06/02/2008 12:43 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Reading The Pictures: Scenes From The Sausage Factory






Let's see. What words came to mind in describing the behavior of underdressed Harold Ickes during the DNC Rules Committee meeting? Vituperative? Pernicious? Mercenary? His foul-mouthed rant preceding the committee's Michigan vote was aimed to demean likely the most important and publicly-viewed Democratic hearing in years.

In shot 1, fellow Clinton backer, South Carolina's Donald Fowler -- sitting directly across from Ickes -- informs Harold he's parting ways on the Michigan vote. The poignancy in the expression was that a larger instinct for unity had broken down Clinton's committee support.

Shot 2: Ickes unleashing his poison. (Here it is on YouTube. Hold your nose.)

Image 3 captures Harold's seat mate and attack partner, Hartina Flournay, in a chilling reaction to a rebuttal (#4) by Obama supporter Thomas Hynes.

In shot #5, Everett Ward fires back, condemning Ickes for demeaning the process while offering him an eloquent history lesson about voting rights. (The audio and video are slightly out of sync, but the video is still well worth watching.)

I have to also say, it was a rare and total pleasure witnessing the democratic process play out on C-SPAN, completely unmediated by the talking heads. I flipped over to MSNBC just one time, long enough to hear the universally-pompous Chris Matthews describe the committee, and its normatively protracted process, in terms of a "sausage factory."

For more of the visual, visit