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The Nuclear Option: Count the Votes

Today at Huffington Post, Thomas Edsall reports that if Hillary campaign staffers are discussing the possibility of going “nuclear” by convincing her supporters in on the Rules and Bylaws Committee to force the DNC to seat the Florida and Michigan Delegates. While the warlike imagery is a little offputting, it sounds to me as if Edsall is acting as a stalking horse for the Clinton Campaign.

With at least 50 percent of the Democratic Party’s 30-member Rules and Bylaws Committee committed to Clinton, her backers could — when the committee meets at the end of this month — try to ram through a decision to seat the disputed 210-member Florida and 156-member Michigan delegations. Such a decision would give Clinton an estimated 55 or more delegates than Obama, according to Clinton campaign operatives.

Edsall argues that Hillary would have to overcome two big hurdles in order to pull this off. She would have to win Indiana and either come close or win in North Carolina. And she would have to convince her supporters on the rules committee to bet their future careers on her ability to win the general election.

Of course when this happens Obama’s supporters will become even more enraged than they are normally, and Obama would appeal any such decision to the Credentials Committee. Edsall says that

The full make-up of the Credentials Committee will not be determined until all the primaries are completed, but the pattern of Clinton and Obama victories so far clearly suggests that Obama delegates on that committee will outnumber Clinton delegates. Obama will not, however, have a majority, according to most estimates, and the balance of power will be held by delegates appointed by DNC chair Howard Dean.

Hmmmm…..

Edsall goes on to say that the Clinton argument will be that the economy, rather than Iraq, is now the most important issue in the campaign, and this “shift” is what led to Clinton’s strong showing in Ohio, Texas, and Pennsylvania.

Clinton people also make the case that the past six weeks have seen examples of Obama’s political vulnerabilities: his wife’s “proud to be an American” remarks, the emergence of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright controversy, wider coverage of Obama’s ties to 1960s radicals Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, “bittergate,” the flag pin imbroglio, and “hand on the heart” accusations — all impugning Obama’s patriotism

The Clinton plan sounds great to me, except for the part where Dean gets to decide the outcome. I wonder what will be enough to convince Dean that Hillary can win the in November while Barack simply can’t? Imagine if Hillary does win Indiana, win North Carolina or lose by less than 10 points. After that, she will win overwhemingly in West Virginia and Kentucky. Who knows what will happen in Oregon if she really has momentum? Could Dean then really argue that Barack is the stronger candidate? If he did, I think he’d hear from a lot of more reality-based Democrats.

I see this article as a sign that Hillary and her campaign are getting more confident with each passing day. Just check out Eleanor Clift’s latest column in Newsweek. She has some choice quotes from James Carville:

Reminded that Obama continues to narrow the lead that Hillary once enjoyed among superdelegates, Carville quips, “A superdelegate commitment and four bucks will get you a cup of coffee at the Ritz-Carlton.” Perhaps he had in mind Joe Andrew, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, appointed by Bill Clinton, who endorsed Hillary on the day she announced for president, and Thursday switched his endorsement to Obama, saying he thinks it’s time for the party to come together. Carville takes the view that the longer Obama is out there under scrutiny, the more the voters see his vulnerabilities. “Everything that’s happened to him is not because of her. She hasn’t laid much of a glove on him other than just being there,” Carville says.

Obama didn’t have much choice in deciding to take on Wright. It was a fight he did all he could to avoid, acting only when it threatened to destroy his candidacy. “The Republicans will eat him alive” is what the Clinton campaign is telling the superdelegates. Hillary is the tougher of the two, the candidate you want on your side in a knife fight, a gender reversal that prompts Carville to indulge in some ribald humor: “If she gave him one of her cojones, they’d both have two.”

Yup. The ragin’ Cajun speaks the truth.

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13 Responses

  1. I fully support the nuclear option. Nuke ’em already. It’s an outrage that those delegates have not been seated. Neither Party has EVER been able to successfuly sanction states. To not seat them is to steal an election.

  2. It seems to me that the nuclear option is NOT counting the FL and MI votes. But the press always frames every story in Obama’s favor.

  3. Well, yes, i don’t see it as a nuclear option either. But those delegates must be seated.

  4. I like how the only sane and moral thing to do is being described as “the nuclear option” and “ram[ming] it through.” It’s amazing that she is stll trying so hard to save this party from itself after everything.

  5. Keep in mind that all this could have been avoided if Obama had not actively opposed revotes. Obama made his bed, now he gets to sleep in it. We all knew FL and MI were going to be counted. Tough cookies, Barry.

  6. Actually, this is brilliant. It puts the Obama campaign in the position of having to deseat delegates.

  7. Well, Edsall is putting a negative name to what seems in fact to be following the DNC rules and counting the votes?

    Did someone at Craig Crawford(?) say by the actual rules, in FL Hillary should get half her delegates (because of FL’s primary date) and Obama should get NONE (because he broke the agreement and campaigned there, cable ads)?

    Maybe this is what McAulife was hinting at a few days ago, predicting HIllary would have it sewn up by June 15?

  8. @Flora Steele: Yes, Crawford correctly shows that, according to the rules, Obama should be granted no delegates for those ads that ran in FL (Regardless of his story that those national ad buys couldn’t be bought without including FL, those ads did run in FL and, thus, broke the rules).

    Also, those uncommitted MI delegates should go to the convention uncommitted. They didn’t vote for “Obama” and he’s the fool that decided to remove his name from the ballot. The man is never held accountable for his own damn mistakes.

  9. Found this link in TM message boards

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23643866-5013948,00.html

    A very good read. The headline is – The illusion that is Obama.

  10. Watched Today show. Ms. Mitchell announces death for Ms. Clinton in NC (again). Meredith does not like Hillary. and Tim Lauer (I mean Matt…heh) finds Obama’s charm disarming. Obama needs more coffee before he goes on interviews.

    Got to love NBC

  11. I love James Carville. He tells it like it is.
    Yesterday, I saw Howard Dean on FoxNews. YES. They’re all going over to FoxNews. I think they’ve finally gotten the word that CNN & MSNBC have completely lost their credibility with a huge chunk of Democratic voters. Anyway, Dean said that the process should play out until June and let all the states have their votes. I was shocked! Didn’t he just say a month ago that he wanted it over ASAP? Or did I dream that?
    I think they’re waiting to see what happens here in N.C. Our state was supposed to be a cakewalk for Obama, and if he loses here or wins with only a small margin 1-5%, the DNC will know for sure how much Rev. Wrong and etc. have hurt Obama’s candidacy.
    On a side note: this is how Obama’s supporters operate. Someone had placed Hillary signs along the major highway here. Last night, someone went out and slashed up a portion of the signs with a knife. Oh, yeah, that really makes me want to vote for their candidate.

  12. Alanis: Thanks for this article. It should be a must read for every voter.

  13. […] The Nuclear Option: Count the Votes (by bostonboomer at The Confluence) [A]t Huffington Post, Thomas Edsall reports that if Hillary campaign staffers are discussing the possibility of going “nuclear” by convincing her supporters in on the Rules and Bylaws Committee to force the DNC to seat the Florida and Michigan Delegates. While the warlike imagery is a little offputting, it sounds to me as if Edsall is acting as a stalking horse for the Clinton Campaign.  With at least 50 percent of the Democratic Party’s 30-member Rules and Bylaws Committee committed to Clinton, her backers could — when the committee meets at the end of this month — try to ram through a decision to seat the disputed 210-member Florida and 156-member Michigan delegations. Such a decision would give Clinton an estimated 55 or more delegates than Obama, according to Clinton campaign operatives. […]

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