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Sun

03

Feb

2008

Florida: A Cheater's Best Friend
Sunday, 03 February 2008 00:22
by Stephen P. Pizzo

Some have described Hillary Clinton's brand of politics as "Bush-lite." Those who feel that way can find further confirmation in Florida — the very state where George W. Bush "finagled" his way into the presidency in 2000.

When the Bushies discovered they were not going to win playing by the rules, they changed the rules. Some would say they broke the rules. Others would say, "what's the diff?" Changing the rules in the heat of a close game is cheating, which is the same thing as breaking the rules.

Whatever, the end result back in 2000 was that the guy who actually won the popular vote, Al Gore, didn't get to claim his win. Instead the guy who failed to win the popular vote, George W. Bush, was installed into the presidency, not by voters, but by the Supreme Court.

The lesson was clearly not lost on presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton. When campaign rules she agreed to at the start of the race no longer served her, she decided to change those rules. And where better to pull such a stunt than in the perennially "confused" state of Florida.

Think back, for a moment, to when this primary began. The Democratic party of Florida moved it's primary up to January in violation of DNC rules. In return the national party stripped Florida of it's 210 delegates to the August Democratic Party nominating convention.

At the time this decision was made, each of the Democratic candidates, including Hillary Clinton, agreed to ignore the Florida primary. Florida could have it's primary anytime it wanted, but it's 210 Democratic Party delegates will not be recognized at the party's convention. In other words, no candidate would be able to count Florida delegates in the final count. (The same went for Michigan which also defied the party.)

None of the candidates had a problem with this — until Barack Obama began to catch fire and close in on Hillary Clinton. Suddenly, what had looked like an easy win for Clinton, turned into a real horse race. Obama's delegate count began closing in on Hillary Clinton's.

Then Obama trounced Clinton in South Carolina, after which Democratic party seniors, like Ted Kennedy, came out for Obama and more indicated they were leaning his way.

That's when Hillary Clinton decided it was time to tear a page from the Bush/Cheney playbook.  Since no Democrats had campaigned in Florida, Clinton was able to leverage her relationship with Florida's expatriate New Yorkers for an easy win.  Coming, as it did, at a moment where events were trending away from her and towards Obama, Clinton decided it was time for a rule change:
Clinton alone in push for Florida delegates
Times Political Editor - Published January 26, 2008

Trying to ramp up the importance of Florida's Democratic presidential primary, Hillary Clinton on Friday called for her Democratic rivals to join her in helping get Florida delegates seated for the national convention.... "I hear all the time from people in Florida and Michigan that they want their voices heard in selecting the Democratic nominee," the New York senator said in a statement. "I believe our nominee will need the enthusiastic support of Democrats in these states to win the general election, and so I will ask my Democratic convention delegates to support seating the delegations from Florida and Michigan." (Full)
Just as Neo-con Republicans rallied to Bush's side in the 2000 Florida fight, old-line machine Democrats jumped in to back up their candidate
Sen. Bill Nelson, who some Democrats expect to endorse Clinton Tuesday, praised her statement, called on other Democrats to follow her lead, and declared in a statement, "All the talk about Florida's Democratic Primary being meaningless is absurd....Many observers expect the eventual nominee will push to reinstate the delegates at the convention."
So there you have it. Hillary Clinton explicitly preparing the ground for a Bush-like Florida-powered coup. Those 210 Florida delegates would be more than enough to tip the balance in what is shaping up to be a neck to neck race to the August convention. And, since Clinton "won" the Florida non-primary, she'd get the lion's share of those delegates if the party caves and certifies them, as Clinton is demanding. 

If Clinton prevails she would have cheated herself to the party nomination, just as Bush cheated his way into the presidency. And that would not be "Bush-lite" at all. It would be more like "Bush-heavy," a repeat of the Bush/Cheney campaign's 2000 Florida coup.
Memo to Howard Dean:

Howard — please listen very carefully. If the Democratic Party allows Hillary Clinton to get away with reseating the Florida and Michigan delegates then I — and I suspect tens of millions of other already unhappy Democrats — will be done with the Democratic party — this time for good.

You're already on shaky ground, amigo. We put you guys back in power last year and you've accomplished nothing. The war rages on, the economy is tanking, we still don't have a sane (or even humane) health care system, our country is now listed among those that employ torture, we are still being spied on by our own government and Democrats haven't impeached executive branch officials provably guilty of "high crimes and misdemeanors.

In short, you're already on thin ice. Put the fix in now for Hillary Clinton by reseating those delegates and that'll be the final straw for millions of us.

Think we're kidding? Think again.
 
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