Saturday, May 31, 2008

Drama at DNC, Ickes Antagonist


Yeah, I'm a political geek and am home watching the Rules Committee hearing.

Wexler is the grandson of the man who played an instrumental role in 1928 Democratic Convention. (I'm still researching, but I think the chair noted that his grandfather gave a nickname to Al Smith, the nominee who ran against Hoover). Roosevelt is the chair. So there's some old history in that room.

There was just a riveting exchange between Harold Ickes (who is on the committee and is Hillary's delegate guru) and Rep. Robert Wexler who is representing the Obama campaign. Wexler is a FL Congressman, with moral authority - he has found hard for FL votes to count since 2000, in the FL legistlature, FL courts, and before the DNC). Wexler can hardly be accused of disenfranchising FL voters. The man has been a champion. And he's a great lawyer.

In addition to the dramatic concession announcement, there was this exchange - gosh it was fun television -
ICKES: I thought useful to note that 4 years ago when there was a full blown, hotly contested multi-million dollar primary , 750,000 people voted.

My question is as follows, you referred in your remarks in connection to the Ausman petition that it was a concession and you referred to the number 19. And my question of you is what concession is being made and you imply that a different standard perhaps should be used.

WEXLER: First point, Mr. Ickes, and you know as well as I, if you're referring to the presidential primary of 2004 with respect to Senator Kerry, by the time Florida voted in March, Senator Kerry effectively was the presumptive nominee. There was no contest like there has been this year.

With respect to the second part of your question, we could not be clearer, we support the Ausman petition. That is the petition that you have before you.

Also what could not be clearer is that you have the power to partition and determine those delegates. What we are saying is that up to the number of 19 which is the maximum amount allowable under the Ausman petition and under your rules. We, the Obama campaign, will support that effort. And we do so, we do so, in an effort of unity.

Why, Mr. Ickes, is it a significant concession? Because in the state of Ohio and in the state of Pennsylvania together, Sen. Clinton won a total of 19 delegates. And here we are today offering a resolution that brings Florida voters together that actually amounts to both victories in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Let us unify! Let us move on!

ICKES: I gather you do agree with the concept of "fair reflection" under our rules?

WEXLER: The concept of "fair reflection?" Mr. Ickes, you'll have to educate me on what the concept of "fair reflection" is?

CHAIR: We will turn to Ralph Dawson for the next question.

WEXLER: Did Mr. Ickes not respond?

ICKES: He chose not to speak further.
And then Sen. Carl Levin - whom I like, went up for Michigan where 600,000 Democrats voted. He elucidated how and why Michigan went early, talking about the work of the commission that set up the primary schedule, and emphasized the sequence of those first four (New Hampshire was not supposed to go 2nd). Here when he says we, he means the Michigan Democratic Party. Just to be clear Ickes, for the Clinton campaign, is arguing that Obama should get NO delegates out of Michigan.
LEVIN: Let me see if I can remember your 1st, 2nd and 3rd questions, though. You're calling for a fair reflection of a flawed primary. And what we're trying to do is to keep a party together so we can win a critical state in November.

And let me tell you, the precedent that we set, it seems to me, is a good precedent if circumstances like this ever exist again, where you have this kind of a primary, where you've got 2 candidates still standing, one of whom was on the ballot and one of whom wasn't. It's an unusual circumstance. And so, we take everything into consideration.

I mean you can't say that a ballot, where you've one candidate named and the other candidate not on the ballot, should be reflected. That's not, it seems to us, appropriate. And so we look...what we have done, it seems to me, is what all of you would want us to do, which is get Obama supporters and Clinton supporters on the executive committee and say folks, and talk to the campaigns...Now the question is how do you have a fair reflection of a flawed primary. That's the question. We faced it. We faced it. We tried to get another primary. Couldn't get it. You're going to face it. You're going to hear from two representatives in a we tried to take a position which recognizes that there is some validity to both arguments. And there is validity to both arguments. And that's what we tried to do, to unify our party. Don't dis-unify us. Keep us unified!
UPDATE: Real Clear Politics assembled a brief brief on the real meaning (and the Ickes' meaning) of "fair reflection."

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