Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Hillary's hardball tactics backfire

As I predicted in previous posts, Hillary and her campaign's shenanigans and hardball tactics are turning off supporters and undecided superdelegates.
The Clinton campaign has been actively wooing these delegates, believing a plurality represents the strongest, and increasingly the only, way for her to win the nomination. But one undeclared delegate, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the recent tactics are turning her and other superdelegates off.

"I don't think anybody's saying 'step aside,' but 'stop with the garbage' is what people want to say," the delegate said. "Just chill a little bit."

As activists committed to the party, they said, they have been impressed by Obama's ability to bring new Democrats into the fold, and they worry that Clinton is threatening that.

"We like the fact that there is a candidate that has won so many states overwhelmingly," the delegate said. "We're feeling her advisors are leading her in a path that diminishes her as well as him."
And really can you blame them? Between crazy jabbering about "converting" (read: stealing) pledged delegates and mentally incompetent jawboning about Richardson as Judas (expect to see some Latino leaders walk away soon - first the firing of Patti Solis Doyle and now the description of the nation's highest ranking Democratic Latino as "Judas", well this is kinda starting to show a trend where Hillary is just using them as tokens and discarding them just as quickly.)

Plus Clintonites recognize that Pelosi ain't so happy with Hillary and now are trying to force her back into a corner. Read their letter to her here including this thinly veiled threat from some of the Democratic Party's major fundraisers: "We appreciate your activities in support of the Democratic Party and your leadership role in the Party and hope you will be responsive to some of your major enthusiastic supporters."

It's hard not to read this as a threat to withhold funds from the DCCC. And it's true that these people are no joke - Maureen White was the former finance Chair of the DNC, Steve Rattner was behind the Atlantic Yards project in New York, Susie Thompkins Buell founded Espirit, and Haim Saban created the Power Rangers franchise. These people give massive amounts of money to the party, but it doesn't mean that their voices should count for more than the millions of voters.

This is probably the stupidest thing they could have done, and will just result in her unleashing her deputies to a greater degree. In case they forgot, Pelosi is the speaker of the House, the titular leader of 233 of the superdelegates, and many have not publicly sided, belonging to the 400-odd group of undecided delegates (the super-undecideds?) Also, Pelosi is no stranger to hardball politics, but unlike Hillary she is able to pull people back into her corner. (Witness her election as Speaker when several Dem congresscritters voted present rather than voting for her as Speaker. She has done an excellent job of maintaining party unity for the most part, and has gained the respect of those previous holdouts.)

Pelosi knows how to count and whip votes like nobody's business, and I want to point to Dan Lipinski, who reps the most conservative district in Illinois that's held by a (nominal) Democrat. Today he endorsed Obama, leaving Rahm Emanuel the lone undecided in the Illinois Democratic delegation.

Basically, having run a number of campaigns, Clinton is desperate because she's running a sinking ship. By the time you have to arm wrestle your supporters, you've already lost. And the crazy, desperate, haphazard flailing and failing actions you take are ones that unnerve even your supporters. You lose perspective and try to be too ham-handed, and it's not good for anyone, least of all your campaign. If you had a campaign that was doing well, you would be attracting superdels and volunteers and donations like flies to honey. Kinda like what Obama's campaign is doing.

Instead, your pressuring of Dean, Pelosi, and other national leaders has given you a black eye and brought it to the point where Harry Reid, whose son ran your successful Nevada operations, is saying that this will be over soon.

It's not too late to leave with grace and dignity. After all, when Kerry starting making noise about running for president again, he got some serious primary challenges floated. Don't think the same won't happen to you.

UPDATE: correction - posters are correct, these are two different people. Bruce Ratner is the Atlantic Yards developer and Steven Rattner is the American venture capitalist. I apologize for not double checking and researching. Thanks to readers for catching this.



  • At 8:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Steve Rattner has nothing to do with Bruce Ratner, the Atlantic Yards developer.

  • At 1:42 AM, Anonymous lumi said…

    Sorry, wrong Ratner. Bruce Ratner (with one "t") is the developer of Atlantic Yards.

    Bruce is also the brother of lefty constitutional crusader Michael Ratner.


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