“The Audacity of Hopelessness” is the superdelegate structure’s whole point

posted at 7:04 am on March 25, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

David Brooks becomes the latest voice remarking about the futility of Hillary Clinton’s efforts to best Barack Obama in the Democratic primary race. He puts her chances at no more than five percent at convincing enough superdelegates to switch from Obama in Denver so that she can win the nomination, let alone the near-impossibility of overtaking Obama among pledged delegates. Yet Hillary will destroy the party in order to pursue the nomination to the bitter end, according to Brooks:

Let’s take a look at what she’s going to put her party through for the sake of that 5 percent chance: The Democratic Party is probably going to have to endure another three months of daily sniping. For another three months, we’ll have the Carvilles likening the Obamaites to Judas and former generals accusing Clintonites of McCarthyism. For three months, we’ll have the daily round of résumé padding and sulfurous conference calls. We’ll have campaign aides blurting “blue dress” and only-because-he’s-black references as they let slip their private contempt.

For three more months (maybe more!) the campaign will proceed along in its Verdun-like pattern. There will be a steady rifle fire of character assassination from the underlings, interrupted by the occasional firestorm of artillery when the contest touches upon race, gender or patriotism. The policy debates between the two have been long exhausted, so the only way to get the public really engaged is by poking some raw national wound.

For the sake of that 5 percent, this will be the sourest spring. About a fifth of Clinton and Obama supporters now say they wouldn’t vote for the other candidate in the general election. Meanwhile, on the other side, voters get an unobstructed view of the Republican nominee. John McCain’s approval ratings have soared 11 points. He is now viewed positively by 67 percent of Americans. A month ago, McCain was losing to Obama among independents by double digits in a general election matchup. Now McCain has a lead among this group.

For three more months, Clinton is likely to hurt Obama even more against McCain, without hurting him against herself. And all this is happening so she can preserve that 5 percent chance.

I used to believe that we couldn’t be rid of the Clintons soon enough. David Brooks has convinced me otherwise. Now I believe that we need to be rid of the Clintons no sooner than the end of August — and no later, either.

I’m only being slightly facetious in that statement. Some people believe that Republicans would fare better against Hillary than Barack Obama, but I’d question that assumption. She has pulled Obama into an old-fashioned, bitter mudslinging contest with apparent ease. In doing so, she has tarnished Obama’s only credential, his gee-whiz nice-guy approach to politics, and forced his team to respond with increasing bitterness and resentment. McCain has a lot more experience running campaigns but a shorter fuse, and she may find it even easier to do the same in a general election.

Beyond that, the Hillary-must-quit contingent seem to forget one thing: she’s still winning states, and people still want to vote for her. Obama hasn’t won the nomination, nor will he win it in the primaries. Why should she quit under those circumstances? By all indications, Hillary will likely win almost all of the upcoming contests, with just North Carolina as a potential exception.

The same people who dreamed up the superdelegate structure and who made it impossible for the primaries to select between two evenly-matched candidates want to be let off of the hook for the disaster they created. Their apologists now want Hillary to recognize the futility of her campaign without acknowledging that their party deliberately created a system which encourages the continuance of futile campaigns. Otherwise, why have superdelegates at all? Hillary is the Democratic Party’s very undemocratic primary system’s chickens coming home to roost.


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Operation Chaos

Jockolantern on March 25, 2008 at 7:15 AM

Maybe she can just imagine she is winning. Just like she imagined she was under sniper fire in Bosnia.

pilamaye on March 25, 2008 at 7:16 AM

And those of us GOP types who help push Hilary over the top in Texas on the popular vote just smile; some of us pegged the possibility of this Democratic nightmare long ago.

michaelo on March 25, 2008 at 7:17 AM

So far, McCain’s greatest strength is his ability to keep his mouth shut and stay out of the line of fire while the Democratic candidates display their best character for the world to see. Question is, can he hoard enough money to stand up against what the Dems will throw at him once they have finally chosen their candidate? Second question: what if legal challenges to the nomination stretch almost until November? For that matter, what if they are still pending on Election Day? That would be to messy for words.

This primary should be held up as an example of why we need the winner-take-all structure of the Electoral College.

njcommuter on March 25, 2008 at 7:18 AM

I will not be surprised at all if anything comes up from the Hillary camp. A deal in the making, a withdraw, anything.

I do think that McCain should start appealing to his Bingo base here in Florida.

Let me be blunt, unless another big Islamic terrorist attack on America occurs, McCain should start packing and head to Florida for his retirement.

I have a lot of daubers for him.

Indy Conservative on March 25, 2008 at 7:20 AM

In her mind she isssss winning…… bang…bang…pow…pow bang duck…run to that car…

twiggman on March 25, 2008 at 7:23 AM

I love the smell of napalm in the morning.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on March 25, 2008 at 7:28 AM

Question is, can he hoard enough money to stand up against what the Dems will throw at him once they have finally chosen their candidate?

by njcommuter

Difficult for him to do. Mainly because McCain caters to the middle of the road crowd, a group that by definition, has no strong feelings one way or the other. Moderates would be less inclined to donate to a cause than conservatives because of that reason..

Or they donate because of John McCain’s winning personality.

McCain will have to do a LOT of fund raising.

Whoever the Dems will nominate will have the full force of Soros Inc. behind them..

McCain has jabbed his thumb in the eye of conservatives and, I feel, part of the core of the GOP by being a ‘Maverick’ and would be less inclined to donate to his campaign..

Maverick has made it this far by reaching across the isle and selling out conservatives, let him see how far he can go without conservatives (people who feel strongly about their political viewpoints) financial help..

sorry if this seems like a rant.. :)

DaveC on March 25, 2008 at 7:49 AM

The last line should read….
Chickens……….coming home……….to roost.

Spider79 on March 25, 2008 at 8:08 AM

She has pulled Obama into an old-fashioned, bitter mudslinging contest with apparent ease. In doing so, she has tarnished Obama’s only credential, his gee-whiz nice-guy approach to politics, and forced his team to respond with increasing bitterness and resentment.

She has? Did the revelations about his black supremacist pastor and mentor come from the Clinton camp?

I’m drawing a blank at what other ‘mudslinging’ is going on other than Bill Clinton’s recent implication that Barry is not patriotic (which Pastorgate backs up) with the idiotic counter charge of McCarthyism.

Anyhoo – Don’t cut and run, Hillary! You go girl!

Buy Danish on March 25, 2008 at 8:09 AM

If the convention has to be nuked to make the Clintons the nominee, it will be done.

Obama’s candidacy was stillborn and he doesn’t know it.

TwinkietheKid on March 25, 2008 at 8:10 AM

Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of…… people.

OldEnglish on March 25, 2008 at 8:15 AM

The only thing that’s set in stone this season is that nothing is set in stone.

It seems fashionable right about now to jump on the Hillary-can’t-win bandwagon, but I have to wonder how the dynamics are going to change after she beats Barry like a rented mule and all the exit polls say that all the types the Dems can’t win without won’t vote for Barry.

If I were her, no way would I get out til then. No way.

However, what I’m beginning to wonder is if indeed she isn’t the more beatable candidate in November.

Yup. I’ve preached all along and railed like Wright at those who have propped her up. But here’s something interesting: Just say you were Barry and you knew you had Uncle Jerry in the closet and you knew that sooner or later he was going to come screaming onto the stage. When would you most like–out of the whole two-year timeline–for him to come out.

Not saying he planned it, but, right about now seems like the best time to me.

Maybe AP was right about his extreme political shrewdness after all.

And while I still think he’s extremely weak, we’re getting a sneak preview now of the drumbeat that’s going to be the constant noise in the background from now til election day if he is the nominee.

The MSM will offer us the bargain of a lifetime: If we vote for Barry, we get racial salvation. Yes! That’s Wright! Uncle Jerry had real grievances; and he had them against you, Mr. and Mrs. White America.

Want all that to go away? Want to absolve yourself of all your manifold sins and wickedness? It’s easy. Here. Vote for Barry. You can do it. You know you want to. What? Experience?

No. We don’ need no steenking experience. There’s something transformative about Him. Step right up. Cleanse yourself in the healing waters.

And if you don’t, you’re an irredeemable racist and the streets of your cities will run with blood.

Um…

Here’s my apology to Rush and Allah.

You go, Hillary.

Typhoon on March 25, 2008 at 8:23 AM

This is a bad thing….how?

Eno on March 25, 2008 at 8:27 AM

Never-Neverland folks. Watching my fellow Pubs delude themselves that the Donks are on the ropes is bothering the hell outta me. The pressure is mounting for the Dems to get it over with and by the time Denver rolls around the MSM and the Donks will be in lock step again. Sure it is fun to watch them gobsmack each other around right now, but it’s our backs that will be on the ropes in November. You all are sounding like the New England Patriots fans just before the SuperBore.

Limerick on March 25, 2008 at 8:43 AM

Hillary will run as an Independent. She will not be denied.

faraway on March 25, 2008 at 8:48 AM

Now I believe that we need to be rid of the Clintons no sooner than the end of August — and no later, either.

Why? I want the bloody trench warfare to continue as long as possible! The vicious infighting is doing the Republicans work for them, and that’s a good thing.

Lehuster on March 25, 2008 at 8:48 AM

Money is always important, but not the have-all-end-all it once was. With round the clock news (even slanted MSM coverage) and a bajillion blogs, on-line news sites, etc. it’s practically impossible to overwhelm the other candidate in a national one on one race.

Sugar Land on March 25, 2008 at 8:56 AM

If the Rezko trial offers any startling new revelations about BO’s dealings with him, and/or Michelle opens her big mouth again, Hillary just might pull out a win. Five per cent? I’d say 20%.

jgapinoy on March 25, 2008 at 9:01 AM

Aw, come on, you’re painting such a vicious picture of Hillary. She’s just like the rest of us. She puts her pants on one cloven hoof at a time.

Pope Linus on March 25, 2008 at 9:06 AM

The more havoc she creates the better. In my book, there can not be too much clawing, screeching and foaming at the mouth among the Democrats. Go to it children!

jeanie on March 25, 2008 at 9:15 AM

From a Democratic operative:

Even critics of superdelegate deals tend to underestimate the gravity of the issue. In its very essence, the superdelegate system is unconstitutional. It destroys the right of primary voters to choose their own nominee. It offends the principle of one person one vote. In three primary cases (Nixon v. Herndon, 1927, Nixon v. Condon, 1932, Smith v. Allwright, 1944) the Supreme Court affirmed that the right to vote in a primary (a right which includes the right to be counted and respected), is protected by the Constitution. Officials cannot legally circumvent the vote. These were discrimination cases, but the arguments apply directly to the superdelegate situation in the Democratic primary.

Up to a point, a political party is master of its own house. But no party, or group within a party, can legally tamper with primary results. In Terry v. Adams (1953), the Court ruled against the “Jay Bird Association,” a group of powerful white Democrats who tried to create a private enforcement process within the Democratic primary. Justice Clark ruled that “any part of the machinery for choosing officials becomes subject to the Constitution’s restraints.”
The superdelegate system flouts the very purpose for which primaries were conceived. “Fighting” Bob LaFollette, the Wisconsin progressive who organized the first primaries in 1903, hated boss-controlled conventions. The aim of the primaries is to remove the nominations from the hands of professionals and the wealthy donors whom professionals obey. The superdelegate issue should not be resolved through deals or negotiations. The integrity of elections is not negotiable. The superdelegate system deserves to be abolished.

Oh yes, there is one small practical consideration, an afterthought perhaps. If the superdelegates, in their arrogance, defy the majority will of the voters, the stain on the Democratic Party nominee-Obama or Clinton-would nearly destroy the chances for victory in November. The Party would be divided. Idealistic voters would be disillusioned. And McCain, who happens to be associated with electoral reform (McCain backed Arizona’s Clean Money system) could easily turn superdelegate meddling into a scandal. The Republican Party has no superdelegates.

The Democratic Party created their own nightmare years ago which is what is “coming home to roost”. We may be witnessing the eventual death of the superdelegate. Couldn’t happen to a nicer group of Prima-donnas consumed in conceit.

Rovin on March 25, 2008 at 9:17 AM

Hillary will run as an Independent. She will not be denied.

faraway on March 25, 2008 at 8:48 AM

Given the way Herself! and her creatures are pushing the envelope of propriety, that’s always possible. Think of it this way:

If I can’t be Queen of the Socialist States of Amerika, No Democrat will be corronated!

SeniorD on March 25, 2008 at 9:23 AM

Hillary is the Democratic Party’s very undemocratic primary system’s chickens Clintons coming home to roost.

Fixed

ronsfi on March 25, 2008 at 9:37 AM

It’s all really Bill’s fault; it’s the advice he gave her that was passed on to him.

michaelo on March 25, 2008 at 9:38 AM

Limerick should be taken very seriously. Anything else is whistling in the dark.

snaggletoothie on March 25, 2008 at 9:46 AM

McCAIN/CLINTON 08!!!

:)

equanimous on March 25, 2008 at 10:07 AM

Hillary and her people are really holding out in hope that an Elliot Spitzer/David Patterson-like moment happens to Obama between now and August. A smoking gun video of him at one of Rev. Wright’s more venomous sermons would be one possibility, while others would be videos surfacing of Barak making a pro-Palestinian speech, showing support for the past activities of Bill Ayres and his crew, etc.

The problem is the Clintons at best only control about one-third of the big media outlets right now; the rest is leaning towards Obama (as opposed to your average election they’ve been involved in, where outside of Fox, you could expect fawning coverage for Bill and Hillary in the 80-90 percent range). That means that while they still are in better position to get their attacks against Barak out into the media, they don’t have the ability to create a “firestorm” about a trivial issue against Obama.

If they have some new future dirt to release, it has to be the real thing to gain the type of traction Hillary needs to cause the Obama campaign to collapse among the superdelegates In contrast, the Clinton campaign can’t collapse among that group until the final vote is counted, because the top Democrats (and many Republicans) see them as the John Elway and Joe Montana of the Democratic Party, being able to pull victory from the jaws of defeat in virtually any situation (of course, this analogy would be fair only if Elway and Montana staged their winning drives by convincing half the fans that the other side is evil and that the referees are cheating, while that the game clock is rigged and needs to be extended by 15 minutes under federal court order to give them an fair chance to win).

jon1979 on March 25, 2008 at 10:18 AM

Limerick should be taken very seriously. Anything else is whistling in the dark.

snaggletoothie on March 25, 2008 at 9:46 AM

Agreed to a point. You are not suggesting that the recent events and continued in-fighting in the Democratic primary is hurting McCain’s chances, are you?

awake on March 25, 2008 at 10:23 AM

Why the dickens is David Brooks urging Missus Slick to quit? Is he really for Obambi? More evidence that Brooks is a CINO. Rush is right: we WANT the Dems to self-destruct!

MrLynn on March 25, 2008 at 10:37 AM

Hillary has nothing to lose. If she doesn’t become the next President, she will become politically irrelevant and probably even lose her senate seat. It was just a stepping-stone job anyway.

Why not trash the party like she trashed the White House when she thought there was no chance of coming back? Frankly, I hope she does more to the democratic party than stealing some furniture, china, and “W” keys.

mojojojo on March 25, 2008 at 10:39 AM

this analogy would be fair only if Elway and Montana staged their winning drives by convincing half the fans that the other side is evil and that the referees are cheating, while that the game clock is rigged and needs to be extended by 15 minutes under federal court order to give them an fair unscrupulous chance to win).

jon1979 on March 25, 2008 at 10:18 AM

“Fixed”

Rovin on March 25, 2008 at 11:03 AM

Brooks is something called a “big government libertarian”, whatever the hell that is supposed to be.

A real fraud and crap artist. Otherwise, why would the Slimes hire him?

TexasJew on March 25, 2008 at 11:32 AM

Hope for big change in Denver.

Ten million dollars is big change.

davidk on March 25, 2008 at 12:17 PM

I smell a Gore-bot in our near future.

The Clinton machine will “release” 2 videos of Obama right before (2 days) the N. Carolina primary.

The first video will show Obama at Trinity Church nodding his head along to one of J.Wrights disgusting rants.

The second will show a young(er) Obama making pro-Palestinean speeches on the South Side of Chicago.

Just you wait, loyal viewers.

omnipotent on March 25, 2008 at 12:37 PM

“people still want to vote for her.”

For the life of me, I can’t figure out who would want to vote for her, or why they would want to vote for her. The only “qualification” she has is her last name.

Why not trash the party like she trashed the White House when she thought there was no chance of coming back? Frankly, I hope she does more to the democratic party than stealing some furniture, china, and “W” keys.

mojojojo on March 25, 2008 at 10:39 AM

She’ll destroy the Democrat Party to get what she wants. It’s that simple. After all, her husband didn’t give a hoot about the Party back when he was being impeached. If he had, he would have resigned, and Gore would have easily won re-election in his own right in 2000. But Bill’s ego was more important than the long term viability of his Party, so he shafted them.

Expect her to do the same, or worse. The nuclear option is on the table, and I want some more popcorn.

Del Dolemonte on March 25, 2008 at 5:58 PM

People here think it’s all in the Superdelegates hands or that of the Parties, both of them. That they will be the deciding factor.

WRONG.

The deciding factor will videos on YouTube and other places. Done by ordinary people pissed off at a candidate. Who will make funny, emotional, devastating Lee Atwater type videos of the candidates.

Now, who has the most ammunition for that? Who has done stuff for years that would tick off greatly the middle class, middle income, swing voter? It’s ain’t Maverick. It’s Obama. Rev. God Damn America has natural, and compelling enemies.

Every white person who’s been called racist all their lives for merely existing. Who’s seen special privileges and excuses for everyone else but themselves. Who resents the special status of everyone else and in a recession is tired of that stuff. And now has the tools and technology to say something about it.

If a talk radio guy can put together an effective mashup of Rev. God Damn America and Obama, what could a whole bunch of people do?

The media, professionals, the party apparatus, even fundraising will take a back seat to people making and putting videos on the web, and word of mouth circulating. This is likely to be the first true internet election.

whiskey_199 on March 25, 2008 at 6:01 PM

She’ll destroy the Democrat Party to get what she wants. It’s that simple. After all, her husband didn’t give a hoot about the Party back when he was being impeached. If he had, he would have resigned, and Gore would have easily won re-election in his own right in 2000. But Bill’s ego was more important than the long term viability of his Party, so he shafted them.

Expect her to do the same, or worse. The nuclear option is on the table, and I want some more popcorn.

Del Dolemonte on March 25, 2008 at 5:58 PM

You mean a Clinton did us all a very great favour? Wow!

OldEnglish on March 25, 2008 at 6:47 PM