Not surprisingly, Democrats in Florida are starting to wake up. At least some are realizing that the DNC's possible strategy of choosing its presidential convention delegates in a caucus held after the primary would in no way match the power and prestige of a bona fide Republican primary, instead of a "beauty contest," as the Democrats might make theirs.
Members of the Trial Bar -- highly influential in Florida politics -- reportedly are threatening to hold back large campaign contributions to the Democrats if Dean and the DNC keep holding to their current stubborn position.
The Trial Bar's argument is simple: Florida isn't just another state in presidential politics. With Pennsylvania and Ohio likely lost causes for the Republicans in 2008, Florida easily becomes the most critical swing state for the presidential election.
Florida Democrats are starting to realize that by allowing voters the opportunity to have a real voice only by voting in the Republican primary, those voters may be more likely to feel a kinship with the Republican nominee in November. Suddenly, independent voters now slipping away from the GOP might become a potential prize possession to be fought for by both parties.
It's likely all this will be sorted out and cooler heads among the Democrats will prevail. But it's still a possibility that the party's national leadership will step into the Republican trap. If so, Florida's state Speaker of the House, Marco Rubio of Miami, who championed this legislation, will have pulled off one of the great political coups of our time.
When told that the number of delegates Florida may seat at the national convention might be reduced, Rubio scoffed. He correctly pointed out that the national conventions have become all but meaningless in actually choosing presidential nominees. He said he has no desire to wear a silly hat at a meaningless convention.
The question now is, will Howard Dean be wearing a dunce cap of his own?
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