Last night Barack Obama, CNN, Tim Russert and the rest of the media proclaimed Obama the Democratic nominee for President. For the 4th time in the last two weeks. What else is new?
It obviously didn't occur to them that according to the rules (remember "the rules"?) that can't happen and wont until the Democratic National Convention nominates someone.Obama has tried to proclaim himself the nominee before with the media's help. And each time they tried to proclaim it, there was nothing real about it. Last night was no exception. It was just another in a long line of media and Obama dog and pony shows for all the reality last night had.
Either intentionally or out of sheer stupidity ( and its probably a combination of both) the media refuses to acknowledge that none of the super delegates proclamations of support count for anything until they are actually cast in August. And all can change their minds as many times as they want between now and then. Meaning that what these super delegates say now carries no more weight than a public opinion poll suggesting who people say they will vote for in the future. And those can and do change every day.
What happened last night carries no more official weight than a poll now showing McCain beating Obama in a general election.The only way Obama can be the nominee now, before the convention is for Clinton to quit And while I have no way of knowing if she will, when her campaign chair introduced her last night as the next President of the United States it doesn't sound a whole lot like she is conceding. Nor should she.
The only way super delegate votes can have any real meaning right now is if she quits. But then super delegates wouldn't be able to change their minds even if they wanted to which doesn't sound like a very good idea given the volatility and changing fortunes of politics, that the convention is more than two months away, and given the fact that we are dealing with people who have made a way of life out of sticking their finger to wind to see which way it happens to be blowing.
The irony is, Clinton actually has more reasons to stay in than Obama does. She did win the popular vote ( for Democratic officials reading this that means more people voted for her than Obama) and her claim that she has received more votes than any Democratic candidate in the history of the primaries is true. Obama's lead of pledged delegates is only 77 out of over 4000 when the 55 challenged Michigan delegates aren't included. And no matter how one wants to look at it, in a winner take all system like the Republicans and the general election Clinton beat Obama for pledged delegates by more than 500.It is only the insane way that Democrats apportion delegates than has allowed Obama to pick up almost 700 delegates in states where he lost by landslides something that seems to have gone over the heads of Democratic super delegates. Without that Clinton is the clear winner.
Given the general ineptitude of Congressional Democrats and Democratic politicians, which is where most of the super delegates come from, it seems like a good idea to give them the ten weeks to the convention to make up their minds. The only reason they are being pushed now is because the Democratic leadership, led by two people who have a lower job approval rating than George Bush want it done for reasons that makes no sense other than these are people who react to nothing but fear.
But the rules which everyone likes to tout say there is no nominee until the convention nominates one. And a super delegate's vote isn't binding until then. To quote Obama supporters, those are the rules. Super delegates who have come out for Obama now would run from him like the plague if events started to re-enforce what many people can see now -- that he would lose badly against McCain.
Obama has finished with a whimper staggering to the finish and looking like a beaten candidate. If the timing were different and Clinton had reeled off these last 9 out of 11 landslide wins two months ago and Obama had won the small mid west caucuses now, Obama would be an afterthought and no super delegate would be supporting him. That is how short sighted and inept politicians can be. So it makes all the sense in the world to give it the two months to the convention and let these super delegates think about what they are doing.If Clinton were to get out now then they are stuck with Obama and there is no going back. Waiting until the convention is the only thing that makes sense for super delegates to do. But sense, common or otherwise is something that has been in short supply among Democrats for the last 8 years. So maybe it is up to Clinton to save the Democratic elite from themselves.
Last night CNN and Tim Russert and the rest of the media carried on as if anything that happened last night was official. It wasn't. And they know it. Nothing super delegates say now is binding and they know that too. But that didn't stop them from pushing the story they want to push. Politicians being what they are, sticking their finger to the wind to see which way its blowing, and sometimes not even getting that right, it is more of a sure bet that in a week if events changed so would their minds.
And even as the news media and super delegates were celebrating their collective wisdom with their usual degree of misplaced certainty, like that close up of the cordial glass in the movie "A Night to Remember" about the sinking of the Titanic, showing the brandy in the glass starting to tilt while the aristocracy played cards, four new polls came out yesterday that showed Obama losing ground and now in a tie with McCain while the same polls showed Clinton beating McCain in all four polls by 4 points.
Clinton should take this to the convention. Its the only lifeboat the Democrats have. If she doesn't, last night may very well be a night to remember for the Democrats. And for the same reason as the first one.