Sunday, May 25, 2008

Why lobbying needs to be outlawed

When even the mainstream news makes it crystal clear how corrupt it is, there's an opportunity to weaken it.

I read an entry of Glenn Greenwald's yesterday that makes the point in more obvious, precise detail.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Please, god, give up after June 3

The title links to a Wall Street Journal article that lays out a critical upcoming moment in the Democratic Presidential nomination race: the May 31 meeting of a subcomittee in charge of the Democratic National Party's rules & bylaws. Representatives of Michigan and Florida have submitted compromise proposals apportioning some delegates from each state to both candidates.

On the one hand, Hillary Rodham Clinton has vowed she would support the desires of the two states. On the other, her position is cited to be full, undiminished allocation of all delegates as though their primaries had been legal.

Which will she choose? Whatever the rules subcommittee decides, she (or Obama) can appeal. Will she, if she doesn't get what she wants?

Will she stop if a majority of 2210 pledged and super-delegates declare for Obama?

I really don't know. Maybe she'll stop, but I can imagine that she won't. She has to quit, right? Bosnia; white Americans; Zimbabwe; Kennedy. Surely she realizes it is all over, and she must not contest the decision of the committee or the primaries.

You superdelegates better show some goddamn spine.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Delegate math is hard, or Why I'm not researching pledged Clinton superdelegates any more

Upon more reading, I discovered weirdnesses in the delegate math I attempted in my last post. For instance: those as-yet unnamed 54 superdelegates? They're Florida's and Michigan's. Obviously their status is in limbo at least until the May 31 DNC rules panel meeting, and depending on how that goes their status could change all the way through the convention.

However, Andrew Sullivan this morning linked to a post at 538 that appears to exhaustively cover all the possibilities, and it seems it's just a matter of when Obama will reach 2209 delegates--the latest likely date being June 1 after Puerto Rico's primary, two days before the end of the primary campaign.

That's just fine with me. My real concern has been whether Hillary Clinton would prolong her campaign beyond June 4. The likelihood now seems that she will have literally lost by that point, under any permutation. Whew.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Hillary's cagey new math

If you've been following the neverending Democratic presidential nomination saga, you're aware that Hillary Clinton has recently moved the goalposts. Up until a few days ago, the number of delegates needed to clinch the nomination, according to her campaign and everyone else, was 2025. This number does not include delegates from Michigan and Florida. However, after months of making noises about insisting on Michigan and Florida being included, Hillary went official, raising the number to 2209.

Far be it from me to question a politician's motives. Let me just note some figures. Obama currently has an estimated 1859 delegates. There remain 217 undeclared named superdelegates. If all these superdelegates decide after June 3 (the last Democratic primaries) that it's time to wrap this up and declare for Obama, he's well past 2025, at 2072. If we include the remaining unnamed superdelegates (54), he's at a maximum of 2126. That's 81 short of 2209, meaning this thing can't end until the convention.

Political wisdom is pretty much united that one of the most damaging things that could happen to the Democratic nominee's chances is to continue this fight between the last delegate voting contests (June 7) and the August convention, including an actual convention fight.

To me, the course of action is obvious. Remove her last excuse. Convince 81 of Hillary's pledged superdelegates to switch to Obama. (Also, let's go ahead and get those Michigan and Florida delegations seated; they'll boost Hillary's numbers, but also Obama's, significantly reducing the number of superdelegates who would need to switch their support to put this frigging zombie out of her misery.)

I'm researching the contact information for Hillary's superdelegates. Call them, fax them, email them. Figure out what makes them tick (a lot of them are corrupt political operators, not likely to budge based on principled appeals--I'm specifically thinking of Dr. Joe L. Reed).

Patti Higgins, Chair of the Alaska Democratic Party
Phone (907) 360-2561
Fax (907) 258-1626

Dr. Joe L. Reed, Chairman, Alabama Democratic Conference
Associate Executive Secretary, Alabama Education Association
Home (334) 263-2222
Ph (334) 263-4040 (ADC)
Ph 334-834-9790 (AEA)
Fax 334-262-8377 (AEA)

Rev. (or Rep?) Randy B. Kelley
Home (256) 492-1091

Hon. Yvonne Kennedy
Home (251) 438-9509

Gov. Togiola T.A. Tulafono (American Samoa)
Office (684) 633-4116
Mr. Pati Faiai, Chief of Staff

I've been doing Google searches on superdelegates' names culled from the two links at the end of this post. So far the richest lists of contact information have been the following page for Alabama, as well as Political Base, which has already gathered a lot of contact information.

Sourcewatch's list of Hillary's superdelegates

2008 Democratic Convention Watch's list of superdelegate endorsements

CORRECTION: I referred to June 7 as the last date of "delegate voting contests"; in fact, the last date is June 3.