Monday, February 25, 2008

What's the sound of the Clinton campaign imploding?

Yet another Clinton surrogate flips primary voters the bird:

[C]learly both candidates have excited and engaged the party’s membership — but, even so, turnout for primaries and caucuses is notoriously low. It would be shocking if 30 percent of registered Democrats have participated.If that is the case, we could end up with a nominee who has been actively supported by, at most, 15 percent of registered Democrats. That’s hardly a grassroots mandate.

More important, although many states like New York have closed primaries in which only enrolled Democrats are allowed to vote, in many other states Republicans and independents can make the difference by voting in Democratic primaries or caucuses.

He won his delegates fair and square, but those delegates represent the wishes not only of grassroots Democrats, but also Republicans and independents. If rank-and-file Democrats should decide who the party’s nominee is, each state should pass a rule allowing only people who have been registered in the Democratic Party for a given time — not nonmembers or day-of registrants — to vote for the party’s nominee.
Do they really consider this a winning strategy? Who are they trying to convince? The 20+ million Democratic primary voters who've broken turnout records across the country? The only thing crazier than believing this nonsense is that they think it's smart politics to argue it openly while voters in a dozen states are still preparing to go to the polls.

Candidates can throw mud at their opponent and be forgiven. But they cannot continually and publicly show contempt for the voters they'll need in the general election and survive.

Before Super Tuesday, it's safe to say most Obama supporters believed that Hillary would be the party's nominee and they were ready to come over and vote for her in the general election. But you can only smack people so many times and expect them to show up for you in November. If Obama wins the popular vote and the committed delegates, but party insiders overrule them, the Democrats will lose the presidency.

In the past few weeks the Clinton team have insulted party activists, African Americans, young people, small state Democrats, moderates, conservatives and liberals, together with Republicans and independents who've recently moved into the Democratic camp. They've even branded some superdelegates "second-class delegates". Combine that with her recent Abandon All Hope talking points and you've got an election platform to rival Walter Mondale's.

Bill Clinton might be forgiven his condescension to the black voters of South Carolina, Hillary excused for her clumsy comments after her Super Tuesday losses. Mark Penn can be condemned as a fool and a lousy strategist. But a campaign simply can't be caught publishing this kind of idiocy in the New York Times.

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