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Granholm's Role In The Democratic Primary

basement angel's picture

Granholm will be at the White House tomorrow and the hopeful word in some feminist circles is that she might be there for the announcement that she is being nominated to the United States Supreme Court. If this is the case, I think Democrats have very good reasons to oppose her appointment.

In August of 2007, the Michigan Republicans introduced a bill to move the state's primary date up. It passed the State Senate, over unified Democratic objection. Once in the House, 29 Democrats voted for it, while 22 voted against the bill and 7 abstained from voting. It was a voting block of 38 Republicans which passed the bill into law. Once passed, two courts found the move up date unconstitutional and it was back to the legislature for tinkering. By this time, the Republicans had proposed a primary date of January 15th.

From Wayne Barrett:

...Andy Dillon, the Democratic House speaker who'd voted for the move-up initially, walked away from the early primary in November, almost a month before the DNC voted to strip the state of its delegation. When two court rulings found the move-up bill unconstitutional for technical reasons, giving Democratic state legislators who initially voted for it a chance to reconsider, they took it. Dillon and his House Democrats refused to support a bill that would've protected the January 15 date from threatened judicial cancellation by correcting the technical deficiency. The Senate, again voting along party lines, quickly adjusted the bill to the court decisions, but Dillon refused to allow a vote in the House. All of this suggests a "good faith" effort to block an early primary -- as required by DNC rules.

Had not the state's highest court overturned the earlier decisions by a 4-to-3 vote just days before absentee ballots had to be mailed out, the early primary would not have been held. Significantly, all four of the judges who voted to allow the election were Republicans, and two of the judges who voted against it were Democrats.

So, here we have a situation where every Democrat voted against moving the primary up, and only one Democrat - Governor Jennifer Granholm - supported the bill and signed it into law. Because of Granholm's action, Michigan lost half of its delegates, and the hearing on that action also resulted in Obama being arbitrarily assigned all of the uncommitted delegates and in him receiving several delegates that Clinton had won fairly and squarely.

From the beginning of Barrett's article:

The presumption of much of the national coverage about Michigan, to start with, has been that the Dems did this one to themselves -- a presumption based, in large part, on Democratic governor Jennifer Granholm's endorsement of a January 15 vote, a date far ahead of the anticipated February 9 primary. All Clinton-backer Granholm did, however, was a sign a bill. The bill originated in a Republican-controlled Senate and passed by a 21-to-17 straight party-line vote -- with every Democrat casting a no vote.

It leads one to wonder why a Democratic governor would sign into law a bill that all of the Democrats in her state legislature opposed, which would cost her state fully half of their delegates at the national convention and which would ultimately result in the winner of her state's primary losing the nomination.

Is it gauche to ask if there was a quid pro quo? Certainly, it displays ghastly judgement on Granholm's part and suggests that she was willing to use her authority to alter the outcome of the Democratic nomination.

*Edited because I left out the opening paragraph.

No votes yet


Submitted by Anne on

will be a Supreme Court nomination, or if karma will sink its sharp and ugly teeth into Granholm's political ass when yet another of the carmakers is ushered into bankruptcy...

zuzu's picture
Submitted by zuzu on

I mean, you make it seem like there's a direct line between Granholm's signing the bill and Obama's getting assigned some of Clinton's delegates.

For one thing, you're missing the rather HUGE fact that Obama, Edwards, Richardson, etc. -- everyone but Dodd and Gravel -- got together to pull out of the Michigan primary in order to make Clinton look bad before the Iowa caucuses. Michigan required the notarized-by-a-Michigan-notary signature of the candidate on the rather onerous paperwork, and these guys waited until the last day, knowing that there was no way Clinton, who was not in the state, could file in time. In fact, Kucinich didn't make it, and stayed on the ballot.

There was no reason for this other than to make Clinton look bad to Iowa and New Hampshire, who get very sensitive about their first status. Also, it wasn't required by the rules of the DNC (trust me, I've done the research, and I can point you to several long, well-researched posts I did at Feministe and Shakesville about this very subject). And it did its job, at least in Iowa. But this eventually got spun into Clinton staying on the ballot in violation of DNC rules, especially after Edwards dropped out, with lots of hyperventilating about CLINTON BREAKING THE RULES and OMGWTFBBQ SHE SIGNED THE PLEDGE! THE PLEDGE!!!!

Is any of that Granholm's fault? No.

All that delegate-stripping and delegate-shifting? DNC, pure and simple. You'll note that the date change was also against RNC rules, but the Republicans had the sense to simply impose the penalty provided in their rules and strip half the delegates from Florida and Michigan. The DNC also had the same standard penalty, but tossed that out the window with Florida, stripping them of all their delegates for no good reason other than Donna Brazile said so. So when Michigan moved up their primary, they really had no other option.

Michigan's argument on appeal was that they had been given conflicting signals from the DNC about whether they would be permitted to move up their primary, so it's a little more complicated a situation than you're presenting here. Even your conclusion, that Granholm was the *only* Democrat who supported it, is contradicted by the blockquote from Barrett's article indicating that the Democrats had in fact originally supported the bill, but there were challenges to it and a great deal of procedural maneuvering.

In the end, the DNC, and the DNC alone, decided to go against its own rules and assign not only all the Uncommitted delegates to Obama, but four of Clinton's. How Granholm was supposed to have anticipated any of this, I'm not really sure and you don't lay out here. But I'm very curious how you come to the conclusion that it was Jennifer Granholm's signature on a bill in 2007 that caused all of the problems during that DNC hearing in May 2008, when the Rules and Bylaws Committee ignored the DNC's rules, deliberated in secret despite announcing what was supposed to be a fully open process, and came to its really fucked-up conclusions.

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

IT was the states that were docked delegates because they broke the rules. There were four additional taken from Clinton, but not because she broke the rules because she didn't. She wasn't required to take her name off the ballot. That was not part of the agreement.

You would be better informed if you had read Wayne Barrett's article. The Republicans introduced bill and all of the Dems in the state senator opposed it. Only half the House supported it. When it failed a court challenge, it was re-written. This time, 100% of the Democrats in the state legislature opposed it. In the end, Granholm acted in complete defiance of the Democrats in her legislature and the DNC. Her action, alone among Democrats, resulted in the catastrophe that saw Clinton lose the nomination. Granholm alone could have prevented the docking of her state's delegates. In the end, she signed a bill that was directly responsible for changing the outcome of the primary.

It certainly looks like she is corrupt and that there was a quid pro quo. I know of no honest reason why a Democratic governor would take an action totally opposed by the members of her party in the legislature, by the DNC and which would rob her state of representation at the national convention.

Submitted by lambert on

The Michiganders are going to have the refresh my memory on this one -- but if Granholm was not, in fact, "the only one," then I'd say this argument is taking on water.

I'm not a big fan of 11 dimensional chess when I'm told to play it, but I can certainly believe that there's 11 dimensional chess in politics, and that was surely the case on seating delegates in the primaries. (That is separate from the issue of whether justice was done; I deeply believe that in the caucuses, it was not done.)

For example, FL was also masterminded by the Republicans, who IIRC presented the Dems with a Sophie's choice of defying the DNC or preventing another stolen election, and I can well believe a similar dynamic played out in Michigan.

Einstein said that theories should be as simple as possible, and no simpler. So far as I'm seeing in this thread, the argument that Granhold, an avowed Clinton supporter, betrayed that promise for as yet unspecified corruption is simpler than possible. (On indicator is that Granholm is mentioned only once or twice in the Voice article. If her role were as central as claimed in this post, you'd think that the three or four investigating assistants Barret had on the job with him would have come up with something at the time).

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

The first bill passed with some half the Dems in the House (and none of the Emes in the Senate) votingfor it. But it failed to survive a court challenge so the Republicans rewrote it to accomodate the Constitutional issues. The new bill passed out of the legislature with only Republican votes and Granholm signed it.

All Granholm had to do was sign it. That's it. The Republicans were orchestrating it. The Democrats opposed it. Her speaker had walked on the bill. And despite the fact that she knew it would cost her state delegates at the conventiion, she signed it.

There was no sweetener added to the mix as there was in Florida. This simply moved the primary date up after the DNC had issued it's threat.


zuzu's picture
Submitted by zuzu on

Sorry, you're the one who's drawing a direct link between Granholm signing the bill and all of the fallout. As if she could have foreseen what happened later.

Moreover, Michigan and Florida both fought the completely fucked-up overreaction of the RBC in their appeals, which were the subject of that hearing in 2008 that led to the reallocation of delegates.

The DNC's rules provided for a simple standard penalty for violating the timing rules. The RBC decided to throw that out and just go nuclear. Which is Granholm's fault, again, how?

And how, exactly, did Granholm foresee that Obama would get together with Edwards, et al. and withdraw months after she signed the bill?

You're now making the claim that this means Granholm is corrupt and there was a quid pro quo. But you haven't laid that out whatsoever. Unless there are parts of Barrett's article that you haven't cited in support of this assertion, because what you have cited doesn't even support what you're arguing in the post.

And maybe, instead of telling me that I would be "better informed" if I read the Barrett article, you could set out the links you're trying to draw between Granholm's signing the bill, her alleged corruption, and the quid pro quo. Did she push Souter out, too?

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

the DNC was threatening to dock her state of delegates if the bill passed. it's Granholm's fault because all of the Dems in her state legislature - 100% of the Democrats - voted against the bill that she signed. IT's Granholm's fault because it was her action that allowed the DNC to justify going nuclear. Had she not signed the bill, they would have been left docking Florida and no other state. Had she not signed the bill, Clinton's likely win would have been uncontested but Granholm's action facilitated everything else that followed.

Obama and Edwards withdrawing from the ballot was almost entirely irrelevant to what transpired. At the most, had they not withdrawn, the DNC would not have had reason to award Obama four of Clinton's delegates but that's about it.

Perhaps you should simply read Barrett's article. I linked it. He wrote for the Village Voice for years. He's a respected journalist. What are you afraid of?

zuzu's picture
Submitted by zuzu on

You really don't understand the first thing about argument, do you?

If you make an assertion, you support it. Don't just wave me in the direction of Barrett's article. I've already pointed out where what you've excerpted doesn't support your argument entirely. Now you're making an entirely different, and far more serious assertion that there was some kind of quid pro quo, and you can offer nothing at all in support of it. Other than the hand-waving.

I can direct you to a few links, too: like this one and this one and this one and this one and this one.

Not to mention, your claim that Obama and Edwards dropping out was irrelevant just shows your ignorance. THAT was the whole scandal of the RBC meeting, that Obama was assigned delegates for a primary he withdrew from.

. He wrote for the Village Voice for years

So did Nat Hentoff, and he turned out to be an antichoice paranoid loon.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

I'm not even going to bother reading through all of the replies, but I can already tell from the original post that this can't be serious.

First off, the insinuation that she moved up the primary for Obama is just silly flat on its face. If anything, she's often been accused by Obama and Edward supporters in the state of having moved up the primary to give Michigan an early say in solidifying her preferred candidates nomination. Guess who that candidate was: HILLARY CLINTON.

Secondly, Granholm was not the only public official and state party memeber who gave the primary move the go-ahead. State Chairman Mark Brewer along with Senator Carl Levin and DNC party member Debbie Dingle (wife of Congressman John Dingle) were instrumental in crafting moving up primary to give Michigan an earlier say given that they felt our economic troubles were going to be ignored, and also to stop the Iowa/New Hampshire hegemony on the primary. Granholm didn't even come into this until much later. It's even said that this was Mark Brewer's brainchild so as to help Edwards, perhaps, head of Clinton. To be sure, Obama wasn't even thought to be a player in this when this was all being concoted.

Basement Angel, you can't be from Michigan, right? If you're angry at what you see as her incompetence, that's one thing, but to insinuate that this was some round-about way to eventually help Obama is tin-foily to the point of truthiness.

As far as I'm concerned, Granholm was one of the better advocates for my state (and Clinton) in this whole fiasco. The blame lays at the feet of the DNC and then subsequently the Obama delegates who did everything in their power to block any kind of realistic revote in the state. To put her equal to, or above, the level of the DNC in all of this is offensive either for its ignorance or a level of intellectual dishonesty that'd make any critical thinker vomit. This was a complete swing-and-a-miss. You've told some whoppers on here, before, and I've ignored them, but this takes the cake.

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

point to an error in historical fact that I made. What I am saying very simple, is that after the DNC threat was made, all of the Democrats in the legislature refused to vote for the bill. Granholm, the governor, signed a bill that no Democrat in her legislature supported and which had the impact of costing her state delegates at the national convention. The fact that people who could not vote on the primary bill supported it, is entirely irrelevant. If every one who can vote, votes the way the DNC wants them to - as happened here - then the legislators have fulfilled their responsibility to the people of the state who want their primary votes to count, and to the DNC. In the end, one Democrat alone moved the primary up and that Democrat was Jennifer Granholm. Now, she is on the short list for the Supreme Court. She defies her party, the Democratic voters of her state, alters the outcome of the Democratic primary with her action and she winds up on a short list for a gig like that? Stinky.

BTW, if you're going to take what Obama supporters say as substantive, then you must also believe that Clinton was hoping that Obama would be assassinated so she could take the nomination. There is nothing that couldn't be turned into a Clinton conspiracy to rob Obama - this included.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

You made an insinuation that there could be some quid pro quo between Obama and Granholm, and you still have yet to support it with anything substantive. This is borderline slander. And that last paragraph is so offensive as to allow me to completely write you off as a serious poster. If you were on my blog, you'd have been gone for this blatant character assassination. You have no idea of what went on here in Michigan, that much is clear. Please, don't come in here making up shit, and even more importantly, patently ridiculous insinuation and try to pass them off as reality.

BTW, stop the straight-out lie that no Democrats voted for this. The bill started in the Senate (where no Dems voted for it) and moved to the House where it was supported by over two dozen House Dems. The higher ups in the state party Dems and the state party Repugs both supported it, and had two very different reasons for supporting it. The state party Dems had initiated moving up the primary to protest Iowa/NH primary hemogony, none seriously believing that we'd be punished or that if we were that we wouldn't be fully reinstated. The state party Repugs, of course, voted it for it because they'd only be half-way punished, and plus, they could possibly embarrass the state Dems if the national party called our bluff, so of course they wanted to support the state Dem leader's plan to move this thing up.

Granholm was very easily one of the most ardent supporters of Clinton before anyone even knew who Obama even was. She continued to be one of her staunches supporters even as other former Clinton delegates were flipping to Obama. The idea that she was working in some round-about fashion to aid Barack Obama is perposterous, and particularly when you show that you have no idea of what went on here.

Our decision to move up our primary didn't pay off, but to paint what was total chaos and confusion during the push to move up the primary, as some backdoor way to give preference to a candidate that no one knew about or was being taken seriously takes the cake. You're insulting the intelligence of anyone who even half knew what was going on in Michigan in the summer and fall of 2007. The move was contrived by Deb Dingell, Mark Brewer, and Carl Levin, and with much convincing was sold to Senate Majority Leader Andy Dillon, and only after all that was Granholm convinced to take the risk of supporting this bill. Call her naive, call her rash, hell, call her stupid, but don't you dare try and feed anyone the lie that she was some kind of shadow Obama operative, then, or after the failure of the primary.

If anyone saw how genuinely pissed she was when she saw that the state was seriously not going to be reinstated in any meaningful way at the convention, or how pissed she was that Clinton was being manuevered out of the race, they'd laugh in your face and possibly call for a duel at such a nasty and offensive insinuation.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

Here it is:

Passed in the House (67 to 34) on August 30, 2007, to set January 15 as the date for the 2008 presidential primary in Michigan, and require presidential primary voters to declare their party in order to vote. This information would not be made available to the public at large, but only to the parties, who would be subject to some restrictions on how they could use it (they could not sell the lists). Also, to establish date ranges for future presidential primaries (sometime between the second Tuesday in January and the fourth Tuesday in February); and establish procedures by which Democratic and Republican party chairs would determine the date. The bill would not require either party to hold a primary.

Here is how the Michigan House vote broke down.

And, after having originated in the Senate, and sent and passed in the House, and then sent back through the Senate, the bill passed 36 to 0.

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

You don't know what happened. In the end, all of the Democrats walked away from it. Had you actually read what I wrote and what Barrett wrote, you would know that I discuss the first vote that you're addressing. That is in the blog post to which you responded - apparently, without reading.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

Is that Granholm, as the executive, was the final firebreak against having the primary moved. As the governor, she had the power of veto, and she didn't take it.

No matter how angry she was at how things shook out, she does hold responsibility for it. Now, I personally believe she got played on this, just like the rest of the Dems did on this. I don't think there was a quid pro quo.

But, I sure as hell don't think she should be rewarded either, when she had the ability to nip this ignorant shit in the bud. Now, why she didn't do that, is what has opened up this speculation. I think she didn't believe the DNC would go nuclear, but then that meant she underestimated the anti-Clinton fervor amongst establishment Dems. Something many people were guilty of last year, and I don't think that you can accuse all of them of being stealth Obama supporters, in the hopes of recieveing some quid pro quo.

Submitted by lambert on

Aeryl is saying no showing of quid pro quo, and that's the basis of the post.

Is it gauche to ask if there was a quid pro quo? Certainly, it displays ghastly judgement on Granholm's part and suggests that she was willing to use her authority to alter the outcome of the Democratic nomination.

That's not the same as being played, either.

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln...

NOTE What would be nice -- and this may be in the Michiganders comments, and I missed it -- is what was Granholm thinking when she signed the bill?

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

and the fall out so impactful for the world, the standards for her behavior were higher. That's why asking if there was a quid pro quo is a reasonable question from the get go. There was no upside in her signature to anyone except Obama? Obama benefitted at the expense of her voters.

Submitted by hipparchia on

not to mention --

the question of who should get to have the earliest primaries/caucuses has been fought over for ages, and michigan and gov granholm, did [or tried to do] this same thing for the 2004 primary too, which is what triggered the commission that set all the new [democratic party] rules for the 2008 primary.

sure, the quid pro quo you're suggesting is possible, but i think it's unlikely.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

Yes, that is my main problem with this. A quid pro quo was insinuated, and not only was it poorly evidenced, it wasn't evidenced, at all. Seriously, this is "Obama's a secret Muslim"-type/the birth certificate territory as far as I'm concerned, with the difference being that research was actually done on it if that shows you how poorly I think of Basement Angels post. People have been banned for making far less harmful claims, here. I'd personally like to see this deleted.

I wouldn't care, at all, for someone opposing a possible supreme court nominee, but if it's going to be on the basis of baseless insinuation, well, we can't have that. The result of the convoluted primary debacle is not evidence for the sinister insinuation given, period. Didn't we just go over how truthiness rots everything a few days, ago?

Submitted by lambert on

... play a lot more games, and fuck with the moderator's head a lot longer, to get banned here.

This is just wrong due to Simplistic Foil Syndrome -- at least, so far as I know, Basement Angle is not a vector of transmission for a winger meme attempting to infest this blog. And it got sorted out here.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

That's really not what I was requesting. What I am requesting, though, is that Basement Angel redact the unfounded and baseless insinuation from the original post.

BTW, if I remember correctly, the flagging of posts was originally begun specifically because of a nasty post Basement Angel about Michelle Obama. I may try and dig it up when I get back on. This post kind of jogged my memory about his/her regular postings, and I actually do think he/she's gotten awfully close into winger territory if not having crossed the line a number of times, though, he/she seems to be low-key enough that you all seem to ignore them. It's a bit more than simplistic foil syndrome; his/her post are consitently bitter, and I mean that in the very sense of the word not attached to its use during the primaries, and bitter added on top of being snarkless and clumsy so that there is nothing redeeming the overally nastiness of most of them. They are often clumsy to the point of being almost parodies, in fact.

Thanks for jogging my memory.

Submitted by lambert on

At least according to my recollection, and I implemented the flagging (which I need to take a second look at).

* * *

We've had discussions on moderation before. I'm more concerned with the general level of how people argue than I am with banning this or that poster; a solution like that scales. Arguments, like propagating right wing talking points, and (over time) head games and trollishiness, can be tested, so it's possible to administer based on them. "Clumsy" and "not redeeming" are not testable.

What are we all to do? Engage in meta threads on what "clumsy" and "not redeeming" might mean? These things all sort themselves out, as writers determine what they want their reputation to be, and I have no intention of investing time in that sort of maintenace.

I'll suggest, as I have before, that if you don't like a writer, the wisest course of action is to "take what you like and leave the rest."

And everybody gets to be wrong. I've been wrong myself, spectacularly so.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

I don't know if you're selectively reading my points, or if I'm not being clear, but I was asking for nothing more than that completely unfounded and baseless insinuations and allegations be redacted like you'd demand of anyone else that made such request. My whole second paragraph was simply on my personal tastes and to simply remind you that you've taken out individuals for far less than this. I didn't request that you ban anyone.

Everyone gets to be wrong, but you've made the case before with banishment that not everyone that's wrong gets to stay. In this case, the insinuation is not simply being wrong, but it's being maliciously. The whole post bases itself on an baseless allegation that the ultimate result of our primary fiasco is case enough to accuse our governor of having been in a candidate's pocket that she knew very little of when everything went down, and while staunchly backing another candidate. You can't make that case that a equals b so b must equal z, and get away with it. Folks have been banned for simply saying that someone was lying.

In this case, basement angel made an allegation that he or she is not able to back up and should thus be made to retract it if you're to evenly apply the rules across the board. To me, this is so obviously a case of malicious wingnut insinuation with the only difference being that the wingnuttery is coming from the other direction. The argument is that Granholm should be not be considered for any future position because of a baseless accusation that she was secretly in cahoots with Obama. It makes absolutely no sense, and I went as far to show that even the facts given weren't correct.

BTW, I was able to find that it was, indeed, a Basement Angel comment for which you gave the power to me and two other individuals the ability to flag posts, and the date was December 3rd of last year, if that'll help jog your memory. You made it very clear, too, that it was experimental. I don't want to post any internal info, so I won't post an excerpt of the documentation of the reason for this experiments creation unless you ask or allow me to do so.

However, is the post that started it all:

Conservatives weren't so happy back in the 60s when a black man was telling black families to speak well, go to school and work hard.

There is no one less Cleaverish than the Obamas - two incredibly ugly people who have exposed their daughters to the misogynist rantings of the Reverend Wright. Tell me the Cleavers took Wally and the Beav to KKK meetings and you might have something, but short of that, I see nothing that the two families have in common.

The LA Times has been sitting on two different stories of Obama being unfaithful to Michelle for over a year now. No one married to someone like Michelle would actually be happy. I can't even imagine how those two face each other in the morning without turning to stone in the process.

It's funny, because I thought I was too level-headed looking back at it. Anyway, just setting the record straight and showing you that I wasn't wrong in my recollection nor is this just an isolated case of a particular poster "being wrong." It's an unfortunate pattern, unfortunately, with the line about truthiness now having been crossed more than once before. Peddling conspiracy and making nasty and bitter insinuation isn't just a bug, here; it's a feature. Hopefully, fairness can win out, here. The very least that the baseless claim requires is a redaction/retraction; that's all I'm pleading.