Michael Barone

If that's not problematical enough, Clinton has called for reinstatement of the Michigan and Florida delegates stripped from those states by the Democratic National Committee for holding their primaries too early. Obama took his name off the Michigan ballot; Clinton left hers on and defeated "uncommitted." She carried Florida by about the margin she held in national polls then -- a margin that has vanished since.

You can hear the cries now, echoing the Florida controversy of 2000. "Count every vote" will be Clinton's cry -- the argument Al Gore's forces made. "Don't change the rules after the game is played" will be Obama's cry -- the argument of the Republican lawyers. The Florida fiasco polarized the nation because the arguments that each side made were in line with its basic ideas of fairness.

Obama fans will see this as an attempt to steal the nomination from the people's choice. Clinton fans will argue that denying representation to the nation's fourth and eighth largest states, both closely divided in the last two elections, would be political suicide. The Democrats' determination to design a system all their constituencies would consider fair threatens to produce a confrontation whose result, whatever it is, will be bitterly regarded by large and important party constituencies as profoundly unfair.

Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM