Lanny Davis' Last Gasp for Hillary

With Democrats meeting today to attempt a compromise on seating delegations from Florida and Michigan at the national convention in Denver, Hillary Clinton surrogate Lanny Davis tries making an eleventh-hour plea to superdelegates on behalf of his candidate. The former Clinton administration official gives a lengthy treatise on how Hillary will make a more formidable opponent to John McCain than Barack Obama and argues that the primaries have produced a dead heat, not an Obama victory.

Let’s take this one step at a time:

Chances are Sens. Obama and Clinton will virtually split the more than 4,400 delegates – including Florida and Michigan – elected by more than 34 million people over the past five months.

Sen. Clinton has already won the most votes, but there is controversy over including the over 300,000 votes from Michigan, since Sen. Obama was not on the ballot (by his own choice).

George Bush and John Kerry “virtually split” the popular vote and the Electoral College in 2004, too. That doesn’t mean that Bush didn’t win the election. A victory remains a victory if it comes by one vote or 100,000 votes. In Michigan, Obama and John Edwards removed their names from the ballot to play by the DNC’s rules; saying that he decided unilaterally to withdraw from Michigan for the hell of it is beneath even a Clinton toady.

Worst case, she could come out with a 2% deficit in elected pledged delegates.

Which in most cases is considered a loss, although thanks to the Democratic National Committee’s absurd superdelegate rules, it leaves Hillary alive.

But that gap can be made up, if most of the remaining 200 or so unpledged superdelegates decide to support Sen. Clinton as the strongest candidate against John McCain – or if others committed to Sen. Obama decide to change their minds for the same reason.

I’ve always been a little curious about this argument. If she can’t beat Obama in the primaries, how does that make her the stronger candidate?

Sen. Clinton is more experienced and qualified to be president than is Sen. Obama. This is not to say Sen. Obama cannot be a good, even great, president. I believe he can. But Sen. Clinton spent eight years in the White House. She was not a traditional first lady. She was involved in policy and debate on virtually every major domestic and foreign policy decision of the Clinton presidency, both “in” and “outside” the room with her husband.

And yet, she has never established any evidence of this on the campaign trail. She has tried claiming foreign-policy experience, and wound up being revealed as nothing more than a “cheerleader” in Northern Ireland and stumbling into the Tuzla Dash in Bosnia. The only policy for which she has evidence of leadership is the Health Care Task Force, where she tried nationalizing the American health-care industry, a debacle that she has chosen to treat with singular amnesia in 2008.

With no disrespect or criticism intended, Sen. Obama has been an Illinois state senator for eight years and a U.S. senator for just four years.

With no disrespect or criticism, Obama has been in the Senate for three years — January 2005 to present day, and half of that he has spent running for President. Maybe Davis can take some math after the convention.

He has, understandably, fewer legislative accomplishments than Sen. Clinton.

No, they have the same number of legislative accomplishments, which could be counted on the thumb of one hand. Unless Davis considers generating over two billion dollars in pork a legislative “accomplishment” or trying to send a million dollars to the Woodstock Museum a resume-builder, the two junior Senators have similarly undistinguished records as legislators. Try putting either record, or even both combined, against that of John McCain and both Democrats will look extremely anemic.

Second, Sen. Clinton’s position on health care gives her an advantage over Sen. McCain.

Health care is the #2 reason she’s better than Obama? Davis is more desperate than I thought. Both proposals approach the Hillary HCTF position of nationalization. Any daylight between the two plans exists primarily in Davis’ imagination. Once implemented, both would necessarily transform into single-payer by default.

Third and finally, there is recent hard data showing that, at least at the present time, Sen. Clinton is a significantly stronger candidate against Sen. McCain among the general electorate (as distinguished from the more liberal Democratic primary and caucus electorate).

Lanny, as I recall, in 2007 there was “hard data” showing that Barack Obama couldn’t possibly beat Hillary Clinton for the nomination. Most people figured he was running for the #2 slot. And anyone who calls general-election polling in May “hard data” deserves to be sentenced to reading the entire federal budget for 2009 from beginning to end — 100 times.

I know that Operation Chaos needs Hillary to hang on by her fingernails to the convention, but this idiocy cannot go unremarked.