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On Superdelegates and Momentum

Over the past two weeks, superdelegates have emerged from the political shadows -- becoming in short order the most heavily targeted 800 (or so) people in the country by the two remaining Democratic presidential candidates.

{View a full list of Democratic Party super delegates}

With the battle for delegates so close between Sens. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) -- and expected to stay that way for the foreseeable future -- the superdelegates are seen as perhaps the crucial swing vote in determining the eventual outcome.

Given those high stakes, every superdelegate matters (literally) in determining who has momentum heading into Wisconsin on Tuesday and then Ohio and Texas on March 4. Just how high those stakes are was brought into sharp relief last night when the New York Times reported that Rep. John Lewis (Ga.), a superdelegate for Clinton, said he would cast his vote at the convention for Obama.

Lewis's office sought to re-cast his on-the-record statements later in an interview with Anne Kornblut of the Post in which a spokeman for Lewis said he was reconsidering his initial support for Clinton but had made no final decisions.

Ah ha!? Though that explanation makes little sense, the furor it caused in the political world provides a window into the danger posed to Clinton by the momentum Obama has built over the past 10 days in claiming eight straight contests. (Yes, we know that Clinton was declared the winner of the New Mexico caucuses yesterday but that vote actually took place way back on Feb. 5).

Since Feb. 5, Obama has gained 13 superdelegates while Clinton has lost three, according to calculations made by NBC Political Director -- and Fix friend -- Chuck Todd. Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) and Christine "Roz" Samuels, a New Jersey superdelegate, have defected from Clinton to Obama while Rep. Tom Lantos (Calif.) passed away.

Clinton still retains a considerable lead -- 257 to 182, according to Todd -- among those superdelegates who have made their choice publi. But the trend in the last 10 days has to be troubling for her.

Assuming Clinton comes up short in Hawaii and Wisconsin on Tuesday, she will have not only lost 10 consecutive primaries or caucuses but will also have to endure two more weeks of coverage about Obama's building momentum and her slippage leading into the votes in Ohio and Texas (as well as Vermont and Rhode Island).

Why does momentum (potentially) matter? Because superdelegates are primarily elected officials and other party regulars. That means that one of the most important factors for them in deciding who to support is self-preservation. Politicians -- and the political class more generally -- will generally do what is in their self-interest unless compelled to do otherwise.

For much of this presidential race, the "smart" thing for superdelegates to do was line up behind Clinton. Not only had the Clintons helped raise money for many of these superdelegates for their own races, but the New York senator appeared to be the odds-on bet for the nomination.

Over the past six weeks, however, that calculus has changed considerably. Obama has won a majority of the states that have voted so far, he has won more raw votes and he now has a slender lead in delegates over the former first lady. She no longer looks like the inevitable nominee. In fact, she no longer can even lay claim to the frontrunner tag based on national polling. That drastic change has already forced some superdelegates to reassess their past support, and is likely to force even more to do so over the coming weeks.

Take David Scott. His 13th district, which is 41 percent black according to the 2000 Census, is anchored by Clayton County. In Georgia's Feb. 5 Democratic primary, Obama received 36,409 votes to Clinton's 7,471 in Clayton County. For the non-math majors out there, Obama took 82 percent in Clayton to 17 percent for Clinton. Given the clear mandate for Obama in the heart of Scott's 13th district, the incumbent would be courting a primary challenge down the line if he stayed with Clinton and she went on to win the nomination thanks to the superdelegates' vote.

The next 17 days will be crucial for Clinton in the battle for the superdelegates and, more broadly, the party elites. With superdelegates once a pillar of her support, Clinton can ill afford to allow a significant number of those delegates to bleed away between now and March 4. If that were to happen, it would add to the already growing storyline that Clinton has lost her mojo.

The challenge before the former first lady is that self-interest is a powerful motivator in politics. For people like Scott, their first concern is how their role as a superdelegate will impact their politics at home. The best Clinton can hope for is to keep wavering superdelegates from jumping ship in any significant numbers before March 4. In the end, however, Clinton must find a compelling way to convince superdelegates whose states or districts were carried overwhelmingly by Obama to bypass that vote and stay on her side. That is one tough sell.

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 15, 2008; 4:25 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: Clinton Ups the Ante in Wisconsin

Comments

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Posted by: Scott H Florance | April 24, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: lnktq rnlo | April 16, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

For the sake of the party and its nominee, we will need to stop talking about superdelegates and MI and FL and I believe we will.

If one candidate has a 100+ pledged-delegate lead after March 4th the other candidate will get considerable pressure to drop out of the race both internally and from uncommitted "supers" and his/her own supers as well.

Supers and MI and FL delegates will be seated and enthusiastically vote for the nominee in Denver because, as always, there will be only one candidate by that time.

Posted by: stpaulsage | February 19, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

As a African American male, and a resident of Florida if our delegates aren't seated they way that we voted here in Florida I will boycott the general election. I have got the support of over 250+ democrats that agree to do the same. Our support is gaining and we will have 500+ by Wednesday. Howard Dean does not speak for us. WE SPOKE LOUD AND CLEAR WITH OUR VOTEs IN JANUARY. COUNT OUR VOTES MR.DEAN.

Posted by: Locmar | February 19, 2008 12:34 AM | Report abuse

If we had elected based on competency we could have had Al Gore instead of Bush. We would have inspectors in Iraq and our might in Afghanistan and where the terrorists hide.

Posted by: CliffinWA | February 18, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

I think once Hillary is disposed of the issue of qualification, competence and experience will result in another republican victory. Many democrats do not have the excuse of youth in believing polls suggesting Obama has the better chance. We should all know the most pressing concern come November will be who is best qualified to be commander in chief and McCain is already staking claim to that moniker.

Posted by: CliffinWA | February 18, 2008 6:49 PM | Report abuse

The perfect storm continues to brew toward the total destruction of the Democratic Party

A divided and fractured party in a divided and fractured country.

Posted by: CliffinWA | February 18, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse


In all fairness the DNP should step up and admit signals were given before the nomination process even began that Florida and Michigan delegates would be seated no matter who won the state.. Especially Florida since it was republicans in control of moving their primary up and breaking the rules. The party can ill afford to have Florida feel alienated in the general election. Instead they let Clinton take the fall.
No one thought then these delegates could determine the nomination and I do not think they will or should now. But to bash Sen. Clinton for trying to do what is best for the party while giving Obama a pass for trying to change the super delegate rules put in place long ago is the height of hypocrisy!
Super delegates were put in place when the party decided to make the nomination so open to outside influences. They were created for exactly the situation we now face, when a movement threatens to co-opt the political party and/or the voters are swayed toward someone who may not be best for the party or country.
We are seeing the price to be paid for opening up the nomination to the general public. What is next; a general election for the democratic nominee, then another in November? In all likelihood this will be decided on popular vote, I only hope Florida's count does not have an impact. God help us if (shades of 2000) the overall popular vote is thwarted because of a technicality involving (not counting) Florida!
I blame the Democrat National Party for this fiasco and for not having the courage to defend their position(s). Questioning Barak's qualifications is not bigoted it is their (and our) job. Truth hurts? Grow up!

Posted by: CliffinWA | February 18, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

It is obvious what happens if Obama has a 200 delegate lead. People aren't stupid. The tough scenario is a small lead for Obama. Do Dem leaders owe it to Obama to christen him if he has 20 more pledged delegates out of thousands? I dont think so, but Obama backers will obviously act like it's felony theft.

Posted by: davidscott1 | February 18, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

The Florida (and Michigan) problem is not going away. Here is another great article about the Florida Issue.
http://www.sptimes.com/2008/02/18/Columns/Hello__Democrats__how.shtml

Posted by: Democrat08 | February 18, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

If I were from FL or MI and if my state will not have seats in the DEM convention, why will I bother voting in the NOVEMBER. It's not the voters' fault why the paimaries were moved early - IT'S THE STATE PARTY'S FAULT. WHY PUNISH THE VOTERS?

JBEDIA

Posted by: jbedia | February 18, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

If I were from FL or MI and if my state will not have seats in the DEM convention, why will I bother voting in the NOVEMBER. It's not the voters' fault why the paimaries were moved early - IT'S THE STATE PARTY'S FAULT. WHY PUNISH THE VOTERS.

Posted by: jbedia | February 18, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

super delegates were created as a check of party leaders on the popular vote of rank and file Democrats (and in some cases Independents). If they were supposed to vote according to the primary/caucus results in their states, there wouldn't have been any rationale to establish them.
When Clinton supporters argue that super delegates should vote along their own judgment,they are right.
These rules and many other rules of the game in the presidential selection process are not democratic. But change can only come after this election year.
For more on this, read:
http://www.reflectivepundit.com/reflectivepundit/2008/02/what-are-super.html

Posted by: bn1123 | February 18, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

There should be no argument concerning the role of superdelegates: to act as independent judges of the candidates.
If they can't do that. they should just abstain (or vote 'present', after BO).

Posted by: MAGUS111 | February 17, 2008 11:18 PM | Report abuse

I want a win in November and I want health care - Obama will deliver neither!
I think republicans are salivating at the prospect of Obama over Clinton, but are holding their cards close to the vest. Bashing Hillary serves two purposes: weakening her and diverting attention from the issue of Barak's lack of experience and gravitas that McCain will exploit. I laugh at republicans on TV saying they will be energized against Hillary, as if we have not seen over a year of apathy and dejection over the prospect.
I visualize McCain holding his breath, fearing people will catch on that Obama is his best hope of winning. But, of course now is not the optimal time to reveal just how Barak will be diminished and made to look less than presidential. McCain would love democrats to get rid of the strongest candidate! Without Clinton universal health care as an issue will be minimal, she trounces McCain on economic issues and Hillary will not be tagged as weak and naive on international affairs and terrorism.

If health care is not mandated the legislation will fail. Republicans will argue a cost cutting alternative knowing partisan politics and compromise will gut any plan once the principle of universality is relinquished. They might just ignore the issue. Clinton is the only one who can drive it through.
Who is going to be swayed across party lines if UHC looks DOA, Obama is challenged on the economy and McCain takes the commander in chief mantle. Sen. Clinton is ready for McCain, no one can doubt that. We could have had Al Gore if competency was not under-valued, let's not make that mistake again.

Posted by: CliffinWA | February 17, 2008 10:58 PM | Report abuse


In all fairness the DNP should step up and admit signals were given before the first state campaigns began that Florida and Michigan delegates would be seated no matter who won the state.. Especially Florida since it was republicans in control of moving their primary up and breaking the rules. The party can ill afford to have Florida feel alienated in the general election. Instead they let Clinton take the fall.
No one thought then these delegates could determine the nomination and I do not think they will or should now. But to bash Sen. Clinton for trying to do what is best for the party while giving Obama a pass for trying to change the super delegate rules put in place long ago is the height of hypocrisy!
Super delegates were put in place when the party decided to make the nomination so open to outside influences. They were created for exactly the situation we now face, when a movement threatens to co-opt the political party and/or the voters are swayed toward someone who may not be best for the party or country.
We are seeing the price to be paid for opening up the nomination to the general public. What is next; a general election for the democratic nominee, then another in November?
In all likelihood this will be decided on popular vote, I only hope Florida's count does not have an impact. God help us if (shades of 2000) the overall popular vote is thwarted because of a technicality involving (not counting) Florida!
I blame the Democrat National Party for this fiasco and for not having the courage to defend their position(s). Truth hurts? Grow up!

Posted by: CliffinWA | February 17, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse


In all fairness the DNP should step up and admit signals were given before the campaigns even began that Florida and Michigan delegates would be seated no matter who won the state.. Especially Florida since it was republicans in control of moving their primary up and breaking the rules. The party can ill afford to have Florida feel alienated in the general election. Instead they let Clinton take the fall.
No one thought then these delegates could determine the nomination and I do not think they will or should now. But to bash Sen. Clinton for trying to do what is best for the party while giving Obama a pass for trying to change the super delegate rules put in place long ago is the height of hypocrisy!
Super delegates were put in place when the party decided to make the nomination so open to outside influences. They were created for exactly the situation we now face, when a movement threatens to co-opt the political party and/or the voters are swayed toward someone who may not be best for the party or country.
We are seeing the price to be paid for opening up the nomination to the general public. What is next; a general election for the democratic nominee, then another in November? In all likelihood this will be decided on popular vote,
I only hope Florida's count does not have an impact. God help us if (shades of 2000) the overall popular vote is thwarted because of a technicality (not counting) involving Florida! I blame the Democrat National Party for this fiasco and for not having the courage to defend their position(s). Truth hurts? Grow up!
You can not keep fearing being called a racist for calling Barak an "articulate young black man."

Posted by: CliffinWA | February 17, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

"Why is the press going so easy on Barack Obama?" asks a prominent Democratic Party strategist, echoing a criticism frequently made by the Clinton campaign. It's a fair question, and now that Obama appears to be the front-runner in terms of his delegate count, he deserves a closer look, especially from people like me who have written positively about him.

http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=1747


.

Posted by: PollM | February 17, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Howard Dean's power trip, denying Floridians representation creating the super delegate mess

It is true the Florida Democratic Party moved its primary date against the DNC bylaws; it is true that Florida's GOP legislature moved the primary date; and it's true that three democratic candidates agreed to null and void the votes of Floridians and the delegates those votes would harvest.

Neither of these parties had the right to disqualify two million votes.

When you call the DNC to complain, they tell you Florida is not in compliance, but they won't tell you is what gives them the pre-ordained right to disqualify two million votes just to settle a score with the Florida Democratic Party. Florida's noncompliant status is not an adequate justification to disqualify two million votes.

The number of people involved in this dispute couldn't fill up a school bus, yet they've decided that two million voters will not be represented at the DNC convention, potentially altering the outcome of the nomination, and possibly the outcome of the general election.

Florida voters are caught in the middle of a hissing war where the DNC Chairman Howard Dean and the Florida Democratic Party are not playing well together. This should not be the voters' problem because the voters didn't create this mess. If the DNC wants to punish the Florida Democratic Party, find another punishment, but to shut out two million voices to settle an inter-organizational dispute is totalitarianism.

No third party/parties may take away a person's right to vote, FOR ANY REASON. One voter or two million votes can not be taken away to serve the interests of the DNC.

It's not about who benefits from ceding the delegates, or if the results of a new election would tip the scales in favor of any candidate. It's not about any agreements made between Hillary, John, and Barack in the primary not to acknowledge the voters and their appointed delegates. A citizen's vote is not a unit of measurement for them to barter with; it's not about fairness to either of the candidates- they don't decide the fate of anyone's vote, and it's not about an internal dispute over a date on a calendar.

IT'S ABOUT THE RIGHT TO VOTE

When a voter goes to cast a vote for President, it is with the knowledge they will be represented according to who wins the popular vote in his or her district. A voter also accepts the absoluteness of two possible outcomes. One: The candidate will win and delegates will be ceded at the convention to vote according to the outcomes. Two: The candidate will lose and another candidate will receive the support of the delegates.

Florida voters had no say in moving the primary date, and their votes should carry the full weight of representative democracy to the floor of the convention. If the January 15 primary is dated and not an accurate representation of voters today, then Florida should have another primary.

If all the votes are not counted, the nominee, and possibly the next President, will have a legitimacy deficit............like the president we have now, and it will again point to Florida.

If the interests of Florida are not represented, there is a strong case to exempt all Floridians from federal income taxes. By denying Floridian and Michiganers representation, less than 300 super delegates will determine the outcome of the Democratic Nomination. history.

Howard Dean is on a power trip, and he needs to be removed from his post if he insists on denying any American equal representation at the DNC Convention.

The super delegates could be nuetralized by allowing new primaries in Florida and Michigan.

Posted by: dcmenefee1 | February 17, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

As a student of political science, I am intrigued by the present democratic race like no other. To me, this race should have much more to it than making a choice between a first ever women and first ever African-American vying for the office of the President of the US. Domestically, the impact of this election shall be seen in the transcendental dynamics that speaks of irrelevance of race and gender on the one hand and the potential of adding another dynamic to the US politics, i.e. 'inclusivity' on the other. Related to it would then be the question of continuity and persistence of these acquired traits that are desired and cherished by most if not all people who believe in democracy. The question for the American voter would thus be; who is best suited for keeping this move towards inclusion of people's voice in the government structure and policies.


In the post-9/11, post-Iraq invasion world, equally important aspect of this election is the impact it will bring on the way US deals with a fragmented and highly polarized world. For those who think American dominance based on its military supremacy will carry the day for the country needs to vacuum clean the abode where once their brains used to reside. Five years into a brutal and seemingly unending conflict is more than enough to jolt any sane mind out of its slumber. The choice for anyone voting shall take into consideration the question as to who is more capable of 'connecting' as against 'confronting' the world on issues of concerns and interests of the country as well as ones that the country shares with the world.


Here, it seems that twice as many people have showed their interest in the democratic candidates than in Republicans. However, it is not as easy a choice within the two candidates battling it out on the democratic side. IN the face of tremendous problems at hand, some think its experience, while others say judgment. With not much of daylight between the philosophical orientations of the two candidates, the choice becomes even harder to make because the 'vision' emanating from the same philosophical fountain tends to remain similar in most cases. The defining value of leadership thus revolves around the important aspect of 'character' which can be translated as proven capacity to stick to 'principles' as against expediency. Here, both sides have blamed each other for inconsistencies leaving people to rely on their instincts and emotional attachments, liking or disliking. However, there is one more measure that can be more rational which has been ignored or not given much weight when judging character as a value, i.e. to stay positive when the chips are down as against a situation where it is easy to claim high moral ground. You all have your chance to see this aspect of the two contenders' personalities these days. This is the necessary reading into the future decisions and dealings of these candidates when not many will be looking.

Posted by: sahibzada77 | February 16, 2008 7:56 PM | Report abuse

With the Republican race virtually over WI voters can change the Democratic race. In WI with Obama's higher rust/corn belt exposure he is viewed as the stronger candidate to Republicans so Clinton should get the switchers. In TX I believe the Republicans view Clinton as stronger and will vote for Obama. TX is larger than WI and OH combined.

Posted by: jameschirico | February 16, 2008 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Democrats made a mistake with the idea of superdelegates as they can decide the election. What the remaining unpledged delegates should do is have a conference and decide to evenly split the total superdelegates between Obama and Clinton so the electorate can decide the winner. Its not too late to correct a stupid idea.

Posted by: jameschirico | February 16, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

I found this blog by a political scientist that uses statistical models to predict how unpledged superdelegate will vote. Pretty interesting:

http://ccpsblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/updated-predictions-on-unpledged.html

Posted by: MAB4 | February 16, 2008 7:18 PM | Report abuse

What was the point of creating Democrat superdelegates if not to address directly this nearly tied situation with respect to elected delegates?

Any suggestion that the super delegates must follow the elected delegate trend obviates the rationale for their very existence. If super delegates do not give their own well considered judgments as to the best nominee--however they themselves define "best"--why not simply give them nonvoting standing and suitable floor privileges?

Let the Democrat super delegates do what they will. Most will opt to cover their butts and go with the apparent winner, either of the national vote or of their own districts. Others will sell their souls to the highest bidder. What should one expect? They are, after all, politicians.

Some might actually apply their best independent judgments in the manner the Edmund Burke vividly recommended to members of the British Parliament.

Don't count too much on that, though. We Democrats don't much cotton to Edmund Burke, even when he was right.

Posted by: wgmadden | February 16, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Silence Is Assent: What the Democratic Party Apparently Thinks of Women
Posted February 15, 2008 | 10:52 AM (EST)


I am absolutely disgusted with Obama supporters accusing opponents of racism and (which is lately occuring far more frequently) Clinton supporters accusing opponents of mysogony.

Posted by: jimd52 | February 16, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

The only real momentum for Obama is the same drumbeat created by the press that helped Bush take us into war in Iraq. He is winning consistently Republican states with the help of Karl Rove operatives and hoodwinking lots of idealistic people who are drinking the Kool-Aid. This article was another disgraceful example of distorting the facts to make it appear that Obama is surging based on no facts. Lewis didn't even change his loyalty. But this became a major story rather than Senator Clinton winning the New Mexico primary. Dr. Reardon's article below tells the real truth about what is going on. For shame!

Kathleen Reardon

Silence Is Assent: What the Democratic Party Apparently Thinks of Women
Posted February 15, 2008 | 10:52 AM (EST)

------------------------------------------
Who could have predicted how much a presidential race in the 21st Century would damage women's progress? When Betty Friedan and I taught classes together in the mid 1990s, she'd moved beyond The Feminine Mystique to what she called "the second stage," a time when men and women would reconcile their differences so all might benefit.
Were she alive today, she'd be shocked and furious at the deplorable way in which Hillary Clinton's campaign is being used by the media as an excuse to slap women back into what my very much "steamed" 83-year-old mother-in-law, Connie, described yesterday as "our supposed place." Were Betty around now, she'd be shouting before even entering my car, asking me why my generation wasn't doing more. Why we're allowing this to happen?
Part of the problem is that Hillary is running against a very popular Barack Obama. To stand up against media demeaning of his opponent takes a level of sportsmanship by his supporters we're willing to teach our children in soccer and baseball but apparently unwilling to expect of ourselves. "I'm for Barack Obama, so I must be OK with despicable attacks on Hillary" is how too many people think. These, no doubt, are the same people who will expect a rush to Barack's side by Hillary supporters should he win the nomination. They'll be saying, "Put it behind us and let's move on. Get over it."
Not so fast. During a recent radio interview I said that were Barack to win the nomination, he'd have my vote. But with each day the Democratic Party is losing its appeal. And I'm far from the only one thinking this way. Where are senior Democrats calling for civility at least from their own members? How about a letter from them to the corporate media culprits? Where is Howard Dean? Why didn't Ted Kennedy bother to give a noticeable nod to women and their struggle to see one of their own become president before his ecstatic leap into the Obama camp? Wouldn't he have acted differently if he'd thrown his support the other way? Why does it take people outside the party and even opposed to Clinton to decry insults to her body, her face, and her every move?
I'd like to know, too, if Barack Obama really stands for change, why this Democratic race is more of the same in terms of demeaning women so men might advance. There are times when silence is assent -- and this is one of them. I'm not suggesting he come to Hillary's aid. I'm suggesting he comport himself as the agent of change he so confidently claims to be.
Barack isn't to blame for the nastiness. But he's hardly denounced it. Many of his supporters revel in it. I've written about political courage, most recently in the Harvard Business Review. And this isn't it.
Corporate owned media flinging vile attacks at Senator Clinton should elicit from Senator Obama as much disdain as corporate lobbyists do. But he gives the former a pass at great expense to women -- those who notice and those who haven't yet.
Each rung of the ladder onerously constructed and climbed by women in the past and present is being damaged by the current Democratic presidential race. I knew things weren't perfect -- that we weren't in any sense solidly in the second stage. I just didn't think vile media attacks on Hillary that resonate for all women would go largely unchallenged by the Democratic Party -- that people supposedly on the side of equal regard for all would be, by their silence, little better than those on the attack.
If a vote for the Democratic Party means condoning incivility toward women and giving the most vile in the media and ones who take their lead from them free, unchallenged reign, then the Democratic Party is a shadow of its former self -- and may indeed be deservedly so in numbers before the vicious game they've condoned is over.

Dr. Reardon blogs at bardscove.com

Posted by: DrSue | February 16, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

The democrat party is not only beholden to special interest groups they are also beholden to the almighty dollar.... the following article is very enlightening...Every American needs to know the bribes that Clinton and Obama are paying in order to get the nomination to the Presidency....dems are totally sick...all their BS about every vote must count is the biggest crock of sh*t I've ever heard--please read below..

here's the website too

http://www.capitaleye.org/inside.asp?ID=336

February 14, 2008 | (Figures in this story have been adjusted to reflect Sen. Ted Kennedy's contributions from the two candidates, which were overlooked in the original posting. Changes are in bold.) At this summer's Democratic National Convention, nearly 800 members of Congress, state governors and Democratic Party leaders could be the tiebreakers in the intense contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. If neither candidate can earn the support of at least 2,025 delegates in the primary voting process, the decision of who will represent the Democrats in November's presidential election will fall not to the will of the people but to these "superdelegates"--the candidates' friends, colleagues and even financial beneficiaries. Both contenders will be calling in favors.

And while it would be unseemly for the candidates to hand out thousands of dollars to primary voters, or to the delegates pledged to represent the will of those voters, elected officials who are superdelegates have received at least $904,200 from Obama and Clinton in the form of campaign contributions over the last three years, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

Obama, who narrowly leads in the count of pledged, "non-super" delegates, has doled out more than $698,200 to superdelegates from his political action committee, Hope Fund, or campaign committee since 2005. Of the 82 elected officials who had announced as of Feb. 12 that their superdelegate votes would go to the Illinois senator, 35, or 43 percent of this group, have received campaign contributions from him in the 2006 or 2008 election cycles, totaling $232,200. In addition, Obama has been endorsed by 52 superdelegates who haven't held elected office recently and, therefore, didn't receive campaign contributions from him.

Clinton does not appear to have been as openhanded. Her PAC, HILLPAC, and campaign committee appear to have distributed $205,500 to superdelegates. Only 12 percent of her elected superdelegates, or 13 of 109 who have said they will back her, have received campaign contributions, totaling about $95,000 since 2005. An additional 128 unelected superdelegates support Clinton, according to a blog tracking superdelegates and their endorsements, 2008 Democratic Convention Watch.

Because superdelegates will make up around 20 percent of 4,000 delegates to the Democratic convention in August--Republicans don't have superdelegates--Clinton and Obama are aggressively wooing the more than 400 superdelegates who haven't yet made up their minds. Since 2005 Obama has given 52 of the undecided superdelegates a total of at least $363,900, while Clinton has given a total of $88,000 to 15 of them. Anticipating that their intense competition for votes in state primaries and caucuses will result in a near-tie going into the nominating convention, the two candidates are making personal calls to superdelegates now, or are recruiting other big names to do so on their behalf. With no specific rules about what can and can't be done to court these delegates, just about anything goes.

"Only the limits of human creativity could restrict the ways in which Obama and Clinton will try to be helpful to superdelegates," said Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia. "My guess is that if the nomination actually depends on superdelegates, the unwritten rule may be, 'ask and ye shall receive.' "

read the rest and more at...

http://www.capitaleye.org/inside.asp?ID=336

Posted by: charko825 | February 16, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

@ demene: Statistics from older elections mean zilch. This time it is different, in case have not noticed.

Posted by: dunnhaupt | February 16, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Superdelegates are theoretically free to vote as they like, but I would not want to be an elected Democrat who votes against the people who trust him and put him in office.

Posted by: dunnhaupt | February 16, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

MEET ONE OF THE CLINTONS "STAUNCH" FRIENDS:

You know you are in real trouble when Rep. Rangel utters treachery as "viable". For those not in the know, Mr. Rangel has had a love thingy with the Clintons going back to when it was not "viable" and he was not a Clinton doormat. Still a Clinton doormat, not sure if tomorrow "Clinton doormat" will be "viable".

"Even staunch Clinton allies acknowledged that circumstances have changed.

"If you had an exciting candidate you didn't think was viable, and suddenly he becomes viable, that's something you would have to consider," said Rep. Charles B. Rangel (N.Y.), the Ways and Means Committee chairman. But the race could still turn back in Clinton's favor, he said. "We don't know what's going to happen." "

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/15/AR2008021503756.html

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 16, 2008 7:09 AM | Report abuse

blert | February 15, 2008 10:47 PM

Clinton Republicans!!!!!!!!!!

Who'd thunk it!!!!!!!

WOW!!!

I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you, sir!!

WOW, Wow, wow!... wow.

Did I already mention wow?

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 16, 2008 6:52 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone think the "delegate" idea in general is farce? Think Florida and the electoral college of 2000.

Does anyone know that even the pledged delegates can change their votes?

Does anyone think we should just stick with the popular vote?

Dump caucuses and let the people vote.

Posted by: camasca | February 16, 2008 12:25 AM | Report abuse

The Clintons are falling into a media trap of raised expectations for Wisconsin.
http://jtaplin.wordpress.com/2008/02/15/wisconsin-set-up/

Posted by: Trumbull | February 16, 2008 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 16, 2008 12:14 AM | Report abuse

"Obama isn't "Jesus". He's Barry Obama."--attributed to svreader.

SVReader! Is that really you?? When did you quit calling him Hussein?

Posted by: thrh | February 15, 2008 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Again and again, this race has shown that it is voters and delegates who matter, not the pundits or perceived "momentum." After Iowa, every poll gave Barack Obama a strong lead in New Hampshire, but he ended up losing the state. And after a defeat in South Carolina, Hillary Clinton went on to win by large margins in California, New York, Florida, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Arizona, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

As history shows, the Democratic nomination goes to the candidate who wins the most delegates - not the candidate who wins the most states. In 1992, Bill Clinton lost a string of primaries before clinching the nomination. He ceded Iowa, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maryland, Arizona, Washington, Utah, Colorado, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, Vermont and South Dakota. Similarly, in 1984, Walter Mondale also lost a series of major primaries before winning the nomination, including New Hampshire, Vermont, Florida, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Indiana, Virginia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, Colorado, Ohio, and California. And in 1976, Jimmy Carter lost twenty-three states before winning the nomination, including: Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, West Virginia, South Carolina, Alabama, Illinois, Mississippi, Minnesota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, California, Arizona, Alaska, Hawaii, and Utah.

Posted by: dcmenefee1 | February 15, 2008 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Be prepared Wisconsin, to witness the Clintons descending to the darkest depths of gutter politics, a place they both call home. Their disingenuous attempt to seat the bogus delegates from FL & MI is utterly nauseating. Cheating, lying, distorting, triangulating are all second nature to the Clintons. Their arrogant sense of entitlement and ruthless determination to extend the Bush/Clinton dynasty at any cost should make all Americans turn their collective backs in disgust.

The Clintons epitomize the broken, dysfunctional status quo. For sixteen, long years they have fueled the rabid, polarizing partisan division that has crippled Washington.

Barack Obama represents the opportunity to reject the failed politics of the past and unite Americans around an uplifting, inspirational vision for the future. Those, whom have never felt a reason to participate in the political process, are supporting Barack in record, unprecedented numbers. They have found in Barack Obama a candidate worthy of believing in. He is a man of integrity, wisdom, and compassion with the strength to take on the political machines that are determined to destroy his message of hope and unity.

Our nation is at a historic crossroad, facing enormous challenges both at home and across the world. It is time to seize this moment in history, look to the future with an optimistic, unyielding resolve and make Barack Obama the next President of the United States.

Robert Luciano- Atlanta, GA

Posted by: ccoblas | February 15, 2008 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Obama certainly has the momentum right now, but Wisconsin might turn out to be a surprise yet. Obama has decidedly more supporters here from what I can tell, but I'm hearing more an more Republicans around, especially evangelicals and conservatives, who are throwing in the towel on beating McCain and instead are planning to cross over and vote in the Democratic primary for Clinton. A lot of McCain supporters are probably feeling similarly with the Republican race virtually wrapped up. Republicans seem to view Clinton as the easier candidate to beat in November, and even if she does win, she is still more moderate than Obama.

This impresses me as a risky move, but I've heard more and more people in the state saying they are going to do it. In a close race, a couple thousand Republicans intentionally jumping into the Democratic primary as saboteurs could swing the vote in Clinton's favor, and all the negative momentum for Clinton's campaign over the last two weeks would be quickly forgotten. If Clinton can pull off the win, Ohio and Texas are still very much in play for her, and some of the calls for her to step aside might quiet a little.

This said, Clinton still hasn't set foot in the state yet this week. Arriving on Saturday for a Tuesday primary with a major snowstorm forecast for Sunday doesn't give her much time to campaign, especially as Obama has been making a lot of stops around the state, pulling in big crowds. Excitement is on his side, and it's now largely a question of how many Republicans will jump in to dampen that excitement.

Posted by: blert | February 15, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

"

If Hillary steals the nomination, I predict that Obama will break from the Democratic party and form an independent ticket and take the Indy-Dems and the Indy-Repubs with him as well as all the blacks, half the Latinos and still win the WH.

Time for a revolution!

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 15, 2008 05:18 PM "

wow!!! That will be some change!I can't help fancy a three party system. Better or worse?

Posted by: pinepine | February 15, 2008 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Congressman Lewis, according to the Atlantic Journal today, 2-15-08 said, "that the New York Times report that Lewis was backing Obama, was "inaccurate."

The press, as usual, is deciding who's going to win this race.

CNN's 360o purports they're having a conversation about race and gender, when in fact there's no show of equity from CNN. On Larry King Live tonight their team of prognosticators lacked a Clinton surrogate, lacked disclosure about recent polling that shows Hillary ahead in the 3 big contests.

They keep hitting-Hillary-down, while they're talking about promoting gender and race equity. This is inaccurate and unfair framing. CNN has become FOX-like.


www.edenprairienews.com
Fact-Checker: Truth in Politics

http://www.ajc.com/news/content/news/stories/2008/02/15/lewis_0215.html?cxntlid=homepage_tab_newstab

Posted by: vammap | February 15, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

While there is an argument to be made for super delegates, that argument will not stand this year. A candidate who uses super delegates that go against the will of the people as defined by a greater popular vote will not have the support of the party, no matter the purpose of the sp system or the precedent. I urge Senator Clinton, whom I support, to release her delegates.

http://strictlyanecdotal.com/2008/02/11/what-bill-clinton-can-learn-from-michelle-obama.aspx

Posted by: LeftCoastSu | February 15, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Momentum is not just about mass - it is also about velocity and acceleration. Hillary Clinton has the mass of years. Obama has the velocity and acceleration.....
http://thefiresidepost.com/2008/02/15/obama-inertia-wins-the-race/

Posted by: glclark4750 | February 15, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

svreader said:
"Please remember that all those "inspiring speeches you get excited about are actually written by someone else, although Obama does actually read them (from a teleprompter)"

Like many people in public life, Obama has speechwriters. Unlike most public figures, Obama can write. Two best selling books. His 2004 Democratic National Committee speech. As his head speechwriter says; "You're like Ted Williams's batting coach."

Posted by: chuckhampton | February 15, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

The Democratic system of superdelegates is perhaps the most undemocratic system in American politics.

Posted by: jameswhanger | February 15, 2008 9:43 PM | Report abuse

So, who is going to tell Senator Kennedy or Representative Lewis how to vote? Should Kennedy be forced to vote for Clinton even though he supports Obama? Should Lewis have to vote for Obama so as not to offend his constituency even though he thinks Clinton is the most qualified candidate?

Should a superdelegate only consider the popular vote of his constituents? What about Senator Mondale who does not have an elective office? How should he subjugate his judgment? Should he not take into consideration that one candidate has performed consistently better in blue states? Should he not discount red states, such as Utah for example, if he believes that there is absolutely no chance of gaining any electoral votes there?

I hope that superdelegates are not afraid to vote their conscience based on their own standards - could be popular vote, electability, political survivability or, most importantly, who they think is the most qualified candidate.

Posted by: mok55 | February 15, 2008 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Howard Dean has to show some leadership - he really should work to get Florida and Michigan rescheduled as primaries.

Posted by: Miata7 | February 15, 2008 08:03 PM

There is no way the Republican Governor and the Republican Legislature in Florida will approve another primary for the Democrats.

Posted by: jimd52 | February 15, 2008 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Christine Pelosi, daughter of the Speaker and (more notably at the moment) a superdelegate, warns of a massive disillusionment of voters should Democratic Party officials back a presidential nominee that didn't win the pledged delegate vote.

"Many of us are elected by the grassroots of the party," she said, "And I cannot imagine going home in November to those people and try to phone bank for someone who did not capture the [pledged delegate] vote... We were all galvanized by what happened to Al Gore in Florida."

Pelosi, who has been a DNC member since 1996 and recently authored the book "Campaign Boot Camp," acknowledged being petitioned heavily from campaign surrogates but declined to say whom she would support. She did, however, list different attributes upon which her superdelegate vote will be based: "Who is building a base of volunteers, who is bringing the party together - the best indicators of future performance."

In her interview with the Huffington Post, she spoke freely and at length about some of the challenges facing the 796 superdelegates as the presidential nomination seemingly falls into their laps. What, for instance, should the party do about the primary elections in Michigan and Florida, which did not, according to DNC rules, carry any delegates, but which the victorious Hillary Clinton campaign is hoping to have counted?

"Of course they should be involved. I can't imagine a scenario personally where they are not. The question is how?" said Pelosi. She then playfully suggested a novel idea: splitting the state's delegates 50/50 to Obama and Clinton. It would, she argued, allow for representation from each state while not changing the dynamics of the race in one candidate's favor. Of course, she added, "Ideally we sit back and let the process do its will and by the time you get to June it won't matter."

In a separate interview Friday with Bloomberg TV, Christine's mother, Nancy Pelosi, went a step further, arguing that the Florida and Michigan primaries shouldn't decide the party's nomination. "I don't think that any states that operated outside the rules of the party can be disparities of who the nominee is,'' Pelosi told Al Hunt. She also addressed the power wielded by the super-delegates, dismissing concerns that they vote against the will of the majority of Democratic voters.

"It's not just following the returns; it's also having a respect for what has been said by the people,'' she said. It would be "a problem for the party if the verdict would be something different than the public has decided."

Reflecting her mother's remarks, Christine Pelosi also sought to debunk the perception that super delegates were just cigar smoking -- "my mother won't allow that" -- backroom dealing, political bigwigs willing to trade their votes at the Democratic National Convention for patronage.

"We are paying attention," she said, "What we are supposed to do is enhance the process not step on it."

As evidence, the Speaker's daughter riffed on a variety of political and campaign topics. Pelosi showed little patience for the most recent line of attack by the Clinton campaign, which has accused Obama of ducking debates in Wisconsin.

"It is always sort of a stunt when you call for a debate," she said. "If they really wanted a debate you know, Howard [Wolfson] has David [Axelrod]'s phone number. They could arrange this if they really wanted to... This silly fight over a debate or a snub or this or that is really dumb."

But her most critical words were saved for the Republican side of the political aisle.

"John McCain is George Bush's third term," she said of the GOP frontrunner, "and I just don't believe the American people want to elect George Bush for a third term."

As for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's decision to stay in the race against the most unlikely of odds: "Can't Fox give him a talk show or something?"

Mostly, however, Pelosi offered a cautiously optimistic outlook for the Democrats in 2008. There is a historic nature to the election, she posited, a chance to bring and secure a new generation of voters in the political process. And absent a major screw-up, Democrats could ride that wave to long-term victories.

"I think that if we can capture and hold the enthusiasm of the 20 million Americans who have come out to vote so far," Pelosi said, "and the millions more who will by the time our nomination process if over, if we can keep those people organized and energized we will win."

Posted by: FutureJumps | February 15, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

I've been watching cable News/Talk shows most of the day, and the thing that stuck out like a sore thumb was the Mass. SDs, Kennedy, Kerry, and others that support Obama against the will of the voters there. This is being done all around the country for Obama, but let one of these SDs have the [insert word] to change their support to Hillary. Look OUT!! They are accused of everything that can thought up. Wiser heads must come forward SOON.

Posted by: lylepink | February 15, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

The Clinton ship is sinking. They know it, the media knows it, the Democratic leadership knows it.

When March 4 comes around, if Clinton can't come away with convincing wins in OH and TX (10% or more), look for her to broker the best possible deal in exchange for bowing out.

The numbers are not lying here. Obama has the majority of the popular vote nationwide (even with FL included). He has the most pledged delegates. He's erased the delegate deficit he started with (Hillary's large superdelegate lead). This thing is well on its way to over.

Posted by: cam8 | February 15, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Earlier this month Sen. Clinton promised the American people she would control Bill. well today while she was not paying attention he slipped outside and attacked Sen. Obama.

Posted by: bobbyjfromppa | February 15, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Obama would never have gotten this far if there hadn't been a comedy writers strike.

Posted by: svreader | February 15, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Obama's people are really playing with fire - on one hand they are attempting to de-legitimize the superdelegates - on the other hand they really need to get the superdelegates to actually vote for Obama -


This really really is a complete mess.


If Hillary is able to pull off a comeback, and she can - in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Indiana - she also has Puerto Rico coming up - Hillary can pull even - then we really really have a problem brewing - John Edwards may have thought he was smart to get out and not play the middle, however perhaps that is what the party actually needs.

Posted by: Miata7 | February 15, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

The truth is this superdelegate exercise is a complete nightmare for the Democratic party. For one, it threatens to drag on the nomination contest past May into August. Second, the Obama people have already started to attempt to de-legitimize the superdelegates.

Not for nothing, Hillary's people attempted to change the rules regarding Michigan and Florida - now its Obama's people who are saying that the superdelegates really should not count.


It is a nightmare all around - the Democrats should not want the delegates to show their cards in the media. Even worse, if any deals make their way into the media spotlight, the consequences could be horrible.


What are they to do?


Howard Dean has to show some leadership - he really should work to get Florida and Michigan rescheduled as primaries. Hillary will not accept caucuses, and they really should be primaries anyway. Dean should also consider a special meeting in June in which there is a vote of the superdelegates and the whole matter is decided. If they wait until August, the party will be split and who knows what will come of it.

Posted by: Miata7 | February 15, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

"That is one tough sell."- Chris Cillizza.

Need we say more.

Hillary is toast.

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 15, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Hillary will not release her tax returns until after she is the Democratic nominee--if that actually happens.

Why does she want to withhold such information from her fellow Democrats?

It seems pretty risky for the Democratic Party to nominate someone who will not level with it.

Why should we trust her? The Clintons don't exactly have reputations as truth tellers.

Diogenes would have given both a wide berth.

MARTIN EDWIN "MICK" ANDERSEN

Posted by: Martinedwinandersen | February 15, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Obama must be doing somethign right. He's got all the liars and propogandists scared to death. He must be doing something right to get them out there lying all day. Whining and complaining all day. He must be doing something right.

Regarding the "media bias". If not for matthews clinton would be out already. Or was it the tears that won it for her?Either way, she did not win on the isues. She cannot. This shows by her supporters her. Gop included.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 15, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

DISPATCHES FROM THE GROUND WAR ...

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE SAYS PELOSI'S WORDS ARE MUSIC TO OBAMA'S EARS ...

Pelosi: Don't overrule the voters

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- who may be the most super delegate of all as chair of the Democratic national convention in Denver -- gave an interview with Bloomberg TV's Al Hunt in which she laid down the law for super delegates:

Don't veto the people's choice.

"I think there is a concern when the public speaks and there is a counter-decision made to that," she said, adding quickly, "I don't think that will happen."

She said the governors, lawmakers, DNC members and others picked as super delegates are chosen through a grassroots process and are accountable to the party's voters.

"I do think that they have a respect -- it's not just following the returns, it's also having a respect for what has been said by the people," Pelosi said. "It would be a problem for the party if the verdict would be something different than the public has decided."

That message will be music to the ears of Barack Obama, who's building a lead in pledged delegates and is urging the super delegates to follow the voters. ...

Posted by: Martinedwinandersen | February 15, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

This just does it. The Supreme Court and the incompetent Floridians selected Bush. The primaries are chaotic and the results have all the honor of throwing dice. Now super delegates could dictate who the Democratic candidate will be. That is not democratic, and it makes my vote superfluous in the worst way. I will not vote for Hillary if her candidacy comes about from SDs. I would have, but she has a thinly disguised coldness that came through in all the TV coverage. I would vote for Obama or Nancy Pelosi. I envy the people who voted in Iraq. They dipped their finger in ink wells. Hopefully we can rise to this level.

Posted by: mac3919 | February 15, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Let's see, who was the LAST Democratic president with an exceptional attention to detail?? Oh yes, that's right... it was Jimmy Carter.

Posted by: jameswhanger | February 15, 2008 7:13 PM | Report abuse

svreader,

You are certainly a "good" Clinton supporter, in that you use the tactics of intentional distortion quite nicely.

Posted by: jameswhanger | February 15, 2008 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Superdelegates who still serve as elected officials like Mrs. Pelosi would be in deep trouble if they voted against the people they claim to represent. Retired people can presumably do as they like. For the sake of the party, however, the remaining uncommitted superdelegates should now hold their fire until the people have spoken first, and then endorse the one with the most popular votes. If they go then against the peoples' vote, there will be real trouble.

Posted by: dunnhaupt | February 15, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

james --

Nope.

The problems with Obama's health care plan are "An Inconvenient Truth"

His plan encourages people, especially the poor, to go without health insurance to save money.

Obama isn't a "detail guy." He's said it himself multiple times.

His lack of attention to detail shows up in how incredibly bad his policy plans are.

The way his health plan works, people, especially the poor, would be tempted to go without health insurance in order to save money, and wind up going to the emergency room for care.

Obama said so himself in answer to a debate question, and said he charge a penalty to those same sick poor people.

It happened when Obama tried to "wing it", answering a debate question.

He's suprisingly bad at thinking on his feet.

Please remember that all those "inspiring speeches you get excited about are actually written by someone else, although Obama does actually read them (from a teleprompter)

Maybe he is a rock star.

Just like that lip-syncer on SNL.

Posted by: svreader | February 15, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

svreader,

Your statement about Obama and health care doesn't bother Obama supporters, because it is a lie.

Posted by: jameswhanger | February 15, 2008 6:55 PM | Report abuse

gary,

I don't know why the press might not like a Clinton. If you recall an interview of Bill Clinton by Peter Jennings, Clinton blames the press for ALL of the problems HE CREATED HIMSELF. That is PATHOLOGICAL!!

Posted by: jameswhanger | February 15, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

" What is it about a new era of prosperity and peace that you don't understand?"

Just tell me how and I will vote for Obama. How do we get out of Iraq. How tdo we have peace? Surrender? Otherwise, I will wonder how and vote for McCain.

Posted by: gary4books | February 15, 2008 6:51 PM | Report abuse

The press does not like Clinton and it shows. All the rest is their trying to seem fair. But they do not do it well.

Posted by: gary4books | February 15, 2008 6:48 PM | Report abuse

If he's a saleman, what is he selling? our country back to us for our vote. SOLD! :)

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 15, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

For all you Obama haters out there, you might as well say that you hate Jesus. What is it about a new era of prosperity and peace that you don't understand? Does modern science have to develop a 64 GALLON can of whoop-ass for reality to set in?

Posted by: bondjedi | February 15, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

The naiveity of Obama supporters isn't just astounding, its harmful, dangerous, and perhaps even deadly.

The posts that say that Obama is going to "end politics" show a level of naiveity not seen since "The Childrens Crusade"

Obama = NO HEALTH INSURANCE FOR THE POOR

Why doesn't that bother Obama's supporters?

Obama isn't "Jesus". He's Barry Obama.

He's a very good salesman.

That's all.

Posted by: svreader | February 15, 2008 6:24 PM | Report abuse

This focus on superdelegates is, unfortunatetly, just the most recent example of the media's misreading (and misforecasting) of the primary race. The campaigns are focusing on the SDs mainly because they are a proxy indicator of their candidates' viability - and thus influence how people will vote in the remaining primaries. And these upcoming primaries are what matter. If the voting continues to favor Obama, Clinton will drop out prior to the convention. (Those who think she will fight to the bitter end for her ambition are merely being gratuitously cynical.) Only if the pledged delegate race is perceived as a tie - and thus no candidate would be seen as "stealing" the election at the convention - would these SDs come into play, a possible but unlikely scenario.

Posted by: blacksteelcase-home | February 15, 2008 6:24 PM | Report abuse

superdelegates watch out


The progressive dems, Those that helped Donna Edwards win, will have lots of opponants ready to run against superdelegates that help steal it for Hillary.
If Hillary wins big in Tx and Oh, then it would not be called "stealing"

Posted by: pvogel88 | February 15, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

I have a warning for all the super delegates and the Democratic Party. If Obama wins the most number of votes AND the most number of states AND the most number of pledged

delegates, be VERY careful if you plan on having the super delegates anoint Hillary Clinton the queen of the United States ignoring the will of the constituents. If this happens, there will be a civil war within the Democratic party. A large number of people who voted for Obama (more than 50% of the Democrats) will NOT vote for Hillary under these circumstances and some of them may even vote for McCain.

I am a Maryland Democrat but I believe in Democracy and fairness. If Hillary Clinton wins the most number of pledged delegates fair and square I will vote for her in the general election.

If the party insiders make her the candidate ignoring the will of the people (what is this, Russia?), I may just vote for McCain out of utter disgust. This wold essentially mean the end of the Democratic party and she will become the Ralph Nader of 2008.

Play fair or it will be the end of the Democratic party.

Remember the outcome of this is not meant to be a CORONATION for a queen but a presidential candidate for an INAUGURATION as chosen by the CITIZENS, not all the corrupt self serving chronies of the Clintons.

Posted by: BethesdaMD | February 15, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Don't hate the player. HAte the game he's forced to play. Obama wants to end the game (of politics). He can't end the game on his own. He needs our help to do it. The leave behind scared to death fascists will not be heeded. go hide in a cave if you fear change, chicken littles. Stop sabotagin this great nation and our freedom./

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 15, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

dcurrieus, glad you realize that people are changing the rules midgame... at the start the rules were the superdelegates could vote their conscience. Now, it's all about "support exactly who we tell you to".

Of course that wasn't the system that we started with... that's a system without superdelegates. Why create superdelegates? So they can vote their conscience.

Posted by: kemurph | February 15, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

""Clinton must find a compelling way to convince superdelegates whose states or districts were carried overwhelmingly by Obama to bypass that vote and stay on her side."

There's going to be violence at the convention if this happens.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | February 15, 2008 04:36 PM
"

It's the right who incite violecne agaisnt peaceful americans. not the left. It's funny that's the first thing you say mike. Show syour fascist face.

It won't happen so we don't have to worry about it. If it does both parties are destroyed. Better not hope for that gop. You are the ones scared of cahnge, are you not. Johne wayne mash elvis and such. What will you do if the nation goes independant. And yoru scared of change now? Theg op (clinton included) better do everything they can to make sure this doesn't happen. If your scared of small chance. The change that will happen four years after clinton's disaster would be huge.

Not only would that destroy the democratic party, but would FORCE patriotic americans to form independant parties. how many and what persuasion? Who knows. Don't do it gop (clinton and her sell-outs included). In fact I know you won't. Due to fear.

compromise. do all you can to elect obama. That is this great nations only hope, at this time. It's not all about obama. He is just the right man at teh right time, all praise to God.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 15, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Yes, they should, Indlouis.

Posted by: jameswhanger | February 15, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Since Democrats are contemplating changing the delegate rules in the middle of the game, I've got a plan: First we re-define super delegate. They will now include not just the 796 insiders that have been so worrisome to date, but also 746 others: the 231 Obama and 117 Clinton pledged delegates that party insiders and activists selected in the 11 states that used the caucus system to date, plus the 32 pledged delegates at stake in the remaining caucus states of Hawaii and Wyoming who needn't bother next month, as well as the 210 Florida and 156 Michigan pledged delegates who don't matter to anyone anyway. So after all these supers are discounted the new total of voting delegates will be 2507. And it will take 1254 to win. Recalculating the math based on the above, Obama now has 871 delegates to Clinton's 861. And it will all be over soon - unless of course it is decided that Florida and Michigan should have a franchise, in which case they should get together with the 13 states that relied on the caucus system and have primaries in each of them instead during which their 746 pledged delegates can get are back in play and the new total necessary to become nominated becomes 1627. Okay?

Posted by: dcurrieus | February 15, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Will Ted Kennedy and the other MA Supers now vote for Clinton because she won their state? ldnlouis wants to know

Posted by: lndlouis | February 15, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

In the past three years Obama has donated $694,000 and Clinton has donated $195,000 to the super delegates for their re-elections. How will we know their decisions are fair or payback?

Posted by: lndlouis | February 15, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

kemurph writes
"What if she wins based on the huge numbers of pledged delegates she has gained plus superdelegate support?"

If nobody drops out before the convention, that is the only way a candidate could win on the first ballot. Because of the large number of superdelegates, and the close race for pledged delegates, neither candidate will have enough pledged candidates to win outright. If the superdelegates split down the middle, its possible nobody will win on the first ballot - as Edwards still has delegates too. The odds of that coming to pass seem slim. Far more likely is that one candidate or the other wins clear victories in upcoming primaries & the other concedes for the sake of the party.

Posted by: bsimon | February 15, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

"If Hillary wins solely because of superdelegate support, it's going to be a disaster for the Democratic Party."

What if she wins based on the huge numbers of pledged delegates she has gained plus superdelegate support?

Assuming she wins, if Obama asks you to support Hillary in the general campaign, to support the nominee of his party, will you do so? If not, why are you claiming the right to nominate the party's candidate? You're not even a party member.

Posted by: kemurph | February 15, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

**************
You might be right for those Sdelegates that hold elected positions. That is not true of all the Supers though. In many cases, prominent Dem party animals, or former office-holders are superdelegates. In my state, Fritz Mondale is one (he supports Clinton). I also heard NPR interview a superdelegate who is the leader of the college democrats or something.
***************

bsimon, no disagreement here on that one, and I do think that the re-election concern will only be an issue if the district or state went to the opposite candidate by a good margin.

Posted by: rpy1 | February 15, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

I've discussed with many here the viability of an independent Obama candidacy, and in light of the heated debates over that prospect I dare say that it is disappointing to realize that with each superdelegate Obama pulls from Clinton the chances of Hillary chicanery dwindle. Switching loyalties on a dime is something that pols are not loathe to do; they would prefer not to be first, though. With the admission of the brave John Lewis that he made a grave error in backing Hillary, expect those who have already pledged support to the Clintons to jump ship after the picante flavored 64 ounce sized can of WHOOP-ASS is opened by Obama in Texas come March. The only person on the planet who doesn't realize, save for a Macaca moment on Obama's part, that Hillary's run is over is Hillary herself (even Bill knows it, and also of the inevitability of the divorce papers once she doesn't need him anymore).

Posted by: bondjedi | February 15, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

The calculus has indeed changed. Fortunatly for the SD's, they don't have to make a decision until the Convention, regardless of what they say now, months before. In the end, it'll be a "what's good for the Party and who can beat the Republican that'll matter the most. given that "calculus" it will add up to Obama.

Posted by: thebobbob | February 15, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

"If Hillary wins solely because of superdelegate support, it's going to be a disaster for the Democratic Party."

I wouldn't put it past her either. Hillary doesn't care what the voters think. Hillary only cares about Hillary.

Posted by: TomIII | February 15, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Where does a democracy purist stand in a puddle of quicksand? If you say the overall pledged delegate count should carry it, you've lost the will of the voters in two states (not to mention that every caucus state has no element of the will of the voters in it). If you say the popular vote should count the most, you either unfairly discount two states, or since they didn't campaign in FL and MI Obama has a good claim to unfairness. So, essentially, there is no democracy purist argument to be made here, unless it's not close, and then there's no argument from anyone anyway.

Neither candidate can "win based on superdelegates alone". It's time to admit that this is essentially a tie, and that a superdelegate vote is as good as any way to break the tie. Are you seriously going to go nuclear if the delegate count is different by say 40 (1%) entering the convention and the trailing candidate is made the nominee? Not if you support that candidate! Stand in the shoes of the opposition and try to live by the golden rule here.

Posted by: kemurph | February 15, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't count your chickens before they've hatched gop (clinton included). I saw one super delegate switch, who was supporting clinton. If he wins the primary with the people, the super's wouldn't dare. We know that. let's be real.

To count the delegates before they've voted (not you cc but others like politico) is border-line propoganda

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 15, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Without going into the litany of reasons (valid or invalid), the Superdelegates are exactly where the Democratic Party voters have been for 18 months: If a candidate emerges that is a viable alternative to Hillary Clinton, they will jump to that candidate. The jump is happening and cannot be reversed.

Posted by: Stonecreek | February 15, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Once Obama wins Texas:

http://newsusa.myfeedportal.com/viewarticle.php?articleid=50

The rest may be irrelevant anyway.

Posted by: davidmwe | February 15, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

what is the point of superdelegates if they are just supposed to vote the same way the majority of people in their district voted? that just seems pointless.

Posted by: matthewmaverick | February 15, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Mrs. Clinton is doing the best she can with limited resources and a misfiring campaign team.

Further,she has failed to recognize a slowly emerging fact:

The more people see and hear from Barack Obama, the more they like him That is why his numbers begin to climb when he enters a state campaigning vigorously.

Conversely, the more the voters see and hear from Mrs. Clinton, the more they are reminded of the dull thudding sound of angry gridlock in Washington. And, while her intensely loyal insiders love her wonkishness, the folks coming out to vote this year -- do not.

The more they see of Mrs. Clinton - in comparison to the orator-constitutional law professor Obama - the less they like her.

That's why she was hoping to close the door by Super Tuesday. That is why she spent all her money by Super Tuesday.

The longer the race goes on...the fewer folks she will attract -- folks want CHANGE.

People klnow her. She is not new. She is old. McCain is old. Clinton and McCain same-o same-o.

Posted by: gandalfthegrey | February 15, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

If Hillary steals the nomination, I predict that Obama will break from the Democratic party and form an independent ticket and take the Indy-Dems and the Indy-Repubs with him as well as all the blacks, half the Latinos and still win the WH.

Time for a revolution!

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 15, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

None of the links I entered in the previous post came through, my spreadsheet is at: http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pc2KLlWnm1CXCumaTm2UaGQ

My blog which will have the updates is at:
http://gawksquawk.blogspot.com/

Posted by: GawkSquawk | February 15, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

I've combined the information from Democratic Convention Watch with election results for each superdelegate's state or Congressional District into a Google spreadsheet. This way we can track whether the superdelegates are following the voters, or making decisions for themselves.

I too think it would be a disaster for the superdelegates to override the will of the voters during this nomination. Hopefully, by keeping a close eye on the superdelegates, we can make sure they resolve any conflicts before we have to have a brokered convention.

I will have regular updates as election results and pledges come in at Gawk Squawk.

Posted by: GawkSquawk | February 15, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

rpy1 writes
"This primary is highly charged, and while they may like the feeling of importance they get from an endorsement, I think they like re-election more."

You might be right for those Sdelegates that hold elected positions. That is not true of all the Supers though. In many cases, prominent Dem party animals, or former office-holders are superdelegates. In my state, Fritz Mondale is one (he supports Clinton). I also heard NPR interview a superdelegate who is the leader of the college democrats or something.

Posted by: bsimon | February 15, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

CC writes "Politicians -- and the political class more generally -- will generally do what is in their self-interest unless compelled to do otherwise."

Well according to some Ds there were agreed upon rules that they are compelled to follow...a compromise decision finally adopted after much debate was to permit a relatively small percentage of the convention of elected and party officials -- 20 percent -- to be independent delegates.

Will Ted Kennedy and the other MA Supers now vote for Clinton because she won their state? Lanny Davis wants to know!

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 15, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

The most insightful thing about this ARC poll (and it is an outlier) is the support it reveals for Obama among independents and Republican crossovers, two groups that have the potential numbers to sway the race decisively in a state with an anemic Democratic party. This may be one race in which a "Clinton third term" is as important as race or gender in determining the outcome.

Posted by: thewolf1 | February 15, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

The super delegates are rapidly peeling off.

http://demconwatch.blogspot.com/

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 15, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I am guessing that many superdelegates will switch to the candidate who won their district by the time the convention comes around. This primary is highly charged, and while they may like the feeling of importance they get from an endorsement, I think they like re-election more.

Posted by: rpy1 | February 15, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

For the first time ever, Barack Obama has passed Hillary Clinton in Pollster.com's comprehensive aggregated polls. Considering Obama's trajectory, this is a big deal:

http://www.pollster.com/08-US-Dem-Pres-Primary.php

Posted by: mwfree | February 15, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

It is entirely likely that neither Cltinon nor Obama will have sufficient deligates to win the nimination outright, but the momentum is clear with Obama. An American Resrearch Group poll, just released, has Obama ahead of Clinton is Texas - 47% to 42% - and he is pulling away: http://americanresearchgroup.com/
If the SD's buck that trend and go for Clinton, that same poll shows a large number of Democratic voters (20%) that say they will never vote for Clinton and a similar percentage who claim they will sit out the election (mostly young voters), virtually ensuring a McCain victory. The consequence is that those SD's risk their own positions. Most of them, hopefully, are smarter than that.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | February 15, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

"Clinton must find a compelling way to convince superdelegates whose states or districts were carried overwhelmingly by Obama to bypass that vote and stay on her side."

There's going to be violence at the convention if this happens.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | February 15, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Blarg: Agreed. Surely the superdelegates' egos can be stroked in a less potentially damaging way. Luxury boxes at the convention, perhaps?

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 15, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

I expect the superdelegate system to be changed significantly after this election. The flaws in the system are obvious this year because it's a close race. Either the superdelegates vote for the candidate who has the most regular delegates (so they're unnecessary) or they vote for the other candidate (so they're defying the will of the voters.) If Hillary wins solely because of superdelegate support, it's going to be a disaster for the Democratic Party.

Posted by: Blarg | February 15, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

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