2008 does not mark the first time Michigan challenged the Democratic Party's primary schedule. The Wolverine State challenged the Democratic Party's primary schedule four years ago. Reads syndicated columnist Mark Shields's blog:
Four years earlier , Michigan threatened — in the words of the state’s respected, but highly exercised, U.S. Sen. Carl Levin — to go "outside the primary window."
The Democratic national chairman, in a very heated exchange in Levin’s office, told the senator, "If I allow you to do that, the whole system collapses, we will have chaos."
An unconvinced Levin challenged the chairman, "You won’t deny us seats at the convention." To which the Democratic chairman fired back: "Carl, take it to the bank. They will not get a credential. The closest they’ll get to Boston (the convention city) will be watching it on television."
So who was that bold and wise Democratic Party chairman in 2004? It was none other than Democratic Party fundraiser extrodinaire Terry McAuliffe. [I apologize for saying that McAuliffe was the worst DNC chairman ever since he obviously got one thing right.] Now chairing Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, McAuliffe, neglecting his moral responsibility as a former DNC chair, believes the Florida and Michigan results were fair, and that the Florida and Michigan primary results should be either honored or their should be a re-vote.
Howard Dean last year, rightly in my view, stripped Michigan and Florida of its delegates. Even the 50% penalty that Republicans used still gave the Sunshine State and the Wolverine State, which had disobeyed party rules, infinitely more influence in choosing the Republican nominee than did Pennsylvania, which followed the rules. Is this fair? More important, what is to say in 2012 that Pennsylvania and other large states won't move up their primaries even more even if that means accepting a 50%, a 75%, or even a 90% percent penalty? Because the state is large and delegates are at stake, the state will still have considerably more influence than a state that actually follows party rules.
So now we go to the Democrats. Should Michigan and Florida have a revote, what is it to say that in 2012 a state won't move up its primary and accept the x% penalty, or if completely stripped of their delegates, just suddenly change their primary schedule to a date that gives the state more political influence?
Terry McAuliffe meant business in 2004 when he threatened not to allow Michigan voters any influence had they disobeyed the party rules. Howard Dean should do the same. [Just split the each state's delegations 50-50, and allow the superdelegates, whose role is independent of the voters, also to be seated at the convention.] Does Howard Dean really want a legacy of spreading chaos in the Democratic primaries?