February 13, 2008

Clinton can't win on pledged delegates.

But can she still somehow win? Howard Fineman explains:



And, you know, I didn't set out to attack Keith Olbermann again, but...

ADDED: Josh Marshall has this:
Now, Fineman is something of a paragon of the mainstream media. So his comments probably raise some suspicion among some readers.
A paragon of what?
But this is a pretty straightforward mathematical question. Doesn't really matter what Fineman or either campaigns say [sic]. Folks paying close attention are as likely to accurately predict the outcomes as the folks in the campaign. So is this true? Is a pledged delegate win for Clinton no longer a realistic possibility?
AND: Is "pledged delegate" the new term for the elected delegates, to go along with the transition from "superdelegate" to "automatic delegate"?
In a sign that the spin war over the significance of super-delegates is underway in earnest, Harold Ickes told assorted Hillary supporters on a private conference call yesterday that the campaign wants them to start referring to super-delegates as "automatic delegates," according to someone on the call.

The person I spoke to paraphrases Ickes, who is spearheading Hillary's super-delegate hunt, this way: "We're no longer using the phrase super delegates. It creates a wrong impression. They're called automatic delegates. Because that's what they are."
"Pledged delegate" sounds confusing to me, because I've heard plenty of talk about how superdelegates were pledging to vote for one candidate or another.

30 comments:

Middle Class Guy said...

So, basically, it comes down to desperation. The inevitable one is not so inevitable anymore. As to Olbermann; that little teenage snort? Guy is a pooch. MSNBC should apologize to the public for unleashing a poor excuse for a sports writer on the public.

P. Rich said...

The Dem primaries are screwed up (Michigan, Florida, winner-take-all states) and will likely remain so until convention time. Her Gloriousness can then say (facts aside, always) that getting elected by super-delegates regardless of acquired delegate count is just a true reflection of the "will of the people". Expect it.

There is no way in hell, or anywhere else, She will concede so long as there is any available means of manipulating the system for Her benefit - Party be damned. Billary take it on faith that they can just crank up the old spin machine and bury everything negative under a pile of suck-up media output.

SteveR said...

Not sure what the atrraction to MSNBC is but KO is far less of an "anchor" than anyone else routinely up front on any network, and far more of a biased hack.

AllenS said...

I see Obama having more delegates than Hillary, but I can't imagine her not winning. Somehow she'll get those delegates from MI and FL, combine them with the delegates that Edwards will pledge, plus the superdelegates, and it's a done deal. Bill and Hillary have no sense of decency, no shame, and no morals.

AJ Lynch said...

It will be interesting to see if the MSM adopts this new Clintonian terminology of "automatic delegates" when it refers to those formerly known as "super-delegates".

Fen said...

Bill and Hillary have no sense of decency, no shame, and no morals.

I would not want to be a superdelegate for the Dems right now. How open is the system to bribery, intimidation and coercion?

You vote for Obama and we'll have your mother fired from her federal job

Middle Class Guy said...

From Camile Paglia in Salon:
Hillary's gonads must be sending out sci-fi rays that paralyze the paleo-feminist mind -- because her career, attached to her husband's flapping coattails, has sure been heavy on striking pious attitudes but ultra-light on concrete achievements...

However, the three-faced Hillary, that queen of triangulation, would be a nice big gift to Republicans, who are itching to romp all over the Clintons' 20-volume encyclopedia of tawdry scandals.



Ms. Paglia has a way with words that gets to the heart of the matter.

Trevor Jackson said...

"Ms. Paglia has a way with words"

How do you "romp all over" an encyclopedia? You might delight in re-opening or reciting from those volumes, but I just have this image of John McCain jumping up and down on a pile of books like a gorilla on a Samsonite.

caplight said...

If BHillary wins on super delegates then come November Black Dems and young Dems will be happy to sit it out especially with moderate McCain as the alternative.

froggyprager said...

Maybe this terminology would be more clear, the voters elected Obama to be the nominee but Clinton is trying to get the nomination by strong-arming the party insiders to select her. Clinton already is going to have trouble getting Obama supporters to support her if she wins the nomination but if she wins this way by subverting the will of the voters that will not be good. I would like to see her try to explain why she should be the nominee if she doesn’t get the most pledged delegates.

AllenS said...

caplight and froggy--

Don't forget that a lot of conservatives might sit it out.

BJK said...

Just to be the one to point it out, it's 'Keith' Olbermann.

Trevor Jackson said...

Good spot, BJK. I wonder if Althouse was thinking of Ken Ober, the host of MTV's old game show Remote Control.

Meade said...

Help me get this straight: The Democratic Party has automatic delegates, unelected by the people, who get to select the Democratic candidate? What would Thomas Jefferson say? How is that "democratic" and wouldn't it be ironic if they end up selecting Al Gore?

Trevor Jackson said...

Meade, how are superdelegates less democratic than, say, winner-take-all primaries like the Republicans have?

The fact is Jefferson wouldn't have counseled we have parties at all. Washington warned against them too. Hell, the people have only had a say in choosing a party's nominee for less than 100 years. Oregon established the first primary vote in 1910 with delegates that had to follow the will of the voters. Until then? Party bosses and smoky backroom deals. Some democracy.

Meade said...

Isn't winner-take-all based on one person, one vote; majority rules, minority rights respected? But, hey - either way, I think you have to hand it to those evil Republicans -- they don't go around pretentiously calling themselves Democrats.

Thanks for the history lesson, T. J.

So we've somewhat broken free of the failed undemocratic policies of the past. That's a good thing, right?

Now if we can just change the name and call it what it is: The Automatic Party.

AJ Lynch said...

Meade:

Would have been fun to be a fly on the wall when Ickes, Hillary, Bill Clinton, et al discussed how to start to lock up these "automatic" delegates.

El Presidente said...

Ah, I remember Chicago in the summer of '68.

I never thought I would get to relive it.

Ralph said...
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Ralph said...

"Automatic" is (deliberately?) confusing, too, since the elected delegates automatically support a particular candidate. Ex Officio delegates is more accurate, but I suspect many Democrats don't like them ferrin tongues.

I think Marshall meant "bellwether" or "conventional hack" instead of "paragon."

Trevor Jackson said...

I'm comparing winner-take-all to the proportional awarding favored by Democrats. It allows lower-tier candidates more time to come back from initial setbacks. It keeps the primary running longer and prevents heavily favored and famous candidates from running away with it from the start.

I didn't say "evil Republicans." Do you want to put words in my mouth or do you want to have a discussion?

Are there problems with superdelegates? Sure, especially the ones who are unelected and don't have to face voters who are unhappy with the way they vote. There's also way too many of them. Am I ready to declare the Democratic Party un-democratic? Not yet. If superdelegates have the interest of the party in mind, they'll follow the way the wind blows. I'll be very surprised if the majority swing it away from the winner of the pledged delegates.

Ralph said...

The fact is Jefferson wouldn't have counseled we have parties at all
Yeah, except for founding the Democratic Party. But Jefferson often said one thing and did another: keeping his slaves, buying Louisiana.

Trevor Jackson said...

Mea culpa, Ralph. I'm right about Washington being against them, though.

Original Mike said...
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Original Mike said...

Ann, it was much funnier as Ken.

Fen said...

Yesterday, my wife asked me if Bill would recuse himself as a superdelegate because of the obvious conflict of interest.

I was in the middle of drinking a glass of wine. My nasal cavaties may never recover.

Blake said...

It wasn't Thomas Jefferson, but George Washington who counseled against political parties.

They [political parties] serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community....

Meade said...
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Meade said...

Here's Thomas Jefferson on his blog, "jefferson.blogspot.com," replying to a snarky comment by Henry Lee:

"Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depositary of the public interests. In every country these two parties exist, and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves. Call them, therefore, Liberals and Serviles, Jacobins and Ultras, Whigs and Tories, Republicans and Federalists, Automatics and Democrats, or by whatever name you please, they are the same parties still and pursue the same object. The last one of Automatics and Democrats is the true one expressing the essence of all."
--Thomas Jefferson to Henry Lee, 1824. ME 16:73

Fen said...

That would be a fun blog. Get a bunch of history professors to assume the characters of Franklin, Jefferson, et al and argue about current issues. Drawing heavily from historical accounts and quotes, of course.