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248 posts from May 2008

May 31, 2008

Shocker: Mahoney more upset than Wasserman Schultz

U.S. Rep. Tim Mahoney of Palm Beach Gardens, who has laid low during the Democratic primary and declined to take sides, had an unexpected outpouring of emotion tonight:

"I am disappointed by the DNC’s decision not to ratify the results of Florida’s primary election and seat the delegates as elected with full rights. The DNC's decision ignores the will of Florida Democrats who went to the polls in record numbers..."

In contrast, hardcore Hillary Clintonite U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston seemed surprisingly at peace with the resolution of the delegate dispute:

"While I am disappointed with the DNC Rules Committee’s decision to seat Florida’s delegation with a 50% penalty, I am pleased they agreed that Florida should have a delegation at the Democratic National Convention, based on the outcome of our primary on January 29th...The Democratic nominee should be selected by voters in all 50 states and this decision ensures that will happen.”

Hastings boycotting Democratic convention

At least one high-profile Florida Democrat is not ready to set aside the dispute with the national party: U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings of Miramar said he would skip the nominating convention in Denver.

Here's his statement, a dramatic commentary on the right to vote by a black congressman:

It is with reluctance and disappointment that I accept the DNC’s decision today.  I do so not because I agree with the decision but because it is time for us to move on and focus on winning in November.

I applaud Karen Thurman and the Florida Democratic Party, Robert Wexler, Bill Nelson and others who represented our state and the candidates for doing the best they could with a bad situation.

Florida Democrats have been serially abused and the DNC is the latest of offenders.  How the DNC has the authority to ignore the votes of ‘Jack and Jane Lunch Bucket’ is beyond my understanding. The insiders who actively sought to disillusion and disenfranchise the more than 1.75 million Florida Democrats who voted on January 29 give new meaning to collective arrogance.

The DNC’s decision today ignores the core principle of our great democracy: the right to vote.  I know that the 1.75 million Democrats who voted on January 29 count and don’t give a damn what the DNC rules pronounce.

Going to a party’s convention is a privilege. Courts have said that political parties have a right to make their rules.  In this case, the DNC has chosen to take away that privilege from people who I believe have earned the right to participate in the National Convention in Denver with a full vote.  As Americans, we should never insinuate or give vent to taking away the constitutional, time honored, died for, and cherished rights of voters from any state.  Yet that is what today’s decision has done to the people of
Florida and Michigan.

I suppose the DNC has the right to block Democrats in Florida from attending the National Convention.  They also have the right to be stupid, and stupid they are.

At the beginning of our great country’s history my ancestors were counted as only 2/3 of a person.  Until passage of the 15th Amendment in 1870, they weren’t allowed to vote. During that same time and until 1920, women could not vote.  White men who did not own property could not vote at one point in our history as well.   

Now, on May 31, 2008, a group of elitist insiders of the DNC have effectively said that some of my ancestors’ progeny equal only 1/2 and that men and women in Florida who voted on January 29th are 1/2 also.  For a Party which will crown its historic nominee on the 45th anniversary of Dr. King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, the DNC’s decision today is tragically ironic.

As a matter of protest, I do not intend to attend the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

Despite all of this, too much is at stake this November.  I refuse to allow those who have done me and my constituents wrong to stop us from taking back our country.  Together, we will do whatever it takes to increase our majority in the House and Senate and win the Presidency.

While I cannot speak for others, I do not intend to take any further legal action against the DNC.  If I believed that we could win, believe me, I would act and so would others.  But based on case history, it is an uphill battle screaming for a change in federal law.   

I will, however, spend enormous energy on convincing my colleagues in Congress that we must create a rotating regional Presidential primary system.  30 political insiders – nearly all of whom ain’t ever been elected to a damn thing in their lives – must never again have the ability to reject the will of and unilaterally disenfranchise 1.75 million voters.

This election is bigger than Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton.  It is certainly bigger than the DNC.  There are over 46 million Americans who are uninsured, gas and energy costs are spiraling out of control, America’s economy is faltering, and U.S. troops are dying nearly every day in Iraq and Afghanistan.  It will take the energy and resources of all of us to fix these problems and the others facing our nation.

As Florida voters have demonstrated time and time again, we will rise above those who have sought to silence our voices and vote big and win in November.

Obama: It's over. (Please let it be over)

"We're extremely gratified that the commission agreed on a fair solution that will allow Michigan and Florida to participate in the Convention. We appreciate their efforts, and those of the party leadership of both states, to bring this resolution about," said Obama campaign manager David Plouffe.

Clinton: It's not over until Michigan sings

From the Hillary Clinton campaign:

Today’s results are a victory for the people of Florida who will have a voice in selecting our Party’s nominee and will see its delegates seated at our party’s convention. The decision by the Rules and Bylaws Committee honors the votes that were cast by the people of Florida and allocates the delegates accordingly.

We strongly object to the Committee’s decision to undercut its own rules in seating Michigan’s delegates without reflecting the votes of the people of Michigan. The Committee awarded to Senator Obama not only the delegates won by Uncommitted, but four of the delegates won by Senator Clinton. This decision violates the bedrock principles of our democracy and our Party.

We reserve the right to challenge this decision before the Credentials Committee and appeal for a fair allocation of Michigan’s delegates that actually reflect the votes as they were cast.

Florida gets half votes at convention

Florida's four long months in the political wilderness are over: The state will get to vote at a history-making Democratic nominating convention, though the weight of Hillary Clinton's victory in the state's primary will be cut in half, under a compromise reached Saturday after a testy daylong hearing that belied party leaders' calls for unity.

Under the deal, every one of Florida's 211 delegates will go to the Democratic National convention in Denver in late August, though each delegate will get a half-vote. Clinton, who Florida's Jan. 29 primary, will net 19 more delegates than rival Barack Obama.

A 30-member panel of the Democratic National Committee voted to retreat from its decision last year to ignore Florida's vote. The earliest primary in state history flouted party rules aimed at discouraging states from jumping the gun.

The Clinton campaign will use Florida's new legitimacy to argue that her victory in the nation's largest battleground state makes her the stronger nominee. But the odds of her overtaking Obama's lead are long and her supporters in the audience at the hearing booed and jeered when a motion to fully restore Florida's votes failed.

More here.

Obama offers Clinton 19 Florida delegates

Representing the Barack Obama campaign, U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler urged the Democratic National Committee to seat half of the Florida delegates at the convention, yielding Hillary Clinton 19 delegates.

In the past, the Obama campaign has argued that the Florida primary was not a fair fight because the candidates did not campaign in the state. But now, on the threshold of the nomination, Obama is willing to accept her earning some delegates out of her victory on Jan. 29.

"Sen. Obama offers this concession to promote reconciliation with Florida voters,'' Wexler said.

Howard Dean's opening act

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean started off the meeting to reconsider Florida and Michigan's role in the nominating process with a media-bashing, party-boosting rant.

Perhaps in response to widespread criticism of Dean's lack of diplomacy and leadership in resolving the Democratic family fued, Dean lashed out at the "cynics...who are looking for conflict," and with regards to candidate Hillary Clinton, the "sexist comments -- particularly by members of the media.''

He commended the party for being ready to nominate its first African-American or female nominee and for turning out at the polls in record numbers.

And he advised the DNC rules committee to "respect" the voters of Florida and Michigan -- "They did not cause this problem'' -- and the candidates and 48 states who followed the rules.

CNN reporting live from...Davie!

Democratic National Committee member Diane Glasser, a longtime Broward County activist, is sitting in what appears to be an empty restaurant/bar in Davie being interviewed by a CNN reporter about the goings-on in Washington this morning over Florida and Michigan delegates.

"Wolf we're going to be here all day today, checking the pulse of Democrats,'' said reporter John Zarrella.

Hoo boy!

Florida women rally in Washington

From our McClatchy bureau's Steve Thomma:

Hundreds of people - most of them women and virtually all of them Hillary supporters - are protesting outside the hotel where the Democratic Party's Rules and Bylaws Committee will meet to decide the fate of convention delegates from Florida and Michigan.

"We voted. We want our votes counted," said Janet W. Larson, a Democrat from Jacksonville.

She was one of more than 100 Democrats from the Jacksonville area who rode two buses to Washington, arriving about 1 am after a 12-hour ride. They're waving signs proclaiming,  "We spoke loud and clear. Our voices must be heard."

She said she knew that Florida's primary violated party rules because it was too early. But she said Florida voters shouldn't be penalized.

"It's the politicians who did this," she said. "Not the voters."

Clinton beer-drinking scandal in Puerto Rico

Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton boasts widespread support in central Florida's thriving Puerto Rican community, and she is expected to win the island's primary tomorrow. But a couple community activists in Kissimmee pointed out that during a recent campaign stop, when she showed off the beer she was drinking, it was a Presidente -- a Dominican beer.

If only Clinton had demanded Medalla, she might be on her way to the White House.

Watch the video below and read more about Kissimmee's coveted Puerto Rican voters here.