A SURPRISING STATEMENT OF unity among most Democratic rivals, and defiance from one of the states that evoked it, start my occasional log of the 2008 presidential election this week.
Dem frontrunners Clinton, Obama, and Edwards, joining with previous signers Bill Richardson, Christopher Dodd, and Joe Biden, have pledged not to campaign in Florida, Michigan, and any other state that tries to shift its primary date ahead of traditional primary springboards Iowa and New Hampshire. They can fundraise, but mass rallies and whirlwind tours across the Sunshine and Wolverine States are, for the moment, no longer on the schedule.
Where this gets interesting is that Michigan has made official their threatened shift of the primary to January 15, sanctions from both national committees be damned.
Naturally, the Democratic pledge frees up a ton of cash for other, more closely contested states where Democratic candidates feel they might gain more by campaigning in person, or to get a solid start in Iowa or New Hampshire. Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee has issued a diktat that all states currently or considering holding primaries before February 5 will lose half of their delegates, including key members like the state chair and the national committee-drone. Any state moving its primary after the RNC's call to convention goes out loses 90% of its delegates. On the other hand, the RNC is not penalizing the Nine for campaigning in these verboten states. So they may range unopposed by live candidates across Florida and Michigan while the Democrats pick at each other like irritated crows on a power line.
Some folks get HBO just for certain shows. Would I be too out of line getting basic cable between December and the Wednesday after Election Day 2008, or whenever the recounts end? I might need to see this knife fight in clear coaxial glory.