I rarely read the editorials in The New York Times. The regular contributors are mostly predictable, and spew venom rather than articulate thoughts. I religiously read the lead-ins in the daily email summary. They typically make me laugh. I don’t know whether the author picks the particular sentence or paragraph, or the editors do (I suspect it’s the editors).
Yesterday (Sunday), Frank Rich had his usual hate-filled opinion piece. I don’t have the summary email in front of me, but I’m pretty sure the lead-in was this:
The Clinton camp has been the slacker in this race, more words than action, and its candidate’s message, for all its purported high-mindedness, was and is self-immolating.
When I read that lead-in out loud to Lois, she asked me to read the entire op-ed to her, as she refuses to register at the NYT site, even though it’s free.
I admit to being too lazy to check now (this isn’t a normal Political Blog, so please forgive me!), but in the past, I believe that Frank Rich was a supporter of the Clintons. I know that hasn’t been true for a while, but this piece is an interesting hatchet job. Why?
Rather than just make the points that he makes (many of them are excellent, and the entire piece is extremely well written), he has to not only bash Bush (his favorite activity), but he has to ensure that anyone who hates Bush must now hate Hillary as well, since, according to him, they are now one and the same creature…
I wasn’t going to blog about it even though it amused me. Then, this morning, I read this opinion by Geraldine Ferraro. After reading, I couldn’t resist sharing a few thoughts, so why not throw in the Frank Rich opinion as well.
Here was the lead-in that got me to read her entire op-ed:
Superdelegates were created to lead, not to follow. They
were, and are, expected to determine what is best for the
Democratic Party and best for the country.
An interesting premise. I have no idea whether that’s true or not, so I decided to read on. It seems to start off accusing the party of having been populated by cowards (my word, not hers!) previous to the brilliant stroke of creating superdelegates.
Most of the points that she makes are laughable, but in the spirit of not making this a mega-post (I know, most of mine are, like it or not), I’ll pick on a few. Here is the first:
Besides, the delegate totals from primaries and caucuses do not necessarily reflect the will of rank-and-file Democrats. Most Democrats have not been heard from at the polls. We have all been impressed by the turnout for this year’s primaries — clearly 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.
Where to begin? First, “Most Democrats have not been heard from at the polls.” So, those that don’t bother to go to the polls somehow prefer the elites of the party to make decisions for them, in particular, over-riding the wishes of those that did go to the polls? Could it be that those that don’t go to the polls weren’t active in electing the elites that Geraldine now claims have a responsibility to those same Democrats?
Here’s the next paragraph:
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.
So, by her own admission, turnout is greater now than in most years. Sure, this race is closer, but let’s do some napkin math. She claims that 15% does not a grassroots mandate make. Other than in a year when everyone else drops out (think Kerry in 2004), even a wide margin in delegates would likely be at most something like 75-25% (and that’s likely a stretch, or the second candidate would likely have dropped out).
If in that year, the turnout was more normal, it would be below 30%, perhaps significantly. In that case, the wide-margin victor would have less than 19% of the purported registered Democratic votes (75% of the 25% turnout). Should the superdelegates rush in to save the day? After all, the few idiots that turned out to the polls might be wrong…
This next paragraph was the middle one in a string of three related ones:
In the Democratic primary in South Carolina, tens of thousands of Republicans and independents no doubt voted, many of them for Mr. Obama. The same rules prevail at the Iowa caucuses, in which Mr. Obama also triumphed.
So, a candidate that can excite both parties (plus independents), what a horror, better get the party elite to wipe out that kind of across-the-aisle sentiment! Or, perhaps, her intended point is that Republicans and Independents crossed over to vote for Obama just to ensure that Hillary wouldn’t be the candidate, and that they have no intention of voting for Obama come election day. Who knows, as she doesn’t say!
No matter, Obama topped Hillary in South Carolina by 145,000 votes, so he crushed her, even if Geraldine’s assumptions about non-Democrats are correct. But, who cares about those Democrats anyway…
Perhaps because I have endorsed Mrs. Clinton, I have noticed that most of the people complaining about the influence of the superdelegates are supporters of Mr. Obama. I can’t help thinking that their problem with the superdelegates may not be that they’re “unrepresentative,” but rather that they are perceived as disproportionately likely to support Mrs. Clinton.
Huh? Is this an admission that they aren’t representative, or is it just a put-down of people who feel that Obama is legitimately creaming her? It might be a smaller turnout than Geraldine likes (even though it’s a larger turnout than usual), but Obama has now won 11 straight primaries/caucases, some by incredible margins. Where are all of the supporters for Hillary that weren’t turning out earlier, because they thought she was the inevitable candidate, but now know that without their vote, she’s toast?
Now we get this:
And I am watching, with great disappointment, people whom I respect in the Congress who endorsed Hillary Clinton — I assume because she was the leader they felt could best represent the party and lead the country — now switching to Barack Obama with the excuse that their constituents have spoken.
Really? It couldn’t possibly be that both Hillary and Bill have blown up in public so many times that it seems statistically unlikely to be an anomaly, and those same superdelegates have legitimately changed their minds on Hillary’s ability to lead the country? Not only does Geraldine know better than grassroots Democrats, now she knows better than superdelegates who switch from Hillary to Barack.
The hit parade continues:
But if they are actually upset over the diminished clout of rank-and-file Democrats in the presidential nominating process, then I would love to see them agitating to force the party to seat the delegates elected by the voters in Florida and Michigan. In those two states, the votes of thousands of rank-and-file party members will not be counted because their states voted on dates earlier than those authorized by the national party.
This one really makes me laugh, sorry, while I pause and catch my breath. So, the same party officials who are clever enough to give themselves superdelegate status, and know better than ordinary folks, should now be ignored (until the convention, of course). After all, who made the rules to not count the Florida and Michigan votes? Which candidates promised to honor that decision, and which candidate (singular!) went back on that promise?
Geraldine is so worried about disenfranchising those voters. She also points out that Hillary won those two states handily. Of course, she conveniently forgets to point out that the candidates all agreed not to campaign in those states. So, she wins (for whatever reasons), and now the other candidates, who might have won had they campaigned, should just accept the will of the people (of course, only if/when the will of the people selects Hillary). Simply amazing logic.
The bottom line is that Geraldine Ferraro has a distaste and disregard for people who want to exercise their democratic right to vote. Why not come out and say what’s really on her mind? Namely: everyone should stay home and let us leaders anoint the next nominee, since we clearly know better than the rest of you!
It amuses me that this is happening to the all-inclusive Democrats, when they could only wish this was happening to the demonic Republicans…