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Hey ! Da King had that same haircut and beard in 1973 ! (as Bill, not Hillary). Ah, the sixties and seventies, who can
The endless media prattle about whether Hillary Clinton should drop out of the presidential race has become a steady irritant to me (the media spends so much time talking about so very little), so I apologize now, because I'm about to jump in that same pool.
What spurred me was an article from salon.com called 'If The System Made Sense, Clinton Would Be Far Ahead.' I nearly avoided reading the article, since I didn't believe it could possibly be persuasive, and like I said, I'm tiring of the endless repetitive drone emanating from the talking heads on this subject. Upon reading the piece, however, I changed my mind. It was persuasive, actually compelling.
On all fronts, the Democratic primary has been about the most undemocratic exercise in cynicism and stupidity I've ever had the displeasure to witness. I have already discussed some of that previously here, but there is much more I left out.
First of all, if the Democrats ran their primary they way the country runs the general election, Hillary WOULD be far ahead:
"If the Democrats heeded the "winner takes all" democracy that prevails in American politics, and that determines the president, Clinton would be comfortably in front. In a popular-vote winner-take-all system, Clinton would now have 1,743 pledged delegates to Obama's 1,257. If she splits the 10 remaining contests with Obama, as seems plausible, with Clinton taking Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana and Puerto Rico, and Obama winning North Carolina, South Dakota, Montana, Oregon and Guam, she'd pick up another 364 pledged delegates. She'd have 2,107 before a single superdelegate was wooed. You need 2,024 to be the Democratic nominee. Game over. No more blogospheric ranting about Clinton "stealing" the nomination by kidnapping superdelegates or cutting deals at a brokered convention."
Obama supporters may cry, 'yes, but Obama has the lead in the popular vote as well !'. True, but if Michigan and Florida were added to the mix instead of being disenfranchised, the popular vote AND the delegate count would be up for grabs, even under the current distorted funhouse mirror of Democrat primary rules:
"Obama's current lead in the popular vote would nearly vanish if the results from Michigan and Florida were included in the total, and his lead in pledged delegates would melt almost to nothing. The difference in the popular vote would fall to 94,005 out of nearly 27 million cast thus far -- a difference of a mere four-tenths of 1 percentage point -- and the difference in delegates would plummet to about 30, out of the 2,024 needed to win. Add those states' votes to the totals, and take a sober look at Clinton's popular-vote victories in virtually all other large states, and the electoral dynamic changes. She begins to look like the almost certain nominee."
Worse yet, Obama, who attempts to pass himself off as a new kind of politican - post-partisan, hope inspiring, and a unifying influence, has steadfastly resisted enfranchising those disenfranchised voters in Florida and Michigan. This makes Obama less a new kind of politican, and more the old kind, as in Chicago mob boss politics. His attitude is strictly self-serving, the voters and democracy be damned:
"The Obama camp's reaction has not been to clean up the mess the party has created, but to benefit from it. Given the original primary outcomes in Michigan and Florida, Obama has rejected the idea of certifying the results. Although Obama's supporters conducted a stealth "uncommitted" campaign in Michigan after he voluntarily removed his name from the state ballot, and even though, contrary to DNC directives, his campaign advertised in Florida, Clinton still won both states decisively. This leaves open the option of holding new primaries in both states. National and state party officials have announced that such revotes could be conducted."
"...the Obama campaign has stoutly resisted any such revote in either state. In Michigan, Obama's supporters thwarted efforts to pass the legislation necessary to conduct a new primary. In Florida, campaign lawyers threw monkey wrenches to stop the process cold, claiming that a revote would somehow violate the Voting Rights Act, and charging that a proposed mail-in revote would not be "fraud proof." (Obama himself, it's important to note, proposed a bill in 2007 to allow for mail-in voting in federal elections.)"
There's your Obama hope and change, folks. What Obama has exhibited is the same thing so many politicians exhibit, the lust for power above all else, and that sure ain't new or different.
The Democratic primaries are SO screwed up that Obama has actually received more delegates in some states he LOST to Hillary Clinton:
"In Nevada, Clinton also won a popular majority, despite pressure from union officials on the rank and file attending the caucuses to vote for Obama. Yet Obama claims, on the primary electoral map posted on his official Web site, that he actually won Nevada -- presumably because rules that gave greater weight to rural than urban votes mean he won a marginal edge in the Byzantine allotment of the state's delegates. Why, in deference to the clear-cut Nevada popular majority, doesn't Obama cede the majority of the state's delegates to Clinton? Because, according to the rules, he's entitled to those delegates. But why are the rules suddenly sacrosanct and the popular vote irrelevant? Might it be because the rules, and not the popular vote, now benefit Obama? And what about Texas, another state where Clinton won the popular vote but has not been awarded the majority of pledged delegates? Once again, for Obama, the rules are suddenly all-important -- because the rules, and not the popular majority, now favor him."
Most of the states Obama has won in the Democratic primaries are red states, meaning they are states Republicans won in 2004. Republicans are likely to carry most of them again in 2008. Hillary has won the big key swing states in the primaries. The only big swing state Obama won was his home state of Illinois. This does give Hillary a legitimate reason to claim she is the more electable candidate in the general election:
"Obama has tried to reinforce his democratic bona fides by asserting his superior electability, and by claiming that Clinton's supporters are more likely to back him in November than vice versa. The polls, however, show otherwise. And even more important, the polling data on the electoral vote totals show an outcome very different from the one suggested by Obama. The latest state-by-state figures (as of late March) updated from SurveyUSA, indicate that if the election were held today, Clinton would defeat McCain in the Electoral College because of her lead in big, electoral-vote-rich states such as Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania -- and McCain would beat Obama."
Here's salon.com's final thought:
"In the final analysis, though, the fights inside the Democratic Party aren't really about either an ideal American democracy or the American democracy that actually exists. According to the Obama campaign, democracy is defined as whatever helps Barack Obama win the Democratic nomination. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with a candidate arguing this way. But everybody should see it for what it is -- not something new or transformative, but one of the oldest ploys in the playbook of American politics."
Hard to disagree with that when all the evidence is weighed.
Hillary may not become the nominee, but what ultimately stops her might not be Barack Obama so much as the bizarre nature of the game the Democrats have rigged up.
They say this is the Dems year. If so, I hope they govern better than they select a nominee, but it sure doesn't look good so far.