Null and Void: Democrats’ Roll Call in Retrospect

Suspending Rules and Winning “By Acclamation”

I am proud to call on the Senator from New York to make the following presentation, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton:

Madam Secretary, on behalf of the great state of New York, with appreciation for the spirit and dedication of all who are gathered here, with eyes firmly fixed on the future, in the spirit of unity, with a goal of victory, with faith in our party and our county, let’s declare together in one voice, right here, right now that Barack Obama is our candidate, and he will be our President. (yays and boos)

Madam Secretary, I move that the Convention suspend the procedural rules and suspend the further conduct of the roll call vote. All votes cast by the delegates will be counted, and that I move Senator Barack Obama of Illinois be selected by this Convention by acclamation as the nominee of the Democratic Party for President of the United States. (yays and boos — Hillary, Hillary, Hillary, chanting)

“Wuh Roo?” said Scooby Doo, “What Did I See On TV?”

This was bothering me. Many of you have moved on to whatever’s next in your PUMA/Just Say No Deal/Democrat or anti-establishment lives. But I’m not that way. I can’t move forward until I understand and sort out what I have witnessed.

What exactly did we see on the “Democratic” Convention floor last Wednesday, August 27, 2008? Why was the roll call halted halfway through? Why did state after state in which Hillary won the primary election and a majority of delegates declare their votes for Obama? Who and what do all those delegates’ votes represent? As each “Great State of” our Union called out its numbers, I wondered, what was the actual delegate count? I felt compelled to compare the roll call vote with the delegate count that we were supposed to get. After all, why pull the lever if it doesn’t even matter? Wow, now that’s deja vu all over again, ain’t it?

What About My Vote?

I will recap three points that we’ve been saying for months. I’m restating, because many citizens do not realize what happened right before their eyes: The delegate count in this election was not a fair reflection of the Democratic Party electorate. 1) Hillary Clinton WON the popular vote. (Resources and numbers nearly impossible to reconcile, based on FL, MI, and caucus votes) 2) There exists growing documentation, compiled by Lynette Long and ordinary poll and election worker reporting, that caucus fraud was rampant. This occurred in the form of systematic, deliberate suppression, misinformation, pressure, and bullying, mishandling of voter and caucus rolls, and ignoring basic caucus rules. 3) Each delegate elected from a district or region in a primary state represents approximately 12,225 primary voters, but only 2,110 voters in a caucus state. Accordingly, a caucus delegate represents about 5.8 times fewer voters than one elected in a primary. So, when Obama “won” a caucus, each of those delegates stood for far fewer voters. This is especially important in the general election in the red and swing states. Pat Buchanan called Wednesday’s spectacle a phony roll call vote in his op-ed, “And If Obama Loses.”

Why Is This Year Different Than Any Other Year?

Laying that aside for now, let’s talk about how the Democratic Party screwed Hillary Clinton and everyone who was connected to her around that roll call vote. At least that was my impression leading up to and viewing it on TV. Even the scheduled time was in flux. In my recollection, in every other election year, it had been held at night for everyone to view. But this year, Hillary Clinton, the person who won the most primary votes in history, had to negotiate for her right to be on the ballot and have a roll call vote on the convention floor. Her supporters wrote thousands and thousands of letters, emails, and blogs. They raised money, ran political ads, and spoke out in the media to help the delegates stick with the one that brung ’em. All this, because the DNC leadership and Obama’s campaign were so afraid of Hillary’s success after saying they could win the general election without all of us old and new dedicated party regulars. All year they tried to strong-arm us in to Unity and make her quit.

Our dedicated coalition members worked tirelessly to have a full roll call vote and a nominating speech for Hillary on the floor during prime time. We appealed to delegates and Superdelegates with petitions, and petitions on top of petitions. We didn’t know what would happen until the last minute, although we suspected. The same with Bill Clinton’s speech: off on, off on, but not during prime time, after they edited him.

And Then It Happened . . .

All of a sudden the roll call was on, but many of us were unable to get the live-streaming on our computers, so we ran several blocks away to a “Hillary-friendly” Denver bar. We saw states yield to other states on their votes, then the Convention floor was all abuzz, as our candidate was introduced as a simple Senator, with no mention of her historic win — just one of the guys delegation. She was on the floor with her fellow NY legislators. Then they made her eat sh*t, while they had her turn around and f*cked her up the a**, while reading a “stop the vote, we’re all onboard” speech. (Oh, I should have warned you: XXX, not my usual sedate lady self, is it? I feel a little strongly about this.) Everything was orchestrated, as CA, IL, and NM yielded so that Hillary, in a great show of U-N-I-T-Y, could cast all votes of her own NY State for Obama, throwing the delegate totals over the top. Oh, right, she likes it like that, because she’s a politician. But I’m not.

Yes, we’re all good soldiers and must move on to the next front. Many already have and are considering both individually and as a group what to do leading to November and beyond. However, many people aren’t clear about what happened, and are incensed that the vote was stopped mid-stream. Below, I’ve compiled the number of delegates won by state and candidate, how the numbers changed during the roll call vote, total number of delegates, and total number of votes cast. This list is variable, depending on the source and date and because it contains Superdelegates. On the morning of the roll call vote, 10 delegates flipped back to Hillary, and the petition effort was contacted by several Superdelegates who wanted to switch to her as well, some under the lights of the press.

Fair Reflection? Arkansas, Florida, and Michigan

Just a few words about fair reflection: Arkansas flipped. The Chairman of their delegation and DNC party head, Bill Gwatney, had been murdered two weeks prior. Heard anything in the news about it? Word is that his entire delegation had signed the 300 petition to ensure that Hillary’s name be placed on the ballot. In a twist of irony, his wife delivered their state’s votes to the Convention: Unanimous for Obama, after Hillary had won their state of origin by the largest margin of the primary: 70%. Arkansas.

Florida and Michigan votes were denied and blocked by Obama, until the May 31, 2008 DNC RBC meeting when he became a charity case. The committee donated four of Senator Clinton’s Michigan delegates and all the uncommitted vote delegates, which had included votes for other candidates. Obama had removed his name from that state’s ballot, fearing a loss would taint his chances in Iowa. However, Clinton kept hers on, stating that although the votes wouldn’t count, the voters should have a say. She was smart and right.

The Rules and Bylaws Committee refused to tackle their problem of fully seating delegates representing 2.3 million voters in both states. Instead they made each delegate into half-votes, and referred an incensed Harold Ickes, attorney for Senator Clinton, to the more appropriate Credentials Committee to contest their ruling in Denver on August 24, 2008. On August 5, Obama wrote a letter to that committee, requesting that those delegations be seated and counted in full. On August 20, when they no longer had any effect on Hillary’s campaign, as they would have had they been counted when she won them, those delegations were seated in-full. I learned on August 24 that the Credentials Committee and the Rules and Bylaws Committee were comprised of the exact same people. So I guess they really meant: talk to the hand.

How Am I Driving? Pass and Yield

Lastly, how about that orchestrated roll call, pass/yield deal? It began like any other roll call. Hillary would have her due. It had been rumored for over a week that she might release her delegates before a roll call vote on the floor. This prompted a new 20% or 826 delegate petition requiring a vote. Then came word of a secret hotel vote, then a Wednesday meeting with Clinton and all her delegates in which she released them and advised they vote their conscience. She’d cast hers for Obama.

Back to the roll call: First, California passes on casting their 441 votes, of which Hillary won over half. As Barbara Boxer yields to Hillary supporter Art Torres to make the announcement, she gleefully turns to her delegation and giggles. It’s as if Boxer was saying, “Ooo, what a coup! Aren’t we clever!” Come their turn, Illinois passes. New Mexico yields back to Illinois, who yields to New York. Then a hustle bustle on the floor, so Clinton could deliver the perfect Unity blow, right into her own back. Gee, it just doesn’t get better than this, does it?

Is It Safe To Vote?

Exactly, why do we vote if “delegates” can just switch their votes, and on the first ballot no less? Why should Superdelegates be able to have a more influential vote than any ordinary citizen, enough to sway their state and an election, as perpetrated by a biased and corrupt political party? I am committed to reforming the system to one person one vote. If we don’t have that, what do we have as citizens? It’s our most basic democratic right.

The chart below shows by state the combined delegate/Superdelegate count awarded to each candidate, the first ballot floor vote, total number of delegates per state, and total votes each cast during the convention. I completed the chart for the rest of the states. By directing Superdelegates to declare their endorsements before the convention in a DNCC and DSCC letter, in press conferences and public appearances, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Harry Reid nullified their original intent. The numbers, which include SDs, seem less close than they actually were.

Democratic Delegate Count vs. Roll Call Count, Democratic Convention, August 27, 2008

STATE       HRC DELS     BO DELS      HRC ROLL    BO ROLL    TTL DELS      TTL CAST
AL           28           29            5          48         60            53
AK            4           14            3          15         18            18
AM SAMOA      6            3            0           9          9             9
AZ           35           31           27          40         67            67
AR           38            8            0          47         47            47
CA          232          200           PASSES                441             0
CO           23           45           15          55         70            70
CT           36           24           21          38         60            59
DEL           8           14            0          23         23            23
DEMS ABRD     4            7            2.5         8.5       11            11
DC           13           25            7          33         40            40
FL          104           78           51         136        211           188
GA           29           70           18          82        102           100
GUAM          4            5            3           4          9             7
HI            8           21            1          26         27            27
ID            3           19            3          20         23            23
IL            0            0           PASSES                  0             0
IN           42           41            6          75         85            81
IA           17           35            9          48         57            57
KS           10           30            6          34         41            40
KY           40           16           24          36         60            60
LA           26           39            7          43         67            50
ME           10           21            8          24         32            32
MD           39           55            6          94        100           100
MA           66           51           52          65        121           117
MI           76           72           27         125        157           152
MN           27           58            8          78         88            86
MS           13           25            8          33         41            41
MO           41           46            6          82         88            88
MT            7           17            7          18         25            25
NE            8           22            3          28         31            31
NV           13           20            8          25         34            33
NH           12           15            0          30         30            30
NJ           71           55            0         127        127           127
NM           20           17           YIELDS TO IL           38             0
IL           49          133           YIELDS TO NY          185             0
NY          159          121            0         282        282           282
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
           1321         1482          341.5      1831.5      2907         2174

NC           51           78
ND            5           15
OH           82           74
OK           25           21
OR           23           41
PA          101           80
PR           42           19
RI           21           10
SC           14           39
SD            9           12
TN           46           35
TX CAUC      29           38
TX           79           75
UT           11           17
VT            7           14
VI            3            6
VA           33           63
WA CAUC      31           61
WV           23           12
WI           34           53
WY            6           12
--------------------------------
            675          775
          +1321        +1482
--------------------------------
           1996         2257

Source, delegate count: CNN Primary Results Scorecard
Source, roll call vote: CSPAN live tape up top

Total number of delegates: 4234
Number of delegates needed for nomination, including FL and MI: 2211
Numbers in chart include Superdelegates: Obama 438, Clinton 236

Et tu, Brute?

So why did so many states flip? Sources say that on the morning of the floor vote, everything was complete. Many opinions say it was finished on or before the May 31, 2008 DNC RBC meeting. But not believing our eyes and ears, in service of democracy, we kept on to preserve our and the rights of our candidate. We’ve since learned that as late as August 27, during the convention, swing-state delegations were being threatened with loss of Party funding for their states and candidate campaigns if they didn’t vote for Obama. Evidently, Obama needed Hillary more than she needed him. Otherwise, they would not have had a sham roll call or a Mile High speech to prop him up.

Oh, and as far as going Repug, it ain’t me, babe, although I will never cast a vote for Obama. In my life, the means are absolutely as important as the end, and I cannot support a candidate who derives power “by any means necessary.” If I have to cast a protest vote, I will. However, remember who brung Brazile? Her info emails with Karl Rove beginning in 2003 helped him help her promote the most unelectable Democratic candidate. So, let’s not forget who’s still trying to pull the strings and who’s still laughing all the way to the bank. Criminal, ain’t it? Too bad, Dems still ain’t got a clue.

In conclusion, Hillary and Bill Clinton were in an impossible, lose-lose situation. Some supporters got disgusted and thought they caved. I don’t think so. In order to come out of this, being seen as having done everything possible to nominate and elect Barack Obama — a far more generous and political act than exists in his little finger — The Clintons did everything possible, Bill while holding his nose, and came out smelling sweet as a rose. Party people all the way, and on to the next challenge. Yes, I’m getting there.

[“Evita,” music Andrew Lloyd Weber, lyrics Tim Rice]

[cross-posted from The Confluence]

How We Got Here, In Three Easy Steps (Videos)

“Deja Vote” a pagano/parente production

Citizens speak out about how the DNC handled the Florida and Michigan votes and how they treated the democratic candidates.

ONE: Just so we’re clear. The video above shows where we were at on May 31, 2008, rallying to Count All the Votes in Florida and Michigan at the DNC RBC Meeting in Washington, DC. All the votes were not counted.

TWO: The DNC (s)elected presidential candidate Barack Obama instead of candidate Hillary Clinton, who won the popular vote.

THREE: So, as the Democratic Party refused to acknowledge our collective voice, 18 million strong, we are selecting ourselves — The People, the original, inclusive base of the Democratic Party — and making our voices heard.

Of course, this is only the Reader’s Digest version of where we’ve been until now, but will serve as reminder and encouragement.

Raise Your Hand If You Think Florida Is Over

The strong arm of the Obama campaign is (still) passive-aggressively reaching into Florida politics and biting the hands that could now feed him. Sen. Bill Nelson, who sued the DNC for Florida delegates to be fully seated, and last week proposed a constitutional amendment to eliminate the Electoral College, is fighting Obama’s decision to change out some current delegates for his own.

Beth Reinhard writes in today’s MiamiHerald.com about the Dems’ continuing delegate debacle in Florida:

So much for party unity: As Florida Dems prepare for Saturday’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner aimed at bringing the party “together once and for all,” a spat over the Obama campaign’s decision to replace some already-designated Florida delegates with Obama backers has intensified.

And how. DNC member Jon Ausman late Thursday e-mailed Dems (and reporters) choice sections of what he says were e-mails from Obama’s Florida finance chair Kirk Wagar — in which Wagar curses Ausman out and criticizes Sen. Bill Nelson and party director Leonard Joseph.

Sound familiar? Ummm, Nelson stood for fully counting Florida’s votes. He’s a bad guy, right?

The highlights: “You (Jon Ausman) f&^%ed us. We are dealing with it. You need to accept the fact that you f*&^ed us.”

And of Nelson: “I am getting very sick of (Senator) Nelson making a bad situation worse.”

Said Ausman to Wagar: “We are at a point in time when we need to heal and come together. Help me understand how these messages, which you have sent to me in writing, help Senator Obama’s campaign.”

Wagar, dude, you’re fighting a phantom. Nelson’s not there. He’s at constitutional amendment level.

From The Hill, Nelson bill would abolish Electoral College

Posted: 06/06/08 05:18 PM [ET]

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) introduced a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College on Friday, less than a week after the Democrats settled on how to handle delegates from Florida at their national convention.

“It’s time for Congress to really give Americans the power of one-person, one-vote, instead of the political machinery selecting candidates and electing our president,” Nelson said in a release announcing the amendment.

Nelson said his principal argument for making the change is that the Electoral College permits a candidate with fewer votes nationally to win the presidency by capturing narrow victories in big states. In 2000, then-Vice President Al Gore won the popular votes but George W. Bush won the Electoral College.

Nelson cited that election along with this year’s contentious Democratic primary in Florida as reasons for his legislation. He sued the DNC last fall for initially refusing to recognize Florida’s full delegation at the Democratic National Convention.

Democrats on Friday* decided to give each of Florida’s delegates a half-vote as a penalty for moving their primary ahead on the calendar without party approval. The move created a mess for the party after Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), whom Nelson supported, won the primary. The result was disputed because candidates had avoided campaigning in the state.

—————
The second part of the initiative would establish rotating, interregional primaries between March and June during a presidential election year as an alternative to the current primary and caucus system. The third portion would permit early presidential voting nationwide, require voting machines to produce a verifiable paper record, and encourage voting by mail, among other things.

Interesting Friday=an slip in the article, because the DNC RBC Meeting was held the following day, Saturday, May 31, 2008. It’s made all the more haunting in light of the June 11 disclosure by plukasiak, cross-posted at The Confluence:

A document filed as an exhibit in the Nelson vs Dean Lawsuit that was filed in October 2007 in an attempt to force the DNC to seat the Florida delegation provides indisputable proof that the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee singled out Florida and Michigan for sanctions, and ignored violations of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.

The article, which contains excerpts from a document filed as an exhibit, concludes by connecting the dots between the RBC’s selective rules enforcement strategy and the damage to Clinton’s momentum:

It is clear that the RBC violated its own rules for political reasons – to stop Hillary Clinton. Without the opportunity to beat Clinton in one of the early states in a meaningful primary or caucus, Clinton’s advantages going into Super- Tuesday would have been impossible to beat. The corrupt officials of the RBC were part of a “stop Hillary” movement, and chose to ignore their own rules in order to make it possible for someone other than Hillary Clinton to get the nomination, and the complete and utter corruption of James Roosevelt, Alexis Herman, Alice Germond and the rest of Obama’s supporters on the RBC is no longer in doubt.

Keep going, Senator Nelson! Drop him a line, give him a call. Tell him, Thanks!


We Are You: DNC RBC Rally (Pics)

On May 31, 2008 in the middle of the night, Americans, men women young and old of many races and colors, gathered in NYC and got on the bus to Washington, DC. We joined with 1,000 other citizens, representing 33 states in all, to voice our outrage that after months of negotiations–filed lawsuits, appeals, denials, stalling, blocking (what have I left out?), quoting of The Rulz, millions of protest emails and blog posts–a body of 30 Democratic National Committee Rules and Bylaws Committee members, comprised of elected and non-elected officials, were deciding if and how 2.3 million MI and FL votes cast would count. The DNC RBC Rally was sponsored by CountOurVotes.org and WomenCountPAC.

How the (*&% did we get here? Craig Della Penna at No Quarter gives his rundown of the power play. In the end, the committee’s decision awarded Florida voters all their delegates with one-half vote each, and gave Obama 55 Michigan delegates that he did not specifically win, plus robbed Clinton of four delegates. Clinton’s representatives objected as Obama’s surrogates accepted what didn’t belong to him. Wanna bet that both delegations will be restored completely to full votes for the Convention?

Now on June 5, with Hillary forced to abandon her Presidential bid, we are not “aggrieved” that she lost. We don’t think she did. We are furious at how Hillary and President Clinton were treated by the MSM and the leadership of their own Party.

We will not forget what happened here. We will remember what we stood for, and that for every person who attended, we had thousands behind us. Oh, and I’ll tell you what: those rowdy old ladies know how to give ’em what for!

Thank you, Harold!

Dear Mr. Ickes,

Thank you for being such a clear, articulate spokesperson for Hillary Clinton, the Truth, and the heart and soul of our country at the DNC RBC Meeting.

I came from NYC to participate in the rally, and am one of those who, for some reason appear to be drawn to a cause here that’s bigger than myself. (Mind you, I’ve lived my whole life based on that, so it’s not like I was looking for a cause.) I began my own blog last March in service of her campaign and have dedicated all my time to promoting Hillary and shoveling all the crap, swatting all the flies out there.

I hope that someone is investigating the reportedly documented allegations that keep floating around about improprieties perpetrated by Obama supporters at caucuses, such as coercion, being locked out, pushed out, and bullied; and at polling places, such as campaigning and turning Clinton voters away. By gosh, that very thing seemed to occur at the RBC Meeting where reportedly 3/4 of the audience credentials went to Obama supporters, while Clinton supporters were shut out.

Thank you so much for taking a stand. All these ship jumpers are so weak. Don’t give up. One thing, now that I have your ear: I can’t understand why there’s all this pressure for the Superdelegates to decide. Isn’t their soul raison d’etre to make sure we have an electable candidate if the voters get it wrong? The voters are getting it right enough to win the electoral college. Why are the SDs being pressured to overturn this? What happened to all my longtime liberal Democratic heroes?

Hillary is the best qualified candidate to run and save us from this mess, and I respect her immensely. I watched the meeting on CSPAN after returning on Sunday. Like many of Hillary’s supporters, I can’t believe we’re having another stolen election — and this time at the hands of our own, plus the mainstream media. Our country is in danger, now more than ever.

Sincerely,
Lady Boomer NYC

Delegate Hijack = Party Unity Path? (Ickes Video)

On May 31, 2008, and a stormy day in DC by all measures, Harold Ickes mounted an impassioned defense of Senator Clinton’s position at the DNC RBC Meeting. Asserting:

that we have one of the lowest voter turnouts in the world, and it’s hard to find an election in the US that isn’t flawed;

Ickes said those were:

not an excuse to overturn elections, nor to substitute their judgment for the voters. One election wouldn’t stand the test that’s been laid down here. Fair reflection: you cannot take delegates from one candidate and give to another. Not only will this motion hijack four delegates from Mrs. Clinton, it will take 55 delegates from uncommitted status, which is a recognized Presidential status under our Constitution and convert them to Barack Obama.

Finally, there’s been a lot of talk about Party Unity, not withstanding the flawed aspect of this, let’s all come together, wrap our arms around each other. I submit to you, ladies and gentleman, that hijacking four delegates, notwithstanding the flawed aspect of this, is not a good way to start down the path of party unity. One final word, Mrs. Clinton has instructed me to reserve her rights to take this to the Credentials Committee.

That evening, following the decision of the Committe, after months of grueling appeals in attempts by Florida and Michigan voters to have their votes counted and delegates seated, Harold Ickes and Tina Flournoy (my heroes) made the following statement on behalf of the Clinton campaign:

The Committee awarded to Senator Obama not only the delegates won by Uncommitted, but four of the delegates won by Senator Clinton. This decision violates the bedrock principles of our democracy and our Party.

We reserve the right to challenge this decision before the Credentials Committee and appeal for a fair allocation of Michigan’s delegates that actually reflect the votes as they were cast

Today’s results are a victory for the people of Florida who will have a voice in selecting our Party’s nominee and will see its delegates seated at our party’s convention. The decision by the Rules and Bylaws Committee honors the votes that were cast by the people of Florida and allocates the delegates accordingly.

We strongly object to the Committee’s decision to undercut its own rules in seating Michigan’s delegates without reflecting the votes of the people of Michigan.

So, now the DNC RBC is both a decider and a mind-reader for 2.3 million people?