A firestorm of leftwing outrage erupted on Friday on the heels of an announcement by the Hillary Clinton campaign that morning that she now wants the Michigan and Florida Democrat delegates to be seated at the convention this summer despite the fact that those delegates had been stripped by the DNC because those states had moved their primary dates up:
I hear all the time from people in Florida and Michigan that they want their voices heard in selecting the Democratic nominee.
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. I know not all of my delegates will do so and I fully respect that decision. But I hope to be President of all 50 states and U.S. territories, and that we have all 50 states represented and counted at the Democratic convention.
I hope my fellow potential nominees will join me in this.
I will of course be following the no-campaigning pledge that I signed, and expect others will as well.
It wasn't long before the leftwing blogosphere erupted in outrage over Hillary Clinton attempting to change the rules for her own benefit. That same day, Ezra Klein at the American prospect angrily declared:
This is the sort of decision that has the potential to tear the party apart. In an attempt to retain some control over the process and keep the various states from accelerating their primaries into last Summer, the Democratic National Committee warned Michigan and Florida that if they insisted on advancing their primary debates, their delegates wouldn't be seated and the campaigns would be asked not to participate in their primaries. This was agreed to by all parties (save, of course, the states themselves).
With no one campaigning, Clinton, of course, won Michigan -- she was the only Democrat to be on the ballot, as I understand it, which is testament to the other campaign's beliefs that the contest wouldn't count -- and will likely win Florida. And because the race for delegates is likely to be close, she wants those wins to matter. So she's fighting the DNC's decision, and asking her delegates -- those she's already won, and those she will win -- to overturn it at the convention. She's doing so right before Florida, to intensify her good press in the state, where Obama is also on the ballot. And since this is a complicated, internal-party matter that sounds weird to those not versed in it (of course Michigan and Florida should count!), she's adding a public challenge that, if the other Democrats deny, will make them seem anti-Michigan and Florida.
But if this pushes her over the edge, the Obama camp, and their supporters, really will feel that she stole her victory. They didn't contest those states because they weren't going to count, not because they were so committed to the DNC's procedural arguments that they were willing to sacrifice dozens of delegates to support it. It's as hard as hardball gets, and the end could be unimaginably acrimonious. Imagine if African-American voters feel the rules were changed to prevent Obama's victory, if young voters feel the delegate counts were shifted to block their candidate.
Ezra Klein's anger over this attempted delegate grab by Hillary was echoed by Josh Marshall at Talk Points Memo:
The Clinton camp is just pushing to seat these delegates now because the contingencies of the moment mean that the decision would favor Hillary. She was the only one whose name was on the ballot in Michigan, thus insuring her win. She has a wide lead in every Florida poll taken this month.
Even Michigan was a matter of her basically pulling a fast one on the other candidates by not taking her name off the ballot. Each of the major candidates signed a pledge not to "campaign or participate" in any primary or caucus prior to Feb. 5th except for Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. The other major candidates adopted what seems like the only reasonable interpretation of the pledge and pulled their names from the ballot.
But then Hillary didn't, thus in essence guaranteeing her win in Michigan.
So with all this outrage on the left, you would think that the mainstream media would take note of it? Wrong. Although there has been some minor coverage in the MSM over Hillary attempting to change the delegate rules to favor her, there has been no indication so far of the firestorm on the left this has caused. The biggest coverage of this so far is from Time but they neglected to mention the angry reaction on the left:
...On Friday, she issued a statement pledging to request that Florida and Michigan delegates be seated if she's the presumptive nominee going into the convention. "I believe our nominee will need the enthusiastic support of Democrats in these states to win the general election," she said. Even though the campaign is supposed to be abiding by its pledge to ignore the Sunshine State, soon after she suffered a humbling defeat to Obama in South Carolina Saturday, her husband was rallying the faithful at a rally in Missouri by saying that the campaign was now moving onto Super Tuesday states, and notably, Florida as well. Clinton's stance on the delegates, not surprisingly, is not exactly an act of courage, or for that matter, principle: As the only major Democrat who didn't remove her name from the ballot, she easily won Michigan, and she leads Obama by more than 20 points in most Florida voter polls; if she's the presumptive nominee, welcoming Florida's delegates to the convention will simply pad her victory margin...
Although the outrage this Clinton ploy has caused in the leftwing blogosphere has been ignored to this point by the MSM, you can get a sense of their anger by some of the comments posted on this topic at the Daily Kos:
The Clintons have to go. They are polarizing, shameless and just don't care except their own behind. They even game their own party's rule even if it destroys everything.
They are outrageous! And they are foreclosing on our future! Yes, IF she wins the nomination AND gets elected, the Rethugs are right back in it. But it's unlikely to get even that far as she'd likely lose the General in an election that really should be ours. The Clintons will ruin the party, further damage the Country because of their fetid, overblown egos.
It's shameful, however that Hillary agreed to these rules, yet now that she's "won" one state, and is likely to take the other as well, she wants the rules changed all of a sudden. Typical Clintonian divisiveness.
Hillary left her name on the ballot because she planned to do this all along. She puts herself above the party, which should come as a surprise to exactly no one at this point.
No lie or cheating is beneath the Clintons in the pursuit of their own power.
You can see a compendium of angry Daily Kos postings on this topic at the DUmmie FUnnies. Meanwhile one wonders if the MSM will get a clue as to the incredible outrage this is causing on the web.