So on Wednesday, a letter from 20 top Clinton campaign donors sent the following letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA):
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the US House of Representatives
Office of the Speaker
H-232, US Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Madame Speaker,
As Democrats, we have been heartened by the overwhelming response that our fellow Democrats have shown for our party’s candidates during this primary season. Each caucus and each primary has seen a record turnout of voters. But this dynamic primary season is not at an end. Several states and millions of Democratic voters have not yet had a chance to cast their votes.
We respect those voters and believe that they, like the voters in the states that have already participated, have a right to be heard. None of us should make declarative statements that diminish the importance of their voices and their votes. We are writing to say we believe your remarks on ABC News This Week on March 16th did just that.
During your appearance, you suggested super-delegates have an obligation to support the candidate who leads in the pledged delegate count as of June 3rd , whether that lead be by 500 delegates or 2. This is an untenable position that runs counter to the party’s intent in establishing super-delegates in 1984 as well as your own comments recorded in The Hill ten days earlier:
“I believe super-delegates have to use their own judgment and there will be many equities that they have to weigh when they make the decision. Their own belief and who they think will be the best president, who they think can win, how their own region voted, and their own responsibility.’”
Super-delegates, like all delegates, have an obligation to make an informed, individual decision about whom to support and who would be the party’s strongest nominee. Both campaigns agree that at the end of the primary contests neither will have enough pledged delegates to secure the nomination. In that situation, super-delegates must look to not one criterion but to the full panoply of factors that will help them assess who will be the party’s strongest nominee in the general election.
We have been strong supporters of the DCCC [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee]. We therefore urge you to clarify your position on super-delegates and reflect in your comments a more open view to the optional independent actions of each of the delegates at the National Convention in August. We appreciate your activities in support of the Democratic Party and your leadership role in the Party and hope you will be responsive to some of your major enthusiastic supporters.
Susie Tompkins Buell
Robert L. Johnson
Marc and Cathy Lasry
Alan and Susan Patricof
Lynn de Rothschild
Stanley S. Shuman
Maureen White and Steven Rattner
My analysis of the letter: the Clinton supporters are ABSOLUTELY CORRECT – the Superdelegates have every right to vote how they want, but they also have a commitment to the Democratic Party. Is voting for Clinton and giving her the win with Superdelegates while she loses the primary/caucus delegate count going to help the party? No (and it still is possible for her to win if she takes Pennsylvania AND North Carolina, but that’s VERY unlikely). I mean, heck – I’d LOVE to see Clinton win, especially if it’s the Superdelegates who sway the nomination to her side, but that’s not what’s in the best interest of the party.
MoveOn.org responded with the following:
It’s the worst kind of insider politics — billionaires bullying our elected leaders into ignoring the will of the voters.
But when we all pool our resources, together we’re stronger than the fat cats. So let’s tell Nancy Pelosi that if she keeps standing up for regular Americans, thousands of us will have her back. And we can more than match whatever the CEOs and billionaires refuse to contribute.
Nancy Pelosi (or rather her spokesman, Brendan Daly) issued this statement: “The speaker believes it would do great harm to the Democratic Party if superdelegates are perceived to overturn the will of the voters. This has been her position throughout this primary season, regardless of who was ahead at any particular point in delegates or votes.”
Bill Burton, an Obama Spokesman issued a statement saying, “This letter is inappropriate and we hope the Clinton campaign will reject the insinuation contained in it. Regardless of the outcome of the nomination fight, Sen. Obama will continue to urge his supporters to assist Speaker Pelosi in her efforts to maintain and build a working majority in the House of Representatives.”
But the Clinton campaign (through spokesman Phil Singer) did not “reject the insinuation,” but rather said, “We got a heads up that a letter was being sent, but we didn’t know what was in it and that was it. Our supporters let us know that they were sending something over. I think that the letter speaks for itself. There’s clearly a broad feeling among many Democrats, many people who are active in the party, that the role of superdelegates is to exercise independent judgment, to make their decision based on what is best for the party, what is best for the country.” (emphasis added)
So, they said that the Superdelegates roll is what is best for the country – OK, I can agree that between Obama and Clinton, Clinton is the better (more moderate) choice, but best for the party? You really think Clinton could beat McCain? Look at state by state polls – all McCain has to do is win 2 of the 4 following “toss-up” states: Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida. He’s already essentially got Florida, and he’s pretty much guaranteed to win Ohio if not the other 2.
So, the donors are technically correct, but they’re killing the party. This just proves that Clinton will use the “Tonya Harding Option” (https://inkslwc.wordpress.com/2008/03/27/hillary-clintons-campaign-using-the-tonya-harding-option/) in order to try to win.
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