The Famous DNC "Waivers" For the 4 Early States
The defense you will hear to my strict DNC rules argument is that the early states received "waivers." In fact, they did not until AFTER they had scheduled their primaries in violation of DNC Rule 11, which was never formally amended. According to the DNC Memo of today, this makes these "waivers" against the DNC Rules. But worse than that, there is nothing in the circumstances of those waivers that are in any way different from the Florida situation. In short, the rules are rules for the DNC, except when they are not. Wayne Barrett told the story well: [More...]
The national party had tried - before New Hampshire's case wound up on its docket - to leave the impression that zero tolerance was automatic once violations of the schedule occur. Back in June, a DNC spokeswoman, for example, told the Associated Press that neither Dean nor the Rules Committee "has the power to waive the rules for any state," explaining that "these rules can be changed only by the full DNC." Yet a few months later, on the same day that the Rules Committee stripped Michigan of its delegates, it waived the rules for New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina, each of which had also moved up their primaries.
(Emphasis supplied.) The DNC Memo issued today has no explanation for how this could possibly comply with the rules while it stands by its position that the RBC can not seat the full delegations for Florida and Michigan on May 31. Why can't a "waiver" be issued on May 31? This is an unanswerable question for the DNC.
Barrett further wrote:
Though Dawson and others on Rules [and Bylaws Committee] now say, as they did in recent interviews, that states whose contests were always scheduled before February 5 were free to shift dates without sanction, that's not what the delegate selection rules adopted in 2006 say. Those rules provided an automatic 50 percent loss of delegates for any state party that moved its contest to any day "prior to or after the dates" spelled out by the DNC.
And indeed, the DNC Memo now says that such waivers were not allowable. That is the problem with the DNC Memo. It puts Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina in violation of Rule 11. It is a position that simply is untenable.
And here from the horse's mouth, were the rules changing before our very eyes:
Rules powerhouse Donna Brazile said she would "grudgingly support the waiver," warning New Hampshire shortly before the December committee vote that "the days of 'privilege' may end soon."
Not only did "first-primary-or-die" New Hampshire switch from January 22 to January 8, it moved ahead of Nevada, whose January 19 caucus had been deliberately scheduled by the DNC to precede New Hampshire's. But New Hampshire's Democrats got a DNC waiver because their back was up against the wall, due to a decision by the South Carolina Republican Party to move its primary up to January 19.
But there was a good reason, SUPPOSEDLY, for allowing New Hampshire to move up, the Republicans in South Carolina had deliberately provoked a crisis. Sound familiar? Barrett writes:
The waiver was, in other words, a reasonable response to a Republican provocation. What's unclear is why one Republican provocation is more equal than another.
(Emphasis supplied.) Precisely! The stripping of Florida's delegates is simply unconscionable and unsupportable. The allowance of New Hampshire to move up inflamed Michigan who then also moved up their primary. To wit, this entire travesty was a result of Donna Brazile's incompetence and her inability to actually act consistently. There is no basis, none, for the DMC to hold to its position of not seating the Florida and Michigan delegations. Barrett again:
While the DNC implicitly challenged the "good faith" of the Democratic opposition to the Republican moves in Florida and Michigan, it seemed far less interested in gauging what New Hampshire Democrats were doing. The head of the South Carolina GOP actually traveled to Concord, New Hampshire, to announce the decision to move his state's primary up. He stood in the Executive Council chambers of the statehouse with Secretary of State William Gardner and Representative James Splaine, a Democrat who led the legislative efforts to protect the state's first-primary tradition.
Democratic governor John Lynch was at a funeral when the press conference occurred, but his spokesman said Lynch "has faith in Bill Gardner" and "supports whatever Bill decides." And Lynch, who had already derided the DNC decision to put Nevada ahead of New Hampshire, was clearly pleased that the acceleration of the South Carolina Republican primary date was giving Gardner all the justification he needed to squeeze back ahead of Nevada. New Hampshire officials even called the maneuver an "alliance" with South Carolina Republicans. Gardner promptly chose a new date 11 days before Nevada, defying the schedule that the DNC had issued.
But New Hampshire was granted the safe harbor waiver. There simply is no basis for what the DNC has done. It is outrageous, unfair and worst of all, political idiocy.
And, to borrow a phrase from Markos Moulitsas, a tale of intellectual dishonesty. Barrett writes:
The inconsistency on New Hampshire aside, DNC officials have come up with one other argument for why they were so tough on Michigan and Florida. Dean's spokesman Damien LaVera said in an email to Huffington Post that, despite the unmistakable references in the rules to testing the "good faith" of a state's "elected officials" and examining a state's "legislative" efforts, the DNC's rules "apply to a state party plan, not state legislatures or elected officials." LaVera insisted that the only standard their Rules Committee judges compliance by is what state parties do, and that the parties in Michigan and Florida had options other than the state-designated primaries.
But this makes no sense. The New Hampshire Democratic Party, the South Carolina Democratic Party and the Iowa Democratic Party all had the exact same options that Florida had but they were given waivers anyway.
In short, rules are rules, except when they are not. Donna Brazile has a lot to answer for. This disaster is entirely the fault of the DNC and the RBC in particular.
By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only
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