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Misty, water-colored Rules and Bylaws meetings

Ah, the memories.

One of the more arcane -- but still significant -- fights during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary battle had to do with Florida and Michigan, which broke DNC rules by moving up their primaries.

As it turned out, those primaries were essentially considered null and void -- producing a heated spat during the Obama-Clinton nomination fight (because Hillary Clinton won both contests, though they weren't sanctioned and Obama's name wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan). The controversy was eventually settled at the May 31 DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee hearing.

Well, the Rules and Bylaws Committee is back at work today, and one of the rules it approved was -- again -- punishing states (outside of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada) that jump the gun.

According to the rules that were adopted by the committee -- and will be considered by the full DNC in August -- a state that moves up its primary/caucus before the proper window would lose 50% of its pledged delegates (i.e., those delegates determined through the primary contests) and all of its superdelegates (the unpledged elected officials and party leaders).

The committee also adopted a rule to reduce the influence of superdelegates in the nominating process. In 2008, supers accounted for nearly 20% of all delegates. Today's move would lower that to 15%.

Of course, today's rules could all be a moot issue for 2012 if President Obama doesn't receive a credible primary challenge. But they could serve as the basis for future Democratic presidential nominating contests in 2016 and beyond.