Florida’s move from Super-Ultra-Mega Tuesday on February 5 to January 29 is what started the race to the bottom that pushed the South Carolina GOP to move to January 19 and has Michigan on the verge of moving up to January 15. If that happens, Iowa and New Hampshire are legally required to move up, which could push the Iowa caucuses into December 2007. So the DNC had to get tough. Consider this a shot across the bow at Michigan, too:

The Democratic Party has taken a swipe at the nation’s fourth biggest state, stripping Florida of all of its ’08 delegates as punishment for jumping the gun with its primary, which is forcing other states to crowd Christmas in the quest to be first…

The DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee voted nearly unanimously that Florida’s plan is noncompliant with party rules, and gave the state 30 days to fix it. Otherwise, the state will lose 100 percent of its delegates…

Roosevelt: “The event on Jan. 29 would be purely a beauty contest — equivalent, as somebody said, to the Iowa straw poll.”…

Roosevelt: “This resolution that was voted here, because it takes away 100 percent of the delegates if the rules are violated, means that there are no particular sanctions on the campaigns if they were to campaign in Florida.”

Hillary’s got a monster lead there right now, but I’m not sure how that shakes out. There’s no sense in Obama and Edwards wasting resources to campaign there if it’s a foregone conclusion with no delegates even in play — unless Hillary builds up a big lead nationwide, in which case they may look at Florida as somewhere they can shift the momentum by campaigning hard and pulling an upset. The problem for Florida is that they’ve got 30 days to back down or commit and we won’t have any sense of which way the winds are blowing nationally before then.

As for Michigan, they might be able to avoid sanctions if they turn their January 15 primary into a caucus. That would redound to Silky’s advantage while hurting Hillary. Click here to see why.