by D. Cupples | Six Democratic super-delegates from North Carolina plan to endorse Barack Obama before that state's primary. They're afraid that prolonged contentious campaigning will reduce the yet-unnamed Dem nominee's chances against McCain.
Translation: they want Hillary to drop out sooner (before the next 10 states have primaries).
Super-delegates' attempts to prematurely give Obama the nomination would only further ossify the resentment many Hillary supporters already feel toward Obama and the Democratic Party.
Below, I explain why throwing the race to Obama now might make John McCain ecstatic in November -- and would likely create a new wave of Independents.
Recent Gallup Poll results suggest that if Hillary were the nominee, 19% of Obama supporters would vote for McCain; if Obama were the nominee, 28% of Hillary's supporters would vote for McCain.
The resentment sprouted in January and has grown steadily. Weeks ago, super-blogger Taylor Marsh noticed it. In a recent message to Nancy Pelosi and Patrick Leahy (who want Obama nominated now), Marsh patiently re-stated her observations:
"If you continue to try to push Hillary Clinton out of the primary race before a clear winner emerges, you're going to accomplish one of two things....
1. Clinton supporters will harden further against voting for Obama if he becomes the nominee. (Hillary fans are already close to this, so don't push them any further, because you can't win in November without them, especially after Obama's Rev. Wright pastor disaster, which is already causing problems in the larger electorate.)....
Apparently, prominent Dems think they can knock Hillary out of the contest, yet her will supporters forget their displeasure and gleefully rally round Obama.
That could happen -- if most Hillary supporters were ADD-afflicted adolescents who spend hours glued to the Cartoon network. Prominent Dems should ponder who Hillary's supporters really are.
They should also consider from where the resentment stems. Rewind to January, when the Obama campaign absurdly framed the race as a choice between "Change" and "Experience" (terms that aren't mutually exclusive). Obama also implied that his hands were clean but Hillary's weren't.
Those implications were as undiplomatic as they were factually flawed, and they offended many Hillary supporters.
Next came false accusations of racism, aimed at Bill and Hillary Clinton. Obama didn't say it, but his supporters did -- including prominent media people.
Racists would not have supported Obama's U.S. Senate run: Bill and Hillary did.
One brief but inspirational speech from Obama about the accusations' absurdity could have stopped them.
Instead, Obama sat silently -- hands pocketed and shielded from flying mud -- while his campaign benefited from the bloodying of fellow Democrats.
Naturally, some Hillary supporters resented that.
In early February, Sen. Obama's wife told Good Morning America that she might not support Hillary if Hillary becomes the nominee. Translation: a Republican might be better.
A few weeks later, Obama supporters were outraged when Hillary acknowledged the obvious: that McCain has more experience than Obama. Most media forgot that Obama's closest surrogate had said something equally damning about Hillary.
The disparate reactions were evidence that different standards exist for Obama and Hillary.
Naturally, many Hillary supporters' resentment grew.
Next came the adolescent calls from some Obama supporters (including media folks) for Hillary to drop out -- even before Ohio's primary. That started in February.
The day after Ohio's primary, Obama's campaign manager sent an email that strongly implied that Hillary should drop out.
Many Hillary-supporting Dems remember watching George Bush try to bully Al Gore into stopping the Florida recount.
Naturally, Hillary-supporting Dems had a visceral reaction to watching one of their own do that to Hillary during a close race.
Adding ipecac to the cake, Obama said a few days ago that he didn't mind if Hillary stays in the race. Why didn't he say that a month ago -- before the bullying cries reached a crescendo in the media?
Causing doubt on whether Obama has earned Hillary supporters' votes was Obama's penchant for using words that clash with his actions.
Obama says he won't take money from lobbyists and PACs. Yet, he raised more than $1 million from PACs just before his presidential bid. An Obama fund raiser expressed interest to a lobbyist in taking donations from the lobbyist's wife.
Obama says he wants to include more people in the political process, yet he opposed re-votes in both Michigan and Florida. At least in Florida, it was the Republican legislature's fault that primary dates got moved up. Yet, the votes of Dems in the fourth largest state likely won't count.
Obama says he wants to clean up the lobbying game, yet he sponsored an amendment that allowed candidates to keep their bundlers' names secret. That's the opposite of transparency.
Obama touted an impressive record of legislative work, but colleagues indicated that Obama falsely grabbed credit for some work in the U.S. Senate and the Illinois legislature. That said, what are his actual legislative accomplishments?
Rubbing salt into marginalized Hillary supporters' wounds, Obama markets himself as a "unifier" -- yet his own party is bitterly split.
Admittedly, Obama's campaign has promoted unity: among Hillary supporters and right-wing commentators, who've united in their opposition to Obama (e.g., Newt Gingrich, Pat Buchanan, and Charles Krauthammer).
If super-delegates want to make McCain happy while deeply scarring their own party, they should continue acting as though millions of Hillary supporters' opinions (and votes) don't matter.
Not all alienated Hillary supporters would vote for McCain, but many might stay home. I'm not suggesting that they do so -- just describing the situation as it seems to be evolving.
Memeorandum has commentary.
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