31 May 2008

Democracy

The Democratic National Committee had a showdown today over the seating of the dubious delegations from Michigan and Florida at the upcoming Denver convention. In both cases, they voted to seat the full delegations, but at half their voting strength, and with certain percentages allocated to Senator Obama. The Clintonites found themselves in a minority. They fumed and heckled and vowed to renew the fight on the convention floor.

I didn't watch much of the spectacle, but I did see one Clintonite committeeman complain that the compromise proposal that prevailed would violate the small-d democratic principle of "fair reflection." He argued that to give Obama a larger share of delegates than he had earned in a primary for which he did not campaign, after a vote from which many Democrats must have stayed away on the understanding that it wouldn't count, violates the democratic will of those Democrats who did vote. As you see, that depends on whether you accept the two primaries as truly representative expressions of the Democratic rank and file in each state. There are plenty of reasons not to do so. In effect, the Clintonites were asking to be rewarded for cheating on the understanding that they knew in advance that the rules would probably be changed, and that Obamites must be punished for adhering to the rules as they understood them at the time and thus silencing themselves. Does that sound like democracy to you? But whatever you think, the Clintonites still call themselves Democrats, and so can anyone else in the American Bipolarchy that gets power within that particular organization. No wonder the word has sort of lost its meaning here.

1 comment:

crhymethinc said...

When a person joins a political party, they implicitly agree to adhere to the rules that govern that party. The second the members of Michigan and Florida decided to move their primary day without the sanction of the Democratic Party, they broke the rules and therefore subject themselves to whatever punishment the Party sees fit to bestow. And for the Clintonites to make a fuss over it, shows that they have little regard for rules. Just what sort of government would they espouse? It would seem another administration along the lines of Dubya, who also shows little regard for rules.