The Democrat primary was not an entirely smooth cruise to re-election for Barack Obama. One little squall of embarrassment blew up in Arkansas and Louisiana, where lawyer John Wolfe Jr. pulled in enough votes to win delegates to the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina.
The Democrat Party in both states scrambled to find a way to re-write their rules to deny Wolfe his little band of delegates, and finally hit on the idea of invoking… affirmative action.
The Times-Picayune of New Orleans reports: “The Arkansas Party denied Wolfe delegates because he failed to file a delegate selection plan committing to ‘assist the Arkansas Democratic Party in meeting demographic representation goals reflected in the Affirmative Action Plan.’ The state party’s goals are that the national convention delegation be 23.7 percent African-America, 9 percent Hispanic, 1.35 percent Native-American, 1.95 percent Asian-American and Pacific Islander, 23.5 percent seniors, 7.8 percent Arkansans with disabilities, 5.8 percent lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, 12.7 percent young Democrats and 7.8 percent veterans.”
The Louisiana Party denied Wolfe his delegates “on the same grounds,” even though he bested the 15 percent threshold to earn delegates in three congressional districts.
Wolfe responded by noting that it would be rather difficult to pack that much “diversity” into a delegation of three or four people from Louisiana or Arkansas, respectively. He might have been able to do it by locating a half-black, half-Hispanic transgendered World War II veteran with high cheekbones suggesting a dash of Native American ancestry, but he doesn’t get to hand-pick the delegates that way. Wolfe ended up with two men and two women in Arkansas, three of them white, although he cheekily apologized in court papers for failing to inquire as to their sexual orientation.
It’s a pity the Party is so keen to keep Wolfe and his delegates out of the Charlotte convention, since so many prominent Democrats have already announced they won’t be attending. Wolfe would have passed an awful lot of people running in the opposite direction on his way into North Carolina.