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Pelosi: Superdelegates Should Nominate Delegate Leader--Not Popular Vote Leader

Davidson's picture

Read it and weep:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos on Friday that it would be "harmful" to Democrats if superdelegates were to give the party's presidential nomination to a candidate who is trailing in the delegates awarded in primaries and caucuses.


"But what if one candidate has won the popular vote and the other candidate has won the delegates?" asked Stephanopoulos.

"But it's a delegate race," Pelosi replied. "The way the system works is that the delegates choose the nominee."

Let's just pretend pledged delegates will remain as they currently are. Since we all know the delegate system is somewhat arbitrary and, thus, not a truly legitimate expression of popular will, what is the political rationale behind this? For Clinton to end up leading in the popular vote count, she'll have to do quite well in critical GE states, so how can this possibly help us win the general? Isn't it "harmful" to select a nominee who doesn't win those states?

What the hell is going on?

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Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

Right now, Nancy Pelosi is probably the most politically powerful woman in the world. If Clinton wins the presidency, she becomes a distant number two -- and will have to be at Clinton's beck and call as House majority leader.

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Submitted by Davidson on

I can't help but think it's a power grab by Pelosi, Kennedy, Kerry and the gang. All that executive/imperial power can be theirs if they get their empty suit candidate in the White House. Problem is: he has no chance in the GE!

I do wonder how gender plays a role in this. Usually, I would think most people just would want to avoid all the drama of a Hillary Clinton nomination, foolishly believing a fresh face will somehow be safer, but the way in which Pelosi talks about Clinton makes me think it's more than that. I do think there's some jealousy there.

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Submitted by bringiton on

Can't quite follow the logic. No matter who is the next President, Pelosi will continue as Speaker. Majority Leader will be someone else, probably still Hoyer.

Are you saying that Pelosi would be more powerful with Obama as President than with Clinton? How so?

Or that she secretly is pulling for McCain so she can stay the "most politically powerful woman in the world" (hah!) because that status requires a Republican?

Or is it that she's a closet self-hating misogynist and can’t feel powerful herself with a woman in the White House?

Or is it that you are the one having trouble envisioning the two most politically powerful people in the world both being women, and getting along with each other?

Or did you just feel the need to slam Pelosi, justified or not?

Please, clarify.

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

Are you saying that Pelosi would be more powerful with Obama as President than with Clinton? How so?

first, thanks for the correction on Pelosi's position -- I'm still not used to Democrats running things in Congress! ;-)

I'm saying that with any candidate other than Clinton as President, Pelosi keeps her #1 most powerful woman position. Even if Clinton becomes the nominee and loses, it raises Clinton up from a second term Senator to a "national leader".

Pelosi's ham-handed efforts to interfere in the nomination process (while remaining officially neutral) lack the finesse that one should find in someone who has risen to the level of Speaker. It suggests that there are other motives/factors at work here....

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Submitted by amberglow on

push them or fight them on anything--he goes along to get along, unlike Clinton, who will push them to do health care and other things.

Obama won't force them to really do universal health care or anything truly progressive (or most importantly, upsetting to the big money and lobbyists that own Congress). It's like Patterson here in NY--the GOP here is thrilled because he's not a fighter at all.

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Submitted by bringiton on

Highly unlikely - not impossible but highly unlikely - that Pelosi will ever run for president. That means her legislative position will be all the power she will ever have, and her legacy.

Hillary is more progressive than Obama, at least as I read her record and her personality, and more likely as a woman to be in tune with Pelosi's aspirations, wants and desires. I cannot foresee any possibility that Hillary will diminish Pelosi’s “power” in ways that Obama will not, and many ways that Hillary could enhance where Obama may detract.

By far, Hillary’s long disaffection with the VRWC will be likely to sway her towards confrontation with their hard-core remnants in Congress, thus enhancing Pelosi’s power, while Obama’s rhetoric of conciliation makes it more likely that he would be willing to push Pelosi aside and work with a coalition of Republicans and BlueDogs. To cast Pelosi as jealous of Hillary is, IMO, undeserved and unsubstantiated

Given my projections, and they are just that for all of us, your assertion does not make sense to me, nor does the argument in Davidson’s post as a whole. I have a longer rebuttal prepared and I’ll put that up momentarily; looking forward to any critique you or others care to offer.

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

I cannot foresee any possibility that Hillary will diminish Pelosi’s “power” in ways that Obama will not

its not about power per se, its about standing/status. Pelosi is now the most politically powerful woman in the world, and Clinton is a threat to that #1 position.

My problem with Pelosi is that she is officially neutral, but everything she says seems to be an effort to undercut Clinton.

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Submitted by bringiton on

Could be wrong but my sense of it is that they're inseparable. Known Pelosi a long time and she has never struck me as wanting "most powerful woman in the world" status for its own sake. If she is that now as you say, it is cold comfort considering how little she's gotten done that will enhance her legacy - and that is something she cares deeply about. She wants a Dem as President, and I don't think she cares a whole lot one way or the other who it is; certainly not because of gender.

Alternative to your perception, it just may be that reality has undercut Clinton, and Pelosi being honest about how she sees reality is just that; honesty, not agenda.

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Submitted by Davidson on

...nor does the argument in Davidson’s post as a whole
How so? If Pelosi believes she can influence Obama his positions really wouldn't matter. Obama is wildly inexperienced, especially at the national level and with executive leadership.* He owes Kennedy and Kerry and he'll need the likes of Pelosi and them to be able to leverage power with competence and survive the right wing. Clinton obviously won't be so dependent and seems like a force to be reckoned with.

I don't see how Obama has a chance in hell of winning the GE: a poor performance record in battleground states and with Latinos; a neck-and-neck race against a wildly hated candidate, in spite of universal and heavy advantages; a candidacy dependent on utter lack of scrutiny thanks Hillary Hate and being a Media Darling. Thus, I assume Pelosi is either clueless or so blinded by Clinton hate she believes Obama is the One and Clinton is the weaker GE candidate.

reality has undercut Clinton
I believe it's the other way around: reality shows Obama is, by far, the weaker candidate--especially since he presents himself as a blank canvas to project your desires onto, which will most likely prove fatal (see: Wright).

*Even at the state level, Obama's "success" can basically be attributed to one year: the Democrats swept state offices and a party elder gave Obama the credit for legislation that others had done the brunt work for.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

Slate-"... A Democratic candidate who unsuccessfully sought his support in a state race last year says yes—and describes being floored by the submissiveness of the party's hottest young star. This candidate, who has endorsed Hillary Clinton and did not want to be quoted by name for fear of compromising future fund-raising efforts, met with Obama privately in his Senate office, along with a couple of campaign aides: "His first question was, 'Have you talked to [Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chair] Chuck Schumer?' When I said, 'Yes, and he's not helping me,' he said, 'Sorry, I take my marching orders from Chuck Schumer.' " But Obama was joking, right? Not at all, says the former candidate, and an aide who was also present for the meeting seconded that: Instead of big-dogging it, he was trumpeting his obeisance. ..."


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Submitted by bringiton on

I won't get into defending Obama over Clinton; I prefer her of the two, but I will take either of them over McCain in a heartbeat. My difference here is with your and Paul L's characterization of Pelosi. I'm working as I said on a rebuttal; there'll be more than enough to chew over. I'll put it up as soon as I edit down the most inflammatory segments.

What reality shows, to put a fine point on it, is that for what ever set of reasons Obama has more delegates slated than Clinton. That's a reality, and if it holds then it is a reality that at some point everyone will have to deal with. Everything else is an argument.

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

That’s a reality, and if it holds then it is a reality that at some point everyone will have to deal with. Everything else is an argument.

the whole "most delegates" thing is no more a "reality" than the arguments made debunking the "most delegates" myth.

For instance, did you know that in the states that Clinton won, one delegate was awarded for each 19,800 voters, while in the states that Obama won, one delegate was awarded for each 13,200 voters?

And that the lowest 11 "voters/delegate" states are Obama states? While 3 of the four highest "voters/delegate" states are Clinton states.

Those aren't arguments, they're reality.

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Submitted by bringiton on

Because I have a boat load of acrimony right now, and am mightily fed up with people heedlessly pissing on the pant legs of anyone who doesn't happen to completely agree with them.

Please advise me when acrimony is again allowed.

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Submitted by bringiton on

Paul L: "For instance, did you know...?" Yeah, I know those things. Eyes are wide open, lights are on.

Did you know the whole process is totally fucked up?

Did you know there is no equivalence whatsoever between the any of various methods used to select delegates?

Did you know those facts are irrelevant?

Did you know that the one who wins is the one who has the most delegates on the floor of the convention? That is the only reality that matters, and whoever sends the most slated delegates through the door will be difficult to stop.

Did you know...? Frickin’ hell.

Submitted by lambert on

A wonderful old shrink I had would always raise an eyebrow when he heard one of us say that.... Because, while reality does exist, IMNSHO, it isn't always easy to distinguish from one's most deeply held beliefs.

That said, yes, whoever enters with the most slated delegates will be hard to stop (duh) but that's not impossible (duh). One thing that would help the possibilities of the majority of Democratic voters would be to point out what looks a lot to me like a system much like the rotten boroughs of 18th Century England. Being right, and being seen to be right, matters too. Power without legitimacy is hard to maintain.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

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Submitted by bringiton on

Those statements were intended as sarcasm. Dollop of irony. A taint of acrimony may have crept in as well.

Arguments in this thread reflect much (not all) of what is said elsewhere by pro-Clinton/anti-Obama forces:

It's not fair.

Obama's flaws are bugs; Clinton's flaws are features.

Obama can't win in the general; Clinton can.

The novel proposition here: Nancy Pelosi is to blame.

To which I say first, it never has been fair, never will be fair; so get over it. It’s a selection process, not a free election. The Dems have tried to dress it up and put lipstick on it, but it is still a party insider power process pig and it always will be. The party rules were evident from the beginning and the same for everyone. If your candidate was not as effective at dealing with them, whose fault is that? Continually pointing out Clinton’s inability to compete for delegates in this primary does not support an argument that she would be better able to compete for delegates in the next election. Persisting in crying out “Not Fair, Not Fair” is whiny, sounds weak, and is seen by the people you are trying to persuade as poor sportsmanship. Drop it.

Secondly, Clinton’s flaws are the ones that Clinton supporters need to deal with. Her biggest problem in this campaign is the same as the in the general; her negatives. Piling up more negatives for Obama does nothing to address that problem. Attacking Obama directly may help in the primary but will turn off voters she – and he – will need in the general. For those reasons, negative campaigning by Clinton alienates the very superdelegates she will need to overtake Obama. The more the Clinton campaign attacks Obama, the more his supporters will attack Clinton and she is “target rich.” To differentiate between them, explain how Clinton is better than she seems; if that can’t be done, well, maybe she isn’t.

The issue of electability is all that matters to the superdelegates. If they are who you’re trying to persuade, this is the sole focus. There is a strong case for Clinton, but it has not been helped by the arguments above. It needs to be framed not in comparison to Obama but to McCain. Convince the party she can beat McCain, point-by-point, and they can be persuaded to leave Obama on the shelf for another day. Bring them solutions, not complaints.

Finally Nancy Pelosi; how bizarre. Should have been expected, because for some it is all Nancy’s fault; that Bush and Cheney are still in office, that the Iraq invasion is ongoing, that Bush is contemptuous of the Constitution, that we don’t yet have our ponies. Anything and everything that is wrong in America today is Nancy Pelosi’s fault so of course, why not Clinton’s strategic and tactical electoral failures? How bizarre. All Pelosi has done with regards to this primary is to be honest, to tell the truth as she sees it. If that helps Obama, that's just the way it is. Surely, Clinton’s supporters have not sunk so low that they expect the Speaker of the House of Representatives to deceive.

Show me argument for Clinton, not against Obama. Quit whining about what has already happened and tell me how Clinton makes the future better. Tell me how Clinton kicks McCain’s butt in November, and how she will help carry more Democrats into the House and Senate as well as all the down-ticket state and county offices; that’s what the superdelegates want to hear. And not one word about refusing to play anymore if you do not get your way – all that tells me is that you’re not committed to winning this Fall, and winning those elections is the only thing that matters to me and to the Democratic Party.

Duh, indeed.