Friday, March 14, 2008

Losing Faith: Obama Campaign Bets it Can Win Without Florida & Michigan

From "The Obama campaign is bargaining that it can win the nomination without seating Michigan and Florida. I didn't think they would be that insane, but with every day that passes with him refusing to agree to any measure that would remedy the situation in a democratic way, I begin to think that he would rather take his chances with not seating the delegations rather than risk public losses to Hillary.

The ironic thing is that, like Bush in 2000, he doesn't give a shit about the voters, only with manipulating the delegate count by any means necessary to deny Hillary her actual constituencies. In the short term, there is a rational incentive for him to do this, dragging his heels over any decision. He's seeing if he can make Hillary blink. Prior to Ohio and Texas, he was making headway with the super delegates, peeling away a few here and there, trying to make his win seem inevitable so that enough would change sides and make the promise reality. Nothing wrong with that. If he could get a large enough margin in the delegates that he stood a good chance of winning on the first vote then the ambiguous condition of Michigan and Florida could be "resolved" by making them irrelevant. No matter the loud yelling about pledged delegates, until you hit 2025, you don't get the nomination, even if you have more. It's not a plurality vote, but a true majority one - one half + 1 of all possible votes.

The fly in the ointment is that Hillary has absolutely no incentive to back down. The longer things go on, the better it is for her. Whenever she has been faced with a "must win" situation, she has performed. The flip side of her being strong in those contests is that Obama has failed to break through and secure his own victory through winning the big contests.

Barry has not been able to disprove Hillary's campaign narrative - I can win the big, must-win, swing states, even when facing incredibly hostile press and pundits, even when being out spent, even when my obituary is written anew every day, and he cannot, even when he is championed by the press, supported by the blogs, (allegedly) raking in the dough, and being touted as a done-deal. I am the most popular choice in the places the Democrats must win in November.

Hillary is right about the need to revote:

Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that she would favor restaging the Florida and Michigan primaries, if the Democratic national Committee continues to insist that primaries' original results won't be counted.

At an appearance before the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Clinton said she still believed that the results of the two primaries, which were held in violation of national Democratic Party rules, were "fair and they should be honored."

But she added that if the Democratic National Committee continues to insist that the delegates from those states not be seated at the party's convention this summer, then the primaries should be held again.

"In my view there are two options: Honor the results or hold new primary elections,'' Clinton said. She said she hoped rival Barack Obama's campaign would join her "in working to make that happen.''

Clinton says she'd support redoing Fla., Mich. primaries

She is willing to risk losing the gains she has already accrued to ensure that the voters have participated and will view the outcome as legitimate. If the original primaries are not going to be honored, then the voters deserve an opportunity to register their opinions in another way. Insisting on DNC insider-politics rules as the grounds upon which to justify barring the delegations of two key states may play well with the Blogger Boyz, but it will go down sideways with the voters. This isn't just losing legitimacy in Florida or Michigan, either. This is risking losing millions of voters in many states who will look at the gerrymandering of the convention as a betrayal of their participation. Hillary has no guarantee of the nomination even if she does retake Florida and Michigan, but she and every Democrat who can think straight knows the party will take a huge hit in November if voters do not think that Florida and Michigan are being counted fairly. That means a primary, mail-in or otherwise. The caucuses are too compromised.

Obama's game of chicken with the voters is going to backfire badly, and for the right reasons. Not racism. Not lack of experience. Because he knows he can't win in a head-to-head contest:

Obama is advocating disenfranchisement of two must-win states because he does not have enough confidence in his own electoral strength to submit himself to true primary votes by large and diverse Democratic populations.

If Obama does not have faith in himself, why should we?"