Saturday, May 17, 2008

Florida And Michigan.

If we ever hear about these two state again; it will be too soon. Clintonistas have been banging on about the importance of these two states ever since Hillary nabbed them way back in the dark ages of the campaign. There is a grain of truth in Hillary's arguments; two and a half million voters need be recognized by the DNC. Their votes need to be heard. Honestly though, shoe on the other foot Ms. Taylor Marsh and Mr Larry Johnson and Riverdaughter et al; if the roles of Hillary and Barack were reversed in these two states would you be so passionate about the poor voters of MI and FL? Be truthful now; if Hillary was ahead in the delegate count by of 160 odd and was it was Barack pushing the every vote must count meme would you even bother to listen.?

Wouldn't it be more likely that it would be you that would push the "rules are rules" meme? Would you even concede to allowing the requisite 50% of the delegates being seated or would you be more than fine with the present nuclear option of zero delegates being seated? Maybe Hillary would allow some sort of revote in FL or MI if she were ahead, it is not beyond the realm of possibility, however it is much more likely that pigs would fly before that happened. Honestly if Hillary were ahead what would be your magic number for nomination 2025 or 2209?

Granted, shoe on the other foot, if Obama had won those primaires and they could seal the deal for him now, then he would be all for counting those "rouge" primaries. The only reason we are hearing about these states is that they broke for Clinton. Hillary did very well in both states. Seating FL and MI helps her close the gap with Barack.

Both Hillary and Barack have played fast and loose with the rules regarding FL and MI. Hillary had a few "fund raisers" in FL where she was "not campaigning" Barack "accidentally" got some commercials on the FL airwaves; neither side has been even close to side of the angles on this matter. Barack has been a little worse; he killed off a reasonable compromise of a mail in primary for FL and MI. Hillary would probably not have done the same thing if the roles were reversed. Hillary though really thrives on campaigning; she thrives on pressing the flesh. She has always been better than her team would let you believe. Set her loose from the lectern and Hillary just rolls; she especially thrives in a town-hall Q&A setting. Get Barack off script and it is a truly ugly thing to behold.

Still the whole Fl and MI fight is a canard. It is a distraction and it is too thin a reed to rest one's hopes on. If you believe, like I do, that Barack has Al Gore's endorsement in his back pocket, then FL and MI become moot. Barack will deploy Gore in the interim between the Oregon / Kentucky primaries and the Democratic rules committee meeting. This will totally queer Clinton's arguments for seating FL and MI. Her campaign won't have a leg to stand on. Clintonistas will no doubt be in high dungeon when this happens, god knows they blew more than a few gaskets over John Edwards' endorsement, but that is politics people. Barack has the momentum back and the party is not going to allow this thing to drag past early June. Even Hillary knows that if this goes all the way to the convention to a floor fight, the party looses. Like it or not Barack earned the top slot.

But what about Hillary's lead in the popular vote you may ask? The vote totals are so close as to be a coin toss. Further muddying the waters is the total reflects primaries and caucuses. These are two different beasts. Caucuses are smaller and tend to draw fewer blue collar voters. Less affluent voters are also less represented in caucuses. Minority candidates votes are also depressed by the caucus system. With his union support does anyone doubt that John Edwards would have done much better in Nevada if that state was a primary? Needless to say Hillary Clinton would also done better in Nevada too if were a primary state. There is no real way to tease out what the "real" vote in caucus state would be; you just can not take the vote total and multiply it by some X factor; there are just too many variables. One can easily argue that Barack would be much further ahead in the vote total if the caucus states had been primaries. This especially true because team Clinton had no caucus strategy post Iowa. Then again, if those states were primaries maybe a light might have gone off in Mark Penn's head and February would not been such a disaster for team Clinton.

Then what about the big state she carried that he can not? Barack lost Ohio, he lost New Jersey, he lost Pennsylvania; oh my god Missouri is gone and Florida will never come back! We are doomed if he is the nominee! Not quite, not nearly. Barack can win every state Kerry did and one more. John Edwards will help there. Even more so can Hillary. If both Clintons come out with both barrels for Obama he can win in November. We all know what dynamos both Clintons are on the Campaign trail. Barry and Hill will have to swallow their pride. Barry might even have to offer her a meaningful V.P. slot, something like what Bill gave to Al Gore. Hillary then have to accept being second banana to Barack, not the most pleasant position for her. In a way it is too bad that Howard Dean is not a powerful and ruthless as the Clintonistas would proclaim; if he was, he would have already performed the shot-gun wedding.

Seriously, to talk about the November results as being somehow set in stone in the middle of May is absurd. It would be more productive to listen to the ramblings of a deranged homeless person than to voters spouting off about November this early in the process. In the primaries the Democratic voters stated a preference. This is especially true in the earlier primaries. By November the economy could be so far gone the Democrats could run Mr. Potato head as their candidate and still win. The natives are already restless, by November anyone with an R by their name might be as well be a political leper. You have to go all the way back to the Watergate years for the Republican brand to be as bad a shape as it is in 2008. When Chris Mathews starts slapping around your talking points on the T.V. machine, you are in deep doggy dung.

Unfortunately as the process has moved along, attitudes have hardened. Obama would be wise to tamp down on his boo-birds, he and his campaign need to really start healing the rift with Clinton. Edwards' fulsome praise of Clinton was the perfect template. Barack needs to at least pretend to be magnanimous toward Hillary. Maybe it would be best if he lets her play out her hand to the bitter end. Maybe Hillary really needs to see the final results from Puerto Rico and watch the Supers all drift away from her. Maybe her supporters really need to see her die the death of a thousand cuts to really know it is over. Frankly Hillary deserves better than that. She really deserves her to keep her dignity intact. It is really now up to her, she can't delay for much longer without looking petulant, stubborn and unrealistic. Barack and his supporters can help here by being generous to her to the point of night sweats.

We all know how this is going to play out: Oregon is going to go large for Obama, Kentucky will go large for Clinton, Montana will go for Barack and Puerto Rico will go deep for Clinton. For John Edwards' sake hopefully Kentucky won't be as big a blow out for Clinton as West Virginia was. Edwards has already been branded an irrelevant looser by many, he needs to prove he can make an impact on the vote. If he wants to remain relevant, even as an "outsider" running a pressure group he has to campaign his heart out for Obama. If he can't move the needle in Kentucky towards Obama, he becomes a liability- especially to himself and his causes.

Be that as it may Clinton is all out of Rabbits to pull out of her hat. The last bunny went hopping down the trail in the Hoosier state. Barring Barack being videotaped molesting a pack of Cub Scouts, he is your nominee. All he has to do is play to expectations. He just needs to run out the clock. Florida and Michigan are not going to change that.
Post a Comment