Monday, August 04, 2008

Does Your Mother Know?

ABBA-maniacs will appreciate today's Song of the Day here in Roxie's World, which goes out to Donna Brazile. Why? Well, it's not like you ever need an excuse for sending a song out to a hard-working tough girl like Donna, but sit down, take off your disco boots, and we'll tell you the back story.

Here's what Roxie's World was saying on May 30, 2008, on the eve of the meeting of the Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee. The meeting was convened to resolve the problem of Michigan and Florida, which had held primaries earlier than the dates set by party rules and had thus been stripped of their delegates to the convention:

(Which, by the way, is pretty much what Hillary Clinton was saying, all the way back in January.)

And here's what RBC member, superdelegate, Obamaniac, and media whore Donna B. had to say at that meeting as she helped engineer a deal that would seat half of each state's delegates and award MI delegates to Barack Obama when his name did not even appear on the ballot in that state:
My momma taught me to play by the rules and respect those rules. My mother taught me, and I'm sure your mother taught you, that when you decide to change the rules, middle of the game, end of the game, that is referred to as cheatin.'
(Text of the quote is here. Vid is here, and Donna pulls out the Momma card about 2:50 into the clip.)

And now, in one of the biggest "Never Minds" the world has seen since Saturday Night Live's Emily Litella tragically disappeared from the cultural scene, Senator "Change You Can't Keep Up With" Obama has announced that Michigan and Florida should not get spanked by Momma after all. Here's the full report on the latest flip-flop from the Obama campaign from the New York Times' "The Caucus" blog:
It seems like another lifetime ago, but remember all the fuss about Michigan and Florida?

After those states held their primaries in violation of Democratic Party rules, the party cracked down on them and said their delegates would not have a voice at the national convention in Denver. Then in May, the rules committee agreed to let their delegates have half a vote each.

Now Senator Barack Obama, the party’s presumptive nominee, has asked the credentials committee to let the two states have full voting rights at the convention after all.

The request is likely to be granted since it comes from the all-but-certain nominee, who now controls the party apparatus.

The move was not unexpected. No nominee could afford to alienate the delegates, and voters, from two such important states.

Moreover, Mr. Obama had essentially promised the two states that he would seek to restore their full voting strength, as we wrote on June 2 after the rules committee restored only half a vote to each of the states’ delegates.

Why would their voting strength matter when it is clear who the nominee will be?

Because, as Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, said at the time, party conventions do more than pick a nominee; they also begin to establish the framework for the primary calendar in the next presidential election. And Michigan, for one, has been trying for years to topple Iowa and New Hampshire from their first-in-the-nation voting perches. Having full votes at the convention will give Michigan more power to pursue that agenda.

At the same time, Mr. Obama’s “request” to restore full voting strength to Florida and Michigan is likely to cause heartburn for party officials, who have struggled to maintain some authority over the primary calendar.

By granting Mr. Obama’s request, the party will essentially be giving a green light to other states to ignore the calendar next time because there will be no consequences.

The credentials committee is to meet Aug. 24, the day before the convention begins in Denver, to determine who will be seated.

In a letter today to committee officials, Mr. Obama asked that a resolution be passed to entitle each delegate from Florida and Michigan to cast a full vote.

The party must be united in the fall, he said, adding, “To that end, Democrats in Florida and Michigan must know that they are full partners and colleagues in our historic mission to reshape Washington and lead our country in a new direction.”

The party sent back a noncommittal response noting that it had received Mr. Obama’s request.

“We deeply appreciate and value Senator Obama’s perspective on this important issue,” the Democratic National Committee said in a statement. “This matter will be the top priority for the credentials committee when we meet on August 24th. As always our goal is to ensure a fair process and a unified Democratic Party so that we can win in November.”

The status of the two states was an explosive issue throughout much of the primary season. Back then, the Obama camp was on the other side, arguing that the two states broke the rules by moving up their primaries and should be punished.

His chief rival, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, had received more votes in both states but Mr. Obama had taken his name off the ballot in Michigan, and neither campaigned in Florida.

Mrs. Clinton had campaigned fiercely for the delegates in Florida and Michigan to be given full voting status, hoping this would legitimize their primaries, which in turn might bolster her argument that she had won more popular votes than Mr. Obama. Still, she trailed him in delegates, which is the standard by which the nominee is chosen.

The whole subject remains a sore point with some Clinton supporters. But Mr. Obama’s letter today seems timed to try to minimize any damage, coming almost two months after Mrs. Clinton threw her support to him and after it appears unlikely that she will be his choice for vice president.

Later in the day, Mrs. Clinton urged the party to grant Mr. Obama’s request to restore full voting rights for Michigan and Florida. Here is her statement:

During the campaign, I strongly advocated for the Democratic Party to seat the Florida and Michigan delegation with their full votes. The Democratic Party has always stood up for the principle of counting every person’s vote. Today, Senator Obama has requested that the Credentials Committee give Florida and Michigan delegates their full votes. This is the right position for the Democratic Party and for the country and I urge the Credentials Committee to restore full votes to Florida and Michigan delegates.

No word from Donna today on what her momma thinks about this latest adjustment in the rules from the Obama camp. Should we call it Change That Suits His Interests? Change That Has Us Heaving? Change That Is Making It Harder With Each Passing Day for Us to Imagine We'll Be Able to Cast a Vote for This Slippery, Hypocritical, Not-Really-Pro-Choice, Not-Really-Anti-War Candidate? Yeah, we think we'll go with that, even if my typist will complain bitterly about its length.

Meantime, just in case Donna and her momma have both changed their tunes on the importance of sticking by agreed-upon rules, we offer up another classic pop tribute to maternal wisdom from the inimitable Captain and Tennille. This one, of course, emphasizes the importance of keeping your options open, of getting what you want, of sizing up and seizing good opportunities. Sing it with us, pretty boys and broad-shouldered girls. You know Momma hates it when you don't sing along:

Update: Momma orders you to go read Bob Somerby, immediately, on the subject of the self-destructive ludicrousness of the left's insistence last week that McCain's celebrity ad and the right's caricature of Obama as arrogant and presumptuous was "all about race" when, in fact, the right has been caricaturing white Democratic candidates in exactly the same terms for decades. It's a longer, smarter version of the case we were making here the other day. He even takes up Digby's notion of dog whistles. Go. Read it. Now. I'm sure your mother taught you to listen to Momma.


  1. So Rox,

    Love the post: Does your Mama know, Donna, indeed? And what DO you think Senator Obama means when he urges the DNC to seat the Florida and Michigan delegations in full? Does he mean to seat them after they Michigan delegates have been reprogrammed to vote for him even though he wasn't on the ballot (and isn't there something about pledged delegates having to vote for whom they voted for in the primary itself?).

    I'll confess that I can't figure out what this latest reversal means, coming on the heels of "I'm for perpetual war after all, let's go after Afghanistan" (with no acknowledgment that Afghanistan is, er, rather complicated and it's Bush-like to paint them all as enemies) and "oh, darn it, I didn't really mean that we shouldn't do some off-shore drilling," and with the FISA vote as a not-so-distant memory. All I'm sure of is that he's trying to appease voters whose ballot boxes he was willing to pick, now that those boxes have been picked. So does seating in full mean seating the delegation that represents who actually voted during the primary, or. . . .

    The Captain and Tennille: nice touch, Rox.
    Your Goose

  2. Anonymous11:21 AM EDT

    A good read and a fun post, Rox!!

    On Hillary Clinton and Emily Litella -- There was a 500 guest party in NYC at the Mayor's Mansion last night to welcome Hillary Clinton home -- right in synch with your Emily Litella mention, Rox, guests included Saturday Night Live's ex-host Chevy Chase and the cast of "Hair." And I betcha it would have included the first Emily Litella, New Yorker Gilda Radner, had she not died so young ))-:

    There's a brief article in the New York Daily News this morning. It says:

    "Bloomberg joked that the idea for the party came to him in the middle of the night.

    "I jumped out of bed and decided to call her. It was 3 a.m., and wouldn't you know it, she picked up the phone," joked Bloomberg, referring to one of Clinton's campaign pledges."

    CSLA AKA RA, soon to be EI
    (new blog linked here, under construction)

  3. LOVE your new blog name, commenter formerly known as Rutgers Alumna! Eden is FULL of innuendo, according to the person in our house who wrote a book called Rowing in Eden. ;-)

    And I am very glad to hear that Senator Clinton was given a properly grand welcome back to NYC, complete w/ SNL vets and the mayor. That is news that warms the heart. Hillary for gov!

  4. Anonymous10:15 AM EDT

    Roxie, that wonderful, empowering key, which the author of ROWING IN EDEN pronounced, that "Eden is filled with innuendo," is unexpected! And yet, if you look at so many of Dickinson's letters and poems, they really are a continuous and fearless gloss on the idea of Eden and its innumerable possibilities.

    The singular poem where Dickinson uses that phrase says that "Eden's innuendo" is our fear of death, or our lack of courage in facing into the question of the soul's immortality. The poem would seem to be a poetic summation of the introduction in Thomas W. Higginson's "The Results of Spiritualism," 1859, where he says:

    "The instincts never doubt immortality. Among simple races, as the American Indians, we never find a trace of distrust. The doubt comes with speculative thought and goes with higher thought."

    Dickinson says:

    Not seeing, still we know --
    Not knowing, guess --
    Not guessing, smile and hide
    And half caress --

    And quake -- and turn away,
    Seraphic fear --
    Is Eden's innuendo
    "If you dare"?

    Thanks Moose and Goose! for your encouragement!
    Love you,
    xxoo, ei

  5. ei,

    LOVE both of your comments. What a pleasure to tune in here at the end of a long day (much of which was spent at the dentist: yuk!) and find these. You're absolutely right about the Higginson reference, ei, or at least that's what I think! (Well, and it's true that such thinking was very much in the air surrounding both of them, although often with quite a bit of rigidity, which neither his statement nor her poem suggest.)

    ei, spread wide your narrow hands to gather paradise -- that's what we do here in Roxie's World and that's how Emily & Susan made Amherst heaven on earth.

    Peace & love,

    Amen, Sisters. . . .


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