Rules, Schmules

As the Democratic fight for their party’s nomination gets more and more intense, it’s proving to be tremendously entertaining — and revealing of the candidates’ true natures. Even more fun, it’s showing how remarkably similar Senators Clinton and Obama are at their cores.

Especially when it comes to their “I will win this at any cost” mentalities.

Both candidates (through their surrogates and mouthpieces) are whining about some of the rules behind the primary process — specifically, the ones that are proving most inconvenient to their victory.

Hillary Clinton has expressed her unhappiness with the Texas system of choosing its delegates, and thinks it is a grave injustice that the votes of Florida and Michigan Democrats will go uncounted.

Barack Obama is dissatisfied with the whole “superdelegates” system, where party officials have enough clout to pick the nominee should he (or Senator Clinton, for that matter) not win a supermajority of the popularly-chosen delegates.

Here’s a news flash for both of these Ivy League lawyers and lifetime hacks:

Those rules were set up long before you filed your first papers to run for president.

The proper time to complain about the rules is before you start the game. Or, at least, before they prove inconvenient to you winning.

Where were Senator Clinton’s concerns about Florida and Michigan before she won those votes in what was essentially uncontested races? She agreed long beforehand to not compete in those states, but registered anyway and did a little of non-campaigning. Then, when they went and voted for her anyway, she suddenly became the champion of the poor, disenfranchised people of those two states — who knew beforehand that, thanks to their own state party officials, their votes would not count. The Democratic parties in those two states chose, well in advance, to defy the national party, and knew what the consequences would be, and did so anyway. There was no coercion, no surprises, nothing underhanded. “You wanna play in our game? Here are our rules. You don’t like ’em, tough.”

Meanwhile, Senator Obama has suddenly become a convert to the cause of Pure Democracy. The “superdelegate” system has been in place for decades (in which certain high-ranking Democratic officials, such as Senators like himself and Mrs. Clinton, are made delegates who can vote for whichever candidate they choose). Under this year’s rules, those make up about 20% of the total delegate count. That means that in order for a nominee to win purely on elected delegates, a candidate needs a supermajority of 5/8 (or 62.5%) of those — or it will fall to the superdelegates to confirm the choice.

Folks, this is political grand theatre. Watching the two candidates twist and spin to rationalize rewriting the rules to benefit themselves is pretty much the most fun a political junkie can have with their clothes on.

I wish both candidates successes in the future, and hope they continue to duke it out, making themselves look like asses to the public in large — at least until I run out of popcorn.

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