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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Calendar Perspectives

Over the weekend, Barack Obama’s campaign notified the Credentials Committee that he wanted Michigan and Florida to have full voting rights at the Democratic National Convention later this month.
This was a totally predictable move, based on a desire to heal wounds in those two states now that their voting status at the Convention has no bearing on the nominating contest.
But it’s still amazing to realize that it was just two months ago when this issue was making front page headlines and roiling the party with passionate arguments about fairness, representative government, and even equal voting rights. It seems like eons ago, doesn’t it?
By comparison, there’s nearly three months left before election day, with a host of important intervening events, most notably the conventions, the presidential debates, a vast array of paid media, and perhaps (at least on the Democratic side) the most impressive get-out-the-vote operation in electoral history. Those Democrats who are currently panicking over the close polls should calm down for a while. At least there’s no longer much risk of over-confidence for Obama, eh?
Getting back to the FL/MI issue, some party stalwarts are worried about the residual effect of the latest decision, according to the New York TimesKatherine Seelye:

Mr. Obama’s “request” to restore full voting strength to Florida and Michigan is likely to cause heartburn for party officials, who have struggled to maintain some authority over the primary calendar.
By granting Mr. Obama’s request, the party will essentially be giving a green light to other states to ignore the calendar next time because there will be no consequences.

Well, yeah, but remember this important fact about the calendar: If Obama wins in November, and escapes a major primary challenge in 2012, then he will be in a position to do whatever he wants to do to the prmary/caucus timetable, with “no consequences.” Indeed, it would represent one of those rare moments when major changes in the entire system for nominating Democratic presidential candidates could become entirely possible.
But if eons have passed since June, and we’re light years from November, then 2012 can be barely imagined.

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