Thursday, May 8, 2008

Democratic Superdelegates Sitting Squarely On The Fence

Watching the Democratic nominating process, one has to wonder if maybe members of the party are not quite as sold on their choice of candidates as they publicly proclaim. Conventional wisdom says the race is effectively over and Barrack Obama has the nomination. So why aren’t the superdelegates rushing to endorse him?

There have been some explanations, some can be found here and this article makes some sense. One reason mentioned is that many superdelegates are elected officials facing re-election this year and are afraid of alienating half of their voters. That is legitimate, maybe pathetic and weak-kneed, but valid. Also, there is the risk that one of the candidates could screw up and embarrass the superdelegate facing re-election (think snipergate). With the two main Democratic candidates this year, this is definitely a legitimate concern.

I think the main problem though is that Obama simply has not sealed the deal. It’s pretty hard to argue that the superdelegates secretly pine for Hillary Clinton, this is unlikely. It is likely that a lot of the superdelegates are concerned about Obama’s ever increasing baggage. Obama had an air of inevitability for awhile (didn’t Hillary have this at one time too?). Obama was new, he was “change”. I have been saying all along though that change isn’t always good, it’s just different. With Obama’s nut parade following him, he is starting to look like his chances of winning are diminishing.

At the top of the list we have the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. This man redefines the term lunatic fringe and he is not going away. He is getting his fifteen minutes and he is liking it. Obama has been put in a no win situation. If he did not disavow his reverend, he was going to be drug down by him. By disavowing him though, the reverend has become unglued and has no constraints holding him in. I believe we haven’t heard anything yet. I believe this reverend is far crazier than we are giving him credit for and he is going to make a real idiot of himself over the summer. The reality for Obama though is that he is not going to be able to shake the man because he cannot explain why he listened to him for 20 years and did not leave the church.

Hillary Clinton and her team has been skirting the Jeremiah Wright issue for fear of being branded a racist. John McCain has insisted on staying above the fray and not resort to personal attacks. He doesn’t have to though because the bloggers on the right are not going to show the same restraint. The main stream media may ignore the story but it will stay alive through the summer online.

Then we have William Ayers from the Weathermen Underground. This man has admitted to participating in bombing federal buildings and Obama has been soft on his explanation of their relationship. I don’t know about other people but my relationship with terrorists who attack American interests is very, very clear. They can spend the rest of their lives in prison and then when they are done go straight to hell. The fact that Obama does not outright condemn this man worries me a lot.

Finally we have Tony Rezko, criminal. Mr. Rezko is standing trial on federal corruption charges. He is yet another “acquaintance” of Obama’s. The connection between Mr. Rezko and Mr. Obama has been a little hazy but I suspect as the general campaign gets underway and opposition groups start digging, the story is not going to be favorable to Obama.
With all of these questionable acquaintances and with the real risk that there is yet more embarrassing information about Obama to come, I think there is a real strong sense of hesitation on the part of superdelegates. Obama may not be the gift from God Democrats had convinced themselves he was. He may not only get beat in the general election by John McCain, he may have the potential to take some of the rest of the party with him.

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