Thursday, March 27, 2008

I'm Totally Burnt Out on the Presidential Campaign

It looks like I'm not the only one.

The way I see it, on the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton cannot win the nomination and is unelectable...too many negatives...and Barack Obama has been rendered equally toxic by the Jeremiah Wright debacle. But those uncommitted superdelegates just might save the day for Dems, after all.

Here's how: The superdelegates could remain uncommitted through the first ballot of the convention. Neither Obama or Clinton would then have enough votes to win, freeing their delegates to go elsewhere on the second ballot. The sd's, ostensibly leaders of the party, then could reveal their choice, maybe Bill Richardson or Joe Biden. The convention could spend a ballot or two moving in that direction and then, after nominating the sd choice, give the vice presidential nomination to, say, Dianne Feinstein.

Of the three finalists on the Democratic side--Obama, Clinton, and John Edwards, the Senator from Illinois had the most substative experience, both in terms of time in elective office and relevant leadership experience. But the credentials of all three can't compare to those of Richardson, Biden, or Feinstein.

I shared this bizarre scenario with my son on Tuesday. Yesterday, in a comment on one of my posts at The Moderate Voice, someone else mentioned the same fantasy.

It isn't likely to happen. But, to quote the Animals, "we've gotta get out of this place" and this scenario may be the only thing to free us from this crazy, nasty, brutish campaign.

Last year, before the presidential campaign turned him once more into a Clinton attack hound, James Carville lamented his party's penchant for stealing defeat from the jowls of victory. By this pre-convention campaign, the tone of which both he and his former boss so sanguinely endorse, the Democratic campaigns seem intent on giving John McCain a pass to the White House and making Carville look like Kreskin.

Assuming that neither Obama or Clinton go to the convention with enough delegates to win, an intervention on the part of the superdelegates may be the only thing that can salvage Democratic prospects.

Until then, as it relates to the presidential campaign, I'm tempted to go on sabbatical. Maybe I'll go to Australia.

[UPDATE: I acknowledge that what I've written here is fantasy and have been on record since the day after the Iowa caucuses as saying that Obama will win the nomination. But I had no way of knowing at the time how bad things would get for him or how long the fight with Clinton would continue.]


David Schraub said...

No way the convention gives it to Biden or Richardson, for a couple reasons: 1) for all their experience, both are inept campaigners. 2) they already were rejected resoundingly by Democratic voters -- a compromise candidate has to be one from outside the process (this is why Al Gore is more likely). 3) African-Americans would (justifiably) throw a fit. At the precise moment where a Black candidate effectively won the primary (most delegates and popular vote), the Party elders will swing in and nominate some random White guy anyway? It'll be the '64 convention (MS Freedom Democratic Party) all over again, it would ratify every Black fear that Whites simply won't allow a Black man to become President, and we'd risk losing the Black vote for a generation (if not longer).

In any event, most polling says that Obama has recovered from the Wright flap, so I don't think he's really damaged goods in any meaningful sense.

Mark Daniels said...

I think that Obama voters, whatever their color, would have a legitimate beef. But the most recent polls I've seen show him behind Clinton for the first time in a while.

Nonetheless, I do think that my post is pure fantasy.