Democrats Need to Get Real About Fla., Mich.

1)      Democratic Party officials in Florida and Michigan took a gamble and broke the rules.

It's time for Democrats to stop acting like school children about

Let's try to put this controversy in perspective with a few facts:

1) Democratic Party officials in Florida and Michigan took a gamble and broke the rules. They ought to be grown up enough to accept the consequences and not blame party leaders, who gave them more than fair warning.

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2) It's nonsense to argue that Democratic voters in the two states are being disenfranchised, as Hillary Clinton and leaders of the two states are claiming. Lots of states have always had primaries that didn't matter. How often, for example, have Californians voted long after the nominations were decided? Let's face it, the two states moved up their primaries to increase their influence and the gamble failed. So be it.

3) Clinton is over the top in blaming Barack Obama for this mess -- even describing his position as un-American. Sure, she's desperate for the contests to take place, but she accepted the rules and it's unfair to change positions midstream. She now says the nominee may be seen as "illegitimate" if Florida and Michigan are left out. That raises a question that has not been asked or answered. Would she call herself illegitimate if she wins the nomination without the two states? Hmmm.

4) That said, I agree with my colleague Jon Frandsen, who wrote some time ago (opens in new tab) that Obama ought to back a revote, given how things have turned out. To do otherwise makes him look like he's afraid of the outcome, which of course he is.

5) The notion that if Michigan and Florida don't get voting delegates, it will hurt Democrats in November is ludicrous. Find me a Democrat who will help elect John McCain because he or she is annoyed over delegate seating and I'll show you a dumb Democrat.

6) Despite all of the above, it shouldn't be that hard to work something out. How about a convention in the two states to elect new delegates? Or splitting the delegations three ways -- one third for Obama, one third for Clinton and one third uncommitted, vetted by neutral party elders to make sure they truly are uncommitted. Or if none of those work, surely someone can come up with a plan that does. If not, seat them but deny them the vote, as the initial rule requires.

Mark Willen
Senior Political Editor, The Kiplinger Letter