early and often

Michigan and Florida: A Solution Is at Hand, But What Is It?

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Unless you’re Hillary Clinton or Chuck Todd, you’ve likely had your fill of hearing about Michigan and Florida. Thankfully, the Democrats will finally end the dispute over the renegade states’ delegates when the Rules and Bylaws Committee meets this Saturday. Don’t be fooled by the group’s unsexy title — there’s plenty of emotion involved in their ruling. So what should we expect from this most epic of committee meetings?

• Roger Simon says the committee’s decision won’t be easy because of competing agendas: There’s Michigan and Florida, who want their penalties reversed; Clinton, who is counting on a friendly decision to gain ground on Obama; Obama, who obviously doesn’t want to lose delegates to Clinton even at this late stage; and of course, the committee members themselves, who “believe in rules and that rules must be enforced, even as political realities are addressed.” [Politico]

• Nedra Pickler reports that a DNC memo asserts that the Rules and Bylaws Committee can’t reward the states their full delegates. Instead, according to party lawyers, the states have to lose at least half their seats. [Associated Press]

• Chuck Todd and friends think the real riddle of the R&B meeting is what to do with the Michigan delegates who are “uncommitted” because Obama was not on the ballot, since it’s not clear whether they can go to Obama. [First Read/MSNBC]

• Harold Meyerson thinks by linking the decision Saturday to the causes of democracy and feminism, Clinton’s supporters — many of whom will be protesting outside — make a mockery of both democracy and feminism. Their cause will instead be dictated by “situational ethics.” [WP]

• Bob Cusack writes that Obama is asking his followers to not demonstrate at the committee meeting and that the campaign “cautions supporters not to speculate about what will happen on Saturday.” [Hill]

• The USA Today editorial board thinks the Rules and Bylaws Committee needs to “send a message that rules matter.” Any first-grader knows that if “you break the rules, you get punished.” [USAT]

• Marc Ambinder wants us to keep a few things in mind amid the circus surrounding Saturday’s meeting: The decision, whatever it is, will not affect the outcome of the race. The decision will be as political as it is “rules-based.” While we don’t know exactly what the committee will decide, Clinton will likely be disappointed but will garner little sympathy. [Atlantic]

• Craig Crawford writes that the Florida Democrats don’t deserve the treatment they’re getting from the DNC. They went along with the Republican-controlled state house in moving up the primary but were also able to negotiate a deal mandating a paper trail in all future elections. [CQ Politics]

• Rich Lowry thinks the Democrats who protested the halted 2000 recount would be outraged at the “disenfranchisement” of Florida today. But the “liberal establishment” changes its standards according to which candidate they want to win: In 2000 it was Gore, and now it’s Obama. [NYP] —Dan Amira

For a complete and regularly updated guide to presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain — from First Love to Most Embarrassing Gaffe — read the 2008 Electopedia.

Michigan and Florida: A Solution Is at Hand, But What Is It?