And now we've come full circle. The Democratic Party's Rules and Bylaws Committee will apparently hear challenges from both Michigan and Florida late next month about the severity of the full delegation penalty handed down last fall (by the same committee!). [Sometimes you just have to love the democracy of the Democrats.] I've said numerous times that I thought the party would eventually, and quietly, return to the original rules that stripped any state holding a nominating contest prior to February 5 half its delegates. Of course, nothing has been quiet in this race, so hopes of that happening were nothing more than a pipe dream for the DNC.
This is the same rule/sanction the Republicans have as well and it has been triggered this cycle by all the pre-Feb. 5 states that allocated any delegates to the convention. That includes New Hampshire. The only early states that skirted the GOP sanctions were Iowa and Nevada because the first stage of their caucuses did not award any delegates directly to the national convention. Of course, this fact has escape the media in the midst of all the ballyhoo over Florida and Michigan for the Democrats. Mind you, McCain is still the nominee whether those delegates are counted or not, and it may not be a story as a result. Still though, you'd think you'd hear mention of it in passing at least.
So now the Democrats are thinking of reversing course on their decision to make an example of Florida. Well, that example didn't work so they had to make one of Michigan too. And with that the seeds of the current catastrophe were sown. And they may go back on that decision and revert to the original penalty? Didn't the Democrats deal poorly with the flip-flop moniker in 2004? Now the national party is coming back for more. This seems more than fair though. The national party is penalized because it went too far in punishing both states and the original violators pay the price for their transgressions as well. No, the state parties don't get off that easily either.
The question now is, how does this affect the delegate counting? It surely is a blow to the Clinton folks, who are trying desperately to get the delegate margin as low as possible so they can make a solid argument to the uncommitted superdelegates. I'm also curious to see if this sanction applies to the popular vote as well. With all of the Clinton campaign's estimating of the popular vote lately, this is a question I'd like answered (if only in jest). Perhaps I could get a ruling from the Rules and Bylaws Committee. Nah, probably not.
**One interesting tidbit from that MSNBC link at the top is that the Rules and Bylaws Committee has jurisdiction over this issue until June 29 when it then passes over to the Credentials Committee. June 29 is awfully close to the July 1 deadline Howard Dean imposed for dealing with the Florida/Michigan/nomination question. Coincidence? I think not.