Fixing 2012: Obama moves to eliminate superdelegates
A move to head off revolt in 2012?
Breaking rules, changing rules, manipulating rules, ignoring rules: this politician learned a great deal in Chicago.
December 31, 2009
When one looks back at the origin of the Democratic Party endowing so-called super-delegates with power to influence nominations for the Presidency it is apparent that the rules were meant to tamp down on any radicalization in the party a la George McGovern. Elder party leaders and current Congressmen became super-delegates. They had the ability to check popular excesses or tamp down choices that might be perceived as being too radical for America as a whole.
One of the key reasons Barack Obama won the nomination is because of his early primary success in so-called caucus states: where his campaign was able to tap, and influence, individuals rather than relying on party leaders. His campaign won on a wave of populism: the type of mindlessness the super-delegate process was designed to tamp down.
Even down to the wire, there was hope in the Hillary Clinton campaign that super-delegates would come to her rescue.
Now, Obama and his minions, are gearing up to kill off super-delegates in a bid to help ensure his re-nomination in 2012. Jonathan Martin and Ben Smith of Politico have the story:
Democrats are moving to eliminate from the party's national convention the superdelegates, the elected officials and party leaders whose role in the presidential nominating process came under intense scrutiny in last year's closely-contested primary.
Those superdelegates provided, for a time, a lifeline to then-Sen. Hillary Clinton's flagging campaign, and the effective end of their independent role would be a major step toward reshaping the Democratic Party - and its internal politics - in President Barack Obama's image.
A group created by the Democratic National Committee to examine the role of the superdelegates, the Democratic Change Commission - steered by the Obama campaign's top delegate counter, Jeff Berman - held a conference call Wednesday to recommend that these unpledged delegates cast their votes based upon the electoral results of their states rather than on personal preference.
The recommendations of the commission, co-chaired by House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina and Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, will now go before the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee.
While the elimination of superdelegates isn't likely to have any impact in 2012, when the party is all but certain to renominate President Obama, commission members say it will help democratize future presidential primaries.
"I think the goal here was to get away from what felt like almost a disenfranchisement at some point in time to the voters and to the caucus members in the various states," McCaskill said.
Would sitting Congressman-who are facing pressure by supporting Obama and his policies be reluctant to vote to re-nominate him in 2012? Whether that is true will be irrelevant if Obama's plans to take away their power reach fruition.
This looks likely to happen as the three key players are all close allies of Barack Obama.