Saturday, May 31, 2008

Clinton's 'briar patch' scenario

Jim Tankersley wrote in The Swamp At the end of a rally in Oregon last month, during a question-and-answer session with the candidate, a woman asked Barack Obama about his campaign's battle with Hillary Clinton's over how to count delegates from two disputed states. Couldn't you just give them Florida? she asked. Several audience members laughed. Obama's winding answer included no promises to "give them Florida" or Michigan, the two states whose delegate fate is set to be decided by leaders of the Democratic National Committee today.
And that is an indication of why he is not qualified t be president. He should have said he is willing for the FL and MI reslts to be counted completely (and not at the 1/2 level as will probably be decided today), he would have given Clinton some additional pledged delegates, but they still would not have overtaken him, and it would have made him look so good that the super delegates would have rushed to his side, and Clinton would have had no reason to take this to the Convention in August. But he is too stupid to see that.
Should he? Is the best way to wrap up the nomination next week to agree to Clinton's every demand on both states? That's the argument M.S. Bellows Jr. makes in the Huffington Post this week in a piece titled "The Trap: Clinton's "Briarpatch" Strategy For The DNC Rules Committee Meeting."

"Barack Obama and Howard Dean are about to walk into Harold Ickes' trap tomorrow,: he writes, "and they aren't likely to even realize their mistake until Hillary Clinton cries "foul!" next week and announces that "justice" and "voters' rights" are forcing her to carry her campaign all the way to the Democratic Convention next August.
Precisely. And whether FL and MI get a 100% penalty or a 50% penalty, she will have that justification.
"By leaning toward implementing a compromise "split the baby" decision tomorrow on how to allocate the Michigan and Florida delegates -- a compromise that nearly all observers see as a setback for Clinton -- the DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee ("RBC"), the Obama campaign and other well-meaning Democrats will actually be throwing Brer Clinton into the briar patch -- giving her exactly the excuse she wants to continue her Quixotic campaign." Bellows makes an intriguing case, but is he underplaying two key factors: money and momentum?
It is not going to cost a lot of money for Hillary to whine about how the votes of FL and MI were stolen, and she can send emails on this basically for free, and include in them statements about any gaffe Obama makes between now and then. The only way to stop that is to not take away the FL and MI votes. And just hope that Obama makes no more gaffes (which he will certainly do).
Bellows' argument, essentially, is that Clinton has no intention of quitting the Democratic race after primary voting ends next week. Her goal, he says, is to push the contest all the way to the August convention in Denver, aggressively courting pledged delegates and superdelegates along the way. Technically, there's nothing to stop her. All delegates are free to change their minds up to the floor vote, per DNC rules. Bellows predicts Clinton is simply looking for an excuse to keep going - and that the best one she could possibly have is to appeal the DNC's decision on Florida and Michigan (even if those states are satisfied with this weekend's ruling).

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