Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What Clinton Must Not Do

As I've mentioned, I'm back to being fairly positively disposed toward Clinton now that her campaign has largely backed off of the nasty attacks against Obama. (Kinda weird how negatively I reacted to that...) So this is not some anti-Clinton post. But there are a few things she and her campaign must absolutely, positively not do:

1. They must try to cheat by seriously agitating to include Michigan and Florida delegates.

The DNC's decision was fair. It was Florida and Michigan that robbed their citizens of their votes, not the DNC. The time to challenge the decisions was before the primaries, not after it became clear that one candidate or the other would benefit from challenging the decision. To try to change the rules after the fact is to stoop to the level of the GOP in 2000, and that is beneath her. (Perhaps she might get Tom DeLay to set up an electronic command post for her...)

2. They must not try to win by recruiting super delegates if Obama is ahead by the convention.

This would be be despicable...and even if you don't care about that, it would divide and dishearten the party--and, hence, weaken it.

One might, of course, respond here by claiming that that possibility is inherent in the super delegate system, and that, by a principle similar to one employed above, the time to object to that system was before the primaries began. I'm inclined to think that the cases are significantly different, but I'm in no way convinced of that, so willing to reconsider this issue.

Now, Obama is under the same two restrictions, though he apparently has no inclination to try to drag Michigan and Florida into this. But he could conceivably face the same temptation about super delegates. Which he must resist.

But we might ask this: what if a compromise is reached that would allow MI and FL a do-over? Should Obama oppose that if he has good reason to believe that it would help Clinton? Dunno. That would take some thinking. My initial reaction is that he ought to agree to such a do-over no matter what, though I can already see the outlines of some problems with that conclusion.


Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Obama would love a do-over, as it would probably take the form of caucuses, which I believe he's won every one of. They're attended by the more juiced-up in the party, and he's won their hearts.

I meself doubt the superdelegates would reverse the results of the primaries. If you think about it, it's really a brilliant mechanism. Between the primaries and the convention, a candidate could get ill, have a scandal come out, or say something really really stupid. They're a safety mechanism.

8:07 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Seem like more of a way to make sure the rabble doesn't take control from the party establishment to me... But I haven't really thought about it enough.

9:06 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Perhaps. But the first Democrat was really Andrew Jackson, and rabble-rousing has always been the party's tradition.

If Obama has a marginal lead and the party establishment awards the nomination to Hillary instead, you'll be proven right. But I don't foresee this, as I believe it would fracture the party forever, if for no other reason than it would destroy the 90% black vote monolith, without which the party cannot compete in a national election.

I've wondered from time to time what would happen if a presumptive nominee underwent a meltdown [as described above] between the primaries and the convention. The superdelegates---who have largely earned their place as custodians and defenders of the party---are around as a backstop.

And if the Democrat equivalent of maniacs like Ron Paul or [IMO] Mike Huckabee had a plurality but not a majority of delegates heading into the convention, well, I'd trust the smoke-filled room over any dispassionate numerical system.

I think superdelegates make for a wise mechanism. Me, I like the party system. Democracy is good, in its place.

12:09 AM  

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