Hillary Facing Defeat in her bid to Seat MI, FL Delegates

Rick Moran
When the Democratic Rules and By-Laws Committee meets tomorrow in Washington, D.C., 10,000 Hillary Clinton supporters are expected to be demonstrating to seat the full delegation from Florida and Michigan at the convention.

However, it appears that her support on that Committee - once thought to be a majority - may be crumbling:

The major dispute over the Florida and Michigan delegations to the Democratic convention in Denver has now boiled down to Hillary Clinton's demand for full seating with no sanctions, and an alternative proposal, likely to be backed by Obama, to seat the delegations with either half a vote granted to each delegate, or to cut each delegation in half.

The Clinton proposal -- which now faces tough, if not insurmountable, odds at the Saturday, May 31 meeting of the Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC) - would give the New York Senator 55 more delegates than would go to Obama.

The alternative of either halved votes or halved delegations would net Clinton only 20 or so delegates, depending on the details. Obama could afford to concede a 20-plus delegate gain to Clinton without endangering his overall delegate advantage.

Harold Ickes, Clinton's chief delegate hunter, warned that there may be some defections among the 13 RBC members who have endorsed Hillary. If Ickes and his allies cannot hold all their troops in line, a motion before the RBC to seat all 210 Florida and 156 Michigan delegates with a full vote each would face certain defeat.

With full participation by Florida and Michigan, Hillary could expect to pick up around 55 delegates on Obama -a not inconsiderable number.

But with party attorneys recommending that the delegations be given only half representation - and Obama forces certain to oppose full representation - it seems an uphill climb for Clinton to get what she wants.

If the Committee vote goes against her, does she have any other options? She could take the matter to the credentials committee which is scheduled to meet in July. But that committee is packed with Obama and Howard Dean supporters which means likely defeat there.

Her "nuclear option" is to bring the matter to the floor of the convention. Such a move would likely be so divisive that it is unknown if the Chair of the Convention - Speaker Nancy Pelosi - would even recognize any states on the floor that moved to consider the motion. This is an old convention trick where the Chair simply refuses to see the wild gesticulating and screams from states wishing to put an unpopular motion up for a vote.

It might also finish Hillary within the party which is why once the primaries are over on Tuesday, it is possible she will start negotiations with Obama in earnest to trade her exit for either something tangible on the platform or even the Vice Presidency.
When the Democratic Rules and By-Laws Committee meets tomorrow in Washington, D.C., 10,000 Hillary Clinton supporters are expected to be demonstrating to seat the full delegation from Florida and Michigan at the convention.

However, it appears that her support on that Committee - once thought to be a majority - may be crumbling:

The major dispute over the Florida and Michigan delegations to the Democratic convention in Denver has now boiled down to Hillary Clinton's demand for full seating with no sanctions, and an alternative proposal, likely to be backed by Obama, to seat the delegations with either half a vote granted to each delegate, or to cut each delegation in half.

The Clinton proposal -- which now faces tough, if not insurmountable, odds at the Saturday, May 31 meeting of the Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC) - would give the New York Senator 55 more delegates than would go to Obama.

The alternative of either halved votes or halved delegations would net Clinton only 20 or so delegates, depending on the details. Obama could afford to concede a 20-plus delegate gain to Clinton without endangering his overall delegate advantage.

Harold Ickes, Clinton's chief delegate hunter, warned that there may be some defections among the 13 RBC members who have endorsed Hillary. If Ickes and his allies cannot hold all their troops in line, a motion before the RBC to seat all 210 Florida and 156 Michigan delegates with a full vote each would face certain defeat.

With full participation by Florida and Michigan, Hillary could expect to pick up around 55 delegates on Obama -a not inconsiderable number.

But with party attorneys recommending that the delegations be given only half representation - and Obama forces certain to oppose full representation - it seems an uphill climb for Clinton to get what she wants.

If the Committee vote goes against her, does she have any other options? She could take the matter to the credentials committee which is scheduled to meet in July. But that committee is packed with Obama and Howard Dean supporters which means likely defeat there.

Her "nuclear option" is to bring the matter to the floor of the convention. Such a move would likely be so divisive that it is unknown if the Chair of the Convention - Speaker Nancy Pelosi - would even recognize any states on the floor that moved to consider the motion. This is an old convention trick where the Chair simply refuses to see the wild gesticulating and screams from states wishing to put an unpopular motion up for a vote.

It might also finish Hillary within the party which is why once the primaries are over on Tuesday, it is possible she will start negotiations with Obama in earnest to trade her exit for either something tangible on the platform or even the Vice Presidency.