Tag: Florida 08

Seating Delegates Not Enough, Their Votes Must Count

I am completely unimpressed by Howard Dean's statement about seating the Florida delegates today.

Seating the delegates at the convention is not the same thing as allowing their votes to count in picking the party's nominee. Timing is everything. If the delegates aren't seated until the convention in August, it will be too late for them to have a role in choosing the nominee.

Dean isn't saying anything that wasn't said by the party initially -- the credentials or rules committee, at the request of the party nominee, can decide to to seat the delegates. As Florida Democratic Party Chair Karen Thurman said back in January, before the primary:

Florida's 210 delegates will be seated at the national convention in August. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, honorary chair of the convention; Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean; and former DNC Chairman Don Fowler of South Carolina have all said that, ultimately, the presidential nominee will decide who attends the convention.

Dean seems to be implying that absent an agreement between Hillary and Obama, the delegates won't get to vote because the decision will have to wait until we have a nominee who makes his or her desire known to the appropriate committee.

In order for Florida's 1.7 million votes to really count, the penalty needs to be lifted before the last primary in June. Otherwise, Floridians will have no say in choosing the Democratic nominee. The risk in not lifting the penalty in time for Floridians' votes to count is that they will desert the party in droves in November, either by not voting or by voting for McCain. Who could blame them?

Here's Hillary Clinton's statement about Dean's announcement today:

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