Thursday, February 07, 2008

Winners won't be choosers

By Libby

I've had a brutal week so far and haven't been able to follow the news as closely as usual. However, based on a bare reading of the coverage, I have to agree that it looks like this thing is going to end up as a draw. It looks to me that it will be the superdelegates who decide the nominee.

I don't view this as a postive outcome unless these power brokers are going to be willing to reflect the will of the people rather than their perceived needs of the party. If they don't, there's going to a lot of disgruntled voters out there and the incredible turnouts the Democrats are seeing right now, will die on the vine. The only upside I see so far, is that at least Lieberman was stripped of his superdelegate status for endorsing McCain. Heh. Who ever would have thought we would have a reason to thank Zell Miller?

In terms of who's winning, it seems pretty clear to me that Obama is one coming out of Super Tuesday with the big Mo'. He took more small states, including incredible wins in southern venues that CW would say couldn't ever be taken by a black man. He's raising money while Hillary is reaching into her own pocket to stay alive. Sure, Hillary took some big states, but barely, and that's more of a reflection of the political machine than public will.

For instance, I've seen Massachusetts held up as some kind of great victory for her, but her win there doesn't indicate popular support. I'm not saying she doesn't have any. Certainly there's a large feminist population that supports her because she's a woman, but when the five term mayor of Northampton, who happens to be a lesbian, refuses to make a public endorsement for Clinton, you can be sure hearts and minds were with Obama. Clinton's win was based more on the incredible GOTV capacity of the Mass machine. I've seen them take the prize many times over the years based on turnout in a few highly populated urban areas while the entire rest of the state goes the other way. The machine literally buses those votes in.

Remarkably I still remain uncommitted to either candidate but all I know for sure is the rank and file of the Democratic party are apparently evenly split in their preferences and this unusually heated contest is energizing the voters with the perception that for the first time in much too long, every vote truly does count. The Democratic power brokers need to weigh their moves very carefully at the convention. The slightest whiff of a fix could very well destroy that energy and result in a McCain presidency.

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