Charles Peters makes a good point in regards to the mess with Florida and Michigan situation that has gone largely unnoticed:
First primary of 2012 — October 31, 2011
The New Hampshire primary used to be in March. The present chaotic race to earlier and earlier primaries is a recent development, not required by tradition or reason.
The Democratic National Committee, attempting to get this situation under control, adopted new rules governing the timing and order of primaries. Those rules were violated by Michigan and Florida. As a result, the DNC deprived the two states of their convention delegates.
Now, I think this is a little bit overstated. Yes, the start of primary season has been getting earlier and earlier and yes, without real sanctions there will be more of an incentive for states to disobey the start date specified by the DNC, but what the scenario posed here doesn’t account for is the fact that the Democratic nominating procedures are likely to undergo a radical transformation in the next four years. People across the party have decided that the current system doesn’t work at all and there will be a big push to change the rules for next time. Granted, allowing the Florida and Michigan delegations to be seated would reduce the leverage that the DNC has over the states in the process of reinventing the rules, but it won’t be that huge a difference, assuming the DNC is legitimately interested in getting everyone on board in a fair system.
Overall, I think Peters’ proposed resolution that the delegations get seated without votes for President makes the most sense. It penalizes Florida and Michigan for breaking the rules and helps the DNC keep leverage over the states. However, in the context of the fight for the nomination, I think Obama ought to relent and just let the delegations be seated. It would be a magnanimous move that would send a message to party leaders that Obama wants to bring Hillary and her supporters on board for the general. Obama would still win anyways, it just might take him a little longer. Giver Hillary and her supporters their win and then move on. It pacifies them and gives Hillary a good climbdown from her “seat Florida and Michigan” position.