|There's a cheeky girl, Miss Charlie... cheeky indeed...
Florida Governor Charlie Crist (who backed John McCain in the Florida primary) and Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm (a Hillary Clinton supporter) released a joint statement today, calling on officials in the Democratic and Republican parties to count their respective primaries -- the Florida no-ad folly of January 29, and the Cuban-style Michigan race in which Hillary Clinton played the part of Fidel Castro.
Well isn't that convenient?
Now I like Charlie Crist (whose name occasionally makes the papers in its ecclesiastical misprint: "Christ...") He's been a good governor so far -- much better than I expected when i didn't vote for him in 2006. But I think "the people's governor," as he styles himself, is making a bit of mischief. Like any good Republican (and he is that, despite his quite liberal record so far in Florida, and his curious habit of appointing Democrats to key positions and keeping campaign promises to re-enfranchise felons and such...) Crist would probably like to see Hillary become the Democratic nominee, the better to unite his party in the service of Crist's pal McCain (who would have thought Crist and Mother Rushbo would be playing on the same team ... hm... note to self, say nothing more about that...) Anyhoo, for Granholm's part, she is in line with Clinton partisans, and Florida Democratic Party officials, who would like to see the two illegal elections counted anyway.
I have interviewed Florida Congressman Alcee Hastings on this matter, and have been in touch with members of the Florida Democratic leadership, and I got two things from those discussions:
1. I can think of no scenario when the delegates from Florida will simply be rejected in Denver. Hastings all but guaran-damn-teed it, despite his and Sen. Bill Nelson's failed lawsuit to force the vote to count. And if Florida gets seated, Michigan will too. Despite Howard Dean's rather lame punt on the matter today, I see no way around that fact.
2. The Florida party wants no part of a re-vote, especially since there's no one willing to pay for it. Howard Dean has offered a measly $850,000 or so, for an election that will cost somewhere around $24 million. And Crist, in his press conference today, didn't indicate that he'd push Florida's Republican-run legislature -- the same one that moved the primary up in defiance of party rules in the first place -- to pony up the dough, either. Florida is staring down the barrel of $500 million in budget cuts, that are expected to hit schools, fire, police -- everything but the kitchen sink, to coin a Clintonian turn of phrase. So there's no money to ante up, anyway. And the GOP is letting Florida keep half of its delegates, so what 'dem worry? What
So what are we left with?
Camp Clinton wants a new primary, not an easier, cheaper caucus, because she thinks she'll win a primary here (though this time, she won't have the advantages of early and absentee voting that stretched back into December, before the Obama boom began...)
Team Obama is more elusive on the matter, although I wouldn't be surprised if their internals make them feel rather confident that he would at least improve his performance, even in a primary, if Florida were done again.
As to the Soviet-inspired Michigan primary, which gave voters a choice between Hillary and bust, it can't be counted as-is, and the tea leaves say that state would be more ripe pickings for a new race, again, most likely a caucus. And that too, could serve Obama well.
Til then, we'll try to forget that our naughty governor is the one who signed that push-up primary into existence in the first place.
Oh, and how's this for irony: had Florida not had its primary moved into the ether, guess when we would have voted? (Or on February 5th, had a much contested Democratic amendment succeeded...) Stings, doesn't it?
Labels: 2008 election, Barack Obama, Charlie Crist, Florida, Hillary Clinton