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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Hillary Might as Well Campaign for McCain

Last month, Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean urged superdelegates to commit to one of the two dem candidates ASAP. "I need them to say who they’re for, starting now," Dean told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. For close observers, this bit of actual leadership was a little surprising -- so far, Dean had been more of an idea man. Good ideas, sure, but ideas without any actual leadership. It was as if he'd just realized that the Democratic primary was a runaway train.

One SD has taken Dean's call to commit -- twice. Hillary Clinton woke up to some bad news today.


The Obama campaign announced Thursday that former Democratic National Committee Chairman Joe Andrew -- who was appointed to that post in 1999 by then-President Clinton -- is withdrawing his endorsement of Hillary Clinton, and backing Barack Obama instead.


"Many will ask, why now? Why, with several primaries still remaining, with Senator Clinton just winning Pennsylvania, with my friend Evan Bayh working hard to make sure Senator Clinton wins Indiana, why switch now? Why call for super delegates to come together now to constructively pick a president?" said Andrew in a letter released Thursday.

"The simple answer is that while the timing is hard for me personally, it is best for America. We simply cannot wait any longer, nor can we let this race fall any lower and still hope to win in November. June or July may be too late. The time to act is now."

The timing suggests that Andrew saw how long the primary would have to go on for Hillary to win and that he decided his original choice had become too expensive. The dem primary is threatening to split the party, with some voters so embittered that they're telling pollsters they won't vote for the nominee if it's the candidate they're not supporting. It's a bad choice, a foolish choice, and a choice that far too many have already decided to make in November. Nothing would make Bush, McCain, and the rest of the GOP happier than to see a large group of Democratic voters refuse to vote for Clinton or Obama.

If Andrews' move reflects an undercurrent in the Democratic party, it may be bad news for Clinton. Sen. Claire McCaskill, an Obama-backer, suggested to Politico that congressional SDs are leaning Obama.

“The majority of superdelegates I’ve talked to are committed, but it is a matter of timing,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). “They’re just preferring to make their decision public after the primaries are over. ... They would like someone else to act for them before they talk about it in the cold light of day.”

Obama currently holds an 18-13 lead among committed superdelegates in the Senate, while Clinton holds a 77-74 lead in the House. Asked which way the committed-but-unannounced superdelegates are leaning, McCaskill — who has endorsed Obama — said: “James Brown would say, ‘I Feel Good.’”

The Clinton campaign disputes this, as you'd expect they would, but the way superdelegates have been breaking has favored Obama. While Clinton still leads in SD endorsements, Obama's been picking up endorsements at a faster pace -- many of Clinton's SD were there right out of the gate, when it looked like the primary would be a Clinton coronation.

Yesterday, CNN reported, "Sen. Barack Obama, hoping to put the controversy over his former pastor behind him, is getting some good news: five more superdelegates in the past 24 hours," while "Sen. Hillary Clinton picked up four superdelegates within the same time period." Anderson's defection makes that six new for Obama, four new for Clinton.

What should have Clinton-backers worried is that 18-13 score in Senate dems. Remember, Hillary's the one with "experience" -- meaning she's been in the Senate longer. Apparently, she hasn't made a lot of friends among her Senate colleagues. And that score represents a little short of half the dem SDs in the Senate. If that sample is representative, Hillary's fellow senators will choose Obama. And her 77-74 lead in the House is anemic.

For their part, the Republican party has chosen their dem nominee. Hoping to get a jump on the general election, the GOP is targeting who they see as the obvious winner.

Raw Story:

The Republicans have decided that Hillary Clinton's campaign is essentially dead, and all indications are that they're gearing up for a general election campaign against Barack Obama.

"Clinton, it seems, has been erased from the picture, Soviet-style," Politico's Jonathan Martin reports Tuesday.

Martin points to obvious signs that McCain has begun running against Obama. "On ABC’s 'This Week' last Sunday, he raised, unprompted, the Democrat’s views on capital gains taxes and his ties to a member of the radical Weather Underground group," he wrote. "In a conference call with conservative bloggers Friday, McCain responded to a question about words of support a Hamas political adviser had bestowed on Obama by saying it’s 'very clear who Hamas wants to be the next president of the United States.' He then noted leftist Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s support for Obama, as well."

The McCain campaign's assessment of Clinton's chances seems to be "Hillary who?"

Once again, I find myself writing a "Hillary's undead campaign" post. Unfortunately, she seems committed to running not only her own campaign into the grave, but Obama's as well. When even Baghdad John accepts reality, it's time to give it up.

Like it or not, this primary will now be decided by the superdelegates. At this point, neither candidate can win enough delegates to take the nomination from primary elections alone -- there aren't enough left. This was true since at least March and every election since then has been a beauty contest. They've been showing off for superdelegates.

And those superdelegates seem to be going for Obama, the GOP is predicting Obama, McCain is running against Obama. What Barack Obama needs to do now is "run back" at McCain. Hillary Clinton, like it or not, is a distraction. She's not getting the nomination and, in her pointless quest to secure the impossible, is doing McCain's work for him. Despite Clinton's wins in what she calls the "important states," SDs are breaking for Obama. Winning these beauty contests isn't doing the job.

It's time to end this farce and have all the superdelegates commit -- as Howard Dean asked them to. If the Republican party knows who the Democratic nominee is going to be, shouldn't Democrats?


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