Oh, Florida. Our quirky neighbor to the south, our go-to locus for political contretemps of all varieties. Last night's Republican primary gave the momentum to John McCain and saw Mitt Romney give perhaps the worst speech I have ever heard about all the things Washington hasn't done (nod to C for noticing it too). Romney is a disaster and I therefore pray that he gets the GOP nomination, notwithstanding Senator McCain's putative coronation.
On the Dem side, things get (of course) weirder and more annoying. Florida was stripped of its delegates by the Democratic Party for moving its primary before February 5th. Although their names were on the ballot, all of the candidates agreed--in writing--to refrain from campaigning in the state. Cue to last night's CNN report wherein Hillary Clinton is at a rally post-election thanking the people of Florida for "this vote of confidence" as she beat Obama handily 50% to 33%. What was irritating me was Wolf Blitzer's seeming inability to stop talking about her win in a way that made it seem like she won. He did offer the information that she won, "however no delegates have been awarded" and other inside baseball minutiae. But what CNN did primarily was air coverage of a victorious Hillary Clinton--a candidate who "won" an election in which no other candidate campaigned. Obviously that's a good campaign tactic on the part of HRC. And obviously CNN played along.
The most egregious part of the evening came during her speech when she said that she would work to ensure that Florida's delegates ARE seated at the convention. Helloo?!!! She signed a pledge, she agreed to the same rules as everyone else. But now that she can say she "won" she wants to claim those delegates? I swear to God if the Democrats give in on this one, I will absolutely turn in my membership and never look back. My point is not whether the primary date argument is a solid one or even a worthy one. My point is simply that we have a candidate in HRC who is not only trying to change the rules in her favor in the middle of the game, but one who is completely at ease ignoring the pledge she made just months ago. Call it what you want, call it just a tempest over some aspect of parliamentary procedure within the arcane rules of the party primary system; that is irrelevant. What is relevant is the ease with which Clinton simply decided that now that she needs those delegates, all bets, all honor, all promises are off.
In any case, the big news is that Rudy is out, finally, leaving all of us relieved that we no longer need to sit through his speeches with Judy Nathan at his side at the podium. I mean, on what other campaign (even the Clintons!) does the spouse stand right AT the podium with the candidate? The Giulianis are one hot New York mess that has mercifully ended its run. On the Dem side, Edwards will end his run today. On the one hand I liked his participation in the debates and on the campaign trail. On the other it was starting to appear unseemly that he was collecting delegates in an apparent "kingmaking" effort for the convention. Either way, I think he had a valuable message that I hope continues to be heard.
And with that, I'm off to unpack more stuff.