Monday, March 17, 2008

On the Minds of Superdelegates 6

this is the sixth in my series of "what's on the minds of superdelgates."
to recap: obama has gained 16 since march 3 and clinton netted 6, lost 1 (see my regularly updated sidebar tallies).
i'll also note that all the news outlets have different counts and some add supers and pledged delegates together when they really should be separate because they can't even get the pledeged delegate number straight and the superdelegate number is fluid. they can change their minds. the best site is demconwatch.
as i read what's on the mind of superdelegates, it occurs to me they're not so super at all. the obama supers say that whoever leads in delegates should be suppported and that the will of the people should not be overturned.
clinton supers say that it's all about "electability."
well, obama has the delegate lead, popular vote lead and electability.

here's one who thinks the pastor's comments might hurt obama but he's sticking with him:

"It does hurt his appeal," says Bill George, an uncommitted Pennsylvania superdelegate and the head of the state chapter of the AFL-CIO. "He may have lost those people who have some racial inner doubts about him." But Mr. George says he thinks that Sen. Obama has responded well to the controversy and that the episode won't affect his vote as a superdelegate.

here's one who says he's been getting a lot of attention:

Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland, who is uncommitted, has been contacted twice by former President Bill Clinton, and he chats from time to time with both Obama and Hillary Clinton, along with their top surrogates.

"It's soft-sell, at best," Cardin says. The campaigns were taking his temperature "almost hourly" in the lead-up to the Ohio and Texas primaries, when he was rumored to be on the verge of an endorsement (he declines to say for whom).

this one feels slighted, not really:
Greg Pecararo of Westminster, a DNC member since 1996, said he complained in jest to a Clinton delegate tracker that he hadn't even gotten a call from the candidate's daughter, Chelsea.

"It shows where I rank," said Pecararo, who sees no reason to make a choice until the August convention and dismisses the notion that a prolonged nomination fight will help John McCain.

How Maryland and the rest of the country voted will be one factor in his decision, said Pecararo. But the rush of states to hold early primaries did "not allow the normal nomination process to play out" this year, and party rules "give us the obligation to substitute our judgment for what would have happened there."

He said it was a "philosophical question" as to whether other factors might also influence his vote, such as the interests of his trade association. Pecararo runs a lobbying arm of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, and "if your employer came to you" and expressed an opinion for one Democrat over another, he acknowledged, "you might take that into account."

there is no rulebook

Superdelegate Dick Durbin, Obama's senatorial partner from Illinois and a vocal backer, acknowledges that superdelgates have no rulebook to follow. But he says if one candidate leads in pledged delegates and popular votes after the final primary, then the superdelegates' path is obvious.

"If the elective process has produced a clear winner, whether by five delegates or 100 delegates, then it's extremely difficult to overrule that without undermining the unity of the party," Durbin said. "Many people would say 'it just isn't fair.'"

this one likes clinton. that's all.

By contrast, the Clinton camp and some independent observers say superdelegates who look ahead and add up electoral votes in November might reasonably choose Clinton even if Obama enjoys slim leads in pledged delegates and the popular vote.

Leticia Van de Putte, a co-chair of the party's national convention and a Texas state senator, said "A lot of Democrats are wary and worried, because they saw what happened to the popular vote (in 2000). I think some superdelegates are not saying, 'Who would be the better leader?' but 'How can we win?' They'll look at the math and the Electoral College."

Clinton points to her success in big states, richest in electoral votes, as reason for those superdelegates to select her.

this one likes obama and says the general election is not about big states:

"This is not a big-state nomination process," said U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., a superdelegate from Chicago backing Obama. "If that were the case, then one would need only to set up a campaign in the big states and ignore the rest."

Jackson said Obama can meet some of his big-state challenges by "ticket-building" -- strategically choosing his running mate.

He added a point largely borne out by primary exit polls -- one that also could help tip the superdelegate scales in Obama's direction as they calculate their party's chances in November.

"Only Barack Obama," Jackson said, "has shown the ability to reach out to both independents and Republicans."

On the Minds of Superdelegates 1
On the Minds of Superdelegates 2
On the Minds of Superdelegates 3
On the Minds of Superdelegates 4

On the Minds of Superdelegates 5