It is time to deal with Florida and Michigan. The Democratic primary is going to be too contentious to leave out two such important states, and the solution must be fair to all.
This race is becoming quite contentious. I don't think that has to be a bad thing, but it depends on how it plays out.
The fight over Michigan's and Florida's delegates can serve either as a chance to unite the party behind a single nominee or tear it apart.
The case for a do-over of some sort comes down to one word; Legitimacy.
Regardless of which candidate wins the nomination, they must be seen throughout the party as the legitimate winner. It applies equally to either Obama or Clinton.
If the delegates from the two states are seated as is, the Obama supporters will never accept those votes as genuine, and with good reason. The campaigns all agreed to not fight in those states, and in Michigan most of the candidates weren't even on the ballot. No one can look at these two farces and want them to be the deciding factor in our primary.
If the delegates are left out enitrely, then the Clinton camp will feel with some justification, that they are being deprived of two important states that they can expect to win, and the voters in the two states will be soured on the Democratic party at least at the state level.
A new contest of some sort is required. If Obama can bring the case to Mighigan and Florida and win them outright, then he beats back the criticsm that he can't win any of the big "important" states. If Hillary wins, then she is able to make that argument even more strongly.
Michigan and Florida, who moved their primaries up in order to be "relevant" have an opportunity to play the role of deciders, the importance of their votes multiplied several times over what they were hoping for. The two state party leaders will have to swallow their pride a bit and aknowledge that they have to obey the rules to play the game, but they also get to be seen as loyal to the national pary, and willing to compromise and solve problems. Perhaps most importantly, the base gets a winner that will have won the contest fair and square. Everyone wins.
There has been too much excitement and energy brought into the Democratic party because of this historic primary to waste it. There have been too many new and young voters brought into politics for the first time who risk being tossed away. That is what will happen however if this issue is allowed to fester and a really close race ends at the convention with these two states having no say. The last thing the Democrats need going into the general is having half of it's voters feel cheated. There is too much at stake for the outcome of this contest to be seen as anything less than legitimate, or it will be impossible for either candidate to bring everyone back together.
Florida, Michigan, Howard Dean, this is up to you to fix.
We need a plan for fairly contested, open, legitimate contests in these two states to determine how the delegates get divided, and we need it now.
This is going to be something of a drive by diary. My dial up connection is just giving me fits today, and I just have to get away from the computer to deal with other things.
I promise I will read over any comments later today, but likely long after this has scrolled to oblivion. Please forgive.