The most fun I had Twittering the election last night was immediately seeing the three Abercrombie & Fitch guys dudes standing behind Obama. Coinicidence? Conspiracy? Product placement. Either there is a story there or the Obama campaign is its own demographic clliche.
Maybe it’s the latter. The Toronto Sun said yesterday:
Hillary is minivans and American sedans, Barack is Range Rovers and Hondas. Hillary is cross-trainers with jeans, Barack is Abercrombie and Fitch and Banana Republic. Hillary is Dunkin Donuts, Barack is Starbucks. And their supporters are equally vocal, in different ways.
: LATER: USA Today talks to A&F, who says they had nothing to do with it. Ditto the campaign. The USAT blog is asking, ‘Anybody know these guys?’
The chances are that Mr Obama will end the nomination season with more pledged delegates than Mrs Clinton. His admirers argue that it would be profoundly wrong for those who have not been elected as delegates to overturn the will of those who have. It’s a seductive claim, but there are good reasons why the superdelegates should ignore it and instead endorse Mrs Clinton.
The first is, what is the point of the superdelegate system if all they do is follow the majority of pledged delegates? Why bother with them? Why not just allow them to turn up at the convention as mere observers? The Democratic Party created the superdelegate system about 25 years ago because it feared that the party’s most ideological supporters were quite capable of choosing a candidate who many ordinary Democrats would not feel able to back at polling stations. If the primaries and caucuses were to be the gearbox of the nominating procedure, then the superdelegates were designed to serve as the handbrake. That is their role.
Secondly, any advantage that Mr Obama will have among pledged delegates is misleading. Not only will Mrs Clinton have won in most of the largest states but she will probably have secured the bulk of delegates won in primaries – where turnout is comparatively high, while he has romped home in the caucuses – where participation is notoriously feeble.
Furthermore, if all the superdelegates were compelled to vote for the person who won the most votes in their state (which they should not be, but it is an interesting exercise), then Mrs Clinton, who is likely to end the season having triumphed in eight of the most populous ten states (including Florida and Michigan, which had their results discounted by the Democratic National Committee as punishment for scheduling their primaries too early), would benefit hugely.
: By the way, here’s a list of fellow bloggers who are not “raving Clinton-hating Obamabots.” Says Hillaryslist, on a bit of a roll:
These are the seeds of a new progressive blogosphere in the making. The Obamabots are poisoning the original netroots, transforming what used to be an arena for progressive politics into nothing more than a rabid, mindless He-Man Woman-Haters club. The Democratic Party — or at least the high-visibility Obamabot segment — is morphing into the Young Republicans: all the misogyny and callowness and ignorance and blind hero-worship of the old GOP, but with a self-congratulatory aura of imaginary cool to make the YouTube generation feel at home. And where does that leave the women of America?
Well, I think it’s giving them too much credit for taking over netroots and the internet. Netroots were, since Dean, a self-important clique. But I do think we have not begun to discuss sexism in this campaign.
As Obama chose to run as as black man, I think that Clinton should have chosen to run as a woman. Instead, she ran as a none-of-the-above-demographics, just her. Clinton was well-known enough to do that. But it meant she really couldn’t fight back as a woman. And she lost the opportunity to turn her campaign into a cause: a woman president as change, indeed. Oh well, it’s probably too late.
Saw a commercial this morning for a speakers series at Radio City Music Hall with pundits and politicians. What’s interesting is the market value for each:
* Week 1: Tucker Carlson, James Carville, Arianna Huffington, Anderson Cooper: $30-250. Pundits come cheap
* Week 2: Al Gore: $60-500. An almost-a-president is golden.
* Week 3: John Edwards, Rudy Giuliani: $50-250. Even losers are worth more than pundits.
* Week 4: William Jefferson Clinton: $60-500. Jeesh. He couldn’t have saved all the aggravation of running the free world and just made a PowerPoint.
Media and Obama fans are trying to change the rules and kick Clinton out of the race. It’s no surprise that Obama would try to do that; it’s politics. But that media has accepted this meme is only further demonstration of their Obamalove.
This week’s On the Media is a mash note for Obama if there ever were one. My friend Bob Garfield repeats over and over that Hillary can’t win and then goes on to ask whether media should even be covering her or at least not as much as they are because, after all, he has declared her the loser.
Let’s get this straight (again): Obama, too, is not likely to walk into the convention with enough delegates to win. And then the rules decree that it should be up to the superdelegates. There is no rule that says they must act as a proporational whole or that they all should accede to the wishes of the majority. I’m not saying that would be a bad rule — indeed, I’ve long wanted national or regional primaries that count onlly the popular vote and I’ve long wanted to abandon delegate votes, not to mention the Electoral College, because — we need no better proof than 2000 — it can be gamed. But we are still stuck with our system and so both sides will maneuver within those rules. However, media and Obama think Clinton should not have that right.
Let’s put forward another scenario: Imagine that John Edwards had sparked voters more and that he stayed in the election until the convention, walking in as the kingmaker who could throw his support either way and crown the nominee. I don’t think we’d be insisting that whoever was behind — No. 2 — in the vote should be quitting before the convention. I don’t think we’d be insisting that Edwards had no choice but to throw his support behind the candidate with the most votes (though that candidate might make a wishful try to argue that). No, we’d realize that Edwards would decide where to throw his critical support based on (1) his self-interest, (2) his party’s best interest — which is to say, victory in November, and (3) his own beliefs (not necessarily in that order). We could only hope that those interests would all coincide. But that would be his decision.
Well, the superdelegates are all John Edwards. They have been charged with making this decision at the convention if there is not a nominee thanks to the fucked-up system of popular vote mixed with caucuses mixed with disenfranchising crucial states. The election remains close, not over, and for better or worse, it is going to be in their hands — not to mention the voters who’ve not yet voted. How dare media try to grab it away.
Hey, Obamalovers, the election’s not over yet. In the soon-to-be-immortal word of Bill Clinton: Chill.
: ALSO: Just to show there are no hard feelings with Bob — it’s politics — I’ll embed his masterful commercial for ComcastMustDie, which I see I forgot to embed before. One has nothing to do with the other but I’ll take the excuse to show how Bob and I agree about defeating something: cable companies.
I’m thinking of donating to Clinton’s Pennsylvania campaign. As a journalist that has been a firing offense: the mortal sin of revealing mortal opinions. But I’ve certainly revealed my opinions. I’m a journalist but I don’t work for any such institution. What do you say: venial sin or act of grace?