Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Bursting the Obama bubble

Landlord of the Orange Sippy Cup™ projected that Obama will win the nomination and it's only a matter of time before Hillary's supporters must get used to the idea. Bah! Another serving of fetid tripe. Chris Bowers agreed titling his post, Finding Closure, in which he speculated (with emphasis):

It may not be popular to say this, but not only does it seem likely that Clinton will not drop out before June 3rd, but it also doesn't seem like a good idea for her to do so. Achieving the sort of closure necessary for a healed, unified party for the general election will require Clinton supporters feeling as though they were allowed to fight until there were no more realistic options remaining. I firmly believe that healing and unifying the party will be quicker and easier if the campaign comes to a slow, gradual conclusion rather than a quick knockout on either April 22nd or May 6th, or a massive superdelegate swing sometime later in May. To use an analogy, the pain will be less with a gradual withdrawal via the patch as Obama slowly builds on his advantage, then if we attempt to abruptly cold turkey on an unannounced date. In fact, it strikes me as quite possible that the party will be almost instantly unified following a mid-June Clinton withdrawal if events between now and then slowly, rather than rapidly, build the case that Clinton cannot win the nomination. In order to achieve the closure necessary for unity, Clinton supporters need to become convinced that there is no way she can win the nomination, and that will not happen all at once. Build slowly over time, and by mid-June we will be ready to unify behind Obama and beat McCain in the general election.

Let me pause for a good ol' fashioned bwahahahahaha! No personal offense intended to the Obama blogger but the idea of Barry's inevitability and letting us Hillary supporters down easy to come together singing Kumbaya after months of cruel Clinton-bashing in the media and WWTSBQ in the 'sphere strikes me funny. It's a joke, right?

What Bowers inadvertently foreshadows is the Obamasphere and Tweety Inc. will once again crank up the Wurlitzer from here to August until it annoyingly harangues Clinton can't win at a teeth-gritting velocity and further alienates Clinton supporters. The sexist press denigrates Hillary. That's not news. But bursting the Obama bubble, the inevitable narrative that's going to perk up like hot java spewing throughout the mainstream media is that Obama can't beat their darling John McCain. Unify that.

First of all, contrary to Bowers erroneous supposition, there is no closure in an Obama nomination. Nada. Zilch. None. Anglachel politely served Reality Bites:

The outcome of the primaries has been hamfistedly altered by the anti-Clinton faction in the Democratic Party. These people appear determined to stop at nothing to prevent a Hillary nomination and force their candidate on the electorate. They will literally do anything to win, including stealing votes, threatening super delegates, rigging delegate selection and throwing away ballots to get their way. They will do this even as their actions undermine their candidate's legitimacy and all but guarantees a loss in the general.

Kiss the Oval Office buh-bye and the hindquarters of Hillary supporters exiting in droves. Clueless Obama supporters slay me. Let me start with a marginalized minority. Do they think self-respecting gays and lesbians will leap with pride to vote for Mr. Homophobe? M'yeah, that'll happen. And women and men who love women--you know, grown-ups--have noticed the misogyny oozing out of the Obama camp. You think the awakened ones will suddenly forgive and forget for the sake of a party that's turned stone-silent about the blatant sexism that ramped up this campaign season? Up yours and the Unity Pony you rode in on, sweetie darlings.

Don't forget the lunch-bucket crowd more likely to turn to McCain over Obama. Rerun the Wright controversy and Obama's 20-year association with the reverend but don't misname the issue as racial. No amount of beautiful speeches can erase what they heard. "God damn America!" And that's that, no more, no less.

Second, never ever count Hillary Rodham Clinton out.

Third, Bowers totally ignores--and why does he?--that Hillary has declared she's going all the way to the convention and fighting for Florida and Michigan delegates to be seated. And she will. Additionally, the DNC rules do not state that the popular vote doesn't count. The national tally must include all the votes from all contests (h/t Jet), and on that score, yes, Hillary can win (via).

Even Lou Dobbs knows darn well neither Barry nor Hillary will have enough pledged delegates to cinch the nom. The battle will conclude at the convention.

  1. The superdelegates will arrive at a stalemate before the convention or change their decisions at the convention. As an aside, can someone explain to me how Kerry (MA), Kennedy (MA), Napolitano (AZ), Richardson (NM), and others can thwart the will of the voters in their states that Clinton won? Isn't that inconsistent with Obama rules? Oh, wait. Obama rules change according to the most favorable result for Obama. D'oh.

  2. At the convention, after the first round of floor votes, pledged delegates are free to declare for whom they wish to nominate. With the exception of Obama's home state, Hillary won the big states, the ones with the Electoral College cha-ching.

In scenario No. 2, CA, NY, NJ, TX, OH, MA, TN, NM, RI, AZ, OK, AR, NH, NV, (soon PA, KY, WV, and maybe IN)--including MI and FL, dammit!--can tilt the nom for Hillary. Them's the rules. Seems Howard Dean's all willy-nilly about a brokered convention but he created the nightmare by playing favorites, punishing Michigan and Florida, and allowed the mess to play out like, What--Me worry? Let him pout, stew and maybe his head will explode all over Donna Brazile.

In scenario No. 1, Sean Wilentz at Salon reiterated what the superdelegates must have realized or are coming to ascertain (with emphasis):

Obama's totals thus far have come in great part from state caucuses nearly as much as from actual primaries. (Eleven out of the 30 states and other entities he has won held caucuses, not primaries. Washington held both, as did Texas, where Obama won the caucuses and lost the popular vote.) Of the two systems, caucuses are by far the less democratic -- which may be why there will be exactly zero caucuses in this fall's general election. By excluding voters who cannot attend during the limited times available, the caucuses skew participation toward affluent activists and students, and against working people, mothers and caregivers, and the military. Clinton's victories, by contrast, have come overwhelmingly in states with primaries, not caucuses. Obama is certainly entitled to the delegates he won in the caucuses. But he can hardly, on that account, claim that he is clearly the popular favorite.

In 2004, Democrats lost most of the states where Obama's delegates come from now. The Democrats are likely to lose most of those states again in 2008, no matter how much his supporters speak of winning crossover votes. (Idaho and Wyoming, for example, where Obama won caucuses, are not going to vote for either Clinton or Obama come fall.) Of the remaining states that Obama has won, only one is a large state with a considerable number of electoral votes -- his home state of Illinois. Clinton has won the popular vote in all of the other large states -- and has done so in primaries, not caucus decisions. The arithmetic here is simple: Because of the flawed system, the delegates from the states that Obama has won, many of which vote strongly Republican, represent far fewer Democratic voters than those from the states Clinton won.

Finally, there is the disquieting question of acknowledging what kind of democracy will determine who wins the presidency in 2008. Strong arguments could be made that, in a thoroughgoing democracy, voters choose presidents with a direct, plebiscitary system. The candidate who commands a majority (or, perhaps, a plurality) of the popular vote nationally wins the election. But, interesting as they might be as an academic exercise, such musings are irrelevant to the politics of 2008. We have a winner-take-all system, but it operates on a state-by-state basis (except in Maine and Nebraska, where it's winner-take-all by congressional district). Like it or not, we will choose the president under the indirect and fractured democracy of the Electoral College.

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.

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.

So much for a different kind of politics, Change We Can Believe In.

If the Democrats really want to win the WH--sometimes I wonder if Democratic leaders do--they will nominate Hillary. Surely, superdelegates will realize who's more likely to deliver the most Electoral College bang--including supers who have been bullied into supporting Obama--and they will ultimately endorse Clinton.

Let's hope the Obamasphere won't reel from the shock to their Obama bubble when he loses to McCain, if the Democrats are self-destructive enough to crown Barry, and maybe, oh, maybe the Orange Sippy Cup™ King and his pals can find closure.

UPDATE: Added a TM to Orange Sippy Cup™ lest people forget where it started.