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Don’t weep for Florida Democrats

Post by Patrick O'Callahan on May 30, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
May 30, 2008 3:01 pm

One of Hillary Clinton’s more plausible-sounding arguments for seating all the delegates from the disqualified Florida primary comes down to: “The Republicans made us do it.”

That is, Florida’s Republican legislature forced the state Democrats to accept the Jan. 29 primary date that ran afoul of the Democratic National Committee’s rules. So don’t punish Florida Democrats for something the conniving, vote-stealing, chad-contesting Florida GOP foisted upon them.

But the argument is merely plausible-sounding. It falls apart when you look at the history.

The early primary – designed to upstage Iowa and New Hampshire – was championed by a Democratic state senator, Jeremy Ring. He introduced the bill in the Florida Senate; a Republican introduced it in the House.

Republicans did control the legislature, yes, but the measure passed with overwhelming support from Democratic lawmakers.

After the date was set, Florida Democrats fought their national party for months to keep it. They had the option of ignoring the results of the primary and relying instead on caucuses, as Washington Democrats routinely do.

Instead, the Floridians insisted on selecting their delegates with a primary they knew was breaking the DNC’s rules.

Sorry, Hillary. This one won’t persuade anyone who’s not already on your side.

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