goal of selecting an actual, you know, nominee rather than “enfranchising” each and every voter, the Dems would have had their nominee months ago. For better and for worse, her name would not have been Obama.

  • Mary

    Question: How can Obama bring unity when he has already split the Democratic party in half?

  • Kendall

    Jimmy seems not to realize that his hated “W” leaves office regardless of the Democrats or Republicans winning the election. If that is your only goal, then you need to nothing as time is bound and set to do that for you.

    If you see Bush in every shadow then perhaps you have larger problems than winning an election.

  • John Jackson

    This has absolutely nothing to do with enforcing the rules. If it did, New Hampshire moving its primary up two weeks before its DNC-assigned date (and thus leapfrogging Nevada’s DNC-assigned date) would have been punished just as harshly as Michigan and Florida. The initial punishment of Michigan and Florida, but not New Hampshire, was unjustified by any principles whatsoever. The delegate suspension and campaign bans weren’t done to enforce rules, but merely to keep New Hampshire more equal than the other states.

    It would hurt Obama for the results in Michigan to be recognized? So what? That Obama went along with that total bullshit in the first place instead of making a principled stand against it is a mark against him. He shouldn’t be allowed to hide his moral cowardice behind claims he was just following orders. Doing the wrong thing should hurt, and supporting arbitrary special privilege is the wrong thing.

    (And the difference between what the Democrats are doing and what the Republicans are? The Republicans can actually be claiming to enforce “the rules are the rules”, because everybody who broke the Republican party rules — including New Hampshire — was punished with the exact same loss of 50% of delegates.)

  • mcg

    It is my understanding that Florida and Michigan differ in two key ways. First, in Florida, all of the candidates names’ were on the ballot, whereas in Michigan only Clinton’s was. So with Florida it is somewhat reasonable to accept the unedited result of the primary for the purpose of selecting its delegates.

    Secondly, in Florida at least, it was a legislative decision to move the primaries to an earlier date. But that legislature is overwhelmingly Republican in Florida. So it really isn’t fair to blame Florida Democrats for violating the date rules.

    So when I look at it that way it seems to me that Florida got really screwed.

  • Corwin

    GWBwill be out of office Jan 20 of next year regardless of who the candidates are.Stop.Think.(The latter from Thomas J Watson of IBM

  • AJ Fish

    Howard Dean created a mess such that whichever candidate wins the nomination, he or she will be seen as an illegitimate cheater.

    The DNC stripped MI and FL of delegates way back when. Fine. But when the nomination battle raged on, and people talked of holding re-votes for FL and MI, Dean punted – he gave both candidates veto power over re-votes.

    Bad decision.

  • Mike Kelley

    We should look to Canada as a paragon of democracy? Give me a break. Right now Mark Steyn and some conservative (of course) bloggers are being brought before a series of kangaroo courts set up by liberal governments up there. There is no free speech in Canada if one is so impertinent as to point out truths about Islam, etc. that violate liberal speech codes.
    It is becoming obvious that our “overly long” campaign season down here in the US helps us voters find out things that our pathetic media would rather keep secret. Obama’s leftist preachers and friends are now coming out of the woodwork, despite most media’s wish to hide them. It will be interesting to see if the American voter will elect a man this far to the extreme left.

  • bebula

    The real problem is not the American system — it’s the ass-clowns that are running it, our “professional” politicians.

    Let’s get rid of this lot and bring on the next generation. They can’t do any worse!

  • DocScience

    Face it Dem’s, you have two unqualified, ego-inflated, under-achieving, tragically flawed, unelectable candidates to choose from in an ugly, undemocratic smoke-filled room kinda way.

    There’s still time to choose McCain and Lieberman… more aligned with the Democrat core than either Hillary or Barrack.

  • The notion that either major party is not a fixture of the government is silly. State and local governments spend a pretty penny to run primaries

    State governments pass laws regulating who may appear on ballots, with challenges to petitions being handled by the court system based upon those laws. New York is notorious for its maze which must be negotiated down to the punctuation in order to obtain a place on the ballot.

    Both major parties have made it impossible for a challenge to succeed nationwide, thus using the power of the government to ensure that one of the two parties will always be in office.

  • DCP

    One small point.

    South Carolina ALSO violated the calendar rule and had their primary too early. They were not punished at all.

    Obama won.

    HMMM……. The SC primary win made Obama a serious candidate.

    Curiouser and curiouser.

  • Thomass

    Jeff Jarvis Says:

    “The next time the Republicans pull a maneuver as they did in Florida with the Supreme Court, getting George Bush elected by manipulating the system rather than listening to the will of the people”

    Whatever, Gore brought the suit to try to get select counties (only) recounted with new rules (after the fact / election) he considered advantageous… and the Florida Supremes were going to let him do it even though it totally violated election law on several fronts (including that election issues should be dealt with by the Florida legislature and contested to congress… not the courts)… Thank God the feds kept them all from stealing the election by totally setting the law aside…

  • show me

    What a completely rigged deal.Let’s just take some votes from Hillary and give them to the poor weak candidate who has not even bothered to compete in any primary that he might lose .He is tanking so lets prop him up. It is the beginning of the end of the Democratic Party. I have NEVER heard or read about so many Democrats who will NOT be voting for a Democrat in November.I’ve been voting Democratic for 38 years and I have not always loved the eventual nominee but it never would have entered my mind not to vote for him. No way on earth would I vote for this guy. In fact this behavior is down right creepy. This country is really in trouble.

  • Eric Jaffa

    RE “The next time the Republicans pull a maneuver as they did in Florida with the Supreme Court, getting George Bush elected by manipulating the system rather than listening to the will of the people, the Democrats will no longer have the standing to complain.”

    It’s not the same thing:

    In 2000, the Supreme Court stopped a re-count in which both Al Gore and George W. Bush had been on the ballot.

    In 2008 in the Michigan primary, Barack Obama wasn’t on the ballot.

  • tg

    What a joke. Hillary should be thankful she got anything out of this. Everyone knew Florida and Michigan were not going to count and all the canadidates reflected that by not campaigning in those states.

    It’s absolutely pathetic that Clinton supporters are whining about this now.

  • Eric Jaffa

    Thomass –

    RE “Gore brought the suit to try to get select counties (only) recounted…”

    That is the nature of lawsuits: to ask for relief where relief is needed.

    Let’s say you did business with someone for years, and he didn’t pay you for your latest work.

    Would you ask the court to go through every business deal or to look at the last deal which you weren’t paid for?

  • Dave S.

    “The next time the Republicans pull a maneuver as they did in Florida with the Supreme Court, getting George Bush elected by manipulating the system rather than listening to the will of the people”

    Good Lord, eight years later and you’re still talking this utterly false nonsense?

    The US Supreme Court upheld Florida election law that the Florida Supreme Court, composed of nine Democrats, voted to ignore.

    George Bush should have lost Florida. The reasons he got more votes (look it up – post-election recounts by media organizations confirmed it) are:

    a) Ralph Nader, and
    b) a butterfly ballot designed by a genius Democrat and approved by an election board composed mostly of genius Democrats that confused genius Democrat voters into voting for Pat Buchanan.

    Get over it. And don’t dare try to blame your current Florida-related self-inflicted wounds on those mean old Republicans.

    As far as the typically smug Canadian and his “America is an embarrassment to us all” – the day I care about the opinion of a country that incessantly brags about its awesome peacekeepers while contributing fewer peacekeepers in a typical year than Togo is the day I…well, care about the opinion of Togo. You should be embarrassed that you’re just America’s lamprey.

  • Andy Roark

    Everyone should remember that this is the political party that wants to control industry in the name of environmental protection, the health care system in this country in the name of “universal coverage”, knows the best way to manage foreign policy and seems to feel they know what is best when it comes to every other aspect of every Americans life.

    This entire nomination process has demonstrated that the Democrats are not qualified or capable of managing a lemonade stand, much less nominating a candidate for President and in no way makes a strong argument for letting them control the vital industries of this country (health care, industry, energy).

    John McCain should bang this drum between now and the election without mercy. The circus that the Democrats have created – all in the name of controlling the vote so they could manipulate the candidate put forward with the inclusion of their “superdeligate” totalitarian control scheme – is worthy of the history books but first we should all be very afraid that this bunch of football humping morons might end up in charge of something that actually matters.

  • Frankie

    I recall that, when Hillary Clinton was elected senator, the first thing she promised was action to abolish the Electoral College. She never did a thing.

    So if an irrational electoral system finally does her in, hey, maybe that’s karma.

  • Matt S.

    Well, Eric…If your wanting to only recount heavily democratic counties in the hopes of picking up new votes….refusing to do an entire state recount and throwing out absentee ballots from military members fighting overseas I would say you were certainly trying to manipulate the system…wouldn’t you?

  • Paul Evans

    “This year, the Democrats are no better than the Republicans.”

    In Oct. 2007 Hillary Clinton acknowledged that the Michigan primary vote would not count during an interview on a Massachusetts NPR program. She is on the record saying that while she felt it necessary to campaign there she also understood the vote there would not count because the state’s Democratic committee violated the rules.

    In Sept. 2007 Clinton, along with Obama and Edwards, signed a pledge not to campaign in Florida because of that state’s violation of DNC primary rules.

    “We believe Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina play a unique and special role in the nominating process,” Patti Solis Doyle, the Clinton campaign manager, said at the time in a statement.

    Months later Clinton and her supporters, true to their nature as politicians, not only have changed their opinion on those votes, but they want the DNC and the entire nation to agree with them.

    I concur with Jeff when he says the Dems are just like the Republicans. Well, at least some of them are.

    For the past 7 years I have loudly decried how Cheyney, Bush and their cronies would repeat falsehoods, half-truths, skewed information and all sorts of other tripe when speaking to supporters about the beginnings of the Iraq War. Heck, while Bush was telling reporters in DC that Saddam Hussein had no connection to the 9/11 attack, Cheyney was trumpeting to the masses in heartland USA that Saddam was so close to those Al Quaida types that he was practically inside Osama Bin Laden’s kaftan. I asked many people at the time: how often do you repeat such things until they become a purposeful lie? And why repeat such lies?

    Apparently the Republicans believe that if you repeat a lie often enough that more than half the people in this country will believe it is the truth. Apparently they believe that a majority of the people in this country are either idiots or would prefer a useful lie.

    Now we have Hilary Clinton and her supporters repeating over and over again: If the flawed election results in Michigan and Florida aren’t tallied exactly as they came in then the electoral process in this country has failed. They continuously return to hot-button words like disenfranchisement as if saying it often enough will somehow make it something other than a lie.

    Let’s be clear: Hilary Clinton doesn’t want the vote in those states to count because she wants a fair and full election. She wants them so she can win. That she acknowledged beforehand that they would not and should not count is now conveniently forgotten.

    Was this whole mess avoidable? Yes. Is it unfortunate that the people in those states did not get to vote freely and fairly for the person of their choice? Yes. is the solution to simply say: Here Mrs. Clinton, we thought you would like those entire delegations gift wrapped? Hell no.

    I am not an Obama supporter. However, what I have seen and heard over the past couple of months has convinced me that almost anyone would be better for the job of president than Clinton. She is the worst kind of politician. She is willing to change the rules, break her word, and lie in order to get what she wants. She is, in short, just like the Republicans.

    Likewise, any of her supporters who continue to spout her poppycock as facts are themselves no better than the Republicans they are so quick to disparage.

    Let’s also be completely honest about all the frenzy kicked up by the never-ending falsehoods from the Clinton campaign. It is intended to generate frustration and anger. That anger is not designed to unite the party. It is intended to divide. Once again, just like the Republicans. However, the Republicans have previously shown the intelligence to use that technique against their opposition. Clinton seems determined to employ it against her own party regardless of the consequences.

    Finally, Jeff Jarvis should be ashamed for comparing the voting decision of 1787 to what is happening with the Democratic party today. In that decision black people were the voiceless pawns in a fight between north and south over who would have the most power in the nascent United States. The sad irony for those black people was that no matter how things were decided they weren’t going to get to vote because while they might count as population they didn’t as people. In the Democratic campaign for the 2008 presidential candidate, CNN estimates Hilary Clinton has spent nearly $200 million so far. Barack Obama has spent more than $240 million. Neither of them is voiceless nor a pawn in the stupid, wasteful and (regardless of who wins) probably pointless process through which we pick our presidents in this country. They are both people who can vote, which puts them in a whole different league than the chattels who were argued over in 1787. To try and equate these two things is a lie of the lowest sort. But it is the type of lie that Americans should, unfortunately, be used to after nearly 8 years of the Bush administration.

  • Dave S.

    And didn’t CBS call the election for Gore before polls in Republican counties had closed? That’s from memory, I could be wrong.

  • our products aren’t competitive

    A real shame exports are growing at a rate of about 2.8% a year. It is a shame manufacturing is booming. It is a shame Germans are moving factories to America.

    It is a shame the Iraqis are getting a handle on Iraq. It is a shame they are holding national elections in October. It is a shame their economy is growing 5% a year.

    It is a shame oil prices are up giving a boost to the sale of hybrids and high mileage vehicles.

    It is a shame unemployment in the “worst economy since the depression” is only around 5%. It is a shame it only grew .9%. It is a shame that higher growth is expected in the coming quarters. Did I mention that Germans are building factories in America?

    Considering the doofus we have as President it is a shame things are going as well as they are.

  • I recall that, when Hillary Clinton was elected senator, the first thing she promised was action to abolish the Electoral College.

    And she was going to do that how?

    Any way, I think it is time that an institution that old be upgraded. How about calling it the Electoral University. Hope and Change.

  • Al

    Jeff Jarvis said: “The next time the Republicans pull a maneuver as they did in Florida with the Supreme Court, getting George Bush elected by manipulating the system rather than listening to the will of the people,…”

    What are you talking about? The people voted and the votes were counted. Gore, through Chicago vote-fraud expert Bill Daley, only wanted votes recounted in the areas they controlled. The media of course didn’t mention it, but what Gore and Daley were saying is “we want to re-handle the ballots in the areas where we have the most people.” Remember, the parties run the elections – and they are under hyper-local control. The notion that Katherine Harris was pulling strings is silly and was just a diversion.

    All the Dem’s had to do was get a hold of enough Republican ballots and make some small scratches/rips so they could claim the ballots were spoiled. There are a few other tricks, but that’s probably one of the easiest – the more people that touch the ballots, the better for the Democrats.

    The reason Gore picked Daley is because Daley is an expert. Who do you think was first to stay in the JFK White House? It was Bill’s dad, Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley and his wife Eleanor. JFK beat Nixon by 7,000 or so votes in Illinois. They pulled the same trick the Democrats pulled in the Gary area in the Indiana primary a few weeks ago: they withheld the counts so they had enough time to see how many votes they needed. The Daley’s did the same thing in 1960 – waiting for downstate vote tallies to come in so as to guestimate how many votes to toss in. This is the way it’s supposed to work for Democrats because recounts can get messy.

    Remember, they don’t call it a Democratic Machine because of efficiency, it’s about manufacturing votes. You never hear about Republican Machines – it’s always about the Democrats. Btw, go Google “+Acorn +fraud” and you can learn about that Democratic group’s various problems with tampering, etc.

    Watching the Democratic Primaries is hilarious because they don’t have any real rules. (The rules “breathe” – according to power and bribes.) This Michigan/Florida fiasco is a good example. Delegates – even pledged delegates – can change their minds. (I think at least one has already done so.) This is why the candidates have been bribing the delegates and super-delegates. The press, which is infested with Modern Liberals, won’t report this, but it sure is entertaining. The maneuvering now and the maneuvering before involved political calculations, back-room deals and tit-for-tat bribes. The problem for the Democrat’s isn’t that the system is ‘irrational” (as some have pointed out here), it’s that it’s more public. It used to be the deals were totally hidden. Now, the internet has short-circuited the normal Liberal process of circumventing the people. Super Delegates were designed to deal with the “problems” of the public voting for the “wrong” person. It doesn’t work so well anymore. Heck, they can’t even smoke cigars!

    The reality is the Democrats are about as undemocratic as can possibly be.

  • SA

    Astonishingly ignorant comment by Jarvis re Florida election, courts etc.
    This man is a J school graduate? Figures.

  • Important to note that there was a count and recount in Florida. GWBush won both. Gore sued to have the democratic county machines permitted to continue to count until they were certain they won. Florida Supreme Court said that was just fine with them.

    SCoTUS said that first, that was not satisfactory, and Florida refused to act on their guidance. SCoTUS was forced to rule that the election had been held (any disputes there?) and that GW Bush had won it based on the count and recount. (Shouldn’t be any doubts there either.)

    The reason why the popular vote doesn’t matter, is that the Founding Fathers didn’t want Illinois corruption to throw more than Illinois. Hurrah for the Electorial College.

  • “They decided they would give Florida and Michigan half of their voting rights — one of the more arbitrary compromises since the 1787 decision that a slave should count as three-fifths of a person”

    Uh, not that they could vote anyway, but Jeff Jarvis would’ve preferred that the South fully count their slaves for purposes of representation- in order to strengthen the institution of slavery. Interesting . . .

    “This man is a J school graduate?” Sure, he took a lot of “journalism ethics”, “the media’s place in society” and maybe a “speech communication” course or two- what do you expect?

  • This guy’s a laugh-riot

    Yep. Jarvis is utterly wrong about how Gore tried to bully a Florida victory back then.
    Dave S. @ June 1st, 2008 at 10:50 pm gets it right.
    I’ll bet that even after this embarrassingly stupid post, after all these years Jarvis will scoff at the notion of Bush Derangement Syndrome.
    Well, Jeff if it’s not BDS then how do you explain that you, a trained journalist, is so wrong after so much time?
    You are a trained journalist who lives and works in the news capital of the country, surrounded daily by other news professionals, nearly all of whom are equally deluded.
    If BDS is not an accurate descriptor of that mass delusion then let’s hear your “better”, “fuller”, “more nuanced”, professional writer’s take.

  • ATLien

    If Dems keep acting like this, I’m going to want to flip the Civil War 2.0 switch and toss them out forcibly, as they’re waaay too crazy.

  • Jason

    Howard Dean is just the gift that keeps on giving.

  • John Samford

    “The next time the Republicans pull a maneuver as they did in Florida with the Supreme Court, getting George Bush elected by manipulating the system rather than listening to the will of the people,”

    Get a grip bud. Gore tried to bend the rules (system) and got caught. Live with it. As far as the will of the people, have yuo every read the Constitution? America is a REPUBLIC, NOT a democracy. It’s the will of the states, not the people. If that presents a problem to you, immigrate. N. Korea, Iran, Cuba and several other nations directly elect their President. See how you like living under that system.

    AS long as I’m giving you a free education, here is what the RBC meeting was all about;
    A carnival where the slaves dressed up in their masters clothes and pretended to be lords.

    Nothing Democratic about the Democratic party. That lesson will be driven home at the Convention.
    You see, the media has been lying to you.
    Ohhhhh…..BMAM has the same number of delegates as Billery does; ZERO. There are no delegates until the Call to Order at the Convention. Nancy will bang her gavel and presto chango, there will be delegates.
    Those delegates are of two types. Delegates that represent the States, called ‘pledged’ and those that represent the Party, called super.
    By the Rules of the Democratic party, NO DELEGATE is required to vote against their conscience. So the word ‘pledged’ is as misleading as the word ‘democrat’.

    Google “Rules and Bylaws Ddmocratic convention”. Stop swallowing the lies the media is feeding you.
    The last several cycles ( since the 50’s and the widespread use of TV) the DNC, the party bosses and the Media moguls have co-operated to produce a candidate. That is why there had been so few Democratic Presidents since WW2. Self styled elites hardly ever make the same choices us peons do. This unsavory grip has been jarred loose by the Internet and bloggers.
    The days of controlling the party by controlling the money and the message are over. We are witnessing a return to ‘normal’ Primaries, where the candidate is chosen at the convention. like was done thruout the history of the USA prior to the stealth coup in the 50’s.
    Get uaed to it, the days of stage managed conventions, that are produced like any other TV show are gone. The real question is will the alliance between the party and the media survive? Will the media settle for a real ‘news’ event as opposed to another scripted production? Will the party decide it’s better off without the media and select an electable candidate?

  • rabidfox

    Dave, you’re absolutely correct. I was on my way to vote when I heard Dan Rather declare the voting closed. I knew damn good and well that it wasn’t so I went on ahead. My neighbor, however, told me that he thought that the voting times had been changed and didn’t go. There were at least a few votes in the panhandle that didn’t get cast, but no body mentions them. Or the military votes that gore did his damdnest to keep from being counted.

  • rabidfox

    I should perhaps mention, that my neighbor was a recent amputee who was still having trouble getting around.

  • Ah, the schadenfreude! I really am enjoying the democrats’ self-discombobulation. If only the republicans had a candidate in the race..

  • William Hamblen

    The reason the election season is so long in the US is that we always know when the next election will be – the House every two years, the president every four, and six years between Senate seats in each state. We’ve managed to keep to the schedule right through civil war and world war. Those countries with Westminster systems have elections at irregular intervals after a loss of confidence or a decision for a snap election, although a parliament’s writ expires after a set number of years. The call for elections never is long before election day, so smugness over the length of the election season is not entirely justified. This season was longer than normal because Hillary Clinton tried to freeze out her opposition so early. I see where Canada is adopting a 4 year cycle for federal elections, so they may start seeing long election seasons.

  • Tito

    For all the talk about counting every vote, the Democrats really care only about power. For instance, you don’t hear their outrage over the fact that a referendum passed by 61% of the voters in California was recently overturned basically on a whim because they agree with non-democratic methods when it suits their purpose. The problem with this primary cycle is that the knucklehead in charge of the party has approved a system that doesn’t add weight to the primaries. Winner take all contests would have solved this problem–I mean exercise in democracy.

    And for heaven’s sake, give up with the 2000 election. Republican irregularities in Democrat precincts didn’t cost you the election, a terrible candidate did.

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  • Brett

    Let’s recall that the political parties are private entities, and therefore entitled to decide their own nomination procedures. They could decide to dispense with primary elections entirely and no one’s rights would be violated.

    The outrage of the dismissed voters is only due to the fact that they have been duped into believing the parties have any regard for them beyond gathering their votes in the real elections.

  • Loquacious Evans

    IMO the Democrats are lucky to even be in a position to win the presidency. A couple of decent leaders in Congress 2000-2006 [i.e. Gingrich] and a president with the will to tell the whining Dems to shut up every time they threw roadblocks in the path of any progress in the WOT-specifically Iraq-would have kept them out of power and polite society for another decade. After much boasting of their plans to cure the country’s ills if we put them back in charge, they’ve done nothing.

    And now, with the presidency nothing more than a layup for them, they put forth two candidates that are an abomination. Dukakis and Mondale seen like giants compared to these 2. Maybe we deserve an all Democrat government[the SC will soon be too] to remind us all why they were kicked out in the first place. I can only blame the Republicans for allowing this to happen.

    John McCain may not be a strong and true Republican candidate, but for most clear thinking Dems , Reps and independents he represents the best of 3 evils. I could never let myself vote for the same candidate that Susan Sarandon and her goofy boyfriend vote for.



    “Only Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan had an irrefutable point. “We’ve got a totally irrational system of nominating our president,” he said.”

    Uh, scuse me, but you nominate CANDIDATES for President, Levin. Only a democrat could screw up a concept like that….

  • Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    Geez, why don’t they just nullify the earlier vote and run another one?? Shoulda done that weeks ago, it’s probably too late at this point.

    Either way, the civil war continues, as independents and McCain look on in fascination…

  • P Ingemi

    Since the super’s votes don’t actually count until the convention when they are actually cast Sen Obama will not have the nominnation until the convention.

    Sen. Clinton can argue that since some of her delegates flipped that it is possible that they and others will flip back. It is a valid point.

    The Clintons being the Clintons are going to give the party a choice, either try to win in 08 with her at the top of the ticket or lose and see her come back in ’12.

    I suspect that there will be a regular trickle of Obama tapes etc leading up to the convention, if not then they will be released near enough to the election to swing it to McCain.

    This is the result of the party choosing to use an unvetted candidate of the far left. If the party actually wanted a strong black candidate they would have nominated Harold Ford who is far superior on both the issues and on experience.

    But you get what you pay for.

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  • No Mr. Levin; YOU have an irrational way of picking nominees for your party.

  • syn

    “Astonishingly ignorant comment by Jarvis re Florida election, courts etc.
    This man is a J school graduate? Figures.”

    Yup and it’s the reason why Obama is now a Messiah and the Democratic Party is a complete fraud. And why TV people are an illusion created by useful idiots.

    Jeff Jarvis, why not just call yourself a member of the “Selected, Not Elected” Party and call it a day.

  • Jeesh, don’t you people read? I’m complaining about the Democrats choosing not electing. Make sure you have the right target before firing.

  • Eric Jaffa

    Matt S. –

    If Bush believed that a recount in certain precincts would have showed an undercount, then he could have asked the courts for relief.

    Gore asked for a recount where he believed a recount would show an original undercount for him.

    That is how lawsuits work: you ask a court for relief where you need it.

    If a dry cleaner ruins one shirt you gave him, you don’t sue the cleaners over other shirts which weren’t ruined.

  • Tim McDonald

    To Jon Ausman, the election of 1876 was not a case of Republicans stealing electoral votes from the Democrats, it was about Republicans selling the Negros back to the Southern Democrats in exchange for the presidency of Hayes.

    If you will recall, the deal was, Hayes got the Presidency, and reconstruction ended and the southern states could do whatever they wanted locally.

    We are still reaping that harvest, and the Democrats are as much to blame as the Republicans. And if I were black, I would be damned before I would vote for anyone in either party.

  • Jeremy C.

    If by some turn of events Obama does not win in November (unlikely at best), one of the most influential factors will have been unrelenting, fact-adverse Clinton supporters like YOU, Jeff. The disingenious arguments that this primary process has somehow been rendered illegitimate just because your favorite candidate didn’t win will be at the root of the blinded HRC supporters feeling like they have been “robbed” somehow.

    Keep putting it out there. Keep making the argument. The McSame presidency will be on YOU and completely the fault of your ilk. Somehow I doubt you will all recognize how terribly wrong you were and how sadly you’ve cut off your nose in spite of your face.

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  • John

    # Jeff Jarvis Says:
    June 2nd, 2008 at 10:22 am

    Jeesh, don’t you people read? I’m complaining about the Democrats choosing not electing. Make sure you have the right target before firing.

    Jeff, you set youself up for it by using an analogy that is as divisive for Republicans vs. Democrats as the current controversy is within the Democratic Party itself, and then expect all of your readers to accept it as a given, as if the March 2001 USA Today report or the September 2001 report from the New York Times and a consortium of other newspapers, showing Bush would have won virtually every possible recount method, never existed.

    With everything today readily available on the Internet, if you put a post up like that on a website with a comments section, it’s going to get commented on by people who disagree with the starting premise, even if they agree with your conclusion.

  • Asi Burak

    Agree with @Jeremy on the basic premise, although i would phrase it differently. The way the Clinton Campaign and her supporters are facing their defeat is disturbing. Perhaps the “American Way” dictates the formula of “win or nothing”, I still believe there is something about losing with dignity. So here is the story:

    – Hillary leads, she talks about the wonderful democratic process. She has no problem with the caucuses, super delegates nor the decision to punish Florida and Michigan. In fact, she agrees NOT TO CAMPAIGN in these states.

    – Hillary starts losing, she now shifts her focus to the super delegates, talks about those “experienced people in the party” that should have their say.

    – Hillary loses on super delegates. She now talks about the “popular vote”, a term and math that lives only in her campaign (all delegates minus caucuses). And of course- let’s get back Florida and Michigan where we agreed not to run but I happened to win. Worse- Obama’s name was not even on the ballot in Michigan.

    Yes, maybe the system is broken. Yes, maybe the Dems can come up with a better solution. But let’s do it in 4 years, or if we have a problem let’s change the system beforehand. To lose and claim the rules are broken is … (fill in the adjective).

  • Dave S.

    “To lose and claim the rules are broken is … (fill in the adjective).”


  • Paul Evans

    Reading across the blog-sphere there seems to be a growing notion that HRC intends to try and hold the Democratic party hostage. If she doesn’t get the nod then she will work her darndest to ensure Obama loses the general election. That will have the two-fold benefit of being a national “I told you so,” as well as (at least in her mind) putting her first in line for the 2012 race.

    Of course, that makes a complete lie of her contention she is in this for the benefit of the country. If she disagrees with the Bush policies that McCain intends to perpetuate (like execution of the war in Iraq) then she should be willing to sacrifice her own ambitions for such a cause. Purely on Democratic terms, if she screws up the election and the fighting continues in Iraq for four more years (something she and Obama both claim to oppose) then she will be directly responsible for the death of every soldier and civilian from the inauguration forward.

    Personally, I don’t believe any of the candidates are in this for anything other than themselves. That is the true nature of our political system.

  • Congratulations to Senator Obama. I hope he can run the rest of the way without looking for daggers in his back from Hillary’s Camp.

    Good riddance to she AND Bill, though not necessarily in that order.

    Now, Senators, put some teeth into the Indian Civil Rights Act.

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  • MyPartToHelp

    Well, as a “Clinton Democrat” I have to say that her decision to leave her name on the ballot did not defy party rules. Party rules required “no campaigning” which neither did in MI. Keep in mind that eventually Obama took the same initiative by placing his name on FL ballot. Moreover, my Dad has VHS footage of Obama airing TV ads in FL, which is clearly against DNC mandate not to campaign there. So who “circumvents the system” after all.

    I respect Obama’s strategy efforts in this primary. But the nastiness we have shown one another defies all sense of ‘unity.’ Original Pechanga’s comments, above, for example, are a perfect example of why the party is divided. Original Pechanga, why are you attacking Hillary supporters? After all, you will need us come November.