Who Will Survive, and What Will Be Left of Them?

Image borrowed from MSNBC.com; click for original story!If the race to the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination was a movie franchise, it’d be “Friday the 13th” — just when you think it’s over, it lurches back out of the cultural darkness with another installment. It won’t stay dead.

Taking that analogy to its logical end, Hillary Clinton’s victory last night in the Pennsylvania primary would be “Part V: A New Beginning” — the one that asks the audience to ignore virtually everything that’s been established in the series and tries to start the whole damn thing over again.

See, even with this victory, there’s no almost way Clinton can win the nomination — as Slate’s John Dickerson explains, she’s so far behind on pledged delegates that she’d need to win all the remaining primaries by an overwhelming margin just to pull even with Barack Obama. (She took Pennsylvania by a hair.)

So now Clinton’s strategy is to convince the “superdelegates” — key Democratic players who don’t necessarily have to support their state’s chosen candidate — to vote for her, and push her over the top.

Sure, it’s a total long shot, but it’s the only shot she has, so what the hell, right? Game the system, ignore the stated will of the people — hey, it’s nothing the current administration isn’t doing — and grab that mantle. It’s all about the win. It doesn’t matter how you get there, or what you do to the party along the way.

Obama’s message of putting the old ways behind us and finding a new way to have the political conversation just sounds better and better … and ever more necessary.

8 thoughts on “Who Will Survive, and What Will Be Left of Them?”

  1. The race between these two candidates is so close that I wouldn’t exactly call Obama’s slim lead “the will of the people”. It’s more like “the will of a tiny margin more people than the will of the rest of the people”. Also, the way that people vote in primaries is not necessarily indicative of the way they’ll vote in the general election. The superdelegates need to consider not just the vote counts in their states, but also need to consider which candidate they believe will be better suited to face McCain in the fall. That’s the real race, the one that matters most, and everyone knows it.

    Obama may have so-called ‘momentum’ now, but momentum is an elusive thing that comes and goes at a whim. Voters may like him for the candidacy, but when push comes to shove will they really want to put someone with so little political experience into office during a time of war, or will they panic, change their minds, and vote for McCain instead? This is a real concern. The Presidency isn’t a learn-on-the-job vocation. McCain’s entire campaign is going to be based on the notion that he knows what he’s doing, which is something that will appeal to a great many voters.

    Yes, “it’s all about the win”. That’s politics. But, taking an idealist view, it’s also about people who want to serve their country and believe that they can do a better job than the competition if they can just get past the election.

    I like Obama. I also like Clinton. Whichever one gets the nomination will also get my vote in the fall. Either one will represent a considerable improvement for this country.

  2. Norm…Isn’t the whole point of having superdelegates, that they have the freedom to use their own judgement even if it is contrary to ‘the will’ of the people. You make it sound like it would be wrong of them to exercise that freedom.

    Keep in mind that ‘the will of the people’ will be a few months old by the time the convention rolls around. There may be good reason to vote contrary to the herd.

    I also don’t care much which of these two wins – they’re both fine candidates. I certainly would never fault Clinton from giving up her dream because it seems unlikely to succeed. Besides…I think that this contest is helping the Democratic candidates gain prolonged exposure. McCain may be making some appearances but who really cares.

  3. Yet another juvenile assesment of U.S politics from Mr. Wilner. Norm, you should really just stick to telling us about all the cheap HD-DVDs you’ve been picking up lately.

    Obama’s “message of putting the old ways behind us and finding a new way to have the political conversation” is exactly the same bullsh*t GW ran on in 2000 – albeit a lot more coherent and polished. He’ll still get slaughtered Mondale style in a GE with McCain.

    Hillary is the only option for the Democratcs if they seriously want to recapture the White House in November, which is why the SDs will back her and she will win both the primary and the general.

  4. @ Josh (and, by extension, Chris): I agree with most of your points — McCain’s got ownership of the experience card in the public mind, and Obama is a weaker challenger there than Clinton. But there are a couple of things about Clinton that I find very troubling: First, she comes off as stiff and calculating in a debate setting, while I suspect Obama could hold his own against that smooth-folksy thing McCain does. And second, red-staters HATE her. A decade of demonization by the barking heads on talk radio have people believing she’s the freakin’ Antichrist; she won’t sway them to her side, and if anything she’ll get them out to vote AGAINST her. I don’t think Obama will inspire that sort of loathing, except perhaps in the South, but the South is long since lost to us.

    @ Oded — I’m certainly not saying the superdelegates shouldn’t be encouraged to act on their best judgment … it’s just that I’d rather see them exercise it the way I think they should, you know?

    @ Karen — The difference between Bush and Obama is that Obama may actually believe the things he says; at the very least, we come away thinking he understands them. And anyone who invokes Mondale in this context needs to crack a history book; this is decidedly not 1984 all over again. (Unless you’re referring to the book, in which case you might be on to something.)

    Oh, and spell your swears. Everyone knows what words you’re using; no point in f*cking around.

  5. Says the guy who used “freakin'” earlier in the post. 🙂

    I think you forget that the red-staters who think Hillary is the antichrist also aren’t very fond of McCain. If we’re lucky, those people will do the world a favor and sit this election out.

Comments are closed.