from The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com by Paul Abrams
The Bush Administration has been so disastrous, and Republican
Congressional rule so complicit and corrupt, that it seems to follow, "as the
night the day", that the Democrats must take over just to staunch the
But, what have the Democrats done to show they would do better? Where
is the leadership? Rather than cut funds for the Iraq War, and put the onus on
the commander-in-chief to insure the safety of the troops with funding
withdrawn, they capitulated. There are more troops in Iraq today, spending more
US tax dollars, than there were when the Democrats won back Congress in November
2006. More US servicemen and women lost their lives in 2007 than in any prior
year. Not exactly a leadership record to run on. Many excuses, but no
Because of the unusual situation presented by the Democratic
nomination, Democratic Party leaders have a clear opportunity to show they can
lead. Will they take it? Are they capable? That's what the next few weeks will
As I understand it, the Clintons plan to do very well in the remaining
primaries, and then develop an argument for their nomination. Argument? My
middle school civics taught me that elections make choices, not arguments.
But, here's an argument: Bill Clinton was in 3rd place, behind both
George HW Bush and Ross Perot, going into the 1992 convention. So, what is the
"argument" for superdelegates to divine who will win the November election from
There are 3 potential outcomes to the Presidential nomination race.
Following a protracted, scorched-earth battle, either Hillary or Obama wins the
nomination. Each of those two outcomes provides McCain a likely victory. Equally
importantly, it will have shown--again--that Democrats have a genetic disability
The third potential outcome is that Obama wins the nomination within a
few weeks. Yes, that means that Hillary drops out. No further scorched earth. No
financial exhaustion of donors. Time to build a consensus. Time to take on John
A dream? Certainly, if the assumption were that Hillary would awaken
one morning, realize her path to the nomination is a pyrrhic victory at best,
and decide to do something not only for her party, but for progressive policies.
Hillary Clinton is no Lou Gehrig---taking himself out of the lineup "for the
good of the team".
Nor should she should be blamed. Our political system is not organized
to enable such a selfless act. Consider all the people who have hitched their
wagons to a Hillary victory, not to mention people like Mark Penn who are
vacuuming in millions of dollars from her continued campaigning---all will be
assuring her that the path to her nomination is real, and that they will deal
with the implications for the general election when they get there.
however, an alternative. It is called leadership.
At one point during another Republican scandal, Watergate, Barry
Goldwater reportedly went to the White House and told Nixon, "it's over". Soon
thereafter, Nixon's remaining support in Congress eroded, and the wheels were
set in motion for Nixon's resignation.
Superdelegates are a diffuse group of
people, scattered around the country, who do not act in unison nor do a few
here-or-there carry much weight.
There is, however, a subset of superdelegates ("SuperDuper Delegates")
that do have such clout. Like Barry Goldwater for the Republicans, there are
major Democratic leaders, Hillary supporters, who could go to Senator Clinton
and say, "it's over".
I do not underestimate how uncomfortable such a meeting
would be. These people are colleagues, and future colleagues, of Senator
Clinton. Many, like Bill Richardson, worked with the Clintons in the 1990s.
Moreover, for them to say "it's over" to Hillary is to change their own
position, and thus to appear as if they are fair-weather friends.
All true, if the key question for the SuperDuper delegates ought to be
their personal loyalty to Hillary. It is not. Hillary had her run, she was
inevitable, but, absent a scorched earth campaign that would make it unlikely
for any Democrat to win, she has lost it.
The SuperDuper delegates should run
through the scenarios in their own minds of a Democratic party united now,
getting its act together for the fall election, and beginning a decade or two
rule for progressive politics. We will be able to run against George Bush for
two generations---and the Republicans know it!
But, that will not happen if they sit idly by, knowing the hard
reality, and do nothing. Right now, they want others to do something.
The question for the SuperDuper delegates is leadership. It is tough,
but they were not elected to make easy decisions, or to allow events to play
themselves out so that they would not have to make the decisions. If that is all
they do, why do we need them? Why would we follow them?
It is their job, as
leaders, to recognize likely outcomes, weigh chances vs. alternatives, and to
take action before mutually destructive behavior occurs. Show they can make some
uncomfortable, but necessary, decisions.
Or ... (my thoughts now) will McCain win either way, and a contested democratic convention will be a chance to teach out kids what a convention is and how it works.