Nasty Letters To Crooked Politicians

As we enter a new era of politics, we hope to see that Obama has the courage to fight the policies that Progressives hate. Will he have the fortitude to turn the economic future of America to help the working man? Or will he turn out to be just a pawn of big money, as he seems to be right now.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Election is about future, not feelings
Gene Lyons

Posted on Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Here are the numbers that make Democrats optimistic about running the
table come November, regaining the White House and controlling both
houses of Congress: On “Super Tuesday,” 15,417,521 citizens voted in
Democratic contests vs. 9,181,297 who participated in Republican
contests. The proportions have remained like that since January, with
Democrats out polling Republicans by 3-to-2 or better nationwide. We
appear to be headed toward a paradigm-changing election like 1932, with
Republicans relegated to secondary status. Reading the tea leaves,
numerous GOP congressmen have announced their retirement, scrambling for
K Street lobbying firms ahead of the rush. It couldn’t happen to a more
deserving party. Fourteen years after Newt Gingrich’s Contract With
America, we’ve seen the consequences of conservative dogma in action:
disastrous wars, authoritarian lawlessness, staggering corruption in
Washington and Baghdad alike, growing budget deficits and repeated
episodes of massive financial fraud.

But can Democrats screw up the presidential contest anyway ? Many are
starting to think so. The possibility that neither Sen. Barack Obama nor
Sen. Hillary Clinton will win enough delegates to lock up the nomination
before the August convention has tensions running high. The prospect of
so-called super delegates, i. e., senators, congressmen and other
Democratic officeholders, deciding the nominee has led to great anxiety,
particularly among Obama supporters.

If party rules aren’t interpreted to their satisfaction, some say
they’ll quit the game, take their ball and go home. Longtime Democratic
operative Donna Brazile, who managed Al Gore’s 2000 campaign, has
announced that if super delegates settle the contest, she’ll abandon the

Writing in his influential Open Left weblog, Chris Bowers warns, “If
someone is nominated for POTUS from the Democratic Party despite another
candidate receiving more popular support from Democratic primary voters
and caucus goers, I will resign as local precinct captain, resign my
seat on the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee, immediately cease
all fund-raising for all Democrats, refuse to endorse the Democratic
‘nominee’... and otherwise disengage from the Democratic Party.”

Several things must be said. First, everybody making such threats needs
to take a deep breath and calm down. This isn’t about you, your hurt
feelings or your pure, unsullied idealism. It’s about the future of our
country. Any Democrat who can’t concede that either Clinton or Obama
would be an enormous improvement over President Bush or the bellicose,
irascible Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee, has no business
participating in politics to begin with.

Second, a deadlocked convention ain’t likely to happen. History shows
that these theoretical train wrecks rarely occur, although the memory of
the 2000 Florida debacle can’t help but provoke unease. Chances are the
voters will decide the issue between now and the April 4 Pennsylvania
primary, maybe before.

Third—and this is the tricky parthow exactly would one go about
determining, assuming that neither candidate wins a clear majority
during the primaries, which one most Democrats favor? Given the
hodgepodge of procedures in place across the country, it won’t be easy.

“[W]ho decides what the popular will is anyway?” asks Kevin Drum in his
influential Washington Monthly weblog. “Is it number of pledged
delegates from the state contests? Total popular vote? Total number of
states won? What about uncommitted delegates from primary states? Or
caucus states, in which there’s no popular vote to consult and delegates
are selected in a decidedly non-democratic fashion to begin with? And
what about all the independent and crossover voters?”

As I write, Obama has won 11 caucuses and nine primaries. Caucuses
clearly discriminate in favor of wealthier, better educated voters, not
necessarily those with most at stake or most critical to Democratic
chances. A number of his caucus victories have been achieved in small
states such as North Dakota, Utah and Nebraska, which Democrats have
basically zero chance of winning. A few primary wins, e.g., South
Carolina and Alabama, also have come in places Democrats won’t carry
come November.

With the obvious exception of Illinois, Obama’s home state, the higher
the turnout and the bigger the state (California, New York, New Jersey,
Massachusetts), the more likely Clinton is to have won it. This leads
many political professionals to see her as the stronger candidate come
November, the Woodstock-like zeal of Obama’s supporters notwithstanding.
An amateur, I see him as the second-coming of Adlai Stevenson, another
high-minded orator from Illinois who made Democrats feel superior while
losing. Then there’s the ticklish matter of Florida and Michigan. Yes,
they broke party rules. (In Florida’s case, a GOP legislature made
them.) Together, though, they constitute roughly 10 percent of the
nation’s population. Is it sensible or fair to disenfranchise them? Both
states are crucial to Democratic hopes. With neither candidate
campaigning, Clinton prevailed easily in Florida. Likewise, Obama’s
withdrawal from Michigan may have been tactically clever, given the
demographics. None of these dilemmas has easy or obvious solutions.
Anybody who thinks they do may as well go home now.

—–––––•–––––—Free-lance columnist Gene Lyons is a Little Rock author and
recipient of the National Magazine Award.



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