Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Hillary Clinton Fact Check: Ambinder: Clinton's "Nuclear Option" More Of A Conventional Weapon?

Ambinder: Clinton's "Nuclear Option" More Of A Conventional Weapon?


06 May 2008 11:12 am

Wikipedia's history of the phrase "a nuclear option" would
make Sen. Bill Frist proud, but in so far as historical references go, it's
weaker than an aged dog. I more prefer the context of annihilation and
obliteration over procedural gimmickry, but the latter is more apropos for
today's politics. On Friday, Tom Edsall headlined his story about the upcoming
rules and bylaws committee meeting of the Democratic Party, "Clinton Camp Says
It Will Use The Nuclear Option."

THE OPTION Edsall refers to is an
unspecified plan to somehow use the campaign's leverage on the committee to seat
delegates from Florida and Michigan, thereby reducing the pledged delegate gap
with Barack Obama by 55. Edsall's implication, derived, I assume, from his
conversations with Clinton campaign allies, is that the Clinton campaign is
currently debating whether to play this trump card; the "nuclear option" lingo
makes it clear that Edsall believes that the card is improperly played -- that
the process of delegation challenges does not comport with a spirit of fair

IN FAIRNESS TO the Clinton campaign, they've made no secret
about their desire to seat the delegations from Florida and Michigan. And,
absent new, DNC-approved delegate selection contests in those states, the RBC
and then the credentials committee are the "legal" and appropriate forums to
hear those challenges under DNC rules. RBC meetings are open and above-board;
the challenges set to be argued will be argued. The Obama campaign does not
believe that a majority of the RBC's members are Clinton supporters; the Clinton
campaign is surely counting votes, but they're also not certain of the outcome.
It seems indecent to suggest that RBC members, many of whom have the equivalent
of tenure on the committee and are sticklers for DNC rules, would so eagerly and
quickly jettison sound judgment in favor of politics. Some will, some won't. It
further seems unfair to lump the cases of Florida and Michigan together,
especially when it comes to what's fair and what's foul. In Florida, Clinton and
Obama both appeared on the ballot; in Michigan, Obama's name (by his own choice,
yes) did not.
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