Bloggers on the potential do-over for the Florida and Michigan primaries.

Bloggers on the potential do-over for the Florida and Michigan primaries.

Bloggers on the potential do-over for the Florida and Michigan primaries.

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
March 10 2008 5:04 PM

Who Wants a Do-Over?

Bloggers are sussing out the do-over scenarios for the Florida and Michigan primaries and bidding farewell to The Wire.

Who wants a do-over? Michigan and Florida wanted attention, but maybe not like this. The Democratic National Committee stripped both states of their convention delegates after they disobeyed DNC orders and scheduled early primaries. But with the race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama so tight, the party is now deciding whether to seat the delegates based on the primary results (Clinton won both states), exclude them, or have a do-over.

Rachael Larimore Rachael Larimore

Rachael Larimore is the online managing editor of the Weekly Standard and a former Slate senior editor.

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Some bloggers are confident that the DNC will take action. "In some way, shape, or form Michigan and Florida will undoubtedly have some type of primary redo," writes Nate at You Decide 2008. "In order to satisfy the voters and the state party organizations, they are going to have to figure out how to seat these delegates."

But Publius at Obsidian Wings thinks seating the delegates would leave many Democrats angry: "I would not accept a Clinton victory that depended on seating the Michigan and Florida delegates (assuming no re-vote, etc.). That's breaking the rules, pure and simple, and the Clinton campaign should understand in no uncertain terms that the 'nuclear strategy' will drive away supporters for the fall and leave lasting damage."

Kate Phillips at the New York Times' Caucus rounds up the chatter on the topic from the Sunday-morning talk shows and raises another possibility: "With or without the Florida and Michigan delegates, the specter of a brokered convention keeps getting raised as the Obama-Clinton supporters remain so deeply loyal to their candidate." Uh-oh. Brendan Nyhan journeys back to 1968—when Hubert Humphrey emerged as the nominee only to lose to Richard Nixon—to explain why a brokered convention might not work so well for the Democrats. "Humphrey drastically underperformed in 1968 relative to what we would expect given the state of the economy at the time (a result that is often attributed to Vietnam War deaths). We can't quantify what damage was done by the polarizing primary campaign, but it's hard to see how it would help. Democrats risk a similar scenario—a destructive primary campaign could turn a possible rout in November into a 50/50 coin flip a la 1968."

Party, schmarty. Bloggers are trying to figure out whether either candidate can benefit from the possible do-overs. At Talk Left, Big Tent Democrat thinks that with John Edwards out of the way, Clinton would do much better in the revotes, which could fuel her momentum. What would Obama get? Not much, but "it will help him in the general election in Michigan and Florida. I believe that if this is not done, he will have no chance in those two states. If Obama could build a plausible narrative for not counting Florida and Michigan, he would use it. But that train has left the station. He has no choice, imo, but to put a good face on it and fight like crazy to keep Hillary from winning big in both states."

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Conservative Allahpundit at Hot Air is scratching his head over Hillary's motivations. "All that's accomplished by the victories is to make her task of wooing superdels … marginally easier by reducing the number she'll need to convince to clinch the nomination. I've always assumed that party bigwigs will broker some kind of deal among the undecided superdelegates to vote en masse for one candidate or another—especially since the bulk of them are DNC apparatchiks—so even that very marginal improvement isn't hugely significant. So what's the big deal about the two states?" Indeed, the math doesn't get much better for Clinton, as Ron Levitt points out at the Huffington Post. "Because delegates are elected based on proportional Congressional district votes, Clinton only would be ahead of Obama by a handful of delegates in Florida. Most observers believe a redo of the election would have much the same results, at an unnecessary cost of 4 to 5 million dollars."

High Wire act: HBO's critically acclaimed drama The Wire ended Sunday night. Marlo returns to the streets, Michael is the new Omar, and scandal is brushed under the rug at both the local paper and the cop shop. Bloggers give it mixed reviews.

At Critical Mass, the culture blog of the Baltimore Sun (the same paper featured in a major storyline this season), David Zurawik is not impressed: "I could go on, and I suspect I just might in coming days. That's how astounded I am by the dramatic, sociological and intellectual emptiness of the finale of this once great and epic series. There was no poetry in this ending."

Andrew Golis of TPM Cafe says the Sun storyline failed because it wasn't as complex as some of the others that made the show famous. "Instead, we get a civic republican nostalgiafest. We get a Hero fighting Villains in a show that is supposed to be about the fact that neither really exist. The 'why' for this deep flaw is painfully obvious. David Simon spent 12 years as the kind of gritty, idealistic city reporter he glorifies. He left and turned to writing fiction for the very reasons he outlines in this season. The depth of his grudge against The Sun … left him unable to fit the media into his normally more nuanced world view."

At New York magazine's Vulture blog, Aileen Gallagher and Dan Kois analyze the series-ending montage. "The montage ends with a series of Baltimore citizens going about their day: parents with kids, junkies buying drugs, young men on bikes, city employees, whites, blacks, smiles, frowns. If you needed one last reminder that the true star of this show was not McNulty, or Omar, or even David Simon, but the city of Baltimore, then here you go."

Read more about The Wire. Slate's "TV Club" dialogue compares The Wire and The Sopranos finales and more.