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With Michael Jackson still dead, Democrats launch major caucus-primary reforms

June 26, 2009 |  3:10 pm

Despite the nation's pop paralysis over the death of sad singer Michael Jackson, the Democratic National Committee's Change Commission begins its complicated work tomorrow of reforming the procedures, timing and rules of that party's convention delegate selection process.

What comes from this series of meetings, that sprouted from the long bitter struggle last year between Barack Obama and a NMissouri Democrat Senator Claire McCaskillew York senator, could radically alter the way Democrats pick their presidential candidates for many elections starting in 2012.

As The Ticket reported here in March, it's a delicate delegate process because certain states -- we'll call them Iowa and New Hampshire -- believe they have a right handed down by Thomas Jefferson to go first in the selection process, which is deemed to make them more important. Or at least help fill the state's hotels and restaurants and empty the rental car lots during a normal winter's months when inbound flights to Des Moines often have vacant seats.

At the "suggestion" of its nominee at last summer's Democratic National Convention in Denver, delegates voted to establish a commission to examine everything including improving the caucus process, which can seem even longer than Iowa winters, reducing the number of unpledged delegates and quite possibly tinkering with the calendar window for the caucuses and primaries for the 2012 presidential election cycle.

Co-chairs of the Change Commission are Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina. There'll be a lot of talking starting Saturday at 9:30 Eastern in the Capitol Hilton. They'll start with history lessons and a speech by DNC Chair Tim Kaine, who isn't the governor of New Jersey despite VP Joe Biden's comments.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Dick Whipple / Associated Press

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