Super Delegates and the Power of Projection

"She’s behind. Make no mistake. If she loses either Texas or Ohio, this thing is done." — James Carville in Orlando, Florida, February 13, 2008.

Since the 1992 election, it’s not unusual for Carville to make outrageous statements about any topic but mostly relating to the bashing of Republicans. For him to speak so candidly about a campaign that he is advising is a watershed moment. Or is it?  It’s hard to believe  anything said about the Clintons by anyone who is close to them.

There is a dilemma presented by the candor of folks like James Carville: the uncertainty of the Super Delegates such as Rep. John Lewis of Georgia who have to weigh their longtime loyalty to the Clinton machine against the tidal wave of popularity propelling Barack Obama ahead in the primaries. I would love to be a fly on the wall listening to the private conversations of Hillary and Bill Clinton. With the “expletives deleted,” they must include references to that “upstart senator who thinks he can just waltz in here with a good speech or two, get voters to the polls who have never voted before and take the nomination from us.” 

Senator Barack Obama is awakening the well-educated and the privileged in the Democrat Party. Rush has coined the term, “affluenza,” to describe people in America who are doing well, playing by the rules and thinking that they are fine but the rest of the country must be going to hell. These are the supporters of Barack Obama. There will be plenty of time to assess the candidacy of Senator Obama; it’s the super delegates that are the most fun to watch today.

Senator Clinton was the heir apparent to the throne and much like her two-time rival, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, thought she was unbeatable because she’d been ahead the whole time. In Democrats’ preposterous primary shell game there are no winner take all states and every state apportions its delegates. The buzz around Hillary before the first vote was cast in a primary was that she could lose virtually every state and still win the nomination because of the almost 800 Super Delegates. She was inevitable. Any time a candidate thinks they are inevitable, it is my experience, you can count them out and Hillary Clinton is dangerously close to the cliff of irrelevance. 

Rep. David Scott of Georgia changed his mind about who he will support as a Super Delegate noting that he’s got to reflect in his convention vote the will of the people of his district and they voted 3-1 for Barack Obama. Civil Rights icon, John Lewis, also a Congressman from Georgia, is on the fence, but insiders say he’s made his mind up to switch to Obama for the same reason. It is actually a beautiful — if uncommon — sight: elected officials in the Democrat party representing the will of their actual constituencies instead of the Clintons.

If Lewis and others read the polls and look at the voters actual turnout in the primaries, the result could be that Obama, not Clinton, captures the greatest number of Super Delegates. Which would spell the end of the Hillary campaign. Forevermore the end.

Many conservative pundits believe that Obama will be harder to beat than Clinton in this election. We are not there yet. Hillary Clinton is being defeated by her own party structure and is making a “Clinton’s Last Stand” in Ohio and Texas. Put a fork in her she’s done; she didn’t deserve the Senate and she clearly doesn’t deserve the Presidency and it’s nice to see it happen that way — give me a warm, fuzzy feeling. She is old news and old politics and too corrupt for prime-time. This is a different day, voters can find out for themselves and they are in record numbers.

Voters don’t want the heir apparent strategy to pick their leaders. Since 2002, the expected people have been losing more than they have been winning. Barack Obama will be the nominee of his party or the party will split apart because the people have voted for him. Mrs. Clinton will not go down without a fight, so it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Once the dust is settled on the Democrat side, the challenge will be how to frame a youthful and dynamic Barack Obama against an aging and tired John McCain. Who will be the maverick in that match up?