Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Why the Super Delegates Have Little Choice But Obama

Kristen Breitweiser (posted on Taylor Marsh:You Broke It You Own It ) asks how the Super Delegates will justify nominating Obama and losing the GE.

Here's why I think they must (in their minds) nominate Obama and how they will justify a Nov. loss.

Nominate Obama
1. Massive media support. The TV networks & major news magazines have already declared Obama to be the winner. It doesn't matter whether they are right at this time (they are NOT), they have created a perception that he is the Democratic nominee. So if the SDs vote for Hillary, they will be roundly and loudly and widely criticized for stealing the nomination from Obama. They will also be accused of being racists. The details (delegates, Florida and Michigan, etc., etc.) will not matter.

2. They can point to a lead in pledged delegates (even if that means excluding Florida and Michigan, because of the Rulz) and, possibly, in votes (although we won't know that for sure for a couple of more weeks.)

3. Obama has already given 2-3x as much to SDs for their election campaigns as Hillary has. I have no doubt that he is waving dollar bills under the noses of the remaining udecided SDs.

3. Most of Hillary's supporters will vote for Obama.

4. So Obama loses the GE. How do the SDs defend themselves? They will blame Hillary for staying in the race so long that Obama didn't have the time to campaign against McCain. They will also claim that Americans as a whole are more racist than Democrats and those racists were the margin of victory. This may work if the election is close. It will, of course, fall flat if McCain wins big. They will also point out that there is no proof that Hillary could have done better.

Nominate Hillary
5. Same as #1 above. SDs are human, too. The media backlash for voting against Obama will be vicious.

6. They would have to include Florida & Michigan in spite of the Rulz. Florida can be easily justified. Michigan cannot, even if Obama chose not to put his name on the ballot. Then they would have to say that votes (assuming Hillary gets the most votes) count more than delegates even though it has always been the delegate count that has mattered (that this is probably because there's never been such a close nominating race under the current rules is irrelevant.)

7. The Democratic Party will lose almost all the African American votes, and possibly destroy that base for the future.

8. If Hillary wins, the media will say that Obama could have won, too and should have been the nominee. If she loses, the media and Obama's supporters will claim that he could have won and if the SDs had followed the lead of the Party (delegates, states, caucuses, etc.), a Democrat would be President.

If the nominee wins and that nominee is Hillary, there will still be considerable dissent in the Party on the part of the Obama supporters. The media will criticize every little thing that Hillary does for 4 years, or more.

If the nominee is Obama, there will be vast media support for his Presidency and, possibly, an extended honeymoon ala Bush 43's. Disgruntled Hillary supporters will disappear from view (not to be unexpected since her supporters have been ignored by the media for months).

If the nominee loses and that nominee is Hillary, they will face the wrath of the media and Obama supporters (which we have already seen can be massive).

If the nominee loses and that nominee is Obama, they will blame Hillary and racist Americans. The media will support them.

Each SD will be weighing the consequences of a vote in terms of his or her own electability. They perceive that a vote for Obama, even if he loses in the GE, will be more advantageous (or less disadvantageous) than a vote for Hillary.

In short, the cost of being wrong about Obama is lower than the cost of being wrong about Hillary.

(see also Obama: Super Delegates and Affirmative Action)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The NARAL Endorsement - 3 Theories

To quote the Illinois Chapter of Illinois chapter of NOW:

As a State Senator, Barack Obama voted ‘present’ on seven abortion bills, including a ban on 'partial birth abortion,' two parental notification laws and three 'born alive' bills. In each case, the right vote was clear, but Senator Obama chose political cover over standing and fighting for his convictions. When we needed someone to take a stand, Senator Obama took a pass. He wasn’t there for us then and we don’t expect him to be now.

So why did the National NARAL endorse Obama? I have 3 theories.

1. He offered to funnel a large amount of money to NARAL.

2. He offered a "seat at the table" in his administration: i.e., one or more high-paid jobs.

3. NARAL realized that with a Democratic President in the White House and a Democratic Congress, thus ensuring protection of the right to choose, NARAL's funding and membership would dry up. With a Republican in the White House, Mr. McCain, NARAL would still be needed. So, by endorsing Obama they hope to add to the bandwagon effect, to ensure that a candidate who cannot beat McCain in the GE will get the Democratic nomination - and NARAL will continue to exist.

Too Machiavellian? No. Self-preservation is a primal force for organizations as well as human beings. So NARAL's self-preservation is more important than the rights of women? Well, I'm sure they convinced themselves that with a Democratic Congress, womens' rights would still be preserved - but with an anti-choice Republican President, there would be just enough uncertainty to keep the money and memberships flowing in.