Sunday, August 10, 2008

Democrats Give Us Comedy and Tragedy

This is fascinating. Someone should make this whole Democratic primary season into a series of Hollywood horror films, with a dead Hillzilla unexpectedly opening her eye at the end of each one. Oh, it is good to be alive at this time.

Denis Keohane at American Thinker reports on ominous stirrings within the Clinton camp and points to very plausible and dramatic scenarios for the Democratic convention at the end of August ("Could Obama Still Lose the Nomination").

Remember that Barack Obama, though the presumptive nominee, does not actually have enough delegates (1766.5 - Michigan and Florida are counting for half; it's something like the 3/5 compromise at the Constitutional Convention) to put him over to top (2118). What "clinched" him the nomination was the committed superdelegates, that anti-democratic feature of the Democratic Party's unique nominating process. (For more on that, see "Democrats, the Party of Aristocracy.")

That fact, combined with SuperObama's inability thus far to take flight in the national polls, opens an opportunity for Hillary Clinton with the superdelegates. Apparently, her team has been fiercely working the phones with the supers asking the Question that David Brooks asked in his column recently but which has been on everyone's mind (no doubt also Barack and Michelle's), "Where's the Landslide?"

As Obama stalls and even falls in the polls (on August 4 and 5, Rasmussen had McCain ahead by a point when "leaners" were counted), people will look to the supers to swing the convention toward the candidate more likely to win the election. That's their job. As more and more creepy crawly stuff comes to light in this man's character, his past and his connections, they will be increasingly motivated to make a move. No doubt Hillary's people are in conversation about precisely these concerns.

But don't expect any movement before the convention itself. Keohane foresees the possibility of a decisive number of supers abstaining on the first ballot, denying Obama a first ballot victory. That would free delegates to vote as they please on the second ballot, and the victory would go to Hillary.

Fascinating, no?

Oh dear, but the drama doesn't end there. Even if Obama then takes the veep nomination, many of his supporters, feeling that they and history and even the human race have been robbed, will (a) raise the roof with rage and then (b) stay home on election day. Furthermore, though Obama has been campaigning for president all summer, Hillary will have only two months to make her case to the electorate. McCain's problem would be minor by comparison, viz. retooling his campaigning for the new opponent. Gosh! What would he say? (These last reflections are mine, not Keohane's.)

My advice to Obama under these circumstances would be this. Withdraw from the whole mess. You're still young. Go back to the U.S. Senate and actually accomplish something. When there's an opening for governor in Illinois, take it! By then you will be unquestionably ready to seek the White House.

If either Hillary grabs the nomination or Obama loses the election, Barack Obama will be remembered as a tragic figure, a man of outstanding ability and uniquely situated to help bury that ugly 220 year conflict over race. But he is too much the "young man in a hurry," too intemperate in his ambition for the highest office. Whether he wins or loses in November, he is trying to pick the fruit before it is ripe. If he wins, the fruit will sour his stomach, and his faltering presidency will sicken and harm the country.

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