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  • « Hang in there, Ted | Main | Revising and amending, Oregon style »

    May 21, 2008

    It's almost time, but not yet

    Posted by: Chris

    Hillarybillclintonkentucky I don't spend a lot of time reading "rah-rah" blogs, where those posting and commenting seem always to agree on everything, but I do like the Jed Report because there's a lot of substance amidst the "Amen, brother!"-ing. After Barack Obama clinched the pledged-delegate majority tonight with his win in Oregon and loss in Kentucky, there was another call for Hillary Clinton to step aside.

    Actually, it wasn't so much aimed at her as it was the still-undeclared superdelegates, who have it in their power to finally end The Long Flat Seemingly Endless Bataan Death March to The White House by putting Obama over the top in overall delegates.

    Here are the numbers as of last night, according to NBC News:

    Pledged Delegates: 3,253
    Majority: 1,627
    Obama: 1,639
    Clinton: 1,502

    Total Delegates: 4,050
    Majority: 2,026
    Obama: 1,954 (needs 72)
    Clinton: 1,783

    Clinton claims the magic number overall is 2,210 because she's (somewhat delusionally) counting Florida and Michigan, but Obama is only 256 shy of even that target. There are still about 400 undeclared superdelegates, and the Jed Report argued that now is the time for them to step in:

    Tonight, Hillary Clinton signaled that as long as superdelegates stand on the sidelines, she isn't getting out of the race, and as long as she's in the race, she'll do whatever it takes to win, even if that means undermining Barack Obama's legitimacy.

    So the time has come to push her out the race, and the only people who can do it are the undeclared superdelegates. They are the ones responsible for this mess, and they are the ones who must end it.

    I feel their pain, really, but at this point, I think Hillary ought to stay in until June 3, when the last primary votes will be cast. It's only three weeks, and it will satisfy more of her supporters. So long as she keeps the tone largely positive, as she has for the last week, then I don't really see the harm.

    It's possible that a wave of superdelegates will follow Obama's clinch last night of the pledged delegate majority, since it is the most important metric -- the voters have chosen. My guess is that the Obama camp actually won't allow then, but instead keep them trickling out four or five a day, as they have for weeks now. There's too much risk in alienating Hillary supporters if it appears she's being pressured to quit.

    (Photo of Bill and Hillary Clinton in Louisville, Ky., via New York Times)

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    Comments

    1. Andoni on May 21, 2008 9:50:13 AM:

      Here's what I think will happen. The supers will trickle in one and two at a time, but if they can choreograph, they will script it so that an actual PRIMARY or CAUCUS puts him over the top, not the superdelegates. This would make the appearance of voters putting him over the top, instead of the "insiders."

      You can't always control the supers, but I would bet Tom Daschle is trying to arrange it the way I describe.

      I also think that at this point 3 weeks won't matter and that they don't want to ruffle Hillary's feathers.

    1. Kevin on May 21, 2008 11:27:57 AM:

      Ugh. All this tip-toeing around the Clintons just encourages them.

    1. Tim C on May 21, 2008 11:40:53 AM:

      Something I got to thinking last night, as Hillary is anointed by Heaven as being the first woman President, if Obama is the nominee and he does defeat John McCain in November, would she challenge him in 2012, a la Ted Kennedy in 1980? How badly do the Clintons want another Presidency in the trophy case?

    1. Double T on May 21, 2008 3:14:13 PM:

      I think Hillary really, really wants a place in history.
      Not just the "pushy first lady who became a senator" footnote.

      Her best bet to be President is to take the role of Vice President. The Obama/Clinton ticket would be incredible strong. She would make history as the first female VP and in 8 years would have a great shot at the big chair.

      Does no one around her see this?

    1. Amicus on May 22, 2008 6:16:44 AM:

      Chris, if you were the nominee with as much work to do as Obama has, would you choose to spend a few weeks campaigning in Puerto Rico?


      The Cost of Time, as it stood back on May 6th.

      Number of weekly news cycles left for Obama to define himself versus McCain: 26
      Number left if Clinton doesn't drop out tonight, waits until bitter end: 22
      Number left if nominee not settled until August 28th: 10

      The Obama campaign can barely control the news cycle now - could they "win" in 10 weeks, if they get hit every which way from Friday with "distractions" that need time to unravel? Could Hillary?

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