[The scene opens two years ago in the summer of 2006.]So the Dems have returned to the original sanction. What now? Moving forward, it will be interesting to see whether the protesters yesterday were just a vocal minority or if they represent a sizable coalition of voters that could hand the general election to McCain. How long that sentiment is sustained will have a lot to do with how Hillary Clinton responds the proceedings from a day ago. If Harold Ickes remarks are indicative ("Hijacking four delegates..."), it could be a rough healing period. Of course, if hijacking four delegates makes it tough to start to party toward unity, I guess accusing the party of hijacking those delegates is just as bad.
RBC member 1: "Let's take half the delegates from any state that moves its primary ahead of February 5."
RBC member 2: "That sounds good."
[Fast forward to the late summer of 2007]
RBC member 1: "What? Florida moved? Let's make an example of them and take away all their delegates."
RBC member 4: "Yeah, they shouldn't have done that."
RBC member 2: "Don't we already have rule for that?"
RBC member 1: "Well yeah, but this will keep other states from moving."
RBC member 2: "Isn't Michigan's legislature exploring its options and considering a January 15 primary?"
RBC member 4: "Yeah but, see, if we punish Florida, Michigan won't go through with that."
RBC member 2: "If you say so."
[Later that fall...]
RBC member 1: "MICHIGAN MOVED! Now we'll have to take away all their delegates."
RBC member 2 (hesitantly): "I guess."
[Move ahead to the day after Super Tuesday...]
RBC member 1: "You're kidding. The nomination battle is close and those delegates from Florida and Michigan might actually mean something? And it might tear the party in two?"
RBC member 2: "Maybe we shouldn't have stripped them of all their delegates."
RBC member 4: "Nah, that's crazy talk. We had to do that."
RBC member 4: "Let's just do what the Republicans did and take half the delegates."
RBC member 3: "Wasn't that was our plan, too, before we stripped Florida and Michigan of all their delegates?"
RBC member 2: "Thank you. I've been saying that for months."
RBC member 1: "Hush up, you two! ...well, let's go with half."
RBC member 2: "Now all we've done is dangle this carrot in front of Clinton and her supporters for four months. And we just pulled the rug out from under them. We may have messed this thing up."
RBC member 1: "Eh, we'll be fine. Do you always always mix metaphors when you're worried?"
RBC member 2: "Only when we potentially blow the best shot we've had since 2004 to take back the White House."
RBC member 3: "Next on the agenda: the rules for 2012."
RBC member 4: "Well, the guy at Frontloading HQ says that reform will be difficult."
RBC member 1: "I say we take half of their...Hey, you read that crap!?!"
RBC member 2: "Now we're taking half again? What if some state actually violates this rule?"
RBC member 1: "That would never happen. ...but if it did we'd probably have to strip them of all their delegates to the convention."
RBC member 2: "I'm outta here. Does anyone know if Bloomberg is running in 2012?"
[fade to black]
Carl Levin's Statement to the Rules and Bylaws Committee
A Timeline of the Florida/Michigan Impasse
Will Kennedy's Diagnosis Hurt McCain?