This weekend’s meeting of the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee will be full of theater. Each campaign must publicly make its case for why Florida's and Michigan’s delegations should or should not be seated, and the committee’s 30 members must deliberate. Clinton supporters will be protesting . But the most intriguing performance will come from RBC member and Clinton delegate guru Harold Ickes, who voted last August to strip Florida of all its delegates but is now pushing to reinstate them.
That may sound like some tough logical gymnastics, but Ickes is a gold medalist when it comes to this stuff. Here’s a quick chronology of his past statements, starting with his justification for stripping the states of their delegations. (Pardon the long quotes — the man can talk.):
" I think this whole system [the primary calendar] is goofy. It's all out of kilter. I think we start way too early."
— Aug. 26, 2007
"I was not acting as an agent of Mrs. Clinton. … I voted as a member of the Democratic National Committee. Those were our rules and I felt I had an obligation to enforce them."
"[W]e think that the Florida vote was fair and square. And the Obama campaign whining about the fact that it wasn't fair when they, in fact -- when he, in fact, broke the pledge that his campaign signed by actually campaigning in Florida , you know, rings high. I don't think any objective observer who looked at that result, in which a million more Democrats came out to vote in this presidential preference compared to 2004, can argue with even a semblance of a straight face that that was not a fair contest and that those results reflect the will of the Democrats who participated. Senator Obama just didn't like the results. I suggest that had the results been just the opposite, he would be rushing to the forefront to try to seat those delegations, and if not, arguing for a redo."
— March 25, 2008
"We decided to invoke a full stripping of the delegates from those two states to send a very strong signal to other states that if they broke the window, there would be very severe consequences. We think that that signal was received, listened to, no other state broke the window, and it is it is now time as practical political people with very much at stake in deciding our nomination and in winning the general election and in winning the White House … we ought to now turn our attention to that. …
"These states have in fact been punished. They didn’t have primaries run in them. They didn’t have full fledged campaigns run in them. … Some people can disagree on that, but the fact is punishment was imposed by virtue of not running the primaries there. The lessons were learned and it’s now time for us to turn our attention to the general election and make sure that these states—that we do everything to make sure these states are in the Democratic column.
"One million more people participated in that state’s primary than in the prior 40 years. People came out in droves. People knew who they wanted to vote for, they knew why they were voting."
— May 22, 2008
So first it was about fixing the calendar; then it was about enforcing the rules; then it was about record turnout, Obama breaking the rules (which is debatable ), and winning the general election. Next it will be about the deliciousness of Tropicana orange juice.
Set your TiVos to C-SPAN.