Whither the superdelegates now?

posted at 9:15 am on April 17, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

In my earlier post, I failed to identify the big loser from last night’s debate. It wasn’t Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and it certainly wasn’t ABC, despite the general spleen-venting on the Left. Superdelegates lost last night, and the pressure now will build on them to make a decision from which most of them hoped to escape.

Superdelegates exist in the Democratic party for one purpose: to invalidate the popular vote when disaster looms. Most of the media has ignored this as campaign activists from across the spectrum have demanded that superdelegates honor the decision of their constituents. If the party wanted that, superdelegates wouldn’t exist at all. They would simply have pledged delegates attending their August convention, and the constituencies would have their votes recorded accordingly.

The DNC deliberately created the college of superdelegates and made them 20% of the convention for a purpose. They wanted to block a narrow victory by a train wreck of a candidate who would lose the White House in a landslide. The debacle of George McGovern prompted it, and Jimmy Carter’s disastrous loss to Ronald Reagan provided the final impetus for such a structure. And in this race, regardless of the rest of the vote, superdelegates will have to provide the nominee with the margin of victory, since neither Hillary nor Obama can mathematically win enough pledged delegates to sew up the nomination.

After last night’s debate, the superdelegates have to ask themselves whether they are rubber stamps or whether they serve a purpose. Obama had already kneecapped himself with his Crackerquiddick comments in San Francisco, alienating a large portion of middle America with sneering comments about Midwestern voters “clinging” to religion and guns because they hadn’t had enough federal intervention in their lives, and all but calling them bigots in the same breath. Last night, when challenged on those remarks, he did nothing to reverse the damage:

And so the point I was making was that when people feel like Washington’s not listening to them, when they’re promised year after year, decade after decade, that their economic situation is going to change, and it doesn’t, then politically they end up focusing on those things that are constant, like religion.

People don’t “focus” on religion because Washington doesn’t listen to them. People “focus” on religion because they have faith in God. Obama said exactly the same thing he did in San Francisco, changing “cling” for “focus” — and this is after having most of a week to develop a response.

Afterwards, when asked about his years-long political association with unrepentant domestic terrorist William Ayers, Obama tried equating the Weather Underground bomber with Senator Tom Coburn:

The fact is, is that I’m also friendly with Tom Coburn, one of the most conservative Republicans in the United States Senate, who during his campaign once said that it might be appropriate to apply the death penalty to those who carried out abortions.

Do I need to apologize for Mr. Coburn’s statements? Because I certainly don’t agree with those either.

I doubt Senator Coburn will remain friendly with Obama after equating him to a terrorist because of a policy dispute. Coburn wanted to pass a law through legitimate democratic and political means; Ayers tried to terrorize people into policy changes by blowing up buildings, for which he remains unapologetic to this day. Does Obama really see no difference between the two? And if not, what does that say about Obama?

On policy, Obama turned out to be just as incoherent last night. He couldn’t specify where his payroll-tax expansion would hit, couldn’t explain how capital-gains tax increases would work, and offered (along with Hillary) the laughable notion that local communities could override Constitutional rights, as long as it was only the 2nd Amendment that was under consideration. It was an unmitigated, wall-to-wall disaster.

If superdelegates weren’t aware of Obama’s spectacular weaknesses before last night, they know them now. Under pressure, Obama looks lost and sounds unprepared. He will have no time to prep against John McCain in the fall, whose own personal narrative trumps Obama’s and whose lengthy track record in the Senate dwarfs the meager accomplishments of the one-term Senator from Illinois. The train wreck appearing on the horizon may have a scope approaching 1972 or 1984, even without the hurdle of incumbency.

Will the superdelegates act on their responsibility to avoid that? Or will they essentially make themselves irrelevant?


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OneGyT on April 17, 2008 at 9:24 AM

LOL. You like to stir things up, don’t you AP?

Red Pill on April 17, 2008 at 1:08 PM

Red Pill on April 17, 2008 at 1:08 PM

This is interesting. I remember when I (apparently accurately) predicted the user “I Took the Red Pill” would be banned and due to the prediction you said that I banned him and asked what authority I had to do so. Answer: I have none, and (ROFL) I am not AP. Thanks for putting a smile on my face.

But just to be clear on one point: My comment was sarcasm in the same vein as “If you don’t vote Obama you’re racist.” Just wanted to clear that up in case it wasn’t obvious. :-p

OneGyT on April 17, 2008 at 1:14 PM

adamsmith on April 17, 2008 at 9:41 AM

Need I remind you that Soros also gives money to McCain?

Red Pill on April 17, 2008 at 1:17 PM

Vanceone on April 17, 2008 at 1:04 PM

Pretty cute. Guess they got their share of agents provocateurs over there too.

JiangxiDad on April 17, 2008 at 1:18 PM

TexasJew on April 17, 2008 at 9:45 AM

LOL.

Red Pill on April 17, 2008 at 1:19 PM

JiangxiDad: You think that’s made up? I wondered that as well; though I can’t tell. If it was real, I wouldn’t be surprised: judging by the meltdown at DU and DK, this kind of stuff said as a reaction is probably likely. The “man the defenses, our guy is under attack!” mode.

Vanceone on April 17, 2008 at 1:23 PM

Need I remind you that Soros also gives money to McCain?

Red Pill on April 17, 2008 at 1:17 PM

This website says McCain takes money from a lot of libs.

This one more directly implicates McCain of working with Soros.

JiangxiDad on April 17, 2008 at 1:24 PM

Um, jailbones, I certainly hope you don’t think I’m calling for, or cheering for, riots. I’m predicting riots in places like downtown Detroit and my town, Montgomery, AL, based upon my observations over the past 6 months.

Vanceone, read that post again. It’s hilarious….but tragic and frightening at the same time. It’s satire that works because it does have so much truth in it.

funky chicken on April 17, 2008 at 1:25 PM

I like your version of the meltdown better than those calling for/cheering for riots. I predicted burning buildings in Detroit, but that’s just a lively Saturday night anyway.

For the record – I certainly hope Obama’s leftist exposure and subsequent meltdown go peacefully and lawfully.

Jaibones on April 17, 2008 at 12:24 PM

I think what people are missing is Obama’s real base. It’s young, white college kids and ‘intellectuals’. These are the same characters that were nuts for Howard Dean and for the older crowd, George McGovern. African-Americans that would have voted for Hillary have gravitated somewhat to Obama because there’s no difference between the two except gender and race. But I don’t think they love him…not like trust fund kids at Berkley do.

Most of the Dems I know and talk to about politics aren’t real happy with either of their choices, and that’s coming from Hispanic, Black and White Democrats.

Why the heck would anybody ‘take to the streets’ when the so-called Civil Rights Collation have repetitively questioned his ‘blackness’? Do you really think the Democrat party won’t have a plan in place to sooth it’s constituents if Hillary is selected by the Superdelegates?

What you won’t see is 100 percent support among African-Americans if Hillary wins the nomination. She’ll lose about 5-10 percent of the vote she expected to get from that demographic.

But there won’t be a repeat of the Rodney King aftermath.

Asher on April 17, 2008 at 1:25 PM

We CAN do this, if … if … we elect Barak Obama to be our president. Our Lord and Savior. If we come together, under God (or not), and BELIEVE in the goodness of Change.

That’s all I gotta say…. Except this: Don’t even think about trying to steal our nomination, Hildebeast. Because if you do, with the help of your racist sheep followers (and I cannot BELIEVE these people call themselves Democrats!), you will pay. You will leave Denver with bitter ashes in your mouth. This is Barak’s time. Not yours. You are not the answer. You’re the problem. And we will rot in hell before we ever let you win. In hell. Forever. Bank it.
4/17/2008 12:27:25

It got three recommends. Simply amazing. Do the Superdelegates want this mentality running rampant?

Vanceone on April 17, 2008 at 1:04 PM

.
Vanceone, this has got to be a parody, don’t you think? Or are some DU’ers that twisted?

Think_b4_speaking on April 17, 2008 at 1:25 PM

Vance, it’s satire.

OMG the McCain = Obama crowd is back.

funky chicken on April 17, 2008 at 1:25 PM

Vanceone on April 17, 2008 at 1:23 PM

Doesn’t matter if it’s real. If it wasn’t taken down, it means they agree with the sentiments. Doesn’t really matter if Michelle Obama wrote it or Bill Clinton :)

JiangxiDad on April 17, 2008 at 1:27 PM

There is nothing that frames Obama’s idiotic mindset about economics better than clinging to declining tax revenues out of “fairness”.

The GOP should play that clip 24/7. What a jackass this guy is.

Chuck Schick on April 17, 2008 at 1:38 PM

There is nothing that frames Obama’s idiotic mindset about economics better than clinging to declining tax revenues out of “fairness”.

The GOP should play that clip 24/7. What a jackass this guy is.

Chuck Schick on April 17, 2008 at 1:38 PM

He isn’t a capitalist. The elites under socialism or communism live very well, so he doesn’t need a capitalist system for his personal well-being. Also, he’s a “collectivist” and statist, as opposed to an individualist. While you and I might like to simply be left alone, he and his ilk need the community. Alone he is nothing. He doesn’t believe in the power of the individual, because it doesn’t work for the people in his community and party. They cannot survive without government assistance.

JiangxiDad on April 17, 2008 at 1:44 PM

Chuck Schick on April 17, 2008 at 1:38 PM

Hope you re-post yr. excellent comment in the new thread about it.

JiangxiDad on April 17, 2008 at 1:46 PM

HarryStar on April 17, 2008 at 11:17 AM
You’re clearly missing the problem.

If superdelegates override their votes………….?

franksalterego on April 17, 2008 at 11:29 AM

Actually no, you’re missing the point. That’s SUPPOSED TO BE THEIR JOB!!!!! That’s why their called SuperDelegates.

Their job is to prevent the next McGovern or Carter from being pummeled in the general election. If they’re supposed to vote the way that their state voted, what exactly are they doing then????

HarryStar on April 17, 2008 at 1:46 PM

saiga on April 17, 2008 at 9:53 AM

Amen

Red Pill on April 17, 2008 at 1:50 PM

TheBigOldDog on April 17, 2008 at 10:05 AM

True dat.

Red Pill on April 17, 2008 at 1:50 PM

I know I’ve said this before, and no one believes me, but if you analyze this to the Nth degree, it looks obvious: McCain is set up to win – to drag the R party sharply to the left.

shibumiglass on April 17, 2008 at 10:10 AM

I believe it. McCain and Hillary are BFF.

Red Pill on April 17, 2008 at 1:54 PM

funky chicken on April 17, 2008 at 10:10 AM

True.

Red Pill on April 17, 2008 at 1:54 PM

rplat on April 17, 2008 at 10:11 AM

Huckabee is the light at the end of the tunnel. You just don’t see it yet.

Red Pill on April 17, 2008 at 1:55 PM

saiga on April 17, 2008 at 10:14 AM

What’s so different now? They still look the same.

Red Pill on April 17, 2008 at 1:55 PM

Problem is, crazies Communists are a very large portion of the Dem Party.

EJDolbow on April 17, 2008 at 10:18 AM

Red Pill on April 17, 2008 at 1:56 PM

McCain is set up to win – to drag the R party sharply to the left.

shibumiglass on April 17, 2008 at 10:10 AM

Has been our historical drift. JFK would prob. be considered a conserv. Republican today. It may be hard for the average voter to discard/reject socialism until he gives it a try. It’s not like he/she is going to sit around all day and ponder political philosophies. Nope, he gonna fall on his face in a ditch. Scary stuff.

JiangxiDad on April 17, 2008 at 1:58 PM

Aristotle had a top limit for a possible functioning polis, and we are way, way past it. He may have been right in concept if not in the precise number.
funky chicken on April 17, 2008 at 10:26 AM

Perhaps you are talking about this…Plato: The Failure of Democracy?

Democratic self-government does not work, according to Plato, because ordinary people have not learned how to run the ship of state. They are not familiar enough with such things as economics, military strategy, conditions in other countries, or the confusing intricacies of law and ethics. They are also not inclined to acquire such knowledge. The effort and self-discipline required for serious study is not something most people enjoy. In their ignorance they tend to vote for politicians who beguile them with appearances and nebulous talk, and they inevitably find themselves at the mercy of administrations and conditions over which they have no control because they do not understand what is happening around them.

The reason we have survived so long as a nation is because we are a Constitutional Republic, not a a Democracy.

But the Democratic Socialists/Communists want to change it into a Democracy, and if they succeed this country will fail.

Red Pill on April 17, 2008 at 2:05 PM

JiangxiDad on April 17, 2008 at 1:24 PM

Thanks for the links. Here’s another:

In 2001, McCain founded the Alexandria, Va.-based Reform Institute as a vehicle to receive funding from George Soros’ Open Society Institute and Teresa Heinz Kerry’s Tides Foundation and several other prominent non-profit organizations.

Red Pill on April 17, 2008 at 2:08 PM

It got three recommends. Simply amazing. Do the Superdelegates want this mentality running rampant?

Vanceone on April 17, 2008 at 1:04 PM

Thank you Vanceone. Haven’t laughed this hard in years. It’s a platinum BEAUTY in illogical thinking. Hilarious!

Entelechy on April 17, 2008 at 2:10 PM

OneGyT on April 17, 2008 at 1:14 PM

Not only did you predict the banning, you also made a comment about the banishment immediately after it happened, even though there was no comment from AP indicating that “I Took the Red Pill” had been banned.

If you are not AP, then you are omniscient.

Red Pill on April 17, 2008 at 2:49 PM

The reason we have survived so long as a nation is because we are a Constitutional Republic, not a a Democracy.

But the Democratic Socialists/Communists want to change it into a Democracy, and if they succeed this country will fail.

Red Pill on April 17, 2008 at 2:05 PM

Thank you for the Plato quote. I kept it. Do I understand you to mean that we are a representative democracy with a written constitution, as opposed to a pure democracy, and that that is what is saving us? If so, doesn’t that Plato quote contradict that, in the sense that our “representatives” are debased because our population (or any population) that chooses them is essentially ignorant?

I know that Soros is trying to re-write a modern-day version of the Constitution. I’m sure it will be appealing to alot of American voters. I have no doubt that with the right Supreme court justices, the constitution can be essentially nullified. How does our “constitutional republic” stop this?

JiangxiDad on April 17, 2008 at 2:49 PM

Do I understand you to mean that we are a representative democracy with a written constitution, as opposed to a pure democracy, and that that is what is saving us?
JiangxiDad on April 17, 2008 at 2:49 PM

In a nutshell,
Democracy = Mob rule
Republic = Rule of law

Our government is a Constitutional Republic, governed by the rule of law, where our Executive and Legislative representatives are elected democratically. (Although Senators have only been elected democratically since the 17th Amendment, passed by Democratic Socialists in 1913 along with the not-legally-ratified 16th Amendment allowing the creation of Income Tax and the IRS)

I know that Soros is trying to re-write a modern-day version of the Constitution.

You mean, this constitution? That’s an example of a Democracy.

I have no doubt that with the right Supreme court justices, the constitution can be essentially nullified. How does our “constitutional republic” stop this?

Provisions for changing the Constitution

Outside of the judicial branch, changing the Constitution is very difficult…the Constitutional Amendment process requires a two-thirds majority vote in both houses of Congress, the approval of the President, and ratification by three-fourths of the states.

You are correct that the biggest threat to our Constitution comes from the Supreme Court. That is one of the reasons why this election is so crucial. Four of the nine Supreme Court Justices appear to be strict constructionists. The other five are all 68 years old or older. Several of them have been waiting for a Democrat President so that they can retire and be replaced with a younger liberal Justice (someone like John Edwards…)

Both Clinton and Obama were part of a small group of far-left Senators who voted against the confirmation of both Roberts and Alito. If either of them becomes President, say hello to more Justice Ginsbergs.

McCain thinks Roberts and Alito are “too conservative”, but he had to vote in favor of their confirmation in order for him to have any chance at the Republican Nomination. If McCain becomes President, say hello to more Justice Souters.

Of course, Huckabee committed in writing that he would appoint justices with proven track records showing them to be like Roberts, Alito, Scalia, and Thomas.

Red Pill on April 17, 2008 at 3:48 PM

Ed,

I find the moniker, “Crackerquiddick,” to be in poor taste, even insulting. Mary Jo Kopechne died at the hands of Ted ‘The Swimmer’ Kennedy at Chappaquiddick, a real crime for which Ted has yet to answer charges, much less spend a day in jail. That alone makes Anything-quiddick quite different than Anything-gate.

There’s no reason to turn this place into Kosland or Dummies Unlimited, no matter how much Barry Hussein sucks the big one.

RickZ on April 17, 2008 at 3:51 PM

Put this one in the vault Ed. Best commentary yet.

Vigilante on April 17, 2008 at 4:29 PM

The honeymoon is over, and it shows.

He is certain they are wrong and he is right about what is important and what is a distraction. A lot of politicians have gone broke making that bet.

To judge from Wednesday night, Obama is determined to join them.

Entelechy on April 17, 2008 at 5:06 PM

I doubt Senator Coburn will remain friendly with Obama after equating him to a terrorist because of a policy dispute. Coburn wanted to pass a law through legitimate democratic and political means; Ayers tried to terrorize people into policy changes by blowing up buildings, for which he remains unapologetic to this day. Does Obama really see no difference between the two? And if not, what does that say about Obama?

Also even if the law passed, before the death penalty is applied people do go threw lengthy court sessions appeals,

Ayers, just blew stuff up in an instant with no regard to life, law or anything just like a terrorist.

Chakra Hammer on April 17, 2008 at 5:49 PM

If you are not AP, then you are omniscient.

Red Pill on April 17, 2008 at 2:49 PM

Dude, an astute 5 year old could have predicted it. The fact that it hasn’t happened again is the real mystery here, as you continue to spam at a phenomenal rate.

Try leaving 5 responses between each of your posts and you’ll be in safer territory.

TexasDan on April 17, 2008 at 6:56 PM

Election 2000: Hanging chads

Election 2008: Superdelegates

ThePrez on April 17, 2008 at 8:32 PM

If you are not AP, then you are omniscient.

Red Pill on April 17, 2008 at 2:49 PM

Bah. Got me.

OneGyT on April 17, 2008 at 9:01 PM

What’s really sad is that no Democrat candidate since JFK could have answered those “tough questions” any better than Obama did. They’ve all been empty suits, with an absurd faith in socialism and near-total incomprehension of the business world. The revenue increases from declining tax rates in the 80s should have settled that question forever; it’s pitiful that we have to keep re-fighting that battle when every bright-eyed new social engineer shows up with his new armload of entitlements and glib assurances “the rich” will pay for everything.

I rather hope the superdelegates will lack the strength to put a stake through Count Arugula… he’s going to be easier to beat in the general than Hillary, by a long shot.

Doctor Zero on April 17, 2008 at 9:04 PM

Is someone seriously using World Net Daily as a “news source?”

Is that supposed to be some sort of joke, or just ignorance?

Adjoran on April 17, 2008 at 9:45 PM

“Most of the media has ignored this as campaign activists from across the spectrum have demanded that superdelegates honor the decision of their constituents. If the party wanted that, superdelegates wouldn’t exist at all.”

I realize the super(duper)delegates are almost divinity :) but why does no one realize that ALL the delegates in the Democratic primary have that power.

“12…
J. Delegates elected to the national convention pledged to a presidential candidate shall in all good
conscience reflect the sentiments of those who elected them.”

From the Democratic Rules (warning pdf)

Lord Nazh on April 17, 2008 at 10:00 PM

The train wreck appearing on the horizon may have a scope approaching 1972 or 1984, even without the hurdle of incumbency.

Ed, I hope you’re right, but I don’t think so. What we have now that we did not have in 1972 or 1984 is a) a wave of motivated young people who are nihilistic, incapable of rational thought, and sold on the notion of “new” politics; b) Democrats motivated by irrational hatred of the current President; and c) a black man who can energize the black community. I think McCain will probably take a small lead in the independent space, but I’m afraid the Dem wave will more than make up for it.

Obama is clearly not ready for the Presidency, but the ability of the electorate to see and understand such things has been decreasing steadily for decades, and may now be past the critical point where wishful thinking overrides sense.

(Unrelated to this topic, please visit my political blog, “Plumb Bob Blog: Squaring the Culture,” at http://www.plumbbobblog.com. Thanks.)

philwynk on April 17, 2008 at 10:28 PM

Great, nay, fantastic summary and analysis, Ed.

Anyone else feel that, btwn AP and Ed, Hot Air has one of the most formidable pairs in the conservative blogosphere?

Harpazo on April 17, 2008 at 11:07 PM

And the response from Coburn is? Chirp, chirp….

2Tru2Tru on April 17, 2008 at 11:29 PM

Ed asks, “Will the superdelegates act on their responsibility to avoid that? Or will they essentially make themselves irrelevant?”

DING! Time’s up…and the correct answer, please?

IRRELEVANT. They are Democrats….

Lockstein13 on April 18, 2008 at 8:23 AM

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