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.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Pelosi pushes for Obama and the future of the Democratic Party

As I've noted throughout, Speaker of the House Pelosi (god I love that phrase) has been pushing for Obama in every so slight and subtle ways, including with her lieutenants Jan Schakowsky and George Miller endorsing him. More recently, she said that a Clinton Obama ticket was never going to happen because of the things that had been said, which supports his position that he would not be her veep (and can we talk about how ridiculous it is for the Number 2 to be offering the front runner a veep position?!?!)

Now, Pelosi comes out even more, and supports his stance on delegates. She is perhaps the single most important player in the Democratic party, as someone who has the support of the liberals and who understands how the game is played. Keep in mind that when she supported Mike Honda in a tight race for the DNC Vice Chair position, he got there.

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says it would be damaging to the Democratic party for its leaders to buck the will of national convention delegates picked in primaries and caucuses, a declaration that gives a boost to Sen. Barack Obama.

"If the votes of the superdelegates overturn what's happened in the elections, it would be harmful to the Democratic party," Pelosi said in an interview taped Friday for broadcast Sunday on ABC's "This Week."

. . .

Pelosi's comments could influence other House Democrats who are neutral in the presidential race and will attend the convention as superdelegates.

In her interview, Pelosi also said that even if one candidate winds up with a larger share of the popular vote than the delegate leader, the candidate who has more delegates should prevail.

"It's a delegate race," she said. "The way the system works is that the delegates choose the nominee."

She understands what is at risk - a divided party is not going to be good for downticket races or for the future of the Democratic party. Indeed. what is ironic is that Hillary shares the same sector of voters that McCain does, at least in age. She has all the older voters, and something I am hearing more and more frequently now from the 30 and under cohort is that they will not vote for Hillary if she is the general nominee. This is from people who are NOT Naderites.

REPEAT: These are not Naderites. Naderites are the lunatic fringe. These are normal people in big cities and suburbs, some married with kids, of all races.

They are not the fringe of the party, but rather party activists and loyalists. And even people who have been less politically involved and engaged up until now. Who are now reading politico.com obsessively and whose watching of CNN is starting to rival mine (!!!) Many of these people are not political junkies and have never been. But they are deeply passionate about Obama and his message of change, and this is the future of the Democratic party.

Some of these people are the independents (a slice of the electorate that has been steadily growing) who want to come to the Democratic fold.

I am shocked and pleased at how informed people in the US and internationally are about our election. At the general enthusiasm and excitement. I wish it would stay this way but I'm increasingly concerned that some people will be turned off of politics for good if the current level of debate goes on like this and Clinton wins. I am going to support her and work for her regardless if she is our nominee, but I'm alarmed at WHO is saying that they won't. More than the party activists, I'm alarmed at the "normals" (if you will) who are making these declarations.

I hear that the campaigns are going to play cleaner for a bit, and I hope they stay there. Because all of this dirt and outrage is going to be played back by the RNC and McCain's campaign in the general election. And Pelosi is right - there's no way that if Obama wins he puts Hillary on the ticket just so the RNC can run ads with her saying that John McCain would be a better president.

That is beyond the pale. And if she was smart, she would stop trying to burn our house down. This level of naked ambition isn't going to do her well if she is trying to position for 2016, because all these millennials and the 30 and unders who are disgusted with her tactics are going to remember and never let her get a chance again. But maybe that's what's driving her fierce urgency this time around. The Democratic Party is changing, more rapidly than people could expect.

It's a good and healthy thing for us to be evolving. Good lord, it's been so long! But Clinton donors are trying to put the squeeze on Howard Dean as DNC chair because they are afraid of the evolution of the Democratic party, and afraid of losing their stranglehold over the power.

Pushing to seat the Florida delegates, at least one top Clinton fund-raiser, Paul Cejas, a Miami businessman who has given the Democratic National Committee $63,500 since 2003, has demanded Democratic officials return his 2007 contribution of $28,500, which they have agreed to do.

“If you’re not going to count my vote, I’m not going to give you my money,” said Mr. Cejas, who was the United States ambassador to Belgium from 1998 to 2001.

Christopher Korge, a Florida real estate developer who is another top fund-raiser for Mrs. Clinton, held an event last year in his home that brought in about $140,000 for the national party, which was set aside in a special account for the general election battle in Florida. But he told committee officials this week that if Florida’s delegate conundrum was not settled satisfactorily he would be asking for the money back.

“If we do not resolve this issue,” Mr. Korge said, “I think it’s safe to say there will be a request for a return of $140,000.”


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