Skill vs. Enthusiasm Watch, 01/09/2008
Or, "Age and Treachery will always beat youth and inexperience, Part MCMXXXIV."
By Moe Lane Posted in 2008 | Amateurs | Florida | Michigan | Suckers! — Comments (20) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
The trap jaws have already sprung shut, but, hey: at least they're trying. For all the good it will do them:
Voters Face Confusion in Michigan Dem Race
By Peter Slevin
CHICAGO -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is the only top-tier Democrat on the Jan. 15 Michigan primary ballot, but followers of her chief rivals are hoping to wound her all the same.
A fresh poll suggests that running nearly unopposed will not mean winning nearly 100 percent of the vote.
The campaigns of Sen. Barack Obama and former senator John Edwards are urging their supporters to cast ballots for "uncommitted," according to state Democratic party chairman Mark Brewer. The Obama campaign says there may be "grass-roots efforts," but that the Chicago-based campaign is not involved.
What is going on, of course, is that it's finally becoming clear to both the Obama and the Edwards campaigns that they made a serious tactical error in Michigan. Both Michigan and Florida are currently being "punished" for having their primaries early by the Democratic National Committee, which has declared that neither State's delegates will be seated at the national convention in Denver. As a result, the various Democratic campaigns are not officially active in either State, and both Obama and Edwards have even removed their names from the ballots in Michigan.
But Clinton has not - and it has apparently suddenly dawned on the Obama campaign that A). he is not inevitably going to be the nominee after all and B). he has no assurance that the Michigan delegates will not be seated. A). is perhaps excusable - it can be difficult to believe that you are mortal when people line up to assure you otherwise - but B). really should have been obvious. Obama is on the ballot in Florida for the same reasons everyone else is: it's up for grabs (2000 is closer to the situation than 2004), and nobody wants to tick off the partisans down there. That includes the DNC, which is why Florida will be seated in Denver. But if Florida gets seated, so must Michigan - Michigan is one State that the GOP will be targeting, and it's too big to ignore, and the margin is closer there than it was in Florida in 2004. Hence this drive to get as many uncommitted delegates as possible; because otherwise Hillary essentially walks away with the lion's share.
Now this is the funny part: I get to give some advice to progressives, and the best bit about it is, it's good advice, which they will hate hearing with a passion. Here we go: by all means, try this trick with uncommitted delegates in Michigan. Then, when it doesn't work, you're best off switching support immediately to Hillary Clinton to get her overwhelmingly nominated. Abandon everybody else, and flock to her standard. No games, no tricks.
Why? Simple. Barack Obama isn't going to get the nomination outright. New Hampshire just demonstrated that your core assumptions about his inevitability were unsupported, and now it's back to slogging. He and his are not good at slogging; if they had, they'd have won New Hampshire. And you can't count on Edwards walking away before 02/06/2008: Hell's bells, Bill Richardson was dithering about dropping out, and he has no chance at all. So abandon all hope of Obama's victory, ye who read here. That leaves either a Clinton win, or a brokered convention. And you don't want a brokered convention, primarily because it won't be one. Let me explain why.
Imagine, for a moment, that it's August in lovely, downtown Denver. Let's talk climate, really quickly: it's probably going to be not too hot (mid-70s, which is actually quite nice), but you're going to be a mile up, so altitude is going to be an issue, not to mention UV radiation. So, avoid over-exertion, OK? No, really, this is actually relevant; you'll see why in a second.
Now, let us presume for a moment that the situation is such that no candidate officially has enough for a majority, but that Hillary Clinton has enough unofficial Florida (210 at stake) and Michigan (156 at stake) delegates to win the nomination, if they are seated. Getting them seated will be then the first order of business, and that fight will be seized upon by... not you, of course. You're a reasonable person. But your friend Bob - you know the one I'm talking about; the enthusiastic one - and a bunch of his enthusiastic friends are going to get very exercised about this. He and they will be at Denver, in fact. And they'll probably be drinking something other than water, and they may not be wearing their hats.
Now let us contemplate what happens when the delegates are seated, thus ensuring Hillary's nomination. And make no mistake: in this scenario, your Party Establishment will not take the risk of offending either two swing States' worth of Democrats or Senator Clinton. So... she gets the nomination. Bob hears about this. Bob gets angry, because from his point of view, everything that he's ever been told about the System just got validated. Bob's also probably drunk and/or slightly dehydrated, possibly mildly sunburned and almost certainly suffering from a massive headache.
Didn't we have something like this, 40 years ago?
Let me summarize. The GOP is facing the possibility of a brokered convention, and we really don't remember how that sort of thing works, so we're both a little worried about it and a little excited about it. In this scenario, the Democratic Party is facing the possibility of a disputed convention, and everybody remembers how the last one of those turned out. So... if you want to avoid that, better either make sure that it's a truly brokered convention - and I wish you joy of the attempt - or get behind Hillary Clinton just as soon as it becomes clear that you simply won't be able to replace her with any more "suitable" candidate.
Why, yes, that will mean offering up all of your principles - particularly those on the War in Iraq - as a sacrifice to the Democratic Party Establishment. Is this a problem for you? I can't imagine why: by now the progressive movement has certainly practiced the procedure enough to be actually rather good at it. Besides, isn't that why they keep you around, anyway? To give them what they need, when they need it?
Hey, don't blame the messenger if you don't like the message. Particularly when you wrote it yourself.