Friday, March 14, 2008

Clinton stacks the deck for re-vote

Saturday Night Live” is clearly in the tank for Hillary Clinton, but here’s what you might not know: so is the Michigan Democratic establishment.

That’s the disingenuous backdrop to the frenzied debate over a do-over primary in the Great Lakes State after Clinton’s comeback last week.

She’s locked up Gov. Jennifer Granholm, former Gov. Jim Blanchard and Sen. Debbie Stabenow. And let’s not forget House Energy Chair John “The Truck” Dingell, whose wife, Democratic National Committeewoman Debbie Dingell, (not coincidentally) engineered the botched Jan. 15 primary to be Clinton’s firewall.

So much for that.

There’s also Michigan Democratic Party (MDP) Chair Mark Brewer, who swears on a stack of Bibles that he’s neutral. But everyone knows he was a big fan of fellow labor guy John Edwards and jumped to Clinton after he dropped out.

Who’s in Barack Obama’s camp? Rep. John Conyers, Teamster President James Hoffa and a smattering of state legislators, which means the Clintonistas hold most of the cards in the battle over a re-vote.

By now, the world knows Michigan’s primary was a bad joke straight out of SNL. Unlike Florida, Clinton was the only major candidate on the ballot; Obama and Edwards yanked their names off as soon as the Democratic National Committee erased the state’s delegates for brazenly flouting party rules.

Last fall, even Clinton called the contest meaningless.

She only mustered 55 percent against no one (a.k.a. “uncommitted”) in the race for zero delegates, which Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell cleverly spun on Sunday’s “Meet the Press”: “You run against uncommitted, that’s the toughest election to win.”

Yeah, right.

As it stands, Obama has stingily hung on to his 100-plus delegate lead, even with Texas (which he won anyway in delegates) and Ohio.

That means the Clinton camp needs to reset the electoral math equation to win. And voila! Michigan and Florida have reemerged as the battleground.

Problem is, Clinton still can’t catch up unless Obama nets zero delegates in some contests. Enter Blanchard, who proposes “all-or-nothing” primaries in the two states in a last-ditch attempt to give a Clinton nomination electoral legitimacy.

If you don’t like the rules, change ‘em. Worked for the Soviet Union.

Granholm has been less blatant, casting an eye to the federal bench or a cabinet post with either candidate, though her heart belongs to Hillary. (When Obama was on a winning streak, the gov notably was one of the first to glom onto the “dream ticket” scenario).

So Granholm’s thrown out the idea of a “firehouse primary,” a scaled-back contest on a Saturday.

Of course, it’s still murky how the Mitten State – which just hiked taxes to plug a $2 billion deficit – can afford another primary after shelling out $10 million for a worthless one in January.

One solution you’re not hearing about is a less-costly caucus – which the state party has traditionally held in presidential years. But caucuses have favored Obama’s hustle and organization, and thus have been deemed “undemocratic” by Team Clinton.

That surely will come as news to first-in-the-nation Iowa.

Sen. Carl Levin, who doesn’t have a dog in this fight and thus has moral standing, backs a mail-in re-vote. Sounds sensible, especially from a cost perspective, but there’s no way to snuff out the stench of becoming a banana republic.

The truth is, there aren’t any great solutions here.

But Brewer wants his delegates – he’s staked his reputation on this fight. The staunch Granholm ally is negotiating furiously, insisting the outcome will be fair to Obama, since the MDP, DNC and both campaigns all have to sign on.

Many Obama backers would leap at the chance to vote for him for the first time. But Brewer’s promises ring flat - kind of how the Arab world scoffs at the idea of the United States as an honest broker in the Middle East peace process.

Let’s be clear - nobody is pure in this. The Obamaniacs want their guy to win and some are willing bend the rules accordingly. State Sen. Buzz Thomas, D-Detroit, for instance, wants to split Michigan’s delegates 50-50.

The difference is, he’s in absolutely no position to make that happen. The Clinton cabal has stacked the deck.

What they don’t realize is ultimately, their strategy is a house of cards.

The most ominous sign for Clinton is her crushing defeat in Detroit, where uncommitted pulled 70 percent of the vote. Our biggest city – which is economically decimated and 82 percent black – already feels disenfranchised.

Clinton could irreparably alienate the party’s most dependable voting block - and racially explosive remarks by supporters like Geraldine Ferraro don’t help.

After all, how does a Democratic presidential hopeful ever carry Michigan? Stockpile big margins in Detroit to offset outstate returns.

Yep, Hillary can win this hand. But I’ll bet she still loses in the end.


Charles said...

What? You didn't have time in your otherwise busy week to come up with another Anti-Clinton piece, so you just re-posted the last hit?

Since you seem too busy for originality, here are some options for you to consider:

Maybe next time you can focus on Ferraro's comments while at the same time overlooking those of Obama's pastor?

Or maybe you can investigate the real meaning and alterior motives behind Penn saying that Obama "can't win the general" while saying nary a word about Power calling Clinton "a monster".

These topics would seem to provide you with yet another opportunity to direct your apparent animus to all things Clinton while waxing poetic about the appeal, and your concern for the safety of, the good Senator from Illinois.

Susan J. Demas said...

I hope the Clinton campaign is paying you well, if they have any cash left over after paying Mark Penn $5 million and Mandy Grunwald $3 million.

Charles said...

Sorry Susan...I am not being paid or affiliated with any political, if I want to be snooty I guess I could ask if you are on Obama's pay roll, but unlike you I won't want post unwarrented assumptions.

BTW...are they really getting paid that much or is that an exaggeration? If it's true, no wonder people, once in politics, don't want to leave.

Anyway...rather than go toe to toe in a snooty post-a-thon, I will ask you why you think -- if indeed you do -- Obama would be a better president than H. Clinton.

What accomplishments, either in the Illinois Legislature or the U.S. Senate, does he have that you believe indicate that he would be an excellent president?

While I can agree with someone who speaks highly of his skills as an orator or as someone who has energized what traditionally is an apathetic demographic when it comes to politics, I struggle to find tangible results which support his claim of being able to unite those tired of partisian rancor.

In fact his legislative record, and the areas in which he can claim bipartisian interaction is rather unimpressive. Especially when compared to someone like H. Clinton, who when she entered the Senate, "enjoyed" the animus and distrust of a majority of her Republican colleagues. Arguably a tougher starting point than the one Obama inhabited when he started his Senatorial career.

So rather than tear Clinton down --which given your apparent intellegence and distinguished resume should prove rather unchallenging -- please provide your readers, or at least this one, an affirmative account of why Susan J. Demas believes Senator Obama is best qualified to be President of the United States.

That would be far more entertaining, and intellectually stimulating, than reading a re-post of how the vast, Clinton-wing conspiracy threatens the credibility of a Democratic "do-over" vote in Michigan.

Susan J. Demas said...

Yes, Penn and Grunwald do make that much money. If you want a reason to vote for Obama, ask someone in his campaign. I endorsed John McCain.

I don't do post-a-thons; I get paid for what I write.