Friday, April 11, 2008

Obama's delegates: California dreamin'

If you think this election season has been out of control, you ain't seen nothing yet! Are you ready for today's civics lesson? Good! Today we'll examine California's system of electing delegates to attend the Democratic Convention this summer. You probably thought California voters already did that, right? No, silly, it has to be much more complicated than that, because if you really understood how our election process worked, you'd be storming the Bastille! From The RawStory:
Party caucuses scheduled for Sunday will elect a slate of delegates for each candidate — 134 for Clinton and 107 for Obama, for a total of 241. More than 2,000 candidates are running statewide.
So in the California primary, voters gave Clinton 134 seats at the convention, and Obama 107. Who will be sitting in those seats will be decided in yet another vote this Sunday. And here's where the fun begins. Yesterday, it turned out that the Obama camp had purged almost a thousand names from the list of potential delegates. And most of those names were "progressives," the kind of people who work for causes and issues rather than for candidates. The kind of people who could potentially be swayed on the convention floor.

Earlier this week, Obama's and Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign took advantage of party rules to purge scores of potential delegates in a bid to ensure that only their loyalists travel to the August convention in Denver where the party will anoint a presidential nominee.

Most of the cuts, about 900 names, were dropped by Obama, leading supporters to complain that they had been unfairly excluded. Clinton's campaign dropped about 50 names from its list of prospective delegates.

There was much unhappiness in the land of Obama! Supporters blogged with stories like Obama Slashes and Burns Through the Delegate List, and even the Obama lovin' Huffington Post ran this story: Obama's "Big Tent" Campaign Cuts Out the Little People in California.

That's pretty bad when Huffington Post gets on the bandwagon. But Obama's team has seemingly realized how dangerous it just might be to piss off the hardworking campaign staffers in the field, and so we have this:
Obama reinstates Callif. delegates

Facing a backlash from supporters, Barack Obama's presidential campaign reversed course Thursday and reinstated hundreds of people to lists that will be used to choose California's delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

Campaign manager David Plouffe said in a letter to potential delegates that all names would be restored to ballots that will be used Sunday to elect the delegates, overturning the earlier decision. The letter did not refer to the complaints.

Driven by fears that some prospective delegates might be concealing their true allegiances, the campaigns searched campaign finance data, scoured the Internet and made telephone calls to weed out people they believed to be dubious candidates.

Excuse me, but my Cynic-o-meter just short-circuited. The candidate of change looks like he's bringing old-style Chicago politics to the national stage ....


Mary Ellen said...


Thank you for this post, I hadn't heard anything about it because I stopped reading Raw Story and Huffington Post a while ago. This is just like his stopping a re-vote in MI and FL. He knows if there is a re-vote he will lose, in fact I think he will lose by even higher numbers because of his opposition to allow their votes to count for so long.

I've said it before, even when Obama first through his hat into the ring, the guy is dirty and he plays dirty politics. I saw it in Chicago and he can't hide his filth behind all those "inspirational" (albeit..."borrowed") speeches of his.

Sue J said...

mary ellen, I thought of you when I was writing this because I know you've written quite a bit about his shady history in Chicago.

I know some die hard supporters will argue that he was "playing by the rules" when he initially purged those names, but it still smacks of backroom politics and gamesmanship to me. And I thought he was going to "change" all of that.

Darn it. I said "change" and now I have to take a shot. And it's so early in the morning. Maybe a little whiskey in my coffee. Does that count?

Mary Ellen said...

Hey, a little whiskey in the coffee is probably the only thing to do when you read news like this.

Of course, the Obama supporting blogs are busy whining about how much money Bill and Hillary made. They were screaming like banshee's about her not releasing her tax returns and when she did, they can't find anything dirty...just that Bill made a lot of money giving speeches (like no other past President EVER did that!). Honestly, I wonder what flavor kool-aide they get from Obama. It must be mighty tasty.

Cootamundra W said...

What about a little coffee in the whiskey?
The first year I was old enough to vote, I was an election judge in Chicago. (This was back in the day...) It was a spring primary election (I remember them feeding us lots of corned beef on rye). I was appalled when at 3am the other judges wanted to just guesstimate the rest of the results. I insisted that we had to stay and count them all.
End of my naivete!

Sue J said...

Wow, cootamundra! The first year you could vote, and you were an election judge? That's impressive! And I can just picture you insisting that they all stay and count. LOL!

BAC said...

Obama is about as much a candidate of change as the first mayor Daily. He claims to want to change politics, but then engages in politics as usual. He claims to want to be a uniter, but won't meet in public with lesbian or gay people. And sexist comments and actions recently in PA are certainly unsettling. I will have more about this at my blog later.


Anonymous said...

I'm still waiting to hear what Hillary and Bill actually did for the gay community in all their years in office? They had their chance and chose to do nothing. As Robin Tyler told me, we still have no Rights or Protections on the federal level and our "friends" the Clintons have done nothing to change that. We asked for 5 simple rights at our first march on Washington in 1979 and thus far have achieved none. So when you can give me some positive change that the Clintons have effected, I might be willing to look at her again. Until then, all I see is pandering and empty promises as usual. When do we get ENDA when do we repeal DOMA? When do we get MARRIAGE equality?

Mauigirl said...

I was sorry to read about this as well. As I said in my most recent post, I'm rather disgusted with the whole primary process. I see that Obama has his issues but then I look at Hillary and she has her own issues and baggage. I'm not happy with any of it. I wasn't a big Edwards supporter either (never did warm up to him, although I might have voted for Elizabeth!) but had hoped that Obama really was different. Now I realize they are ALL just politicians. (Except maybe Kucinich which is why he didn't win anything). But I still want to vote for the one who can beat McCain. Still not sure which one that is. I think some people who support Hillary may be forgetting how much the GOP hates her and the whole Clinton thing. It won't be easy for her to beat McCain.

Sue J said...

anonymous, I have never said that Hillary Clinton has a perfect record or platform on LGBT rights. But I thinks she's the best we've got right now.

As for the record of President Clinton, although we look at "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" today and know it is too restrictive, we have to remember what the world was like in 1993 when it was enacted. DADT is a stepping stone from a complete ban on gays in the military to allowing them to serve. Moving to the next stage is one important reason why we must elect a Democrat to the White House.

And I must address your statement "They had their chance." This is a pet peeve of mine. We are electing Hillary Clinton. Not "them"

Sue J said...

Mauigirl, I agree --

Dennis, where are you?! Please come back!!!

Anonymous said...

If Hillary is going to cite her previous white house experience to gain the nomination then I want to know what she did back then to further our rights. At least Obama is speaking to wider audiences to get a consensus. It does us no good if all we do is talk to one another, much like a bunch of Hillary supporters chatting on a blog to reassure themselves that this is the choice to make. All I'm asking is to look at her record (and his because as much as you'd like to separate them, you can't) and tell me after all the promises make and broken, how we as gay people can ask to be kicked in the teeth again. Change is good but often scary.

Sue J said...

anon, I'll say it again: neither one of these candidates is great for the gay community. I have no false hopes that Hillary Clinton will bring us all the rights that we deserve. But I do think she will get us closer than anyone else we have to choose from.

This is what I see from her: she talks to us, she meets with us, she talks about us. She holds smaller town hall type meetings, and at several of them I have seen her take questions on gay rights and spend a long time answering them. So in that way, she is certainly also speaking to a "wider audience," as you say. She has a history of supporting gays in the administration as First Lady, and marching in NY's Pride parade.

With Obama, I see this: he meets only with the Advocate but not with local gay press, he refuses to have his picture taken with San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsome, supporter of gay marriage. Rather than take questions at smaller venues, Obama speaks to large crowds in arenas and stadiums, and uses grand yet vague words.

The only candidate who supported gay marriage was Dennis Kucinich. I supported him, I campaigned for him. He's no longer an option. Between the two we've got, I still think Clinton's the best choice for gays. On this we respectfully disagree.

Sorry if you think this is "a bunch of Hillary supporters chatting on a blog to reassure themselves that this is the choice to make." We have many Obama visitors here, too, and I listen to them all. I still disagree.