UPDATE (6:51pm): The Obama has reversed it decision and is reinstating delegate candidates, rendering the rest of this piece moot. More here.
Over the past few months, hundreds of loyal Obama supporters applied to be and were confirmed as candidates to represent his share of primary delegates at the Democratic Convention. Unfortunately, hundreds of these candidates received letters over the past couple days informing them that they have been disqualified… just days before this Sunday’s delegate causus. The Obama campaign has dodged numerous media and personal requests for an explanation of not only why, but how they decided which candidates to cut.
Among those Obama booted from running as his delegates this weekend were the president of the California Young Democrats, a blogger for Calitics and the University of California, Davis campus coordinator for Obama. [Capitol Alert, reg. rq’d.]
To be fair, I was a little surprised when I saw that dozens of people would be running for the handful of delegate slots in each Congressional district, but as I wrote two weeks ago, any California Democrat with a fax machine could have applied and been accepted as a delegate. (see the current list here)
It seems like common sense to want a more manageable process, but this was clearly handled without foresight, and now risks alienating hundreds of Obama’s strongest supporters.
Hoping for an explanation, I called the number listed on California Democratic Party website specifically set up to address the delegate process. Here’s a little of how the phone call went:
Me: I’m calling to find out what criteria was used to cut delegate candidates in California?
OS (Obama staffer): Oh, um, I really don’t know who can answer that for you.
Me: Really? The California Democrat website lists this as the number for questions about the Obama delegate process.
OS: Oh, well, yeah. But the people in California would have to answer that. This is the National Obama Headquarters.
Me: Huh, well, California Democrats expressly has this number on it. Can you give me a number for who can answer the questions then?
OS: Well, sir, whats happened is there were a lot of people who signed up to be delegates, and they wanted a more manageable list.
Me: Okay. So you do have some answers.
OS: Oh, um, you really should talk to a spokesman about this.
I left a message for said spokesman, who, undoubtedly will call me back ASAP.