THE LAW OF RULES….Josiah Lee Auspitz is a rules geek. Party rules, that is: “I have written scholarly articles and op-ed pieces, testified, lobbied and litigated, presented maps, tables and charts, consulted, advised and given interviews on the topic….In other words, I am a complete party rules bore. I suppose it would be more dignified to present myself as a political scientist, but I have no illusions.”

Three years out of four — and in most cases four years out of four — that would make Auspitz a lonely man. But party rules are unusually interesting this year, and not just for the Democrats. Did you know, for example, that John McCain quite possibly owes his victory this year to the fact that in 2000 the GOP reversed the “order of precedence” in Rule 15 between state party rules and state law? I didn’t. But if you read “The Law of Rules,” available exclusively online, Auspitz will tell you all about it.

And what about the Democratic side? Auspitz says everything there is going according to plan:

As designed, the competition quickly winnowed itself down to three and then two candidates with national rather than narrow sectional or racial/ethnic appeal. As designed, it greatly increased grassroots participation. And as designed, it has provided in advance that any deadlock will be settled by a pre-existing ex officio group of “party leaders and elected officials” (abbreviated as PLEOs in intra-party documents and called “super delegates” in the press, a term originally introduced with snide intent by those opposed to their creation).

There’s much more about the Democratic rules and how they came about, as well as loads of detail about exactly how delegates and superdelegates are apportioned. Some of it is stuff that’s already been hashed out quite a bit in the blogosphere, but a lot of it was new to me. It’s a genuinely fascinating piece if being a rules geek appeals even slightly to you. Check it out.