Monday, March 10, 2008

The show must go on

The Democratic Crash Test Dummies Show goes on and on...

1. Since neither Clinton nor Obama will have enough delegates before the convention to win the nomination (barring something unusual regarding Michigan or Florida -- see below), the nomination will be in the hands on the unpledged superdelegates. Eleanor Clift in Newsweek floats a scenario whereby the superdelegates break the party stalemate by engineering nomination of a third person, likely Al Gore. Also, as I understand it, the rule binding the pledged delegates to their candidate goes out the window if there is no winner after the first ballot, so it turns into a free-for-all. The bottom-line question for them, of course, is who they think would be most electable for the Dems, weighing their relative strengths against McCain and support among the Democratic voters, some of whom will be unavoidably pissed off that their candidate isn't the nominee.

2. also notes today that there's talk of a caucus in Michigan and a mail-in primary in Florida. In what might be a cagey move, Gov. Crist of Florida is tacitly supporting a redo of the state's Democratic primary even though he's a Republican, which is odd unless you follow's thinking on March 6:
Is he doing this to sow discord among the Democrats? Does he think Clinton would win it and be the weaker candidate? What's the catch? He wants the DNC to pay for it. It is estimated that a primary would cost $25 million. Thus what he is really proposing is draining $25 million from the DNC war chest and probably having the weaker general election candidate win it. Sounds like an excellent plan (if you are a Republican governor hoping to be tapped as vice president).

The Democrats could hold caucuses in Florida and Michigan instead of primaries. Caucuses are paid for by the parties but they are MUCH cheaper. The problem with caucuses is getting both Clinton and Obama to agree. Caucuses are sparsely attended and the candidate with the better organization usually wins them. Obama has won nearly all the caucuses so far, so Clinton would prefer primaries.

3. T. pointed me to a piece in the Boston Phoenix stating that Obama is weak in the large states that the Dems need to win in November, like New York and California. The argument is that voters in those states who went to Hillary in the primaries (Catholics and working-class people) are more likely to vote for McCain than Obama.

4. The Clintons are talking up the idea of Obama as a running mate for Hillary, apparently to create the impression that Obama is not presidential material, though as Democratic Sen. Tom Daschle noted, "It may be the first time in history that the person who is running number two would offer the person running number one the number two position." (Edited a few hours later to add: never mind.)

5. Also in today's is an interesting historical analysis of how a candidate's years of prior experience correlate (if at all) to how "great" a president he became. Definitely worth a look.

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