The spousal unit is off getting the ingredients for mojitos at the moment, and I'm reflecting on the events of the day. We followed the live blog of the meeting via TalkLeft (which appears to be crashing under server load at the moment - give it some time) plus Marc Ambinder's blogging of it. There are a lot of tea leaves at the bottom of the cup.
The 50% solution for Florida was disappointing, but not the worst that could happen. They still get added into the total votes needed, Hillary is able to formally count the popular vote there as part of her total, Floridians will support her in the fall and will punish Obama.
The solution for Michigan is thoroughly bad news for Obama. The state's popular vote is legitmated, allowing Hillary to claim it, the 50% penalty removes "teh rulz!" as a talking point weapon (as it does with Florida) (note to FITH Obama trolls - the rulz have officially changed so you can stfu now), and the squabble over a mere 4 pledged delegates indicates that they are worried about the delegate count, enough so that they would reassign votes to try to force their way through.
Speaking with my political scientist hat on, penalizing the states' delegations by reducing the impact of their votes may vex Clinton supporters, but it is within the powers of the DNC to do so. The reasons for the penalty (to tilt the win in favor of one candidate) and the context of the penalty (failing to penalize other states who committed similar infractions) and in the case of Florida, refusing to take into account the extentuating circumstances of Republican interference with the timing of the vote are elements that will provide grist for dozens if not hundreds of Poli. Sci. PhD dissertations in the years to come, but the power itself is within the charter of the organization and the appropriate committee(s).
Taking away delegates from Hillary and handing them to Obama, however, is not within their purview, and this will come back to bite them in the ass. First, as I said above, it indicates that the internal count of the Obama delegates is weaker than they claim. Four delegates should not make that big a difference, yet they obviously do even with the count reduced by the 50% rule. There is no other rational reason to force this misallocation for such a small number of delegates, given the blowback that will occur. Of course, given what we have seen of the Obama campaign, stupidity, arrogance and an inability to resist trying to humiliate an opponent are hallmarks of their operation. Whether or not Hillary can capitalize on this for the convention, rest assured that the Republicans will do so for the general election, even if Hillary is the nominee. The Party has deliberately reapportioned the outcome of an official and certified election. They may have had the power to deny seats to the resulting delegation at all, allow seats but no votes, allow votes but reduced by a percentage, or seat them with 100% voting privileges, but they do not have the power to modify the allocation of delegates within the delegation.
Doffing the poli sci hat, the joint announcement of the decsion of the RBC and of Obama's resignation from TUCC says put a fork in him, he's done. The question for me was whether he hoped the attention on the committee would keep people from noticing the church announcement (if yes, it failed), or whether the church announcement was a distraction from the committee announcement, which sounds more likely to me. Better a focus on the scandal which the campaign will try to spin as a strength, than on the committee hearings, which exposed to the full light of day the manipulation of delegates to favor a candidate in decline.
Blanchard was phenomenal in the hearings, and very clearly made the case that Obama had maneuvered himself out of delegate support in Michigan. Brazille looked and sounded like a mean-spirited jerk through the entire thing, Wexler was a buffoon, and someone must have gotten to the Obama contingent at lunch and told them how bad it looked for them. I hazard a guess that is why the meeting did not reconvene on time, though that is also when the TUCC announcement was made, so there are more explanations than outcomes.
The reason I am concerned about the battle over the four Michigan delegate votes is because there is no valid procedure for that reallocation, and alleged Democrat "vote fixing" is one of the Republicans' standard arguments against the Democrats. It is used to push through restrictive voter ID and onerous voter registration rules, and it is used as an excuse to purge voter rolls and install thugs at voting palces to "discourage voter fraud". It is used deliberately to undermine minority voting in Democratic districts, and the Republicans will gleefully seize on this one very egregious act of disenfranchisement to serve up a toxic mix of racism - see what happens when "those people" (i.e., non-whites, in this case AAs, but also applied to Hispanics and Asians) start calling the voting shots? They just rearrange things to promote one of "their own kind."
Why is this a really bad thing in the current election cycle? Because the new issue on the Republicans' radar is Affirmative Action. (Gee, I wonder why they picked that theme?) There will be state measures on the ballot in Colorado, Nebraska and Missouri, just to name a few states where Obama is allegedly competitive. Add this crude and blatent vote manipulation to the mix, and the Republicans now have a big campaign issue handed to them on a silver platter.
As for the TUCC decision, this is another example of Obama's bad judgment, wanting to have his cake and eat it, too. He wants to be considered a unifying figure, yet hang out with trash-talking divisive people who scorn the people whose votes will decide the election. When he finally has it shoved in his face that he can't have both, he jettisons the friends in a public way that does not resolve the issues that association raised in the first place. I'm not as incensed about the bullshit spewed by the various preachers at TUCC as other people are. I'm really not into beating people up for personal associations. The political deals cut with Rezko bother me far more. However, what matters here is the stupidity of thinking that these associations would not be made into political issues, and the lack of preparation in creating distance between himself and TUCC, Rezko or Ayers/Dohrn when it should have been done. Cynical? Sure, but accurate. It's the same way I look at Bill Clinton's affair with Lewinsky; that he had an affair is not my business, that he had one when he was under scrutiny and it damaged both him and the party sure as hell is my business.
The Obamacan faction of the party has made its decision today: it is more important to claim the nomination than to win in November. That is where their priorities lie. Hillary may or may not be able to convince enough super delegates to give her the nomination, but it is clear what the decision before the party is.
Do we retreat and allow the coup to roll on, or do we fight back for the future of the party?