Rules and Games
Circus and civics it was, as the Rules Committee had a morning session, then took a long "lunch break" to decide on compromise proposals for Florida and Michigan. Both states got to seat their full complement of delegates, but each now has one-half vote, including super-d's. The delegate apportionment for Florida compromise got unanimous support, but Harold Icky, the head Clintonista, objected to the Michigan compromise with some vituperative language, ending, "I have been instructed by my candidate [HRC] to reserve the right to appeal this to the Credentials committee." That, and the constant interruptions by Hillary's Hooligans in the room, put on hold any sense of party unity. But the decisions, as Chuck Todd said on MsNBC, affirm that this is now Barack Obama's Democratic Party, and no longer the property of the Clintons.
What does it mean for the race? The new "magic number" for the nomination is 2118. Reserving the right to change these numbers, for they are approximate, the Obamagic Number is 65 (Chuck Todd), 66 (AP) or 68 (CNN), depending on who you ask.
Just about the only open questions now are: will Obama pass the Obamagic Number by Tuesday night? Will Hillary take the fight to the Credentials committee and the convention?
Before the heavyweights weigh in--and I'll update this post as their posts start appearing--here's my intuition: Icky's threat is going to alarm enough super-delegates who were thinking of waiting until June 4 to declare, to declare sooner, so that Obama will have the national stage on Tuesday night to start the campaign against McCain in the highly symbolic St. Paul site of the upcoming GOPer convention. And that Hillary will not appeal. There are two reasons she won't: 1. both proposals had the support of the state parties, which makes it very difficult for her to do so with any credibility except to win more delegates for herself. 2. Enough super-delegates will declare for Obama to establish him as the nominee long before that committee meets at the end of June.
Updates Start Here: Based on his estimates of what Obama is likely to get from Puerto Rico, South Dakota and Montana primaries, Al G. at the Field estimates that Obama needs 25 super-d's to win the nom. He and the Jed Report concur that the Iccy threat is empty and this isn't going to the convention.
Chuck Todd updates his numbers ("the New Math") here. According to NBC figures, the Obamagic Number is 62.5. But it's changing even tonight as Mich and Fla are sorted out, and as new super-d's declare. But at the moment, if Clinton and Obama split the remaining contest delegates 50% each, Obama will be 20 delegates from the nomination. The Obama campaign has not yet updated its numbers.
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