Florida and Michigan are spoiled little brats
March 9, 2008 Leave a comment
Right off the bat, it is important to mention that I am not a fan of Florida. Most years I find myself rooting for hurricanes as they take aim on what Homer Simpson once called ‘America’s wang.’ I have nothing against Michigan, however.
This year, Florida and Michigan are acting like spoiled children who purposefully broke a toy and want a new one.
Late last year those two states voted to move their primaries ahead of every other state in an attempt to boost their own importance. It wasn’t enough that both play important roles in the fall, they wanted to be first.
The parties, looking at the already front-loaded schedule and the lateness of the attempt to leapfrog over everyone else, made the right decision and told the states that it would not be allowed and there would be consequences for their actions.
But Michigan and Florida threw a big ole tantrum and then not only took their balls and went home, they threw their balls onto the roof, moving their primaries to the front of the line, sticking their tongues out at the national parties and daring them to do something.
Now they want a new ball.
I am not a parent and even I know that this is a classic example of a petulant, naughty and needy child screaming for attention. The parties, in this case, actually did the right thing and punished the states, offering them a choice: you can move your primaries up, but we will not accept your delegates. The Republicans decided to accept half the delegates at their convention. The Dems stood their ground in an attempt to nip this sort of thing right in the bud before other states get the idea.
Well, Florida and Michigan made their choice and held their primaries early, forcing the Democratic Party to strip them of their delegates. It was, however, expected that there would be a candidate by the time the convention came around, at which time the delegations would be seated and would simply vote for the party favorite in the giant state roll call that makes up one night of coverage during the convention.
It’s intensely dull television, usually without surprise, but it is the purpose of the convention so we get to see it every time.
All of the major candidates agreed to not campaign in those two states and Obama removed his name from the ballot in Michigan. (So did Edwards. Hillary, however, even after agreeing that both states should not count, refused to remove her name from the ballot.) In Florida, all of the candidates were listed on the ballot, but with no campaigning in the state, the contest became one of name recognition, which in January meant an easy win for the woman with the golden name and 16 years in Washington: Clinton.
Once she won those two states and realized her opponent was pretty much kicking her ass everywhere else, Hillary changed her tune (again) and started to argue that Florida and Michigan should now count. It’s hard to imagine her advocating that if the results were different, so let’s not even pretend that this is some sort of philosophical argument. If it is, it is yet another example of poor initial judgment by Hillary Clinton, and she may know where in the White House that phone is ringing, but she better wait a few hours to answer it since she can’t seem to get a goddamn thing right on the first try – stretching all the way back to her 1993 health care plan and beyond and up through the Iraq war and just about everything she has done during this campaign…).
So the question remains about what to do with Florida and Michigan. Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean has tried to stand his ground, refusing the delegations because he recognizes the elections in those two states were unfair, name recognition contests. He has, however, raised the possibility of a “do-over” in which those states would find new ways to select delegates to be seated.
Ah, but that will cost money and who is to pay for that?
Which is where we come back to what to do with our petulant children, Florida and Michigan, who not only purposefully broke their own toys, but do not want to play for a replacement. Dean is refusing to pony up DNC money for new elections as well, which is exactly the right move. If these states want their delegates to count, they need to find a way to pay for new elections on their own.
And it needs to be fair. I am not a member of either political party and since I never vote in primary elections I always get a little pissed off when my tax money is used to help the parties select their nominee. Fuck that, why should my tax dollars be used for that? We got roads to fix and schools to fund. If the party wants to hold a primary – a step that is unnecessary to the election, but helpful to the parties – let them pay for it themselves.
The cost of new primary elections in Florida and Michigan should be borne by the state parties in those states. They decided to disobey the rules and must learn now there are consequences. Otherwise, what’s the point in having rules and why should any state obey party rules if disobeying them means free money to fix their broken toys?
I am not a parent, but I have seen enough to know that if you let some snot-nosed little brat get away with anything and everything they want when they are toddlers, it is impossible to break those habits and patterns and you will have terrible, horrible bastard teenagers who think the rules do not apply to them.
Florida and Michigan Democratic parties: this is YOUR problem. You brought this on yourself. It’s time to make a grown-up decision and take some responsibility for your actions.
Now stop throwing your little tantrum and either pay to fix this or shut the fuck up.