The Blue Raccoon

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Exasperation: If you vote, and a superdelegate matters more, what's the point? I dunno. I voted anyway.

Project VoteSmart, via Brian on Myspace.

• Item: I've never voted in a Virginia primary. I'm 46. I stood in the long Bush v. Gore lines. Back years ago, I cast my first ballot for...(drum role) John Anderson. Once, I even voted for Ross Perot. The reasoning then was, he'd get in and provide a needed shock to the system. I remember the late great Barbara Jordan getting asked about whether Perot would make a good president and she paused for several long moments and said in her precise and authoritative voice, "I think the United States could survive a Perot presidency." And so I voted for him, with great misgivings. Oh, Barbara Jordan. We could use her around again. If you look at her keynote address before the 1976 Democratic National Convention, there's some Obamian glimmerings in there, in this excerpt:

"Even as I stand here and admit that we have made mistakes I still believe that as the people of America sit in judgment on each party, they will recognize that our mistakes were mistakes of the heart. They'll recognize that.

And now we must look to the future. Let us heed the voice of the people and recognize their common sense. If we do not, we not only blaspheme our political heritage, we ignore the common ties that bind all Americans.

Many fear the future, Many are distrustful of their leaders, and believe that their voices are never heard. Many seek only to satisfy their private work wants. To satisfy private interests.

But this is the great danger America faces. That we will cease to be one nation and become instead a collection of interest groups: city against suburb, region against region, individual against individual. Each seeking to satisfy private wants.

If that happens, who then will speak for America?

Who then will speak for the common good?"

Item: This morning, I was standing in line in the elementary school gym that is my precinct. The arrangement of people was out the door at quarter of nine. Here, the quiet majesty of one-person one-vote proceeded at a methodical pace. The registrars checked addresses and used a ruler to keep their vision straight while looking down long columns of type.

Unlike during a general election--and this even varies per precinct here in Richmond as I've learned--there was a Democratic queue on the, um, left end of the table, and a Republican queue on the right.

On occasion, the precinct manager would announce that if anybody was voting Republican, they could come forward, as there was no waiting. Nobody budged.

A few high heeled ladies ahead of me inquired of the manager, though, as they were Republicans voting Democrat, would they need to go over to the Republican end of the table. And the manager didn't know, "You'll have to ask the registrar."

Turned out, you declared your attention to the ladies with the register books. "I'm voting Democratic," I announced.

I marched over to my touch-screen box and made my choice. I joined the mass Obamasm.

And I'm preparing myself for disappointment. This is the nature of my adult political life. I vote for losers, and my winners foul stuff up. My memory is quite clear about seeing Bill Clinton giving his acceptance speech on the television at the Trolley Restaurant on West Main Street -- it's now the Six Burner . And there was young Bill, basking in his victory, and television was on and people quite interested in what he had to say--and a black man, standing and watching, pointed at the television and remarked, "You better not fuck up, is all I got to say."


Item: At my office today, someone had drawn devil's horns and a beard on Hillary's picture on the newspaper's front page.

• Item: The meaning and methods of superdelegates.

From Ben Smith, of Politico:

February 12, 2008
Read More: Delegates

Politico delegate count

My colleagues Avi Zenilman and Josie Hearn have put together an exhaustive, easy-to-use chart of superdelegates and their alleagiances.

Their current count is Hillary 230, Obama 138.5.

One interesting point, which is visible in the chart: Clinton has a lead of three among senators, a lead of 13 among House members, and they're tied among governors. So her real margin comes from the relatively anonymous DNC members, among whom she leads 125 to 57.5.

And some of the comments, also illuminating. The added emphasis is mine.

Posted By: Cathy | February 12, 2008 at 03:35 PM

"...her real margin comes from the relatively anonymous DNC members...." This doesn't surprise me, now that I've read the stories of Bill Clinton calling these lowly, anonymous superdelegates personally, and Chelsea Clinton taking them to lunch (!!) I mean, that's a lot of pressure! How do you say, "No, I'm sorry, Mr. President, but I'm not ready to support your wife?" This whole situation really hacks me off, though.

Posted By: ReasonedAnalysis | February 12, 2008 at 03:35 PM

Most of the state-wide DNC members surely endorse early during the "inevitable" stage of Hillary's campaign. It would have been politically expedient for them to endorse rather than to remain mostly anonymous to the Clinton machinery/presumed administration. ...But now, I think it's safe to assume that MANY of those votes by DNC members are subject to change if political winds start to change.

Posted By: Jade7243 | February 12, 2008 at 03:40 PM

I think this focus on "automatic" delegates is getting a bit out of hand from both sides. Let's get through March and see where the pledged delegate count is and then we can talk about "automatic" delegates. I don't get why either side counts these people in their overall totals, b/c they are fluid and can change their mind one a moments' notice.

It's clear that Politico's count of "super" "ueber" "automatic" "special" or however you want to characterize them are different from NBC's, CBS's, ABC's NYT's, WaPo's and right on down the line. Let's agree to not count any of these people until we get a heckuva lot closer to the Convention. They can change their minds at the drop of a hat -- or loss of a state. Where they stand today may not be where a lot of these people, whose "support" is based on poltical fortunes, stand tomorrow. They are fickle. You may see Clinton's "lead" gone like "dust in the wind."

Posted By: dumbfounded | February 12, 2008 at 03:46 PM

What is this, a basketball game or the struggle for which ideas are going to rule America's future?

The superdelegate counts are going to shift everyday to some extent. That's because the Democrats have foolishly tied their fate to the traditional smoke-filled room politics of yesterday. The leaders, especially Dean, haven't yet settled the MI and FL mess, which stirs needless debates and contentiousness while providing the Republicans a grounds for showing the country that a party not able to reasonably handle its own primary process isn't ready to lead the country.

The Democrats are in deep over the heads; the vote on the telecommunications act proves that. It's been two years and no end to the war. Instead of counting mercurial superdelegate votes it would be far wiser to monitor how disaffected voters are with the party overall. See: That's right the Democrats have become Chickendoves, and that's in the view of liberal commentators.

Out on the campaign trail they're pitching change, but in Congress they're voting moderate or right. You think one presidential candidate is going to change that. Obama's right about this: The direction of the country's in the people's hands. And with that in mind, it's not in very good hands. Where's the outrage, the protests, the unrest regarding the immoral and illegal Iraq War? Gates just came out and said, in effect, that the surge level of troops is going to be continued past July. Yet hardly a peep.

No wonder Feingold didn't run.

He saw the writing on the wall. He saw that the selfish masses are more concerned about their own slice of the pie - better healthcare - than they are about the national welfare. Why? Because they fail to see that an improved national welfare will lead to improved individual welfare.

This isn't liberal politics. This isn't a devotion to the collective whole and the compassion that Democrats have shown for decades. This isn't the party of peace but the party of appeasement. Since Bill Clinton it became the Third Way party, happy to go along with moderate and right wing ideas. Who's anybody kidding about change?

Since '06 how much change have the Democrats sought? Conyers and Kucinich aimed for impeachment, but virtually no takers. But Clinton was impeached for a BJ. How pathetic. How derelict can the party get? Torture? OK. Spying on phone and email messages? OK. Continuing the surge? OK. Threatening Iran? OK. Pouring trillions into the "War on Terror" yet not catching bin Laden? OK. Selling fear? OK. Hey when the masses have exhausted themselves in this ridiculous race and are too tired in Nov. to vote, we'll know why. The Democrats aren't providing much of a reason to get up off our asses.

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