Update on Michigan

News reports say that Obama will be visiting Michigan on Wednesday–with a visit to the heart of Republican territory in Grand Rapids, and a visit to the home of the Reagan Democrats in Macomb County. I would say that’s a pretty strong signal that the general election campaign started this week. I’m rather pleased with Obama’s choice of places to visit, too. Obama supporters in W Michigan did very well by him at District Conventions in April, which suggests he’s got a lot of strong support in Western Michigan. And while Obama can expect strong support from Washtenaw County and Detroit come November (both of which voted for Uncommitted in January), Obama will need to do some work with those Reagan Democrats. So why not go to the home of the Reagan Democrats and explain why McCain won’t improve the economy?

In other news that everyone still claiming Obama won’t seat MI’s delegation seems to have missed, Hillary rejected MI’s latest compromise solution.

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday rejected a compromise plan to seat Michigan’s delegates to the national convention that would give 69 delegates to Clinton and 59 to Barack Obama.

"This proposal does not honor the 600,000 votes that were cast in Michigan’s January primary. Those votes must be counted," Clinton spokesman Isaac Baker said.

The Michigan Democratic Party had approved the plan and intended to submit it to the Democratic National Committee meeting on May 31. Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer said in a statement that the plan was a "good step toward a solution that unites Democrats and ensures that our state will not face a McCain presidency."

This solution is, numerically, not far off the proposal I suggested. More important, though, is the fact that it was supported by MI’s Democratic Party, even loaded as it is with big Hillary supporters. Even Joel Ferguson (the DNC member who originally submitted a crazy plan punishing elected delegates but not supers), as I understand it, has accepted this proposal.

So what the traditional news isn’t telling you, and Terry McAuliffe isn’t telling you, but I’m gonna tell you is that MI has, for all intents and purposes, been resolved. Hillary supporters have effectively told her that they’re not going to support her scorched earth plans for seating MI. So even though Hillary’s still saying MI hasn’t been resolved, it doesn’t matter–because the people who need to support any scorched earth campaign have already told Hillary they’re not joining her. I presume that’s one of the reasons Obama will be here on Wednesday.

There’s one more tidbit I wanted to share, from a discussion of what the DNC rules committee memebrs–as distinct from the muckymucks in MI who support Clinton but support seating MI’s delegation more–want to do:

But the punishment that the rules committee secretly favors is to take away all superdelegates (54) from both states, since it is elected officials like Michigan’s Sen. Carl Levin and Gov. Jennifer Granholm, along with Sen. Bill Nelson from Florida, who encouraged these outlaw primaries.

Huh. Turns out my proposal might end up being the winning proposal after all.

46 replies
  1. WeaponX says:

    Thanks for the update, Marcy. Your proposal is far more equitable imo, why punish the voters and let the supers slide? Even if the voters aren’t punished the supers should definately lose their voting priveleges for creating this fiasco in the first place. Their judgment has already proven disastrous this election season, they really don’t deserve a potentially overriding voice at the convention having already shown how short-sighted they are. How has this not been latched onto by the general leadership of the DNC? Or the Obama camp, for that matter?

  2. MadDog says:

    And if they can’t find the will to punish all the MI and FL Supers, at the very least they ought to strip Senator Carl Levin, Gov. Jennifer Granholm, and Sen. Bill Nelson.

  3. Ishmael says:

    Smart tactical move by Obama to go to Michigan, as an outreach both to Clinton supporters and a signal to the Republicans that the battle has been joined. Do you think that Obama will have a significantly larger effect than Clinton on the downticket congressional races, or will he just pad large majorities in Ann Arbor & Detroit?

    • emptywheel says:

      Well, first of all, the Detroit thing is critical. You lose Democratic state-wide elections in MI if you don’t get Detroit to turn out; you win if you do. So right there you’ve got a fundamental difference between the two candidates (and if we’re lucky, Detroit will have a mayoral election come November to further boost turnout). I think the white labor folks WOULD support Hillary more than Obama, which is why I’m glad he’s headed to Macomb.

      As for down-ticket, there are three races that are really important. Supreme Court (which will be tough for us, but we’re trying to replace a remarkably corrupt judge). And two House seats: MI-07 snd MI-09. 07 includes about 1/4 of Washtenaw County (though closer to 1/20 of its population) so he’ll help there. And Uncommitted did well in 09 (though that would have been the center of support for Edwards).

      I actually think he has a LOT of support in the west and UP (but that’s just instinct–though it should match WI’s numbers and pick up a lot from Chicago). So I think he’ll really help state-level house races.

    • PetePierce says:

      Your question I think was directed to downticket in Michigan, and I leave that to Marcy and people who are very familiar with it.

      But I can tell you that in other states, that the projection is that he will have a significant downticket impact. There are several good candidates in some House and Senate races who would not be running if they weren’t banking on a huge turnout in their states that Obama will draw.

      African American turnout and the so-called youth vote–college age and 20’s, has always underperformed, but this is a year where that shouldn’t happen.

  4. bmaz says:

    I’m gonna tell you is that MI has, for all intents and purposes, been resolved.

    Heh heh, I think that was resolved when Clinton couldn’t get within shouting distance of Obama in North Carolina and couldn’t get out of shouting distance in Indiana.

    • emptywheel says:

      True enough. I would have declared it resolved sooner but I was busy on a my little pilgrimage.

      I had quite the eye-opening discussion over the weekend (for him, not me) with one of the principle MI actors in this little MI saga. He thought it was just the Obama supporters who are–dare I say it–”bitter” abotu the clusterfuck.

  5. Ishmael says:

    Agreed, high turnout in Detroit would really help put Michigan away in the Presidential – it has always surprised me how the Republicans have the majority of the Michigan congressional delegation, thanks for the insights into the state.

      • bobschacht says:

        “Well, we’re going to win two more back this year. But it’s one of the worst gerrymandered states going.”

        I’ve got a proposal for dealing with gerrymandering, but it strikes most people as too eggheady. Gerrymandered districts all have one thing in common: the length of their border is disproportionate to their area.

        Think of it this way: a district shaped like a circle, a hexagon, or even a square has a relatively low ratio of boundary length to area. The higher the ratio, the more gerrymandered it is. When it comes time in a state for re-districting, the Federal Elections Commission (?) should declare the 10% of electoral districts with the highest ratio of boundary length to area as “gerrymandered” and demand that the border be simplified. Do this for a couple of election cycles and gerrymandering will be essentially zilch.

        Will you help me circulate this idea to those who need to know?

        Bob in HI

  6. Sixty Something says:


    A question. Why? Why not abide by the origional rules set by the Democratic party that Michigan and Florida votes would not count?

    Didn’t both Hillary and Obama campaign, or not campaign in both states, enter their names on the ballot or not, depending on what were the supposed rules of the game? Count me naive, but I’m at a loss as to why the rules have to be changed in the middle of the game.

    • bmaz says:

      Um, maybe a desire not to disillusion and piss off a whole hell of a lot of innocent voters? Call me crazy, but that strikes me as a pretty powerful reason, just for starters. There are actually, contrary to the view of so many, other lenses to view the mess through than just the two self centered candidates and their campaigns.

    • emptywheel says:

      I’d love to, out of a sense of legalese.

      But the Republicans are already campaigning on the Dems disnfranchising the Dems whereas the GOP is not. And in this close election year you can’t exclude anyone.

      Short story is: want to lose MI, then follow the rules as stated (with the caveat that, before it became so close, everyone expected we’d be seated after everything was done anyway). Want to win MI, you’ve got to find some way to seat MI, while finding some means for party discipline.

  7. MadDog says:

    OT – From the Hill:

    Bond: White House seems flexible on immunity for telecoms over wiretaps

    …Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.), vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said the White House seems willing to let the FISA court help determine whether phone companies should be shielded from litigation…

    …Bond said: “I think we’ve come up with some things that would involve the court, but not get to a position where it would endanger the program or the carriers.”


    …Bond said the latest approach is not the one offered by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to provide immunity to companies deemed by the FISA court to have acted in good faith on the government’s national security requests…


    …Recently, talks have gone on separate tracks. Bond has taken his case directly to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who also has held separate talks with Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.). Bond said talks with a wider range of lawmakers and staff were unfocused.

    Bond and Hoyer have narrowed their talks down to two areas: retroactive immunity and procedures on targeting people outside the United States in eavesdropping and minimizing communications captured incidentally during surveillance operations…


    …Bond’s efforts might not go over well with Rockefeller, who offered his own proposal last week.

    “I’m neither optimistic nor pessimistic, but I’m hopeful,” Rockefeller said about reaching an agreement.

    Bond described Rockefeller’s plan as “bizarre” and said it “totally undid what we passed in the Senate.”

    If Senator Bond it walks like a Weasel and talks like a Weasel, it’s a Weasel!

    • bmaz says:

      Well, I don’t like the sound of this at all. The FISC is too much of a rubber stamp for Administration requests, the whole application to, and determination by, the FISC would undoubtedly be done ex-parte and the whole thing classified and secret (thus protecting Administration lying). This is no way to go

      • MadDog says:

        Yeah, and that part about Bond saying it was not the Feinstein proposal says it’s still all about giving retroactive immunity while appearing to have FISC involvement. Pfui!

        A Weasel by any other name is still a Weasel!

      • masaccio says:

        I’m not that worried about this court. Here are the Judges from Wikipedia:
        Colleen Kollar-Kotelly (presiding) District of Columbia
        John D. Bates District of Columbia
        Dee Benson District of Utah
        Robert C. Broomfield District of Arizona
        James G. Carr Northern District of Ohio
        Nathaniel M. Gorton District of Massachusetts
        Reggie B. Walton District of Columbia
        Malcolm Howard Eastern District of North Carolina
        George P. Kazen Southern District of Texas
        Frederick J. Scullin, Jr. Northern District of New York
        Roger Vinson Northern District of Florida

        • PetePierce says:

          Bushie puppet on the D.C. trial court John D. Bates or Norman duh Bates–they never check out of the Federalist motel do they?

          Where are those Bushie documents on the illegal wiretapping ’bout now?

          You bein’ tapped and you got no right to see the documents elucidating the criminals what done tapped you ’cause its Nashinul Secoority.

          Hell wit da ole ACLU.

          You don’t even know who made the decision on that opinion–only that Bates signed it.

          Last year he dismissed Valerie Plame Wilson’s lawsuit.

          What a pedigree–Bates on the Whitewater Squad along with Amy St. Eve, Jahn, Ewing,Ray, Starr and Bill Duffy.

    • PetePierce says:

      Amen to Bmaz. We all remember the FISC stat which always reminds me of grand juries indicting a ham sandwhich. How many lawyers who were former US Attorneys or AUSAs have told you a story when they were ever turned down for a warrant by a federal judge? It does not happen.

      Analagously let’s look at the FISC stats. They are a paradigm for a cowed judiciary. You don’t have to have jack shit. All you do is scream “terrrrrrist” and you have your warrant. The federal appellate and trial courts have been completely cowed and compliant since 911–hence the Alice and Wonderland surrealism of the State Secrets arguments, the arguments now emerging on wiretapping the defense bar when they meet with their clients, and the appellate decisions in many other claims of abuse against the government (the snatched, beaten and tortured cases that have been dismissed by the D.C. Circuit and others for example).

      Lessseee–trust the FISC panelists hmmmm…

      Through the end of 2004, 18,761 warrants were granted, while just five were rejected (many sources say four). Fewer than 200 requests had to be modified before being accepted, almost all of them in 2003 and 2004. The four known rejected requests were all from 2003, and all four were partially granted after being resubmitted for reconsideration by the government. Of the requests that had to be modified, few if any were before the year 2000. In subsequent years, according to journalist Joshua Micah Marshall, the breakdown was as follows:

      Year Modified requests
      2000 1 request modified
      2001 2 requests modified
      2002 2 requests modified (both modifications later reversed)
      2003 79 requests modified (out of 1724 granted)
      2004 94 requests modified (out of 1758)

      I wouldn’t trust the cowed and compliant Bushies on FISC as far as I could spit them.

      • bobschacht says:

        Year Modified requests
        2000 1 request modified
        2001 2 requests modified
        2002 2 requests modified (both modifications later reversed)
        2003 79 requests modified (out of 1724 granted) [4 rejected]
        2004 94 requests modified (out of 1758)

        I wouldn’t trust the cowed and compliant Bushies on FISC as far as I could spit them.

        The hopeful thing about this, to me, is that the number of modification requests increased drastically in 2003, and increased substantially again in 2004. Any stats on 2005 and 2006?

        I take this to mean one of two things:
        (1) the administration is increasing its attempts to over-reach, or
        (2) the FISC is waking up to its responsibilities and is taking those responsibilities more seriously.

        Bob in HI

        • PetePierce says:

          And as I continue to look for 2005-2007, every article I run across indictates what doesn’t surprise any of us–they’re virtually all granted same as in the federal court system.

    • emptywheel says:

      Actually, I love the thought of Jello Jay undoing what they did in the Senate. It can’t get much worse. If they’re worried about losing Jello Jay, great.

  8. IowaDem says:

    The voters in Michigan were screwed by their party leaders when they ignored the calendar rules. Unfortunately, the Dem Party can’t leave the MI voters stranded because they might turn to McCain in anger.
    But the party leaders caused this whole mess and should definitely be punished for their arrogant dismissal of the party rules. From my understanding (am I wrong?), the story in Florida is totally different because the Republican-ruled legislature decided the primary date. I’ve wondered though, couldn’t the Dems have refused to comply? I wonder, too, how the legislature can decide something that is affected by the party rules? Anyone know?

    • MadDog says:

      From my understanding (am I wrong?), the story in Florida is totally different because the Republican-ruled legislature decided the primary date. I’ve wondered though, couldn’t the Dems have refused to comply? I wonder, too, how the legislature can decide something that is affected by the party rules? Anyone know?

      My understanding from various Floridians who’ve commented, is that yes, the Repug-dominated legislature and Governor lead the charge to move up Florida’s Primary, but…that some Democratic Florida heavyweights helped cheer them on too.

      • emptywheel says:

        The story in FL is slightly different. Bill Nelson was definitely one of those pusing the early vote.

        In MI, it’s clear that all the bigwigs–save Conyers–were on board. So it’s easier to say don’t seat the supers (though you’d screw people liek Bart Stupak, who is an undeclared Obama supporter, as well as Conyers himself, though both might recognize that there’s a bigger upside to Hillary in seating the supers.

  9. MadDog says:

    And more OT – From IPSNews:

    The Mutual Investigation Society?

    In one of the more ironic episodes of the George W. Bush administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation last week raided the office and home of the senior official in charge of protecting federal whistleblowers on suspicion of whistleblower retaliation within his own agency — while he was investigating possible criminal acts within the White House.

    Since 2005, Scott Bloch, head of the Office of Special Counsel, has been under investigation by the inspector general of the White House Office of Personnel Management (OPM), at the behest of the President’s Office of Management and Budget…


    ..Jeff Ruch, executive director PEER, told IPS, “Scott Bloch gives opportunism a bad name.”

    “It makes no sense for Scott Bloch to investigate the White House while the White House investigates Bloch,” Ruch said, noting that Bloch has told allies that the White House has twice asked him to resign. Bloch can only be removed for cause.

    (My Bold)

    Would love to find out just when Bloch was asked to jump ship by the White House, and who exactly did the asking.

  10. JohnLopresti says:

    I thought ew’s compromise too generous, but such is the art of politics; to me, Barack Obama had opted to play by the rules and abstain from entering his name in an illicitly calendared MI primary, but also, viewed now, with his planned visits to the state, a strategy that enhanced his own dynamic of taking a different approach to some predictably hackneyed political ruts. There was a ferment in the Democratic Party when the firstmost primary states were selected. Our state’s chair emailed several of us for input when the national party decisionmaking clearly assumed the excited air of a new generation infusing leadership with new energy and vision, and from that planning session the idea of sharing the earliest dates with a different assortment of states in 2012 also developed, so various regions have more influence on the directions in which the party develops, enriching its relevance to the entire country, irrespective of the high esteem in which IA and NH long have been held serving as they have as first caucus and first primary in presidential elections past. My perspective from a distance was MI caught that atmosphere of enthusiasm, but was typically too forward in its implementation, finally unable to control its own instinct to be The first; and perhaps FL was seeking to provide a counterpoint to the hanging chad disaster2000. It is still interesting to read John G. Roberts, Jr., and Rachel Brand both were in FL around the time of the Brooks Brothers rebellion, counseling and fostering message. But I have been in MI only rarely, though I am familiar with some excellent music produced there.

  11. JimWhite says:

    Thanks for the heads up, Mad Dog. Like EW, I am intrigued by anything that drives a wedge between Bond and Rockefeller. I don’t trust either one of them, so I start from the assumption that they are out to screw us and then go from there. Is there any chance, though, that Rockefeller is beginning to think that the immediate threat might not have been what McConnell wanted him to believe?

    • bmaz says:

      I don’t think so; Jello Jay has been somewhat resolute on the screw job. I wouldn’t bet a penny on him coming around.

      • JimWhite says:

        Yeah, that’s my first thought, too, but it is interesting that something he is up to pisses off Bond. There could be something encouraging in there, even if it is just forcing Bond to work more in between drinks.

        • bmaz says:

          Heh, yeah, just having them be split into a bunch of different camps may create enough gridlock that they can’t move. And, although I doubt Rockefeller is up to anything ultimately helpful, the fact that even he may be moving away from the original SSCI/WH plan is perhaps encouraging.

  12. aliasofwestgate says:

    *makes a note to leave a half hour early for work on wednesday morning* If Obama’s gonna be in GR, then i expect the usual traffic delays and tv cameras everywhere. Hopefully the gridlock won’t be so bad as when the Shrub or Darth Cheney pay a visit.

    I’m glad somethings being done, and Obama can finally pay attention to this state. So far i only saw McCain signs, a single Huckabee sign and several Ron Paul ones. Not one democratic sign before the primary, which was a true gauge of how bad it was here, really. Now the odds can be evened out a bit, since he can start campaigning here again. Mostly, i’m pissed at the supers for being so arrogant and thoughtless about the rank and file voters. But what’s done is done, and i do hope the Committee decides to punish the supers. GR is pretty republican in general, but i think that’s changing. I’ll be keeping an eye on things as the election year progresses. It was quite a fight for a few seats in 06.

  13. bmaz says:

    Posted this on an older thread instead of this one by mistake.

    So, the US, after holding and torturing him for seven years, is dropping the charges against supposed “20th Hijacker” Mohammed al-Qahtani.

    The Pentagon is dropping charges against a Saudi at Guantanamo who was supposed to have been the “20th hijacker” in the Sept. 11 attacks.

    Mohammed al-Qahtani was one of six men facing murder charges before a U.S. military tribunal for the attacks.

    But U.S. military defense lawyers confirmed to The Associated Press on Monday that a Pentagon official has finalized the charges only against the other five, including the alleged architect of the attacks.

    No Harm No Foul?? So what will the benevolent Bush government do with him now, drug him up and drop him off in Siberia? We are evil

  14. freepatriot says:

    so that takes care of Michigan

    there’s one less thing to worry about

    thank you o mighty Muse of Michigan

    and btw, who ya like in the World Series this year ???

      • freepatriot says:

        yeah, so ???

        the cubbies are in first place too

        Doesn’t mean much

        it’s a loooooooong season

        and anyways, from what I been seeing an hearin, you guys got FLEECED in that deal. Some of those kids got rings in their futures

        enjoy your May in the sun

        and here’s a laugher from “King of the Hill” for everybody to enjoy

        Peggy Hill wanted to go to Dallas for a Boggle tournament, and Hank told her this:

        I don’t want you going to Dallas. That place is full of crackheads and debutants; and half of them play for the Cowboys

  15. perris says:

    ooh tastey, from marchy over at the wheel;

    News reports say that Obama will be visiting Michigan on Wednesday–with a visit to the heart of Republican territory in Grand Rapids, and a visit to the home of the Reagan Democrats in Macomb County. I would say that’s a pretty strong signal that the general election campaign started this week

    we must point out that there can no longer be reagan democrats, that those who voted reagan voted for what he wrought;

    a redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the wealthy

    a destruction of the working class, giving the power of the labor force over to their corporate counterparts

    a destruction of our infrastructure

    there is no longer a such thing as a ”reagan democrat”, those that became one have facilitated the damage that needs now repair

  16. perris says:

    oh, must post this just for fun now we are all acknowledging obama as the heir aparent;

    Obama said that as president he would indeed ask his new Attorney General and his deputies to “immediately review the information that’s already there” and determine if an inquiry is warranted — but he also tread carefully on the issue, in line with his reputation for seeking to bridge the partisan divide. He worried that such a probe could be spun as “a partisan witch hunt.” However, he said that equation changes if there was willful criminality, because “nobody is above the law.”

    • bmaz says:

      Man, if you think this was a statement that Obama will be strong on accountability, I think you have another thing coming down the road. This is a completely mealy mouthed bunch of nothing; Obama does not desire to do anything of the sort, he wants to move past it and will do just that if humanly possible. Go read “The Obama Party” at Digby’s place or Stoller at Open Left. You’ll see what i am talking about.

  17. lukasiak says:

    just so we’re clear about this….

    michigan politicians cut a deal with Obama that gets them credentialled at the coonvention, but does not reflect the will of Michigan voters… is that about it?

    And Clinton is saying that the actual voters should be represented, right?

    I also like the “no superdelegates” deal…and I’d also get rid of the pledged “PLEOs” while I’m at it. Just the “district” and “at large” delegates, and as an added bonus, anyone who qualifies as a “superdelegate” should be prohibited from representing Michigan as a district or at-large delegate.

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