Monday, March 10, 2008

Battleground: Pittsburgh, PA

So this is what history feels like.

Last night, within the greatly esteemed comments section of the Burgh Report:

The Democratic Party and Allegheny County Democratic leaders overwhelmingly support Senator Clinton. She is the best choice to defeat the Republicans and unite the Democratic Party. The Governor is right when he calls on all Pennsylvanians to unite and support the real change that we need. Senator Clinton, the one candidate with real experience. The Republicans and Republicrats want division so they can defeat the REAL DEMOCRATS. Too many of you, seem to be buying it.

A distinctly local pitch, with a distinctly local flavor.

Ladies and gentlemen, it has begun. The race for the White House is coming through Allegheny County.

Finally, after all these years -- and how!


1. To the extent that we are all Democrats (and let's face it, we pretty much are), let us remember that we are all Democrats.

As we go about like rabid monkeys fighting on behalf of our chosen candidates -- John McIntire has taken to calling them the White Chick and the Black Dude -- let us not score points against each other with bogus stunts, mean accusations, and rank dishonesty.

There are Republicans afoot -- postmodern, fundamentalist, exploitative Republicans. John McCain is a seductively sympathetic figure, who will have no easy time keeping the real fungus-heads at bay.

Let the 2 Political Junkies show us the way. Dayvoe is already on board with the next president of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama. Meanwhile, Maria seems presently to be bent on some kind of ill-fated, freakish Hillary Clinton jag.

Yet eventually, the two of them could settle this for us once and for all.

2. If here at home in our queerly isolated, heavily Democratic and newly wired Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania -- if there comes any massive "tipping-point" on our part in favor of one candidate or the other -- it could well be determinative of a relatively lopsided statewide margin -- which could very well decide the race for the nomination instantly -- concession speech, victory party and all. No superdelegates, no brokered convention, no planet Earth wobbling on its axis.

(At least that's true for one of the candidates. It's good to have the lead going in!)

3. Notwithstanding realdems's comment above, the soul of the local Democratic party machine is very much up-for-grabs. The ballgame is only in its third inning.

3a.This is not to make any statement as to its importance!

Indeed, a strong local party endorsement in one direction or another could easy backfire upon both the party and the candidate -- if not in the short-term, then definitely in the long run. The wisest course of action may be to let the chips fall where they may -- allowing the A.C.D.C. et cetera as such sit it out, and enjoy the ride.

To those ends, Jimmy B is sounding just the right notes.

If it turns out that individuals within the party establishment break in large numbers towards Clinton or Obama -- that will be an interesting thing to learn. But no cause for inquisitions and pogroms! Let's not give Jim Roddey (R-vs. Mistick) the satisfaction.

Let's leave Ed Rendell to his karma.

4. Super Delegates, if called into service, should absolutely vote for the candidate that they believe will make the best and the strongest nominee -- that they personally believe to be so.

If that involves going into a big room and discussing it -- perhaps a "convention" -- so be it. If there are some small "back rooms" at said convention -- and if those rooms happen to be "smoke filled" -- so be it.

When the party is narrowly divided, that is what we do. We should not dismiss the rulebook and our traditions so cavalierly.

Super Delegates should be made to think and to pray hard. They should draw upon their unique experiences, and vote their unique consciences.

We should all know by now that DEMOCRACY -- always and at all times in its purest and most haphazard forms -- is not always such a good thing!


  1. "[Hillary] is the best choice to defeat the Republicans and unite the Democratic Party."

    Couldn't be more wrong for a couple of reasons.

    Hillary is the most devisive Dem we have. And with Bush out of play, maybe the most devisive pol we have. This is the "uniter" that provides the Dems with the best choice?

    IF Dems unite around her IF she gets the nomination, IF she gets the nomination FAIRLY ......they will do so mostly because they are Dems. But we're forgetting that its the Independents who will swing this election as they have done in the past. Independents have no earthly reason to coalesce around Hillary just for the sake of uniting. Especially when the other candidate is McCain, who has proved over time to appeal to a wide spectrum of people. If Hillary gets the nomination fairly, it may be close, but McCain will be our next President.

    If she gets the nomination unfarily ..... by superdelegates or changing the rules in MI or FL.......she's done in the general. I truly believe a large enough portion of Dems and Indies will vote for McCain. She will lose and it won't be too terribly close.

    SO .... I beleive we only have two possibilities for or next Prez: Obama or McCain.

  2. As I believe Bram is saying, getting the win via superdelegates is not "unfair." Or at least it's not breaking any rules. That's the way the system is set up. Blame the rulemakers, not the candidate. And as for being "done in the general": Even if Obama supporters disagree with the way she gets the nomination, I have faith that good Democrats won't pout like evangelicals, and will get their asses to the polls in November to pull the lever for her. Though you are correct that (perhaps no matter how she gets the nomination), she won't appeal to independents.

    Of course, I ain't buying the Obama-appeals-to-independents-in-the-general-election either. I basically think we're screwed either way.

  3. "Of course, I ain't buying the Obama-appeals-to-independents-in-the-general-election either. I basically think we're screwed either way."

    I'm sorry that you're not buying it but you're dead wrong. First of all, McCain cozying up to Bush is going to diminish whatever Independent support he has left. Also, just this past weekend I got a number of registered South Hills Independents to switch their affiliation to Democrat so they can vote for Obama in our primary. I recall one woman telling me that she's been an independent for 30+ years and that this was the first time she was voting in a primary.

    The Independents are going to vote in favor of Obama in the general, but the voters that Obama supporters should be concerned about in the general election are the Reagan Democrats who don't vote the party line like all of the yellow dogs that live in these parts.

    Also, it seems a good chunk of the older Hillary supporting Democrats will not vote for Obama "just because." They haven't given a reason, so maybe because they are racist or maybe they are saying that because of sour grapes. Regardless, we need to have some time to heal the wounds following the Democratic party because a party divided will not beat McCain in the general election.

  4. ""I beg to differ," said Stephanie Rex, a local volunteer coordinator for Clinton's campaign. "Hillary supporters are like Hillary. We're fighters, and we're really coming together right now and we're ready for a fight."

    So Stephanie Rex and the rest of the local Clintonista chapter are fighters? I've met one Hillary supporter over the past two months of canvassing for Obama who I would quality as a "fighter." This guy, who was probably in his mid to late 40's, got in my face because he couldn't fathom how I was "voting for a black man" over a woman. What?!

  5. Shultz,

    I'm glad to hear of your experiences with independents. Encouraging.

    And I concur with your analysis about the oldsters. Comet and I have a friend who works in DC with some of Obama's inner-circle types. He reports that the campaign is aware of the problem and does consider it serious as well. And it sounds like it is race, pure and simple. No one over 70 wants to vote for him as things stand right now. Doesn't help that his general election opposition is himself a senior.

    Seems to me Obama would need a hell of a surge from new/younger voters and independents to overcome this hurdle.

  6. It's true I don't think victory by superdelegate is cheating, but other than that I agree with the meat of Char's comment.

    The whole age hurdle, I would like to see Obama make progress on over the next month and more, if not the next six months. I think perhaps he can if he can manage not to be bogged down in day by day tit for tat.

  7. There is a difference between "cheating" and "not fair" ... which is why I used the latter term.

    If the superdelagates vote contrary to the popular vote, most will emotionally feel the intrinsic unfairness of that.

    Isn't that the pain still carried by many because Gore won the popular but lost the electoral?

  8. No, that really *is* the pain of having been cheated in Florida. :-)

    I see your distinction, though. I just think that on principle, superdelegates have a legitimate role in adjudicating very close calls in intraparty squabbles, although I know saying that only encourages my less-preferred candidate.

  9. I see the distinction too. But I also see a distinction between: a) thinking the party should change its process going forward, and b) getting so bitter about the way this one turns out -- and staying home.

  10. Aye. If you stay home on Election Day, it should be because you suck -- not because you have grown embittered.

  11. There's definitely an Obama opportunity in Pittsburgh. The latest SUSA PA poll has him down 2 to 1. But, Pittsburgh is a good opportunity for him to move those numbers for these reasons:
    1. African-Americans currently only polling at 76%
    2. College/University support
    3. High proportion of the college educated in the workforce now

    I've blogged about these over at

  12. I concur, Matt. After contest after contest that delivered surprises and threw conventional wisdom out the window, I don't see how the old-guard pundits get off writing off Pennsylvania for Obama quite so easily -- without even the usual disclosures about unpredictability! More posting on this to follow....

  13. Hey folks,

    It's Dr. Goddess here, writing from Dubai. I was at an extremely diverse conference and let me tell you the women here (and the men, actually) are not fooled by Hilary Clinton. Women from Spain, Holland, Iraq (obviously), Trinidad, Ghana, Nigeria, Croatia---all of them were Barack Obama supporters and some of them sent in absentee ballots to be able to vote for Barack in the primary. It's rather inspiring and I definitely don't believe Pennsylvania should be taken for granted. Americans can play the race card all they want but it just doesn't measure up to where we are in the rest of the world and it will be America's loss---big time. I don't think I met *any* white women supporters of Hilary over here and that says alot. Remember, these women came from all over.

    Oh, there was one. Jane Fonda. She was one of our speakers. I think she was a Hilary supporter but I think Helen Thomas supports Obama.

    And, yes, Super Delegates going against the popular vote is totally unfair and I would be more than happy to punish anyone who did that.

    Barack the Vote!