Speaking of delegates...

By R.P. Joe Smith of Portland, Oregon. Joe is a former state representative, a former county DA, and serves on the board of the Bus Project. His son Jefferson Smith is a candidate for the Oregon House, and his wife Meredith Wood Smith is the chair of the Democratic Party of Oregon.

As someone who started out torn between Joe Biden and John Edwards, and has wound up supporting Senator Barack Obama, I'd still like to suggest a reason Senator Hillary Clinton should hang in until at least past Pennsylvania.

If the pledged delegates remain true to their pledges, the Edwards delegates stay on the fence, and the unpledged automatics (misnamed by the media "super delegates") don't rush wholesale to one candidate or the other, it is at least possible that neither candidate will get the necessary majority on the first ballot.

If that happens, as I understand it (and for sure, for Oregon) all the delegates will be free to vote for whoever they choose on the second. There are so many things that could happen between now and the convention, and even at the convention, that if the arithmetic continues to make that possible one can hardly expect either candidate to bow out prematurely. (And, a stalemate on the second could produce all kinds of crazy scenarios!)

What I really DO hope happens, is that not just those who can fairly be called "surrogates," but more important, all of the folks like those who participate on this blog, will knock off the demeaning attacks and focus on what matters: seeing to it we don't get McBush.

Folks, we have just as big a responsibility as the candidates' staffs to not do things that will help produce 4 more years of the folly we've suffered the last 7+. There is not, has never been, and will never be a perfect candidate. The only candidate that will ever be completely satisfactory to you is you -- and even then, your ego might allow admitting at least some minor defect. What we have is two extremely bright, thoughtful people, either of whom could have been inordinately successful at making money had they stayed in the private sector, who have both chosen to take on one of the toughest jobs imaginable, at least in large part because they care about their Country, and who are putting up with the grueling ordeal of a national campaign. When we vilify the candidate we don't support we exacerbate the risk that folks who feel differently will stay at home, or worse, go south, in the general election. America as we would like it to be cannot survive that. Making things better must start with you and me.

One more thought: I bet no-one participating in Blue Oregon prefers politicians who never vote 'til they've tested the wind, and then, always go the way it's blowing. Yet that's what one does when one insists "the super delegates must follow the will of the voters." Bullshit.

We should expect every automatic delegate to do what we as voters should do: come to an independent decision on who they think will serve us best as candidate, and as president, based on all the facts they have at the time, and vote accordingly.

One factor they should obviously consider is the level of popular support -- but not by any means, the only factor. (After all, it's less than six years since a strong majority of voters thought Iraq was a great idea!)

Comments

  • Katy (unverified)
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    Great post Joe!

  • Fair and Balanced (unverified)
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    Is it conceivable this comment thread could survive to the end without anyone bashing either candidate? Wouldn't that be great? Come on, BO commenters. Let's go positive!

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    Okay couple of points.

    1) First off I don't believe Joe for a second that he is supporting Obama. His language and framing in this post is pure Hillary supporter. Note the use of the term "automatic delegate" instead of "super -delegate". Who came up with that term while none other than Harold Ickes. Clinton and only hard core Clintonistas use the term "automatic"

    2) The comparison to a politican putting his finger in the wind ala the vote for war 6 years ago and backing the will of the voters in a nationwide election is completly and utterly false and specious. Apples to Oranges. In one case we VOTE for a politician who then we trust to do the right thing and represent his/her consituents but also make tough choices.

    But what we have here is an ELECTION. In this case we have tens of millions of votes cast over many months by voters. There will be hundreds of thousands of votes cast next month in Oregon. You better damn well believe that these SUPERDELEGATES should follow the will of the voters. This isnt some "finger in the wind " thing - this is about not overturning the will of the voters in an ELECTION. Trust me - i will be paying very close attention to how Oregon's supers vote and will be holding folks accountable.

    3) This election is about the heart and soul of the Dem party. Future vs Past. What direction do we want to go? Do we want to be defined by the identity politics that warriors like Joe Smith have grown up in and have defined our party for so many years. Lot's of younger Dems like myself appreciate Joe and Meridith Smith's service to the party but also believe it is time for a new era. A new way of thinking and new leadership. That is why we support Obama.

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    Concerned Dem: First off I don't believe Joe for a second that he is supporting Obama.

    I do. I know Joe and take him at his word.

  • Alex Brenborn (unverified)
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    Well, you're right, the super delegates are not forced to follow the will of the voters. But since they have a disgustingly huge imbalance of power, it would probably be better if they did. Even if they "think" they know best. Rules aside.

  • backbeat12 (unverified)
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    Folks, we have just as big a responsibility as the candidates' staffs to not do things that will help produce 4 more years of the folly we've suffered the last 7+.

    You are lecturing the wrong people Senator Clinton is the one who indicated McSame would be a better CIC than Obama. The Clintons are the ones who installed Terry McAullife as party head and proceeded to weaken and destroy the party, scoffing at populism and a 50 state strategy.

    We'll line up like good little lemmings behind the Democratic candidate, just like we always do. I'll be making GOTV calls/canvassing my neighborhood and you'll still never know who I am. But REALLY. Senator Clinton has run a class-less campaign and clenis has wagged his finger once too often.

    Let them take it to the convention if the Clintons must. But remember....it is one big caucus there and the Clintons claim caucuses are unfair.

    Gag me.

  • Jefferson Smith (unverified)
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    (Concerned Dem, he really is an Obama supporter...or he lies really well in private. And he's a BIG supporter of a new generation with new thinking...more than most people I know of any age. FYI...I am an early and strong Obama supporter.)

    In the spirit of not merely asking for considered debate but modelling it...here are a few thoughts.

    There is a fair discussion to be had about the appropriate role of the automatic delegate -- and how much popular support should play. Should it be "an important factor" -- or should it be determinative? (It's sortuva Democracy vs. Republic discussion (we are a democratically elected republic, after all, and I think that's pretty cool).

    Good discussion question: how much should automatic delegates "follow their conscience" vs. how much should they "follow the will of the voters"? It is hard to separate our desired results (an Obama supporter like me is likely to say "will of voters" -- Hillary supporters might say "conscience") -- but in the interest of reason, we might try.

    A coupla thoughts in favor of the "follow your consience" view: -- Abe Lincoln. He wasn't selected because of popularity -- he was the compromise choice at the Convention. And certainly tied for first as best president ever. Truman also I believe was the pick of the paty machinery.
    -- These examples are merely to point out that one can imagine a sensible government in which an elected/ designated set of folks vote for the leader... rather than strictly popular vote. (Smacks less of democracy, but still qualifies as a republic.)

    A coupla thoughts in favor of "follow the will of the voters": -- Taft vs. Roosevelt vs. Wilson. Roosevelt had the popular support. Taft won the suport of the party bosses at the convention and gave the Republican Party over to the commercial powers for the foreseeable future. Roosevelt ran anyway as a Bull Moose/Progressive and threw the election to Wilson. (Had Roosevelt won the nomination, some of us might be Republicans today.) -- An unspoken fear here is that automatic delegates will less "follow their consciences" than "follow their traded favors." If Hillary wins at the convention, some might feel that decisions were based not on the independent judgment, but because of her (and Bill's) long history of fundraising, friendmaking, and power-building. Not saying that such considerations are out bounds...but am saying that this impression might make a pro-Hillary vote seem less like a vote of courage and more like a vote of crony-ism. (To be very clear: I think there are many good reasons to make a vote of conscience in favor of Hillary.)

    What are some other important thoughts?

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)
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    Very well put, Joe. And for anyone who doubts Joe's sincerity about his support for Obama, I have never seen Joe say anything other than what he really means -- even when a little, um , diplomatic vagueness may have made things go more smoothly.

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    Since the Smiths are unlikely to toot their own horn on this lemme argue two points:

    1) Age does not equal support of the status quo. I know 'em personally and have watched 'em fight first from the floor and later from the power positions. They always fought to elevate the grassroots over the establishment.

    Although I disagree with Joe and Meredith (and Jefferson too for that matter) on a lot of issues, it's ludicrous to allege personal interest over principle in their decision making. I know for a fact that all three of them have paid a price for their convictions over the years.

    2) All that said, I'd argue that the ideas that Joe finds exciting (like deciding at the convention, or worse on the second or third ballot) send a cold wave of terror through me.

    <hr/>

    Although I understand that all of the arcane Rules of Order and legal hair splitting is necessary to the function of both the party and the nation, the less we get into all of that the better.

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    Unless Obama gets caught with a toxic waste dump in his sub basement or we learn that Michelle has battled a long secret addiction to Cheeze Puffs, he's going to keep the remaining races close enough to preclude Clinton from getting the nomination.

    Let it play out through the last state caucus if you must, but don't risk the perception of an outright heft at the convention. The Party might never recover.

    This ain't the 1800s or even the 1900s, and we'll all be watching every move in real time.

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    The fear/resentment of super delegates is overblown anyway--without these extra delegates, in the event of a statistical tie the regular convention delegates would eventually end up released & free to change their votes anyway. Having automatic ("super") delegates in the mix ensures that if the outcome must be decided at the convention, those who do decide the final choice will be well-known enough to be held accountable for the way they vote--unlike the regular delegates, who are virtually unknown and not really answerable to anyone. I like the basic design of the system as it is.

    As for the bitterness between Clinton and Obama, you ain't seen nothing yet--just wait till the Republicans begin to attack the Democratic nominee in earnest. Stand back!

  • joeldanwalls (unverified)
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    One more thought: I bet no-one participating in Blue Oregon prefers politicians who never vote 'til they've tested the wind, and then, always go the way it's blowing. Yet that's what one does when one insists "the super delegates must follow the will of the voters." Bullshit.

    Here's an excerpt from the Wikipedia entry on the impeachment of Andrew Johnson, with emphasis added:

    "Seven Republican senators were disturbed by how the proceedings had been manipulated in order to give a one-sided presentation of the evidence. Senators William Pitt Fessenden, Joseph S. Fowler, James W. Grimes, John B. Henderson, Lyman Trumbull, Peter G. Van Winkle, and Edmund G. Ross of Kansas, who provided the decisive vote, defied their party and public opinion and voted against conviction."

    When Andrew Johnson was impeached

  • IRS (unverified)
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    Latest News...

    Bill and Hillary made $109 million from 2000-2007

    http://gothamist.com/2008/04/04/bill_hillary_cl.php

  • Joe Smith (unverified)
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    It really saddens me that the first response to my attempt to cool some of the rhetoric was to call me a liar -- but no surprise that it came from someone posting under an assumed name ("Concerned Voter.") For what it's worth, I made my first financial contribution to Senator Obama's campaign months ago, and was one of the nation-wide volunteers who made phone calls to California the week before the California primary. I assume you can verify that with the campaign.

    As to the correct term ("automatic" or "super"), the term comes from the rules of the Party. "Super" was a creation of the media, and in my view distorts their role.

    A comment on their role: leaving the City Club debate today I was told by someone who disagrees with me on letting automatics vote their conscience that "we" (meaning, I think, voters") "are more important than they (meaning automatics) are." To which I took, and take serious exception.

    If he meant as human beings, we're equal. But if -- as I assume -- he meant as decision-makers for the Democratic Party, no way.

    I don't know if that person is even a Precinct Committee Person (I do not recall seeing him at any Party meetings, but I don't pretend to see everyone), but I do know that for at least 12, and often 15 or so months out of every biennium the Democratic Party is not kept alive by "20 million voters" (his figure). It is kept alive by a remarkably small number of folks who out of dedication or stupidity (take your pick) attend meetings, and debate issues, and generally, carry the flag for the Party. Those people elect leaders, who for one or another of the same reasons put in inordinate amounts of time to keep the Party viable. To suggest that it's somehow wrong to give those people a more significant role in making our Party's most important decision than a voter whose sole participation in Party affairs may be voting once every two years just doesn't fly with me.

    It's also disappointing that another person unwilling to reveal his or her identity criticizes for "lecturing the wrong people." Guess I have to plead guilty to the "lecturing," but aren't the "right people" those who we might most likely influence? (My fantasy is that those people are the ones -- both Obama and Clinton supporters -- who pay attention to Blue Oregon!)

    I've been pretty active in the "Peace Movement" for a long time. One of the homilies often expressed was -- is -- "Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me." Corny. Syrupy.

    Good advice though.

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    Okay so it appears I may have unfairly impugned Joe Smith's credibility here but the framing of his posting smacked of talking points from Hillaryis44.org so I reacted kinda of strongly. Apologies.

    But my more important statment stands - if the superdelegates attempt to overturn the will of the voters there will be a riot. You can argue all you want about the arcane convention or DNC rules or the history in the 1800 and 1900's of convention nominated delegates but this thing has gotten too public, too personal and frankly over heated as you point out, for Obama folks to allow a small minority to overturn the will of 50 states.

    The bottom line, as an early Edwards support now Obama, is that I would support the idea of the super-del's following the pledged delegate regardless of who was ahead. It simply would destroy the will of a whole generation of people who have invested a great deal in Obama if a bunch of party insiders would turn things for Hillary. We have said for years "Where are all the young folks?" Well they are here and they are chomping at the bit ready to work their butts off for Obama this fall and it would be an unmitigated disaster if Hillary were to be perceieved as somehow "stealing" the election.

    Finally i'll say this - if at the end of the next 2 months Hillary has more pledged dels then the supers should support here.

  • BCM (unverified)
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    We should expect every automatic delegate to do what we as voters should do: come to an independent decision on who they think will serve us best as candidate, and as president, based on all the facts they have at the time, and vote accordingly.

    Bullshit.

    What's the purpose of voting for a candidate then? Why don't we just vote for delegates who we trust to make 'an informed, independent decision?'

    I'm sure as hell going to check out if my vote for president is subject to what someone else 'thinks.'

  • Stephen (unverified)
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    "But what we have here is an ELECTION."

    This is not an election of a nominee. It's a series of elections as part of a nominating process. I know it's somewhat crushing to hear that, but it's the truth. I'm not sure what the "super" or "automatic" delegates should do, but as part of the process, we've entrusted them with the power to make the decision, whatever it may be.

  • Mike Schryver (unverified)
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    I've been one of those "will of the voters" types that Joe is scolding - I used that exact phrase here recently. I still don't know how I feel about the idea of the automatic delegates potentially overturning the cumulative vote of rank and file Dems, but Joe's points are well made, and he has a track record of being right about this sort of thing.

    BCM - We are voting for delegates, not candidates. We're just not selecting all of the delegates.

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    Thanks for the words, Joe. I think this definitely goes along with what we'd discussed at our recent 3rd Congressional District delegation meeting.

    We discussed the animosity between the two campaigns and their supporters and what we could do to temper it down and ensure we're not:

    1) hurting the party 2) driving away voters and volunteers 3) giving the Republicans ammunition for this fall

    Over and over again, each of us talked about trying to get the supporters to calm down the bashing and name calling and stick with the issues and the positives of why you're supporting a candidate.

    One of Joe's recommendations was calling them Senator Obama and Senator Clinton instead of just Obama and Hillary. I've tried to stick with this, even though it was Clinton that asked months ago for people to use "Hillary" instead of "Clinton."

  • BCM (unverified)
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    BCM - We are voting for delegates, not candidates. We're just not selecting all of the delegates.

    That's a big negative, Mike. Unless I'm missing something, the candidates names are on the ballot, not the delegates. I'm not voting for a delegate to make up his mind, I'm voting for a candidate, albeit through a delegate. Nevertheless, the delegate is intended to represent our collective vote, not their personal opinion.

    What I'm saying, is that if the latter is the case, why don't we hold this election with the names of the delegates on the ballots instead of the candidates.

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    "What I'm saying, is that if the latter is the case, why don't we hold this election with the names of the delegates on the ballots instead of the candidates."

    Bingo BCM.

    This is the problem with the insider views (of which I am one having been the campaign manager for multiple Dem candidates in Oregon) that Joe expresses so forcefully here.

    YOU may think you have done more more for the party over the years than "just a voter" and in fact you have but frankly...it is completely irrelevant.

    The reason this arcane system has existed for so long is that we havent had contested primaries like this in forever. Slowly the primary process, especially in the later voting states that have traditionally been completely irrielvant, has been used as a favor currying excersize that rewards party activists by letting them go to the convention or making them a delegate etc etc. It was a system not set up to handle a serious competitive race like we have now.

    So to use the very crappy system you set up as a party regular and rules committee chair etc etc etc to justify the rank stupidity of the superdelegate system is frankly absurd.

    Joe, regardless of whether you are right, in politics perception=reality and right now the whole superdelegate system is looking awfully awfully undemocratic to the 20 million dem voters who enthusiastically went to the polls in favor of Hillary or Obama these past 3 months. Your response (essentially let them eat cake) will do nobody any favors come November as we need those 20 millions Dem voters far more than we need you, or I or anyone else who makes up the Dem state conventions.

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    Dear BCM, ours is a representative democracy, and even in the general election you only vote for someone because you trust them to carry out their duties in accord with the publicized policies of the party of your choice. You can't dictate how they apply policy. Why would that be different with delegates?

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    I will cop to being the unnamed someone Joe so graciously declined to identify. I wouldn't have objected if he had, but as usual Joe was classy about it. I have a large reservoir of respect for the elder Smith, and I look forward to talking with him at length soon for a project I'm doing with Jefferson.

    But I wanted to our myself because Joe said to me what Ed B just did--we trust them with policy, why not this? My answer is that we elected them for that job, not to help us pick our leaders for us. Our mix of democracy and republic is in fact reflected in those truths--the people choose the leaders, and the leaders decide on policy. This is an election, and elections's are the people's province. Twas not always thus in the US, but we have evolved to it and I think few would advocate for reverting back to that

    I was quite surprised--even more so to see his followup--that Joe superordinates the Party elite to the extent he does, that 800 of them should carry more weight within the party than 20mil plus Democratic voters who will be back in November for the real deal...or not. I have great respect for those who dedicate themselves to building the Party beyond election cycles. But to suggest that this effort is really about The Party, as Joe told me, runs me the wrong way. I thought it was about the country, and the people the Party wishes to represent. I can't get to the mountaintop without a ladder of strength to get me there, and before I ever came along people worked very hard on building it. But the point isn't the ladder; it's getting people to the mountaintop. And not just the ladder builders--all of us. The Democratic Party isn't there to become its own monolith of power. It is a tool to put the best American voices in a position to lead.

    Hardto be 100% as thoughtful as i'd like on this phone, but that's the gist. And I always enjoy your writing and find your columns good topics for discussion, Joe. I look forward to our next civil disagreement!

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    Joe raises some interesting points, as he often does. It's fun to see the folks who confuse theory with facts getting all excited, especially the guy who called for accountability while being anonymous. He/she's got the right, and that's what this blog is for.

    Just for the record, I'll be announcing my decision sometime between our primary and our congressional district caucuses on June 7. I don't think Oregon Democrats need my advice on how to vote, and I don't think it will be good for the country for us "super" delegates to hold out until August.

    By the way, the phrase "automatic" delegates to describe folks like me is an old term that I'm sure wasn't born on Harold Ickes' talking points. It was used while I was learning this process back in 2003, and I used it when I was training people in 2004, when the phrase "super" delegate wasn't even thought of. I'm using it now as I go to counties around Oregon showing people how to participate in the process.

    The phrase in the Delegate Selection Plan is "Unpledged Party Leader/Elected Official" which is a mouthful, so we're all using shorthand here.

    Joe didn't set this system up, and he's not the rules committee chair. The DNC set up this process, and I'm the DPO rules chair. Joe's on my committee, and he livens it up considerably.

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    Joe raises some interesting points, as he often does. It's fun to see the folks who confuse theory with facts getting all excited, especially the guy who called for accountability while being anonymous. He/she's got the right, and that's what this blog is for.

    Just for the record, I'll be announcing my decision sometime between our primary and our congressional district caucuses on June 7. I don't think Oregon Democrats need my advice on how to vote, and I don't think it will be good for the country for us "super" delegates to hold out until August.

    By the way, the phrase "automatic" delegates to describe folks like me is an old term that I'm sure wasn't born on Harold Ickes' talking points. It was used while I was learning this process back in 2003, and I used it when I was training people in 2004, when the phrase "super" delegate wasn't even thought of. I'm using it now as I go to counties around Oregon showing people how to participate in the process.

    The phrase in the Delegate Selection Plan is "Unpledged Party Leader/Elected Official" which is a mouthful, so we're all using shorthand here.

    Joe didn't set this system up, and he's not the rules committee chair. The DNC set up this process, and I'm the DPO rules chair. Joe's on my committee, and he livens it up considerably.

  • jacksmith (unverified)
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    YOU MIGHT BE AN IDIOT:-)

    If you think Barack Obama with little or no experience would be better than Hillary Clinton with 35 years experience.

    You Might Be An Idiot!

    If you think that Obama with no experience can fix an economy on the verge of collapse better than Hillary Clinton. Whose ;-) husband (Bill Clinton) led the greatest economic expansion, and prosperity in American history.

    You Might Be An Idiot!

    If you think that Obama with no experience fighting for universal health care can get it for you better than Hillary Clinton. Who anticipated this current health care crisis back in 1993, and fought a pitched battle against overwhelming odds to get universal health care for all the American people.

    You Might Be An Idiot!

    If you think that Obama with no experience can manage, and get us out of two wars better than Hillary Clinton. Whose ;-) husband (Bill Clinton) went to war only when he was convinced that he absolutely had to. Then completed the mission in record time against a nuclear power. AND DID NOT LOSE THE LIFE OF A SINGLE AMERICAN SOLDIER. NOT ONE!

    You Might Be An Idiot!

    If you think that Obama with no experience saving the environment is better than Hillary Clinton. Whose ;-) husband (Bill Clinton) left office with the greatest amount of environmental cleanup, and protections in American history.

    You Might Be An Idiot!

    If you think that Obama with little or no education experience is better than Hillary Clinton. Whose ;-) husband (Bill Clinton) made higher education affordable for every American. And created higher job demand and starting salary's than they had ever been before or since.

    You Might Be An Idiot!

    If you think that Obama with no experience will be better than Hillary Clinton who spent 8 years at the right hand of President Bill Clinton. Who is already on record as one of the greatest Presidents in American history.

    You Might Be An Idiot!

    If you think that you can change the way Washington works with pretty speeches from Obama, rather than with the experience, and political expertise of two master politicians ON YOUR SIDE like Hillary and Bill Clinton..

    You Might Be An Idiot!

    If you think all those Republicans voting for Obama in the Democratic primaries, and caucuses are doing so because they think he is a stronger Democratic candidate than Hillary Clinton. :-)

    Best regards

    jacksmith...

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    I might be an idiot, because I can't figure out why I post twice from time to time.

  • LT (unverified)
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    First of all, I remember State Democratic Chair Joe Smith (long before I knew his wife's name is Meredith and he has a son named Jefferson) so I take him at his word--esp. compared to someone on a blog who I have not known for years.

    Secondly, Hillary should stay in until the Oregon primary because it has been a long time since we have had a contested primary.

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    I might be an idiot, but is there any doubt the jury's in on jacksmith?

    Wayne points out the official name for "supers," which I have seem lately shortened to PLEO. (which I pronounce 'plee-o.') how bout we start using that here? They're pleos.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    Shall we all bow to the wisdom and high judgment of those "Keepers of the Flame" the guardians of the temple? I wish that the Clintonite framing of the "automatic" delegate termininology wasn't being used here. Now we hear from the Clinton camp that there is no such thing as a "pledged delegate." Hillary says all of them are free to disregard the actual election results to somehow choose this higher wisdom of who should rule.

    --So not only are the Clintons trying to intimidate the super-Ds, not only are their donors taking back money from the Dem. Nat. Committee (reported just today), and threatening to block funding from Congressional campaigns, but they are now trying to poach pledged delegates.

    Well, since we don't have a system of Plato's Philosopher kings, let's get back to earth. The choice of the primary process is clear and continues to be. And apparently even the Clinton supers (i.e. Maria Cantwell) are saying that they are not going against the nominee with the most pledged delegates. The Clintons continue to embarrass themselves and their supporters with their tactics. The Pa. primary will not be decisive either way, so the premise here of Joe's post is misleading. Once again it's about the numbers of pledged delegates. Current trends suggest despite the 20 pt. lead Clinton once had, it's going to be very close in Pa. either way and not decisive. Both camps are playing the expectations game. The remaining primaries do not significantly alter the results or the dynamic of the nomination process. Obama needs to get just 208 of remaining pledged delegates to get a majority of pledged delegates, and roughly half of the super Ds to reach the goal of 2025. So he's on track. That is reflected in other indicators, including the Intrade futures market where he's running at 84 pts to Clinton's 16. The new CBS/NY Times, Gallup, and MSNBC polls all show that voters believe Obama is the strongest candidate against McCain and will be the nominee.

    *The main and only remaining question is, how divisive and destructive does the party permit the Clintons become?

    That's my challenge to Joe and his fellow club members. What will it be?? You who make the claim to hold the higher good of the party's election prospects, does the party go down the toilet with the Clinton tactics, or not??

    Here's a new polling which reflects the Dem rejection of Tonya Harding strategy of the Clintons: from Realclear Politics; April 4, 2008 Nat'l Poll: Obama Jumps To +12 Posted by KYLE TRYGSTAD

    A new national Democratic primary poll from Diageo/Hotline (.pdf) (March 28-31, 342 Dem RV, MoE +/- 5.3%) shows Obama leading Clinton by 12 points, after the two had remained close in similar polls in previous months. On negative campaigning, 42% felt Clinton had unfairly attacked Obama, while 22% felt Obama had atttacked Clinton unfairly.

    Obama 50 Clinton 38

    Obama leads by 5.2-points in the RCP Nat'l Average

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    Not just them, TJ.

    There are unpledged PLEOs (the "supers") and six pledged PLEO delegates that we will elect at the state convention on June 21. This process has layers, layers and more layers, and calling two sets of folks PLEOs will just add more confusion.

    PLEO sounds like a brand of margarine, doesn't it?

  • Steve Rosenbaum (unverified)
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    Not only is Joe an honest guy, he is extremely sincere during the rare occasions when he swears!

    I support Obama. Still, if I were Hilary (as sometimes I pretend) I would not drop out.

    I also believe in abolishing the delegate system, especially the super delegates. Why do we need them for President but not other elected offices? Many people will drop Democratic Party affiliation if the Super Delegates trump the popular vote and thereby cause a change in the nominee.

  • BCM (unverified)
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    Dear BCM, ours is a representative democracy, and even in the general election you only vote for someone because you trust them to carry out their duties in accord with the publicized policies of the party of your choice. You can't dictate how they apply policy. Why would that be different with delegates?

    You're way off the mark, Ed.

    First of all, we live in a constitutional republic, not a 'representative democracy.'

    Your argument is at best misguided, at worst a retraction of suffrage. If delegates are allowed to vote simply on their opinion, where does that leave the popular vote? As a fraction of a delegates decision making process?

    Let's think about this, Ed. Suppose delegates begin to vote unconstrained to the popular vote. Why I am voting for a candidate in the first place? Considering that vote would have no impact on the process other than perhaps, maybe a fraction of a suggestion to the delegates, wouldn't it be better to vote for a delegate instead?

    Say delegates are voting on their opinions instead of the vote and I am still voting for a candidate. Do I have any real say in the election? Is that, as you say, 'democratic?'

    What you, Joe, and others are calling for is a rather dramatic restructuring of our electoral system. It's best to think these things out before tossing them out there undigested.

  • KJBEugene (unverified)
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    First there's Disgusted Union Guy and All-For-Hillary on another thread, then there's jacksmith here.

    Welcome to BlueOregon, Clinton shills...

  • (Show?)

    "I Can't Believe It's Not PLEO"

    Actually, PLEO sounds more like a smartphone or a very efficient small car to me.

  • james r bradach (unverified)
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    'Representative democracy' is fundamental progressive idealism. After the experience of the last several years you would think it would be preferable to the mechanisms of the parties. With the glaring split developing among Democrats there has got to be room, and the time has come for a real progessive third party. Just tell the new membership to leave the tricks and games behind!

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    BCM is mistaken; our government is both a constitutional republic (its form) and a representational democracy (its function). I'm not sure what was his point.

    I did not intimate that delegates are allowed to vote unrestrained, but in reality they are only constrained to vote as pledged on the first ballot. As with those elected to office, delegates to the party convention are entrusted to faithfully represent the interests of the voters they represent. They must be allowed to vote differently than pledged on subsequent ballots if they judge it to be in the best interests of those party voters. I don't see this as a denial of his voice in candidate selection, nor as a call for election restructure.

    Perhaps he longs for direct democracy, which seems unamenable to implementation thus far.

  • Amiel Handelsman (unverified)
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    It is good to see so many of us doing our best to keep the dialogue vigorous and respectful. This is the perfect time to put ourselves in the shoes of the "other" candidate and campaign, even if for only 5 minutes, and see what that's like. In fact, I agree with Steve Rosenbaum when he says

    I support Obama. Still, if I were Hilary (as sometimes I pretend) I would not drop out.

    Putting ourself in the other camp's shoes would mean for me: 1. Those of us for Hillary understanding why Obama supporters would be angry and disgusted when Senator Clinton and her campaign said and implied that Obama is not ready to be Commander in Chief 2. Those of us for Obama understanding why Clinton supporters would be angry and disgusted when Obama supporters encourage Clinton to leave the race given how close the race is and given how long it has lasted so far...and earlier when Obama said in a debate that Clinton was "nice enough" (not his peak moment of magnanimity)

    Proposed truce: Obama supporters stop calling for Clinton to end her campaign before the end of the primary season. Clinton campaign stop saying that Obama is not fit to serve (and other "Tonya Harding" tactics). Deal?

    Then, once the primary season ends, reassess the situation.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    Amiel: "Proposed truce: Obama supporters stop calling for Clinton to end her campaign before the end of the primary season. Clinton campaign stop saying that Obama is not fit to serve (and other "Tonya Harding" tactics). Deal?"

    <hr/>

    Though well intended, your post is based on a faulty premise. The race is not mathematically "close" at all. Reporters at Politic.com give Hillary a 10% shot, and only if she can turn the party upside down. It is precisely for that reason that the only road to the nomination is the Tonya Harding strategy, which must of necessity employ tactics designed to destroy Obama as a viable GE candidate. Then the Clintons can turn to the supers and say, "See, he can't win."

    I don't care whether she stays in or stays out. What I find unacceptable is a strategy leading to a McCain victory in the GE and a clear path for Hillary in 2012, since I now truly believe the super Ds are not going send the party over a cliff by ignoring the real delegate count. The Clintons don't care whether I ask them to quit or not, they don't care whether we all fight among ourselves or not. They care about their ambition. And the party elders are unwilling to throw the red flag and say the Clintons are out of bounds in their tactics. So I would say for a minimum of two months the bad blood is going to get worse, especially when poaching pledged delegates is the sport of the season and when dividing Dems along racial and gender lines is fair game.

  • Randy (unverified)
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    I knew it! I just knew it! The Obaaaama people could not help themselves. They just couldn't let the Clintons visit Oregon without random acts of blogging violence.

    Joe - however did the legislature get anything done with the length of your pontifications?

    Jefferson, hope you door pitch is shorter - much shorter.

    <h2>Though both of you made valid points when one waded through all the words.</h2>
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