Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Rules Committee

I've been sitting here fascinated by the debate in front of the Rules & Bylaws Committee of the Democratic Party, and wondering why there was such a lack of coordination between the advocates for the Florida and Michigan motions. The Florida proposal was well-reasoned and based in the rules, while the Michigan proposal was strident and really didn't offer the committee a principled resolution. My bet, however, is that the Florida "Ausman" proposal is going to be adopted in full, with 100% of the superdelegates seated and a 50% seating of the pledged delegates; that the same remedy will be applied to Michigan; and that the Michigan delegate votes will be split 34-30 between Clinton and Obama. I offer no prediction on whether it's half votes for all, or full votes for half. I offer no prediction on the Florida split.

Other entertaining bits: the tension between Harold Ickes and James Roosevelt. Do you think that they fought over a rattle while Harold's dad and James' grand-dad were playing nice?


Sobek said...

Pardon the off-topic, but I just have to ask:

So now that Obama just disowned his church, does that mean he disowned his racist grandmother and the entire black community?

Or will he wait until they become political liabilities and then pretend he's shocked at what they've been saying all these years?

egarber said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
egarber said...


I agree that Obama's decision is pretty much an exercise of political damage control at this point. And on one level, it somewhat deflates the power of his race speech, since he's no longer standing his original ground. Still, the speech was brilliant, and his practical considerations don't impact the truth of his words, even if they were spoken by an "imperfect messenger."

Obama had to make a tough choice. The national presidential forum comes with extreme and unique scrutiny, and there will be times that practical decisions are necessary to regain a foothold. Nobody can dispute that the whole thing has become a circus; it isn't going to help anybody if Obama has to continually answer for anything that is said in his church.

In the end, I think he'll take a few hits, but the American people will move on -- even now, my sense is that most people don't believe Barack himself holds those views. One side effect however, may be that he'll have to work harder to convince people of faith that he himself is indeed a strong believer (not that I personally think it's a valid test). In a sort of weird way, he was winning points among evangelicals for remaining loyal to his church through all of this. A lot of them value loyalty; they don't like the idea of people "shopping around" for their faith.

And I think your wording is too loose. In my view, he didn't disown the church, if you mean "repudiate" or "deny the legitimacy of", etc. He didn't say in any way that he is throwing out his religious experience, and he praised the church generally for its good work. Further, I doubt very seriously that he will reject presidential endorsements that flow from his church (which you would expect from true "denouncement"). In other words, he's not denying that the church remains part of his make up (just like one's family is). Instead, he realizes that the intense focus is making it impossible for either camp to pursue its goals -- sometimes that's simply a function of presidential politics.

egarber said...

Lastly, for me personally, I still think Barack's unique background and diverse experiences qualify him MORE to be president, not less. In other words, for me nothing changes in the positions I've previously staked out in our discussions.

Sobek said...

Well as it turns out, I was too late. Barack has also resigned his membership in the black race:

" isn't going to help anybody if Obama has to continually answer for anything that is said in his church."

Prospectively, no. The question is not so much about what is said in his church, but rather "how did you sit in those pews for 20 years and never realize your were in the company of race-bating paranoid conspiracy theorists? If you aren't flat-out lying about your ignorance, what does that say about your judgment?"

All the damage control Obama is doing is caused by his own voluntary associations. I don't criticize Obama for Wright's statments, but I do criticize him for staying in a church where the pastor thinks the U.S. government invented AIDS.

"...even now, my sense is that most people don't believe Barack himself holds those views."

I have no idea what most people believe. I just know what ridiculousness looks like:

Scroll down past the video.

egarber said...

Well as it turns out, I was too late. Barack has also resigned his membership in the black race:

Funny. But on the merits here (if there are any), this is critically flawed. He may have left his congregation, but he's not leaving christianity (or even the denomination, I don't think). So the racial comparison is just an empty one-liner.

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