February 19, 2008

"As we get closer to the convention, if it is a stalemate, everybody will be going after everybody’s delegates."

“All the rules will be going out the window.” So says a senior Clinton official, according to Politico. Look out, Obambi, Hillary is working out ways to steal your pledged delegates — the delegates you think you already won in the primaries and caucuses.
Pledged delegates are not really pledged at all, not even on the first ballot. This has been an open secret in the party for years, but it has never really mattered because there has almost always been a clear victor by the time the convention convened....

“Delegates are NOT bound to vote for the candidate they are pledged to at the convention or on the first ballot,” a recent DNC memo states. “A delegate goes to the convention with a signed pledge of support for a particular presidential candidate. At the convention, while it is assumed that the delegate will cast their vote for the candidate they are publicly pledged to, it is not required.”
Should we conclude that the Clinton campaign is evil? Or is this just evidence of the campaign's competence, that it's exploring all the permutations of the fight for the nomination? The Clinton aid prefaces his remark with: "I swear it is not happening now."

Ha. That reminds me of one of my favorite Nixon quotes: "We could do it, but that would be wrong."

Did Nixon really say that, and what was he talking about? I've been using that "Nixon quote" for decades, because I think it's so funny. It reveals a mind that thinks through the wrong things that could be done and even says them out loud — then, realizing how bad it sounds tries to nullify the statement with a terse invocation of morality. Ah! It seems the original quote is: "We could kill him. But that would be wrong."
On the White House Tapes, Nixon and his advisors were discussing what they should do about one of these enemies.... And Nixon said, "We could kill him." During the David Frost - Richard Nixon interviews, Nixon complained bitterly that we didn't get to listen to what he said next, presumably because it had been accidentally erased. What he claimed to have said next was, "But that would be wrong."

I like that. It's a much better quote, that way: "We could kill him, but that would be wrong."
Searching the web to verify the old quote, I hit upon "He Was a Crook," Hunter S. Thompson's essay on the death of Richard Nixon:
It was Richard Nixon who got me into politics, and now that he's gone, I feel lonely. He was a giant in his way. As long as Nixon was politically alive -- and he was, all the way to the end -- we could always be sure of finding the enemy on the Low Road. There was no need to look anywhere else for the evil bastard. He had the fighting instincts of a badger trapped by hounds. The badger will roll over on its back and emit a smell of death, which confuses the dogs and lures them in for the traditional ripping and tearing action. But it is usually the badger who does the ripping and tearing. It is a beast that fights best on its back: rolling under the throat of the enemy and seizing it by the head with all four claws.
Hey... badger! That reminds me: I've got to go vote in the Wisconsin primary.

But, Hillary and Hillary people: Think about your legacy. Maybe this Hunter S. Thompson quote could help you think clearly:
If the right people had been in charge of Nixon's funeral, his casket would have been launched into one of those open-sewage canals that empty into the ocean just south of Los Angeles. He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a president. Nixon was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning. Even his funeral was illegal. He was queer in the deepest way. His body should have been burned in a trash bin.
UPDATE: The Clinton campaign says: I'm not a crook.


George M. Spencer said...

Hunter Thompson...puh-leeze....Hells Angels was great job of reporting, but everything after that was ranting. Today he'd be nothing more than a third-rate blogger foaming and spewing hate.

George M. Spencer said...
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AllenS said...

I'll be very surprised if Hillary doesn't get the nomination.

rhhardin said...

Don Novello wrote The Lazlo Letters , over-the-top letters to important personages seeking a clueless reply.

Only two of the responders acquitted themselves well, though I don't know if Novello noticed : Nixon and Nguyen Cao Ky.

Nixon's :
November 7,1975

Dr. Mr. Toth :

A friendly letter in the mailbag is always most welcome, and that certainly was the case with yours of October 23rd.

It was thoughtful of you to take the time to write as you did, and I wanted you to know of my appreciation.

With best wishes,


/s/Richard Nixon

P.S. King Timahoe is with us and in the best of health; Vicki has been in the family since 1962 and is amazingly active and well for her years.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Yes, the Clinton campaign is evil.

Unknown said...

"Should we conclude that the Clinton campaign is evil? Or is this just evidence of the campaign's competence, that it's exploring all the permutations of the fight for the nomination?"

As much as I'd like to, the Clinton's are blameless for this, other than being Democrats who might share responsibility for "rules" in which "pledged" delegates really aren't "pledged" at all.

When is a pledge not a pledge? When the Democrats take one. Alternatively, it depends upon what the definition of pledge is.

The Drill SGT said...

I'm not going to read their arcane rules, but are pledged delegates any more pledged than say somebody non-important like electors in the Electoral College?

I presume both can vote for whomever they wish, but need to go home and face the results.

rhhardin said...

It's not a stalemate. What's meant is if nobody wins on the elected numbers.

Then plans B through Z become available.

bengland said...

Jim Loy is all wet about the Nixon quote. It was during a taped discussion of possible payment of hush money to the Watergate burgulars. Nixon says something like, "It's wrong, that's for sure." You can look it up!

Anonymous said...

What Bruce said. Not so much about looking it up though, at least not on Google, because now if you do Loy's slander is the first thing to pop up.

No, "it would be wrong" or "of course that's wrong" refers to paying hush money, I think to Hunt. But let's just exercise some common sense here. The "wrong" business was on a released, transcribed tape; fi Nixon had ever actually talked about having someone KILLED, don't you think it would have been a big deal at the time? It wasn't, because he didn't.

Wow, I'm defending Richard Nixon.

Anonymous said...

There has not been a Presidential election in modern history in which horse-race pundits have not salivated over the prospect of a brokered convention. You'd think that would make the prospect a little less shocking.

PatCA said...

The Clintons are softening us up for the convention. I'm sure the media loathe and love them at the same time. It's all quite interesting to watch.

Chip Ahoy said...

Should we conclude that the Clinton campaign is evil?

No. We should conclude it's sub-evil, under the general evil of political parties.

Nixon might have been far from perfection but he never said or did anything so vile as what's been said and written about him since he was removed from office. That up there ↑ sounds like Hunter Thompson at his psychedelic worst.

Ron said...

If the weather were nicer you could stroll over to Washington Square Park and find 2-3 dozen Hunter S. Thompsons. No big! But Hillary and Bill now seem like the Emporer and Darth Vader..."Leave them to me," sez Bill in his James Earl Jones voice...

hawkeyedjb said...

So, do you want 1968 or 1996?

If Hillary gets the nomination, then it’s 1968 and she’s Nixon; she’s got the paranoid personality and the enemies list, and she’s running against someone closely aligned with the incumbent administration. And she wins.

If Barack gets the nomination, then it’s 1996: young guy representing the future, up against the hero of a forgotten war. And he wins.

MadisonMan said...

All the rules will be going out the window

In other words, business as usual for the Clinton/Bush clans. And they wonder why people don't want change.

Mitch H. said...

Hawkeye: more like 1896, and the silver-tongued leftist lost that election to the superannuated war-hero. Which means, I suppose, that we can look forward to Obama becoming Secretary of State in 2022 for a fascist bastard to be named later. I don't know, who's our current Woodrow Wilson wannabe?

Skyler said...

I'm sorry, but I'm getting old enough to not be new to the world of politics and I was still in kindergarten when Nixon was elected.

Watergate is so seventies (and sixties, and fifties). Who cares anymore? It's been talked to death. The guy was driven from office, justice was done, except the pardon, let's be done with it. Baby boomers just won't let it go. Nixon didn't even really do anything bad to the country permanently, and he was justly tossed out for his petty corruptions. The Clintons, on the other hand, gave missile technology to the Chinese. Nixon just gave them trinkets.

After Hillary is crushed this year, and let's hope that she is, let's please not still be talking about Vince Foster, or Rose Law Firm in 30 or 40 years as though it were still important.

MTfromCC said...

I favor Obama to Clinton, and think that the Clintons are Machiavellian, but this particular quote is truly much ado about nothing.

"If we are in a stalemate" . . . all bets are off, including as to pledged delegates. BFD. In what democratic political system is that statement not true?

We're not in a stalemate yet, and until an Obama pledged delegate confirms having been approached by somebody in the Clinton campaign to switch sides, this is just an ill thought out, off-the-cuff remark (even if made by a upper-middle management campaign person) that means less then zero, except insofar as it provides fodder for Clinton haters everywhere (who have nothing better to do with their time and energy). It is not entitled to 1/10 of the attention it has been given.

The media (and LawProf blogs) must have very little to do or say if this is the best they (and you) can come up with. Clinton bashing is really tiresome for those of us who lack the fetish.

Latino said...

If Hillary is evil for trying to steal delegates who are pledged, but not really pledged, what does that make Al Gore for his attempted grand larceny of the election in 2000? Super-extra evil?

blogging cockroach said...
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Hoosier Daddy said...

It is a beast that fights best on its back: rolling under the throat of the enemy and seizing it by the head with all four claws.

Sounds a lot like an ex-girlfriend I had from Cleveland.

blogging cockroach said...

oooh did someone say something about hillary getting crushed...
you know as a cockroach not getting crushed is my biggest worry
that and finding some of those yummy marinara sauce drips behind the stove
but back to being crushed
thats why im a big hillary fan
and always say hooray for hillary
mrs clinton is the most experienced
and cares about people
and has a workable health care plan
etc etc
oh and i almost forgot
is also not a crook
yes i always say those things
because look whats happened to media types
who crossed the clintons
and who tend to get squashed like bugs

but if hillary gets squashed herself
does that mean i get to eat the glue
off the back of her old campaign posters...

if the dems have a good old-fashioned political convention
with a floor fight etc
no one knows how to do this anymore
the last time that happened nobody was born yet
so they will have to do it like a historical reeactment
complete with minutemen etc

also ive read about smoke-filled rooms
but nobody smokes anymore
at least nobody who would go to a dem convention
so if they dont have smoke
im wondering what they plan to fill the room with

Bruce Hayden said...

The problem with/for Hillary! here is not just that she is trying to steal Obama's pledged delegates, but that she is also trying to lock up the unelected (or "Super") delegates (including having her daughter pimp for her there), as well as getting the rules changed after the fact so that she can get the MI and FL delegates.

If this were the general election, this no holds barred type of campaign would be acceptable for a Democrat. But it isn't, and if effective in getting her the nomination, is likely to alienate at least some of Obama's power base into not voting this November. Disgruntled Blacks may just stay home, but the youth vote so attracted to his "change" message may not stick.

Indeed, I heard Hillary! this morning trying to convince people that she was the real change candidate. This from the woman who is claiming extensive experience based on her role in her husband's presidency (and probably governorship).

From Obama, the change message is almost credible (and would be more so, if many of his proposals had not been tried and failed years before). From Hillary!, it is rather the fodder for jokes, because, in the end, she is the woman who would say anything and do anything to get elected president. No morals except for her naked ambition and her perceived right to that office.

section9 said...

I can see it now.

The Toons will show up in Denver with several million dollars in black bag money, hotel rooms full of prostitutes, and Black Bag men who used to work as bouncers in Detroit. They will make it their business to pound a meaty fist into the face of any delegate who wavers or might vote for Obama.

Expect several Obama delegates to get thrown out of hotel windows. This is where the International Brotherhood of Teamsters really comes into its own.

Obama won't know hit him. But his delegates will.

Latino said...

Section 9, you don't know how close to the truth you are. In her 2000 Senate campaign, Hillary showed up to speak at my alma mater with union goons who physically ejected anyone actively demonstrating against her.

Peter V. Bella said...

“All the rules will be going out the window.”

The rules are the rules as long as they benefit the Clintons. If the rules do not benefit them, there are no rules. It is as silly as her giving speeches saying speeches do not offer solutions. It is also insidious and dangerous.

Nancy Pelosi, who has to remain neutral until the convention, weighed in over the weekend. She obliquely warned the Clinton camp against tampering with the rules or rule system of the party. Of course, the Clintons know better as they lived in the miasma of Arkansas politics for years.

garage mahal said...

I'm sure if Hillary's people were shaking down superdelegates and threatening their careers if they didn't vote for the white candidate [as Jesse Jackson Jr has done for Obama], there would be no uproar.

And if Hillary had contributed 700k to the delicate minds of the superdelegates through a slushfund Hillary PAC, there also would be no uproar.

Bob said...

I agree with George again. Hunter Thompson was a good writer, but was probably responsible for the phenomenon of the journalist openly expressing hatred for political candidates. It was refreshing in its novelty back in the 60's, but got old fast and it soon became obvious that invective was Thompson's main journalistic talent.

Christopher Hitchens basically plays the same riff Thompson did, but with Hitchens it's joined with an intellectual capacity much higher than Thompson's.

section9 said...

Here's what the Clintons do, and I love them for it.

They will shower their friends with pork, money, and women. Those that vote with Hillary will find themselves favored by Senator Clinton with Jobs in a new Administration and largesse, lard, and loads of Soros money. Those that oppose her will be neutered politically after Clinton makes sure that Obama loses to McCain the way he made sure that Kerry lost to Bush. After all, if Hillary has to lose, she wants to make sure she can control the Party from the post of Senate Majority Leader.

Expect squlid personal stuff about Barack to come out during the fall campaign. Courtesy of the Bubster. McCain will have nothing to do with it, and won't know where it came from. Sidney Blumenthal, on the other hand, is an extremely busy beaver right about now.

Obama thinks he can parlay Bobby Kennedy Cargo Cult Mambo Dance bullcrap into a national campaign and just take the Democratic Party away from the Clintons and their La Cosa Nostra allies. You can't just diss the Teamsters, the Chinese People's Liberation Army, and the entire DLC and take the Democratic Nomination with a song and a dance and the ol' Soft Shoe.

Jeeez, the Young Mr. Jesus Hussein Christ is in for one hell of a surprise, isn't he?

Bob said...

Section9: Obama thinks he can parlay Bobby Kennedy Cargo Cult Mambo Dance bullcrap into a national campaign...

Nice turn of phrase, and entirely accurate. Well done!

halojones-fan said...

"Ha. That reminds me of one of my favorite Nixon quotes: "We could do it, but that would be wrong." "

That sounds like something from a Mafia movie. "Ya know, dis is an awful nice grocery store ya got here...sure be a shame if, ah, if it all burned down...naw, I'm not sayin' any-ting, ya know, I'm just sayin'...like, maybe ya want to stock a different brand of olive oil, some-ting dat ain't quite so flame-able..."

blogging cockroach said...

jesus christ on rollerskates
section9 you sure nailed it
now you can see why im afraid of getting squashed
just like obama
so if mccain is elected we can expect 4 years of mcbush
while the clintons expand to fill the known universe

oh hooray for hillary
mrs clinton we love you
sen clinton is the most experienced
and she has our best interests at heart
she really does
etc etc

i for one do not want to get squashed
in fact im starting a branch of cockroaches for hillary
right here in cambridge mass
the only problem is that a lot of her supporters are rats
and you know how it is with rats and cockroaches
we are a snack to those guys
so with all this democracy surrounding me
im scared to death
you now know why i favor an absolute monarchy
with bill and hillary as king and queen
at least then they wouldnt always be running for something
and i could get a little peace