Saturday, February 16, 2008

Politics: Power and Principle, in That Order!

"I'm a politician," runs the old joke, "and I have principles."

Wait! That's not the punchline!

"If you don't like my principles," the joke continues, "that's OK. I also have other principles."


"Where do you stand on disenfranchisement?" runs my newer coda.

"Disenfranchisement of whom?" the politician inquires.

"Millions of voters?"

"Well, that all depends on who I'm workin' for!"


Hope Yen for the AP: Clinton Aide Changes Mich., Fla. Stance
Harold Ickes, a top adviser to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign who voted to strip Michigan and Florida of their delegates last year, now is arguing against the very penalty he helped pass.

In a conference call Saturday, the longtime Democratic Party member contended the DNC should reconsider its tough sanctions on the two states, which held early contests in violation of party rules. He said millions of voters in Michigan and Florida would be otherwise disenfranchised — before acknowledging moments later that he had favored the sanctions.

Ickes explained that his different position essentially is due to the different hats he wears as both a DNC member and a Clinton adviser in charge of delegate counting. Clinton won the primary vote in Michigan and Florida, and now she wants those votes to count.

"There's been no change," Ickes said. "I wasn't acting as an agent for Mrs. Clinton. We stripped them of all their delegates in order to prevent campaigns to campaign in those states. ...Those were the rules, and we thought we had an obligation to enforce them."
And now we have no obligation to enforce them anymore because we need the votes.