Just as democratic leaders are assuring voters that they will not pick the next nominee as superdelegates, top Clinton Aide Harold Ickes has called the primaries “irrelevant” for the outcome and predicted that party leaders would give her the nomination regardless of losing any future primaries. At the same time, he has called for the delegates in Florida and Michigan to be seated despite the fact that the other candidates did not campaign in those states under an agreement with the party — an agreement that Clinton herself accepted before the race became so close.
There is widespread outrage over the fact that the party elite would pick the democratic nominee. It is therefore a particularly curious time for Ickes to be dismissing the upcoming primaries and heralding the domination of the process by the party establishment. Yet, he did not seem to care about how his views would be received by voters in the upcoming “irrelevant” primaries.
He is quoted as saying: “We’re going to win this nomination. You’re not going to see this go to the convention floor.” He suggested that voters are a bit clueless and that the party leaders “have a sense of what it takes to get elected.”
He presented the matter as simple math: “Hillary will end up with more automatic delegates than Obama” and, as for the upcoming primaries, any Obama victories are “irrelevant to the obligations of automatic delegates.”
I assume that Ickes was not trying to dismiss democratic voters as irrelevant, but he sure picked a poor way to say it. He must have known that his call for superdelegates to determine the outcome would enrage people. In that sense, this may have been a trial balloon from the Clinton campaign: indicating that they will win by any means — including a superdelegate vote. With the debate turning decidedly against this notion, the Clinton people may have seen the need to push back to slow the momentum away from superdelegates.
Ickes is the ultimate party insider and he is managing superdelegates. He is himself a superdelegate and personifies the problem with the system: a collection of establishment figures who control the direction and message of the party — often resisting calls for change from voters. The superdelegate campaign is a strange choice by Clinton who has insisted that she is not part of the establishment but a true voice for change.What is particularly disturbing is the bait-and-switch being proposed by the Clinton camp over Florida and Michigan. After assuring the other candidates that she would abide by the party decision on those states, Clinton switched her position after the votes became important in a close race. That seems a bit unprincipled and opportunistic.
The proposals by Howard Dean and others for a new primary in one or both of those states seem to have merit. What should be uncontroversial is that the superdelegate system should be eliminated. If Clinton were to secure the nomination through the party establishment, it would confirm the worse stereotypes about contemporary American politics and her candidacy.
5 thoughts on “Clinton Aide Harold Ickes Predicts that Superdelegates with Give Clinton the Nomination Even If Obama Wins Remainder of Primaries”
HUBRIS II – The Movie
In 2004 – Howard Wolfson told New York magazine that ” … outside of the John Kerry campaign, Ickes was “the most important person in the Democratic Party today.”
Sometimes I think this is much like the plot devices used by so many of my beloved mystery writers, such as Doyle and Christie. Its the plot whereby late in the story we learn that the victim was taking small amounts of arsenic in order to build up a tolerance and thereby not killed by the otherwise fatal dose administered in the same and final potable with the victim.
Not unlike the Bush Administration – they (The Clinton War Machine) dutifully administers little bits of information to the otherwise tempestuous masses in order to anneal acceptance to the Party elites wishes. The same Party Elite that has still to realize that it was strategic bungling, abuses of power and the irresponsible politics of the Democratic elite that provided the opportunity for a neo-con coup of our government. Ickes is the William Krystol of Left.
The Party elite have no benefit if Obama were to become the nominee – and everything to gain if one of their own – Clinton – is tapped. So … why not just condition the public and the pull an inside game? It’s not like they haven’t done it before. They will try, but I think after nearly 8 years of unrestrained hubris, large pockets of the electorate can recognize a duck by its waddle and don’t necessarily have to wait for the quack.
The strategy does have the signature of Beltway insiders, who relish procedural machinations and technical victories. They have little appreciation of how repulsed citizens are over the situation in D.C. or this type of “win-at-any-cost” politics.
What happens if this fight comes down to a showdown over seating the delegates from Michigan and Florida? Can you imagine what it would be like to have the Democrats in court fighting over Florida ballots – again!?
Today’s NYTimes lead article in the National section talked heavily about the role that Al Gore can play in this whole mess. Though he is waiting on the sidelines now, he would be willing, along with other senior party leaders, to step in and avoid a messy fight before the convention.
One has to wonder, if the delegate count is close after all the primaries are said and done, doesn’t that mean that Hillary Clinton LOST? Maybe this woman is right?
I have suspected that from the beginning. I mean, where did Hillary come up with the whole “inevitable” thing? If it does happen that way, the primary will carry all the legitimacy of the 2000 general election, the presidency will be handed to the GOP with a red bow on it and the Dems will be implacably fractured for a generation.
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