General Topics

in finding the democratic candidate…

let me start by first saying that i don’t currently support, nor subscribe to, either of the remaining democratic presidential campaigns.  the candidate i supported was forced to drop out prior to super tuesday and since then i’ve been a man without a candidate.  however, given the groundswell of support from progressives countrywide, i do tend to lean ever so slightly toward senator obama.

given that, i still have problems with both candidates and their apparent attitude of ‘do what it takes to win’ whether it might actually be right or fair.  there is no doubt that campaign politics are not for the faint of heart.

i read this morning an opinion article from salon titled, why hillary clinton should be winning.  if you’ve never visited salon before, let me tell you my impression is they are a open-minded, fair, and progressive news source.

the author raises a question which, having not asked it myself, i thought was interesting.  why don’t the democratic primaries function under the principle of ‘winner take all’ as do the general elections?  the author lays out his case that, if the democratic primaries functioned more like the general election, it would be hillary, not obama, that would be winning.  and not just winning; she’d have a commanding lead and would likely and easily clinch the nomination months prior to the national convention in august.

without laying out the entire article here (i do suggest reading it) are a handful of bits if found particularly interesting:

But Clinton does not now have 1,743 delegates. According to CNN estimates, Clinton has about 1,242 pledged delegates to Obama’s 1,413. Most of that total is based on the peculiar way that delegates are apportioned in 2008. Some of it is because Obama’s backers are using the same kind of tactics as George Bush’s camp used in Florida in 2000.

Crucially, Team Obama doesn’t want to count the votes of Michigan and Florida. (And let’s note that in a winner-take-all system, Clinton would still be leading in delegates, 1,430 to 1,257, even without Michigan and Florida.)

the author makes an interesting point here, but it might be a position not quite as firm as it might seem.  simply validating and including the florida and michigan results might not be fair; how would the resuls actually look had the DNC not invalidated those primaries?  would hillary have won had obama been on the ballot in michigan and would the results in florida look different had their primaries been ‘sanctioned?’

on the other hand, would revotes in these states be fair either?  given the campaign landscape now, can a revote fairly be held, invalidating the votes of those who voted previously?  what if someone voted the first time around, but can’t make it to the caucuses a second time?  what happens to their vote?  conviniently, or perhaps intentionally, the author igonres such difficulties when saying simply that it’s been ‘announced that such revotes can be conducted.’

Yet in this, as has happened more than once this primary season, the Obama camp’s reaction has not been to clean up the mess the party has created, but to benefit from it….

….In Michigan, Obama’s supporters thwarted efforts to pass the legislation necessary to conduct a new primary. In Florida, campaign lawyers threw monkey wrenches to stop the process cold, claiming that a revote would somehow violate the Voting Rights Act, and charging that a proposed mail-in revote would not be “fraud proof.” (Obama himself, it’s important to note, proposed a bill in 2007 to allow for mail-in voting in federal elections.)

in this context (which i admit sounds remarkably one-sided) it would seem obama isn’t the fair-minded progressive is supporters claim him to be.  my question, however, in this instance is more directed as those same supporters.  assuming they are like the superb, fair, honorable progressive i’m fortunate to know, how can they knowingly support and participate in such tactics?  just because ‘hillary is worse?’  i’m not claiming here that hillary’s campaign record is clear of any such items, but it seems the obama campaign projects an air of superior fair-mindedness that, given these instances, is misguided or just down right false.

Obama has tried to reinforce his democratic bona fides by asserting his superior electability, and by claiming that Clinton’s supporters are more likely to back him in November than vice versa. The polls, however, show otherwise. And even more important, the polling data on the electoral vote totals show an outcome very different from the one suggested by Obama. The latest state-by-state figures (as of late March) updated from SurveyUSA, indicate that if the election were held today, Clinton would defeat McCain in the Electoral College because of her lead in big, electoral-vote-rich states such as Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania — and McCain would beat Obama.

now i’ve heard similar arguments made in favor of clinton and not being as politically savvy as some, i find it difficult to make such predictions.  admittedly, i like to think that no matter who wins, and on the issue of the war alone, mccain has no chance of winning.  then again, i still can’t believe that bush managed to win reelection by a comfortable margin four years ago.

lastly, in the whole article, i like this point the best.  it’s clear (at least to me) the author is a clinton supporter and might be just as blindly misguided as so many obama supporters seem to be.

In the final analysis, though, the fights inside the Democratic Party aren’t really about either an ideal American democracy or the American democracy that actually exists. According to the Obama campaign, democracy is defined as whatever helps Barack Obama win the Democratic nomination. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with a candidate arguing this way. But everybody should see it for what it is — not something new or transformative, but one of the oldest ploys in the playbook of American politics.

remember boys and girls, actions speak louder than words.

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