Thursday, March 27, 2008

Destroy the Democratic Party

This meme is really taking off. Already Google has indexed about 26,200 results for a search on
"destroy the democratic party" +obama +clinton"
Google Blog Search (not always the best source...) has 118 results from this query in the last month, and only 2 more if you expand the scope of the search to "all time." 7 of these results are from the past day -- making a monthly average something over 200, so the meme may still be seeing acceleration.

What has everyone upset? Number one is the idea that the super delegates will select the nominee, against the clear majority expression of will by the direct electorate. As one politically connected friend of mine recently said "that would tear the party apart, like the whigs being destroyed by disagreement in the mid 1800s." I don't believe he was connecting the debate of that time (over slavery) to the debate today (also with a racial component). But it was an interesting point about how deep differences of value can bring to an end institutions which have otherwise stood the test of time. While not as long-lived as the current Democratic party (there have been others), the Whig party lasted a long 23 years -- for some voters it existed during their entire lifetimes at the moment of its destruction.

In case you have been hiding under a rock, but somehow read my blog, the latest in this debate is the entry of Nancy Pelosi into the fray. Through her media representative, her position was clarified quite clearly today:
"The speaker believes it would do great harm to the Democratic Party if superdelegates are perceived to overturn the will of the voters," Daly said. "This has been her position throughout this primary season, regardless of who was ahead at any particular point in delegates or votes.”
This was partially in response to a set of big wheel donors who sent a letter to her stating, in part, that superdelegates "have an obligation to make an informed, individual decision about whom to support and who would be the party’s strongest nominee."

The debate about super delegates is of course a veiled debate about Clinton vs. Obama -- sort of like a war in Korea or Vietnam, its a proxy war for the bigger issue. The saddest part of this process for me is in watching the Clintons entirely deconstruct. How does it remain a rational position to say that Obama is not ready for the White House given the broad support he has received from other politicians and from the electorate? To continue this petty and self-serving argument merely reduces Hillary Clinton to the position of spoiler.

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