Friday, May 23, 2008

Negotiate every vote

Yesterday via Politico, we read where the Obama campaign signaled they would be willing to negotiate on the Florida and Michigan delegates (but not without pre-conditions of course, only enemy dictators are afforded such congeniality):

NPR just sent out a press release with excerpts of an interview Obama Chief Strategist David Axelrod gave "All Things Considered" host Michele Norris, where he seemed to open the door to a deal on Michigan and Florida:

"We are open to comprise [sic]. We are willing to go more than half way. We're willing to work to make sure that we can achieve a compromise. And I guess the question is: is Senator Clinton's campaign willing to do the same?"

Axelrod continues: "Well, obviously, any compromise is going to involve some give, and that means if there's something on the table, we're willing to consider it. That may include us yielding more delegates than perhaps we would have, simply on the basis of the rules."

But of course. Reminds us of the anecdote Democratic strategist Bob Beckel told on Fox News the night of the Indiana and North Carolina primaries.

In a tight election sometime in the past, Beckel called the mayor of Gary, IN and asked when he would give him his vote totals. The mayor answered, “As soon as you tell me how many you need.”

Obama will be willing to negotiate the seating of Michigan and Florida delegates as soon as he knows how many he needs.

But wait! Isn’t Obama already in the lead? Didn’t he just secure the majority of pledged delegates as a result of the primaries on Tueday? Isn’t it true that he could allow Hillary all of the delegates she would receive based on the primaries in Florida and Michigan, and he would still be the nominee?

Barring any unforeseen movement in super delegates – a movement that would only be caused by a cataclysmic scandal – yes.

But the problem is, Obama is just not seeing an accelerating momentum – especially not what you would expect from the now presumptive nominee. Hillary has put some pretty good whoopins on Obama in recent contests such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky.

And further, consider this from Byron York:

If you start with the votes Clinton has won in the Democratic race so far … and add the ones she won in Florida, but don’t count any from Michigan, where opponent Barack Obama was not on the ballot, then Clinton is within striking distance of Obama going into the final primaries of the race.

And if she were to win big in Puerto Rico, then she might become the top Democratic vote-getter, although Obama would win the nomination on the strength of his delegate lead.

As long there is a chance that Hillary might overtake him in the popular vote Obama is no where near knowing how many delegates he would be willing to seat from Michigan and Florida. The closer she gets in the popular vote, the more critical it is that Obama has a demonstrative lead in the delegate count.

Back to York:

What is at stake is Obama’s standing as the clear, unquestioned leader of the party.

When the winner is the guy who didn’t get the most popular votes, some people won’t be happy — just ask all those Democrats who sported “Re-Defeat Bush” stickers on their cars in 2004.

Clinton’s presence as the popular-vote winner, even though Obama won the nomination by the rules, would diminish Obama.

If that scenario comes to pass, she’ll be a reminder that many, many Democrats wanted someone else to be their nominee.

Therefore, Al Gore.

The Democrats used to cry, “Count every vote!” This year they are preparing to nominate a candidate who is crying, “Negotiate every vote!”

Or if we look at it from a glass half full perspective, “Disenfranchise only as many as necessary to guarantee victory!”

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