Dems: A pre-convention convention?
posted at 7:00 pm on March 31, 2008 by Ed Morrissey
Have the remaining Democratic primary contests become irrelevant? The focus on superdelegates has made the next nine primaries look less and less important. Some Democrats have now proposed a convention of superdelegates in order to select a nominee immediately after the last primary in Puerto Rico. That would supposedly force a choice well before the rest of the delegates meet in August at the main convention:
Hoping to avoid a summer-long bloodbath for the Democratic presidential nomination, some party leaders such as Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen have urged a convention of superdelegates in June, after the caucuses and primaries are over.
The idea sounds exotic, but recent public declarations and Politico interviews with top Democratic officials have made clear that something like what Bredesen proposed is already underway — not with a big meeting but with an intensifying series of exchanges among party elites. …
It is taking place also in private entreaties by e-mail or phone — the modern equivalent of smoke-filed rooms — as advocates for Obama urge an early end to the race and Clinton backers plead for time and warn about his general election vulnerabilities.
What a great idea! Let’s have a smoke-filled back room in June to replace the smoke-filled back room in August! There is only one thing wrong with this scenario — the rules of the party allow superdelegates to change their minds all the way to the first ballot at the real convention. They can make their call at the preconvention, but the rules for the party can’t be changed until the actual convention, which makes the entire effort pointless.
Not only that, but Florida and Michigan still have a right to be heard by the credentials committee. They want to have their delegates seated, especially if the DNC plans any major rule changes in Denver. What do the Democrats plan to tell them — they’re irrelevant, too?
Jazz Shaw at Middle Earth Journal doesn’t sound enthused by this idea, and blames it on one person:
I still have a problem with this, however, and it’s not with the supers. It’s with the Clinton campaign, including Bill and all of her handlers. The media is far too aware of every nook and cranny of the inner workings of the Democratic party. If Hillary is dragged out kicking and screaming, even as a unified act of the supers, a significant portion of her supporters may still sit out in November. The only real solution which avoids having the Democrats once again snatching defeat from the jaws of victory is for one of the candidates (most likely Hillary) to do it on their own.
The only problem with blaming it on Hillary is that she’s following the rules set by the Democrats — and she is still winning primaries. Why should she quit under those circumstances? People still want to vote for her, and given the month Obama has had, one can hardly blame them for looking at the alternatives.
The blame lies with the Democrats and their decidedly undemocratic nomination process. If they want to have a nominee hand-picked by party establishment, then they should stop wasting the time of the voters in primaries. If they want the superdelegates to subjugate their own judgment for that of their constituents, then the Democrats shouldn’t have 20% of their delegates as superdelegates. If the party can’t make up its mind between those two positions, then it’s hardly a surprise that they can’t make a clean choice between two candidates, either.
Breaking on Hot Air