To widespread jeers and boos that demonstrates the deep divisions within the party, the Democratic National Committee approves a deal that seats the full delegations from the disputed Florida and Michigan primaries with half a vote each.
The hearings were publicized in a contentious meeting of the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee, but, the deal was reached after the members met for three hours behind closed doors. (Talk Left live blogs hearings here, here and here.) The "compromise" was voted on publicly in a raucous session. The RBC unanimously agreed to seat the Florida delegation based on the outcome of the January primary, "with 105 pledged delegates for Hillary Clinton and 67 for Barack Obama, but with each delegate getting half a vote as a penalty."
The sticking point was Michigan, where Obama, John Edwards and Bill Richardson removed their names from the ballot. Clinton's camp insisted Obama should not have received any pledged delegates and wanted 73 pledged delegates with 55 uncommitted who were free to vote for Obama. The Obama camp insisted the only "fair" solution was to split the pledged delegates in half between the two campaigns, with 64 apiece.
After the jump, more on the "compromise".
The RBC agreed on a "compromise" offered by Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) and the Michigan Democratic Party that splits the difference, giving Clinton 69 delegates and Obama 59. Each delegate would get one half vote at the Denver convention. "Compromise"? Or vote theft?
"There's been a lot of talk about party unity," says Clinton strategist Harold Ickes, a member of the RBC. "Let's all come together, and put our arms around each other. I submit to you ladies and gentlemen, hijacking four delegates ... is not a good way to start down the path of party unity."
Meanwhile, the hundreds of outraged protesters inside the meeting and the thousands outside are surely an ominous sign for "party unity."
Pro-Obama legal blogger Big Tent Democrat at Talk Left asks the obvious. Since Obama is more than likely to become the nominee, why even fight over the Michigan delegation? "That was not going to threaten his nomination. And it would have unified the Party. It would have been a wonderful gesture to the Clinton Wing of the Party. It would have shut everyone up when he wins the nomination. What did Obama do instead? He fought to take 4 delegates from Clinton in Michigan. For what? To piss off every Clinton supporter and keep the Party divided? All over 4 measly delegates? Incredible."
So much for the "Democratic" Party's dedication to "counting every vote." Now they're counting some votes by one-half, stealing votes from candidates and randomly allocating votes to opponents. Silly voters. Always getting in the way ...