The Rules And Bylaws Committee Meeting: Half And Half

NBC's Chuck Todd estimates that Hillary Clinton could take away either six or 19 delegates from this Saturday's rules and bylaws committee meeting; six delegates if the size of Florida's delegation is reduced in half, and 19 if the entire delegation is given a half of a vote. Obviously, the Clinton campaign would prefer the latter, and there is some reason to believe that the Obama campaign might accept this as a solution.

One argument made by those who don't want the RBC to accept any of the challenges is that the DNC would lose all of its legitimacy and would not be able to enforce anything resembling a coherent calendar in 2012 or 2016; if states knew that their delegations would be fully or partially restored even if they broke the rules, they'd have no incentive to follow them in the first place.

But this isn't exactly true: the reason why candidates Clinton and Obama didn't campaign in Florida and Michigan had as much to do with the pledge they signed to stay out; one could envision a scenario where Iowa and New Hampshire and Nevada and South Carolina create a similar pledge for the next crop of candidates, and even though a plethora of states decide to go early, the campaigns will reluctantly sign the pledge for fear of alienating the earliest of early states. Of course, a potential candidate could view the carnage of 2008 and just as easily conclude that an angry Iowa isn't as important as a major victory in Florida or Michigan. Then again, Republican Rudy Giuliani completed that calculus, and a lotta good it did him....