Missing The Point

Shorter Hillary Clinton: By this metric which doesn’t actually matter, I’m winning. This is the “Lurkers Support Me in E-Mail” strategy, applied to the presidential campaign trail.

I think we may need to introduce Hillary to Al Gore, winner of the popular vote in the 2000 election. And then to the Democratic by-laws for winning the party nomination. And then to the US Constitution.

You know, I don’t actually believe the paranoid political theory going around right now that suggests that Clinton is staying in the race to hobble Obama so badly that he loses to McCain, paving the way for Hillary to run again in 2012. But she really is making it hard to keep on the sane side of that particular tin foil hat brigade.

57 Comments on “Missing The Point”

  1. Can I just say, as one of the token Republicans on the Whatever comments threads, that I am enjoying the circular firing squad flavor that I’m seeing in the Democratic primary race currently?

    Also, I have to ask why people act surprised that Mrs. Clinton treats her presidential candidacy like an NRA member’s rifle… You’ll have to pry it from her cold, dead hands. But we knew this going in, yes?

  2. “You know, I don’t actually believe the paranoid political theory going around right now that suggests that Clinton is staying in the race to hobble Obama so badly that he loses to McCain, paving the way for Hillary to run again in 2012.”

    Like, duh. Clinton has two objectives for staying in the race. If she stays in long enough, Obama might do something stupid on a Spitzer-esque level, and then she can devour his soul and claim the nomination. Barring that, she can damage him so badly that he’ll lose to McCain in November, and then she can dispatch McCain in 2012 after the Iran War goes sour and gas hits $15 a gallon. She’s already shattered the whole messianic “Yes We Can” glamour he had going earlier in the year, and made him look like any other corrupt Illinois machine cog.

    But, still. I would be very surprised if it wasn’t a brokered convention, and I would be even more surprised if we don’t have President Clinton II in January. Look upon her and despair!

  3. The DNC created this mess for themselves when they diddled the primary scehdules. It’s always amusing to watch a sneaky attempt to gain advantage backfire so thoroughly.

    I’m stocking up on beer and popcorn for the rest of the circus. And I am going nowhere near Denver at convention time–it’s sure to be exciting, but maybe a bit TOO exciting.

  4. Brett L:

    I think you’d be surprised at the number of Republicans and/or conservatives who frequent here.

    Re: Clinton: Yes, her persistence is something essayed here before, and I’m not surprised, nor really do I begrudge her. But this particular bit of hers seems especially silly.

  5. # Tullyon 24 Apr 2008 at 12:30 pm

    and then she can devour his soul

    LOL. Where’s Bruce Campbell when you need him?

    He’s in Housewares.

  6. I love the photo — the glowing eyes of her shadowy Dark Master watch over her!

    Seriously, though, I think at this point Clinton is keeping running just to avoid the humiliation of withdrawing. How many of us have put off distasteful task even if it means bigger trouble down the line? And politics reinforces that impulse — if you don’t deal with a problem, it will likely as not fall on your successor from the other party and turn out better for you.

  7. I take the totally opposite view. I think she’s still in this thing because she knows that she’s got one shot and this is it.

    Really. Clinton was wildly popular going into this race, then went through a seesaw series of primaries with Obama, and then the party has been in its current horserace for the last two months. Each side has held weapons in reserve which recently have been coming out. The campaigns have been getting dirtier, and Clinton’s choose-me-or-else publicity lately haven’t helped. In fact, many pundits expect the convention to be even more sour- entertaining in my view, but sour all the same. I think she will play every last card she has as long as there is a small chance of success. If she happens to fail, it’ll be after spending every bit of political capital she’s got, and she’ll be done. Politically bankrupt. So-called Clinton fatigue will set in and folks – particularly donors – will look elsewhere come 2012.

    Final thought – Obama actually can afford to be defeated and come back in 2012 for a nomination.

  8. I’m also a conservative Republican who frequents here, and I’m not enjoying this quite so much. I’d enjoy it a bunch more if, you know, we had an actual Republican as the Republican nominee, rather than someone who in every election cycle but the last couple would have been a moderate Democrat.

  9. Tully @#4:

    The DNC created this mess for themselves when they diddled the primary scehdules.

    It wasn’t the DNC that diddled the primary schedules, it was the state parties (and in some cases, like Florida, the Republicans) who diddle the primary schedule.

    The DNC set up rules last year which all the states agreed to. Many states moved their primaries earlier (frequently by passing laws). In the case of Florida, the Republicans in the state house moved the primary earlier than the approved DNC rules stipulated.

    The way the DNC contributed (and again, this was all set up ahead of time) is be using proportional representation of delegates rather than winner-take-all, and because of the Super delegates introduced in the early 80s (a reform which also led to Mondale’s nomination.

  10. The 2012 sabotage theory is awesome, and indeed, one I wouldn’t put past anyone with her machiavellian savvy… but it’s ridiculous. She still has a decent shot at this election, for crying out loud.

  11. I love the comment by Clinton that she has received more primary votes than any other Democratic contender in history. I love it for two reasons.

    1) Being a baseball fan, it reminds me of McGwire and Sosa. She’s right by her metric, but right behind her is Obama, who has also surpassed all prior contenders.

    2) The other reason I love it is for the obvious reason. In 2004, when you look at the total popular vote for the top three contenders (Kerry, Edwards and Dean), there were 13 million votes cast in the Democratic Primaries. (source: Wikipedia)

    So far this time around? 31 million. (A number that will obviously increase since there are a few more primaries to come.) (Source: somebody else came up with this figure and i read it in an email this morning. I’m assuming it is accurate)

    The big question: The 18 million people who have so far voted this time around that didn’t in 2004 – where did they come from. Either they are part of the 59 million who voted in the 2004 general election for Kerry (Source: Wikipedia), and they just are participating in the primaries for the first time. Which is amazing and great but won’t have an effect on the November outcome. Or they’re participants in the 2004 GOP primaries. Which would likely have an effect if they are serious Democratic voters now. Or they’re completely new voters who are part of the half of America that didn’t vote in the general election, which would also have a positive effect on the Democratic chances in November

    Pundits talk about the negatives of a protracted campaign due to the internal bickering. However, many Americans have a short attention span, and there will be a lot of bickering between parties after the conventions and before November to help erase memories.

    The conventional wisdom is that large voter turnout, and thus large voter registration drives, benefits Democrats. And the protracted campaign seems to be attracting a lot of new voters. This looks, to me, to be a positive.

  12. Aside from reasons of temperament, I think she’s staying in because it’s still close. Something (like the “Spitzer moment” referenced earlier) could happen to change the landscape before the convention; there are months to go yet.

    I also pretty agree that for her, it’s now or never. She can be Senator-for-Life from NY if she wants, or hope for an appointment to the Supreme Court, but if she loses this race she will never be President.

    Of course they said that about Nixon, too.

  13. Silly me, the CNN article states that the total popular votes are 30,100,000 or thereabouts. Pretty close to the 31 million figure I was given.

  14. I don’t get why people are asking for an early end to the race. Most of the time the nominations races are declared over even before super tuesday. Asking for the race to be over by a political abdication tells people in the states that haven’t yet voted that they don’t matter. For the first time in I don’t know how long their vote actually can affect the outcome, so let’s let them vote.

  15. And in order for her to lead in the popular vote, all you have to do is include a state in which Obama wasn’t on the ballot!

    To tell you the truth, I don’t really understand why people are still supporting her, and that’s what’s worrying me.

    If the race goes on, more democrats will become more factionalized against Obama or against Hilary, and it’s going to make it that much harder to mobilize the other person’s supporters.

    At this point I’d vote for Hilary if she was the nominee, but I certainly won’t donate to her campaign or go out of my way to support her other than that.

  16. It’ll be in the hands of the superdels, and I’ve noticed a lot of rats abandoning the Clint-anic in that lot recently. Most are playing wait-and-see, but if she can’t overtake Obama in pledged delegates in Indiana, NC, and Kentucky, she should get used to being called “Senator.”

  17. Do we really need to continue with the myth that she has a “decent” shot at this election? Really? Her one and only shot, barring a truly major scandal about Obama, is the superdelegates deciding that for some bizarre reason the person who can’t actually win the majority of pledged delegates in her own party’s primary is somehow more “electable” than the guy with more delegates, better fundraising, and a much better ground organization. This despite polls which show things like the majority of Americans not trusting her.

    The primary fracas so far has just showed what a lot of Democrats thought from the start, that Clinton wants to be President because of her own ego and desire for power. Now she’s mad because apparently the actual voters in the primaries aren’t willing to go along with the idea (which means they don’t count!), and she’d rather see McCain as President than concede gracefully. If McCain ends up beating Obama, I’d say she’s less to get the Democratic nomination in 2012 than John Kerry.

  18. In 2012, under such a scenario, she’d argue “In 2008 you picked the wrong candidate. I could have beaten McCain then, and I can do it now.” Half of the Democratic Party (her current supporters) will agree with her. The other half will split between the other contenders. She’ll get the nomination. Right?

  19. Michael:

    “Clinton wants to be President because of her own ego and desire for power.”

    As opposed to every other candidate, who is running out of pure and selfless patriotic devotion? Dude, come on. It takes a special sort of egotist to say “hey, I have a shot at being President.” Even Saint Obama’s got a bit of power-hungry egotism in him.

  20. I find the 2012 scenario very frightening. I am one of the Obama supporters who wouldn’t vote for Hillary if she was the only name on the ballot. So if the democratic party insiders give her the nomination, I will hold my nose and vote for McCain.

    (No, not a republican. Or a democrat.)

  21. Steve #10:

    You’re wrong in all particulars. They didn’t set up the rules “last year.” The DNC diddled the schedules in July of 2006 to move up some favorites (especially Harry Reid’s Nevada) hoping to gain advantage by producing an early front-runner utilizing Hispanic votes in Nevada and black votes in South Carolina. The move was NOT “agreed on by all states,” it was a move of the DNC central committee on which Florida and Michigan had no representation–and they protested the move to the DNC at the time, and were told to STFU and play ball.

    In Florida, the vote to set the primary date was UNANIMOUS in the House, and nearly so in the Senate–you can’t lay it off on the state GOP when ALL the Dems went along. In Michigan, the vote date was set by the Dems in the state Senate, passed by the Senate and the Dem-majority House, and endorsed by the Dem governor. No blaming the GOP there either.

    Both state Dem parties had AMPLE opportunity to set up alternate mechanisms within the very rules they were protesting and revolting against, as other states have. They refused. The traditional penalty in both parties for line-jumping is to halve the state’s delegates–and the GOP did exactly that to their line-jumpers, and had MORE line-jumpers than the Dems because they did NOT diddle their primary schedules at the national-party level. The DNC central committee chose to strip ALL delegates from line-jumpers AFTER the line-jumping states had set their dates, contrary to both tradition and the rules existing when the dates were set.

    Yes, the DNC created this mess for themselves. Yes, they diddled the primary schedules that had been in effect since their own McGovern-Fraser Commission of the early ’70s, which was supposed to prevent this kind of thing from happening.

  22. I’m with #8. I think this is Clinton’s one and only shot. After all, if the popular opinion is that she scuttled the Democrats chances in 2008, why would the Democrats nominate her in 2012? Obama, on the other hand, is sufficiently charismatic to survive the circular firing squad. He’d come back in 2012 even better. (Ideally, of course, either Obama or Clinton, I honestly don’t care which any more, will win in 2008.)

    #15: The problem is that it’s highly unlikely for the remaining primaries to matter. Neither Obama nor Clinton are going to garner enough pledged delegates to hit whatever number they need to hit. It sort of the worst of both worlds in a weird way. The nomination is not sewn up, and yet, it still feels like your vote doesn’t matter.

    Personally, I think (and as it happens, so does Obama) that the Democratic party will, in fact, unite once it finally picks a nominee. Democrats want the White House too badly to lose it over pettiness. (I do worry about dogmatism though.)

    As for Clinton trumpeting metrics which have nothing to do with determining the winner, this is her way of convincing superdelegates that she is viable. As near as I can tell, superdelegates can choose to whom they pledge how ever they want. If they choose to do it by who has gotten the most votes, there’s nothing to stop them. She’s angling for some (unlikely) scenario where she overtakes Obama due to an extremely lopsided split of superdelegates. (It’s worth noting that the way Obama is most likely to win the nomination at this point is for the superdelegates to put him over the top.)

    However, as Spherical Time has pointed out, Clinton includes FL and MI in her count. (I’d hope that she’d at least give Obama credit for the people who voted “uncommited” in MI when coming up with her count. I doubt it though.) As usual, things are not as clear as they may first seem.

  23. You people are scaring me!
    As a democrat or even an independent how on Earth could you stand more of the same style of government that we have now. It is pretty clear that McCain is going to dish up more of the same kind of policies we have in the current administration.
    As I have stated before America is on the verge of the abyss! And if WE the people do NOT unify and rally behind proponents of change the US will go over the edge.
    I believe that both Hillary and Obama have some great ideas so please open your minds and think of the bigger picture. After all not only is your future at stake but your children as well.

    Thanks you. :)

  24. Yeah. I prefer Obama at this point, but if the choice is Clinton or McCain, I’m voting Clinton.

  25. You know, I don’t actually believe the paranoid political theory going around right now that suggests that Clinton is staying in the race to hobble Obama so badly that he loses to McCain, paving the way for Hillary to run again in 2012.

    I don’t buy that either, but I do sometimes entertain the notion that the Clinton campaign is hoping to damage Obama’s candidacy to the point that the superdelegates will decide that Senator Clinton has the best chance of beating McCain.

  26. Hilary Clinton is an example of how humans are warped by the lack of real consequences for human behavior. Most folks get chastised in some manner when they act like dicks. Hilary is shielded from chastisement by her social and professional circles, and the denial of the media thralls.

    BTW, Obama had his Spitserite moment, and he’s been having more since. He’s committed the same social sin as Ron Paul, but since he’s identified as black these days the media thralls find a source of plausible deniability in that. If he wasn’t losing support, would Clinton have done as well as she has in recent primaries?

  27. #27:If he wasn’t losing support, would Clinton have done as well as she has in recent primaries?

    Seeing that Clinton started with a 20 point lead in PA, and ultimately won with ~9 point lead, I don’t think Obama is really losing support.

  28. I think that Obama shot himself in the foot, with his, “small town folk are bitter and cling to guns and religion” (yes, I’m paraphrasing) comment, and that’s why he wasn’t quite as wildly successful in Pennsylvania.
    On a personal note, as a fence-sitting, somewhere-between-Republican-and-Democrat, (repubocrat? democan?), I’m rooting for Clinton over Obama. Lesser of two evils, and all of that.

  29. I’m also in the camp of the Obama supporter who won’t vote for Hillary if she wins the nomination. My reasoning is simple:

    She’s old-style nasty politics personified – and that transfers to how she would run the executive – nasty, vindictive, punishing, and cruel. Add to that her history of secrecy and the impression I have of her – that she believes herself to be smarter than anyone else around, prone to not listen to experts or advisers – and we have the prospect of a presidency just as power-hungry, secretive, and secluded as the one we have now.

    Sure her intentions are closer to my own ideals, but that secretive cabal old-style nastiness is just as bad from my perspective wielded by an ally as an opponent. I don’t want my guy to be just as nasty as their guy . . . I want some mood and tactic change.

    To wrap up . . . If that’s the style of presidency we’re going to have, I’d rather it be from a Republican than from a Democrat because I certainly tire of the “all politicians are the same regardless of party” meme.

  30. I guess I am the only one who thinks this is all a setup for everyone on both sides to go down in craziness, and out of the chaos steps Saint Bill as we all cry for a return to sanity.

    I mean, come on. The man has been doing nothing but humanitarian work and squeezing rich people for money to help poor people since he left office. His Clinton Global Initiative’s proof of that. His role in the campaign has served to elevate him even more…I mean, when I and 699 other students went to New Orleans last month with the intent of changing the world, Hillary was accused of staging the whole thing to make her look better. I didn’t keep up with the news because I was so disgusted that they’d warped one of the greater experiences of my life for cheap politics, but I think, in the end, it backfired on the mud-slingers because it simply wasn’t true.

    How many Democrats, really, would have voted for Hillary in the beginning simply because it would mean we’d get Bill back in the White House somehow? How many of us look back fondly on the Clinton era and wish it would happen again?

    Election Day: All will lie defeated on the battlefield as America casts around for a champion…term limits will be cast aside as we reach desperately for the new FDR…WJC.

    (Or I could just be having a LOT of fun here since my M.O. is to vote against McCain no matter who ends up running against him. Either way.)

  31. Oh, and Tully @22:

    I still hold, as a Floridian whose entire voting eligibility (the last eight years) has been wrought with scandal, that the real reason we wanted our primary moved up was that we needed more time to *count*. Which, given history, should not have been begrudged us!

  32. I hold a very unpopular opinion that the longer Clinton stays in the race, the better for Obama. By giving the Republicans an “evil” Democrat to focus on, a lot of the heat is taken off of Obama in this over-extended primary race. If Obama had been declared the nominee at about the time McCain had, I think the McCain people would be 100% worse on Obama than the Clintons have been, and Obama doesn’t seem to deal very well with that.

    Instead, we’re seeing the focus not on Obama, or even on individual candidates all that much, but on the fucked-up process of this election. After the convention, we’re most likely going to have Obama, and a big sigh of relief that all this is over, and then we’ll do what Americans do best, which is forget the past very quickly and see it as a short, intense, Obama-McCain race. Obama does much better on sprints than he does in marathons, from what I can see.

  33. I think I missed the moment when the primaries ended and Obama won. As far as I know, there are still races to run, and Clinton still has a chance to win. We can argue about whether it’s a good chance, but it’s a chance and I’m not clear why she has to be evil or Machiavellian to be staying in the race. She’s got a shot and she’s taking it. And I say this as someone who voted for Obama.

    On another note, since the early-resolving primary races of previous years have produced, among others, John Kerry and Mike Dukakis, how about we take our time, mm’kay?

  34. Heh.

    I’m in no way fond of McCain (the politician, who seems totally divorced from McCain the Naval Officer, but that’s a separate issue).

    But as regards Clinton and Obama, may the race continue all the way to the convention floor and may the political blood flow copiously. I wouldn’t vote for either of them for dog catcher.

  35. Another Republican here!

    And I think Hillary’s argument does have merit. Keep in mind, she has to do two things: (a) Convince (enough of the) superdelegates that they want her to be the nominee, and (b) Convince those delegates that they can survive voting against St. Barack.

    (a) is very largely about electability (and, thus, about Wright, Ayers, Million Man March, etc.). She’ll accomplish this or not, and this is playing out largely behind closed doors.

    (b) is about a cover story. The supes will get brutally punished if it looks like they’re overturning the will of the party. So the trick is, Hillary needs to give them a story they can tell, some way they can say “no, no, I am protecting the people’s decision, not thwarting it!” Those arguments can include: “I voted with the people of my state (or district)”; “I voted the way a majority of my state (or district) feels, not just the people who could go to the caucus”; and, Hillary hopes to be able to say, “I voted for the one who got most votes nationwide” (and/or “most votes from Democrats”).

    Because this is about PR, not about rules, they can come up with that number any way they want. They can count Florida, or even Michigan; they can use current surveys in caucus states (where there are no popular vote figures to use). The key thing is, this only matters if Hillary can convince enough superdelegates that they want her to be nominated. If so, then she and they just need to come up with a story that’s good enough.

  36. The great thing about this still being contested is that states that are usually ignored in the nominating process are now part of the process. When was the last time the Oregon primary vote was significant?

    That said, I’m voting in November for whoever is the Democratic candidate, even if its a dead dog(I’m, way past yellow dog now). This is because the Republican party has shown that they are irresponsible fiscally even though they were pushing for a balanced budget amendment before Bush was elected.

    After what the both state parties have done in regards to primary electiion here in Washington, I basically feel “a plague on both your houses” even though philosophically I lean more to the democratic position.

  37. Tully @22:

    I wouldn’t blame this all on DNC-diddling. The DNC was reacting to a perceived widespread discontent over institutionalizing New Hampshire and Iowa as being decisive in picking the nominee. Moving Nevada and South Carolina forward was their attempt to address those concerns and defuse a flood of states pushing to be first.

    This, of course, failed.

    I can’t even blame the DNC for its punishment of FL and MI, as the standard 50% penalty is generally perceived as being too light to matter–on the GOP side, for example, FL and MI accomplished exactly what they intended, actually having meaning, which no GOP primary after Super Tuesday did.

    The real problem is that the parties have spent so long giving lip service to ideas like “really, the national convention isn’t just a staged pageant, it’s meaningful” and “all primaries have meaning” that the DNC forgot that those concepts might actually turn out to be true, and what the impact of the FL/MI decision might be in that kind of situation.

    Seating/not-seating a delegation is too binary a solution, making it very easy to portray the argument as democratic/non-democratic and all or nothing. The simpler solution would have been to seat the delegations but make them meaningless or nearly so–give the delegation as a whole only one vote (or, even better, two, to cancel each other out).

    Unfortunately, the DNC put themselves in an untenable position–if they blink, they lose any ability to manage future primaries because their threats lose all credibility. On the other hand, the states and the campaigns seem set on playing a game of chicken, believing that the DNC will cave in.

  38. Steven @ 10:

    You’re half right. Florida and Michigan broke ranks by moving their primary elections up. The DNC then denied them all of their delegates, as opposed to the loss of half their delegates as is written in the DNC charter.

    If the DNC was playing strictly by its own rules, Clinton would have another 149 delegates in her corner, while Obama would only gain 35. (All the Michigan delegates would go to Clinton, because Obama wasn’t on the ballot. The Florida delegates would be split 2/3rds Clinton, 1/3rd Obama.) That would put the committed delegate margin at only +61 Obama — well within fighting grasp for Clinton, especially after the past few weeks.

    At any rate, I’ll be happy to follow the Gorean tradition of the past seven years, and refer to Obama as the likely Democratic Residential candidate if he can’t carry the popular vote in his own party.

  39. I’m still not sure if the continued Democratic tussle is good or bad for the Dems. The case for bad is obvious. The case for good is that McCain still doesn’t know who he is running against and, at the moment, it’s difficult for him to get any attention. Of course, the attention the Democrats are getting right now isn’t exactly good, but people keep hearing about them.

    I’m disappointed in Clinton. I think she hasn’t run a very smart campaign, and that doesn’t bode well for the actual election. OTOH, she’s proven she’s good at the attack ads, and that *does* bode well for the actual election.

    Some small part of me (which I try to ignore) wants McCain to get elected and the US to go completely to hell with a war in Iran, a disaster in Iraq, oil at $200/barrel, and an economy in the toilet with a national debit over $15 trillion, etc, with the Republicans having no out except to admit that they blew it. I realize that this is cutting off my nose to spite my face (more like chopping off my whole head) and I suspect that they’d still blame Bill Clinton or the Democrats in the House/Senate or the liberal media or the French or something (because they are politicians and politicians almost never say “My bad”), but there is a little, stupid, angry part of me that wants it.

  40. As a lifelong independent who leans Democratic, I am amazed that the Democrats may have, against all odds, figured out a way to piss this one away. And I might yet vote for Clinton if she’s the nominee.

    But if I hear one more of her supporters say the superdelegates need to crown Hillary even if Obama wins the popular vote because the role of the supers is to be the party’s “adult leadership”, it ain’t gonna happen.

  41. Scalzi

    I think we may need to introduce Hillary to Al Gore, winner of the popular vote in the 2000 election. And then to the Democratic by-laws for winning the party nomination. And then to the US Constitution.

    Um, perhaps you need to be introduce to the Democratic by-laws for winning the party nomination.

    According to the rules, neither Obama nor Clinton will have won enough delegates in the primaries to win the nomination.

    According to the rules, even the “pledged” delegates won in the primaries can vote for whoever they damn well please when they get to the convention.

    According to the rules, all that matters is that the person who gets 2,025 votes a the convention first wins the nomination.

    There is absolutely no incentive for Clinton to leave as long as she is winning primaries and she manages to keep raising enough money to compete.

    I simply do not understand how it is that people think that she can’t win: she can.

    According to the rules.

  42. I just get the impression that Hillary’s way of thinking is, “If it’s not good for me, it’s not good for the Democrats, nor is it good for the country.” I think she would rather screw over the party rather than accept an outcome which might actually be better for the Democrats.

  43. MikeT

    She make the argument that a long primary helps the Dems build up good research on who votes how. She may be onto something.

    She is delusional.

    It is true, I think, that the long primary has revealed to voters some things about Obama that might not otherwise have come to light before the General. That could be good or it may not matter.

    It has also revealed to Clinton supporters that Republicans weren’t just whining back in the day.

    But generally speaking, I think the Democrats are on-track to lose this election. They will know at the convention that Clinton has a better chance of winning the election than Obama does, but they will not be able to bring themselves to select her.

    Though to be honest, the mere fact of selecting Clinton would likely fracture the party in such a way as to make her winning impossible.

    But Obama can’t win, so it sucks to be a Democrat I suppose.

    Johnny Carruthers

    I think she would rather screw over the party rather than accept an outcome which might actually be better for the Democrats.

    The Party has screwed itself in more ways than can be enumerated.

    But it is the culmination of a very long decline.

    On the bright side, the recriminations and purging that is likely to happen after the loss in November just might be invigorating.

    But I’ve thought that before….

  44. Awhile I joked that the likes of Murdoch and Scaife were helping Hillary stay in the race as a way to ensure they get President McCain. It’s seeming less like a joke every day: it’s hard to think of a legal option which would help the GOP more than keeping her in the race.

  45. Steven @ 10:

    In the case of Florida, the Republicans in the state house moved the primary earlier than the approved DNC rules stipulated.

    What’s so funny about this is that it’ll help Obama defeat Clinton, and he’ll be WAY harder for McCain to beat than Clinton.

    IMO, anyway.

  46. Tully at 22: The move was NOT “agreed on by all states,” it was a move of the DNC central committee on which Florida and Michigan had no representation

    This is patently untrue. The DNC includes representatives from every state, both in their state party leaders and by proportional representation (near as I can tell, FL and MI get about 30 members between them, which is a lot more say than, say, North Dakota gets), and the rules governing the primaries were voted on by the full DNC, in a vote that’s been described as ‘near-unanimous’ (and, in fact, the commission recommending those rules – created in 2004 by the preceding Democratic National Convention, long before August 2006 when the final vote happened – included members from both Florida and Michigan).

    The DNC central committee chose to strip ALL delegates from line-jumpers AFTER the line-jumping states had set their dates, contrary to both tradition and the rules existing when the dates were set.

    Also untrue – the rules are right here, you can read them yourself. No one had to do anything to strip FL and MI of half their delegates – that happened automatically, according to the rules, as soon as they held a contest that violated them. Additional penalties were provided for in the rules, at the discretion of the Rules and Bylaws committee. If you don’t like how they exercised that discretion, fine, but don’t pretend that it was somehow against the rules for them to do so.

  47. gerrymander@#39:
    “If the DNC was playing strictly by its own rules, Clinton would have another 149 delegates in her corner, while Obama would only gain 35. (All the Michigan delegates would go to Clinton, because Obama wasn’t on the ballot. The Florida delegates would be split 2/3rds Clinton, 1/3rd Obama.)”

    Cause, you know, if the DNC hadn’t stripped the Michigan Democratic Party of all its delegates, Obama would still have removed his name from the ballot.

    You can’t assume that, once a point of divergence is passed, all subsequent events continue unchanged. It’s pointless to talk about how the delegates “would have” been allocated had the vote tallies been identical but the situation different, because if the situation had been different, the vote tallies wouldn’t have been identical.

  48. Considering how consultant-driven Clinton is, I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s still in it because her advisors are telling her to stay in. It’d be the wise thing for them to do – after their shambolic performance, Clinton may be their last big-money client. If they can stretch it out the billable hours through the convention, so much the better.

    Then again, this is the Democrats, who kept hiring Bob Shrum, so I’m probably wrong.

  49. Lisa, you’re wrong. I’ve followed this from the beginning, since the strategy first started being discussed in inner party circles in ’05 after Dean came in. You can go read the rosters of the central and rules committees that shaped and passed these items, and you’ll look in vain for FL and MI reps on them. They were NOT passed by the DNC membership at large, or by the superdelegates. They were passed by voice vote in committee with FL and MI having no voice in it, with other states objecting as well, and the full-delegate penalty enforced after the states moved up their votes.

    As I said, the DNC did this to themselves, first in trying to gain early advantage and second in trying to dictate and enforce national party discipline against the state parties. They failed in both respects, and it’s hurting them now. If it had worked, of course, they’d be crowing over their genius. But it didn’t work.

    I don’t have any sympathy for Obama and his MI arguments, as he took his name off of the ballot to please Iowa Dems and then blocked all attempts to let MI do a make-up. It paid off for him in Iowa. But if FL and MI had both been left in, we’d likely still be in about the same spot now, just with the lead candidates reversed. It’d still be neck and neck, and neither one would have that magic number of delegates yet.

    But the DNC annoyed the hell out of FL and MI Dems on the way, and that’s not good when you need those states to win.

  50. It’s pretty clear looking at her career that the Presidency is her lifelong dream. This is the closest she’s ever come, and likely ever will come. If you had been single-mindedly focussed on a single goal for decades, would you give up easily when it seemed so close you could taste it? No conspiracy theory is needed to explain the will to power…

  51. The 2012 race is a non-issue at present for several reasons:

    1) The current trajectory of the nation is not only sub-orbital, but negative. Speaking more plainly – we’re gonna have a big smoking crater where our economy and world position used to be well before 2012. None of the candidates are addressing the critical problems facing the nation with any substance. None have viable plans to deal with multiple crises. Whoever is elected will be blamed for what is about to happen. They will not enjoy any incumbency benefits. In fact, it might actually be better to lose the 2008 election so as to avoid the blame.

    2) Both John McCain and Ron Paul will be severely hampered, if not disqualified by, their ages in 2012. Neither Hillary nor Obama would be disqualified by age, but they may be disqualified by their conduct and desperation moves as the convention approaches.

    3) Hillary has painted herself into a corner by claiming that she is not a quitter. She literally cannot quit now without ruining her career. Obama has made a point of how important change is. If he quits, he will not only contradict his position, but disappoint the legions of new voters who have roused themselves from their lethargy to take action, thereby poisoning his future. Neither democrat candidate has the option of bowing out gracefully and deferring to 2012.

    Nobody is in a position to think about 2012. They are fighting tooth-and-claw for their present survival.

    4) There is at least a decent chance of other candidates emerging between now and 2012. Whichever party loses in 2008 has at least a chance of realizing its’ mistake and searching for a good leader in the interim. If they find one, none of the current crop of clowns will be viable.

  52. I have read the opinion that the Clinton camp may believe that the presidential election is being held now, not in November. That the winner of the Democratic nomination will be the next president. If you see it in that light, why would you drop out.

    I agree with the opinion that this is Clinton’s only shot.
    In eight years, she will be seen as a relic of the past.

    The likelihood of coming back from a national defeat has diminished since Nixon did it in 1964. That was the era before most states most states had primaries. During his stint in political purgatory, he was able to amass enough IOU’s from the party regulars to have the nomination locked up before the convention started. Not likely to happen today.

    As far as voting for McCain if your favorite doesn’t get the nomination, think about it. Can you actually vote for someone who’s solution the the economic crisis is for people to get a second job?

  53. First, Tully, you’ll note I never said there were members from FL or MI on the Rules & Bylaws Committee. That said, it sure looks as though there are – Allen Katz, DNC Member from Florida, and Mark Brewer, Chairman of the Michigan State Democratic Party.

    Leaving aside things I did not say that are nonetheless true, however, what I did say was that there were representatives from both Florida and Michigan on the original commission, ordered by the Democratic National Convention in 2004, that studied the Democratic primary process and came up with a list of recommendations that were ultimately adapted into the final rules. And there were – Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan was on the commission, as was Rep. Kendrick Meek of Florida, and Debbie Dingell, who is one of Michigan’s members of the DNC.

    What I further said was that the rules governing the primaries were voted on by the full DNC (including those members that are from FL and MI), and this is also true – the vote was held on August 19th, 2006, and has been described in the link I just gave and elsewhere as ‘near-unanimous’.

    In short, Florida and Michigan have been represented at every step in the process, which is a lot more than many states can say.

    I wasn’t taking a position on whether the DNC’s handling of the primaries has been perfect(*). I do think, however, that if we’re going to have useful conversations about it, we ought to start from the facts.

    (*) I do think it probably could have been better, but then I’m also pretty sure it’s a lot like herding cats to get it done in the first place. I’m also pretty damn sure, having a decent memory for what last year was like, what with the leapfrogging and jockeying for position in setting primary dates, that if decisive action hadn’t been taken to put a stop to it, we would have had the 2008 primaries sometime before Thanksgiving 2007. It’s a victory for the DNC, IMO, that they managed to keep the primary in the same year as the general.

  54. gerymander@39 you’re wrong that all the Michigan delegates would go to Clinton if they seated them. Since Obama was not on the ballot about 40% of us voted “undecided” which gives 40% of our delegates the right to vote for someone other than Clinton: they would vote for Obama. Clinton only got just over 50% of the vote in an election in Michigan where she was the only major Democratic name on the ballot. I consider her showing here nothing less than pitiful. Certainly not a strong display of popular support.

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