Super Delegates to save Dem party split ?
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Democratic officials are rapidly concluding that their party won’t have a presidential nominee ahead of the August national convention, despite increasing concerns that the party could be torn asunder if it doesn’t settle its race soon.
Few are holding out hope that the remaining contests will offer a clear-cut choice between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Clinton has 1,499 pledged delegates to Obama’s 1,620 and the 10 contests still to be held don’t provide either candidate a foreseeable avenue to the nomination. The nominee needs 2,025 delegates to win the Democratic nod.
With no expected solution at hand to hold new contests in Michigan and Florida — seen as states that could help clear a path to a choice — superdelegates appear more and more likely to be the only way out.
That means trying to pin down commitments before the Aug. 25-28 convention so that Democrats can remain competitive against Republican nominee-in-waiting John McCain. But creating some kind of end-game ahead of the convention creates a new source of debate.
Prominent officials and lawmakers are discounting the idea of a pre-convention event that could be used to broker a deal among the superdelegates. That possibility gained wide attention last week when two-term Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen suggested that Democrats hold a “superdelegate primary” over the course of two days in a neutral city this June.
Bredesen, who fears that a long-drawn-out battle will jeopardize his party’s chances of recapturing the White House come November, has called for the party’s 795 superdelegates to meet to hear from the two Democratic presidential hopefuls one last time before making a decision.
“No one wants this to come down to the superdelegates, but if we get to the first week of June and there’s still no clear winner we need to break the gridlock well before the convention. A superdelegate primary is a logical last resort that gets us to a decision sooner rather than later,” Bredesen said in a statement to FOXNews.com.
Adding to questions about whether some kind of face-off is in the works, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told The Las Vegas Review-Journal recently that Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean and he spoke and “things are being done” to resolve the ongoing battle. He did not elaborate on what those “things” might be.
In an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Reid said the two candidates are essentially the same so really it doesn’t matter who wins.
“I think this has been a great campaign. The Democratic problem will be over before the convention, and I think it will all work out well for America,” he said during an interview in his Reno office. Reid did not amplify to the AP how the race would be resolved before the convention.
Reid’s remarks have prompted questions about whether the contest will be sorted out by party higher-ups ahead of the convention. Reid’s spokesman said that is not the plan.
The call Reid placed to Dean was more “routine” and not about any specific plan, the spokesman said, adding Reid was merely getting “a lay of the land.” Asked about what Reid’s role would be in helping determine the nominee, the spokesman said he is sticking to his commitment to remain a “neutral observer” in the race. Reid is a superdelegate who has not yet endorsed a candidate.
Reid’s spokesman added that he suspects Dean is weighing some kind of pre-convention plan.
“I think it’s a no-brainer that he is,” he said, adding that Dean is also struggling with how to seat the Michigan and Florida delegates.
But a Democratic Party official told FOXNews.com that Dean has not endorsed the idea of an earlier event to decide the nominee and confirmed the mundane nature of Dean and Reid’s phone conversation.
Democratic strategist Steve Murphy, who worked on New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson’s presidential campaign, told FOXNews.com that Dean needs to urge the party’s superdelegates to make a choice and soon.
“Ask the chairman of the party to play an active role,” he said. “There’s no reason why he can’t ask them to announce their decision in June.”
Murphy said he discussed the issue of holding a superdelegate primary with Bredesen, and agrees that they should reach a decision soon so that the party could “move forward into the general election.”
But Murphy cautioned it would be difficult to hold a formal gathering.
“It’s very difficult to have a formal meeting or have the superdelegates vote somehow formally before the convention simply because the convention is the highest authority in the Democratic Party and you can’t pre-empt it,” he said.
On Wednesday, more than a dozen wealthy donors who support Clinton wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, chiding her for suggesting in a television interview last week that superdelegates have an obligation to support the candidate with the most pledged delegates. They argued that the point of having superdelegates is so they can exercise their own judgment.
“Superdelegates, like all delegates, have an obligation to make an informed, individual decision about whom to support and who would be the party’s strongest nominee. … Superdelegates must look to not one criterion but to the full panoply of factors that will help them assess who will be the party’s strongest nominee in the general election,” the donors wrote.
“We therefore urge you to clarify your position on superdelegates and reflect in your comments a more open view to the optional, independent actions of each of the delegates at the national convention in August,” the letter continues.
So they are basically saying. Screw the voters, they dont know anything. Let us decide for them. This is a terrible terrible idea. Talk about pissing off your base.
I've got a prayer on my desk. It says, "Dear Lord, I pray that my place will never be with the cold, timid souls who do not compete yet criticize, for they never know or feel success or failure."
~ BoB Stoops