Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Obama and the superdelegates

Joe Knippenberg explains why the Democratic Party instituted the superdelegates, what ends they were supposed to serve, and why the Obama campaign is questioning those purposes. There are two possibilities: Either Obama is an ordinary politician, and just wants to get an advantage, or he is an advanced version of a democratic politician who will claim (as a democratic leader) to represent the will of the people, institutions and other safeguards cast aside, and the people’s will is to be simply followed. Joe hopes he is the former. I think the whole superdelate issue (a kind of "republican" inconvenience to simple majority rule) is very much worth watching. What happens will reveal much about the party and the candidates.   

Discussions - 8 Comments

Thanks for the kind words, Peter. Of course, with the questions about the seating of the Michigan and Florida delegations, HRC has her own version of the problem. Let's see how much she is willing to support the process and its rules when her ox is being gored.

Do you guys sense that Obama is trying to paint himself as a modern day Jefferson? Or that 2008 is being painted as democratically revolutionary like 1800? Oddly similar?

Nice piece, Joe. I can use it in class. I take Obama to be a Jacksonian in this matter (more Jackson than Jefferson, who in 1800 was coy about ambition). That seems appropriate for a Democrat.

Ah, Steve, but didn't Jackson have a few constitutional scruples, or were those all just pretexts?

I was referring to (1) the avowed majoritarianism of Jackson's Democratic Party, and (2) its origins in the determination never again to allow presidential choice to go back to the House (as in 1824).

I wouldn't conclude, as you imply, that Obama has no constitutional scruples!

Oh, I think he has some, but they're the usual suspects, heavily rooted in the 14th Amendment and not so much in Arts. I and II, except when it's poitically useful.

Then we'll be OK. The constitution has of course been shaping our partisan disputes from the beginning.

Joe -great piece. It seems to me that Obama might be the greatest opportunist since Benito Mussolini. Perfectly fitting for Hillary and Bill Clinton"tunists" to be scrambling against. I still have trouble seeing how Obama can draw upon large enough numbers to win in a general election. Unless, that is, that most American voters are that stupid to believe this rhetoric. Perhaps then it would be prudent for McCain to retort with..."ask not what your country could do for you..." For me I still think that the Clintons have another card yet to play -kind of like in the Predator movies when the alien is almost defeated and resorts to the nuclear device on its wrist.

As for Obama as a Jacksonian. I cant see it. Not enough bravado or military background. Old Hickory would have pieces of corn bigger than Obama in his crap (ladies please exuse me -but crap discussion is acceptable in any Jackson/Jefferson discussuion). Further, I can see Obama plagerizin...drawing from the Declaration in adding health care to the list of unalienable rights.

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