Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Playing Hardball

Roger Simon wrote at Politico.com Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign intends to go after delegates whom Barack Obama has already won in the caucuses and primaries if she needs them to win the nomination.

Anything to win. Sounds like Clinton
This strategy was confirmed to me by a high-ranking Clinton official on Monday. And I am not talking about superdelegates, those 795 party big shots who are not pledged to anybody. I am talking about getting pledged delegates to switch sides.
If you can't get the voters to vote for you steal their votes by bribing the delegates.
What? Isn’t that impossible? A pledged delegate is pledged to a particular candidate and cannot switch, right? Wrong. Pledged delegates are not really pledged at all, not even on the first ballot. This has been an open secret in the party for years, but it has never really mattered because there has almost always been a clear victor by the time the convention convened.
If the blacks were going to be mad if the super delegates stole the election from Obama, just imagine what they will think if this happens.
NBC's Mark Murray blogged Obama Campaign Manager David Plouffe and surrogate David Wilhelm, who headed Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign, had some choice words for the other side. They called this a “disturbing pattern” and “grasping at straws;” that this is another example of a “say-or-do-anything-to-win tactic;” that the Clinton campaign is hoping this is a “rabbit they can pull out of the hat to win;” that the latest tactic “suggests there’s trickery that can be engaged in” to win. They said they “think that will be rejected” by voters and party leaders.

Kevin Drum observes that “a steady drumbeat of this kind of stuff can be deadly, especially for a candidate banking on her experience and party connections. She really needs to step up her game.” But maybe this is her game?

James Joyner blogged Just when it seemed that Barack Obama’s gaffes and the inevitable media swing away from the front-runner was breathing new life into Hillary Clinton’s campaign, she reminds us why half the country really, really hates her.

Ann Althouse blogged Should we conclude that the Clinton campaign is evil? Or is this just evidence of the campaign's competence, that it's exploring all the permutations of the fight for the nomination? The Clinton aid prefaces his remark with: "I swear it is not happening now." Ha. That reminds me of one of my favorite Nixon quotes: "We could do it, but that would be wrong."

Strata-sphere blogged Promises - or threats. Both work, but threats work better in the DC power struggles. My belief is Obama will have the heart of the left, but Clinton will wrestle the levers of DC power and pull out the delegate win. She cannot afford to lose, while Barack has more opportunities in later races. It is do or die for the Clintons - which means their opponents must die (politically speaking of course). These two forces will spell Obama’s slow undoing. He is losing the interest of America and the Clinton’s will force him to suffer a death of a thousand smears. And all McCain has to do is build off the success Bush has established in the war on terror, war in Iraq and safety of this nation to win out as the only serious candidate.

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