Clintonian Newspeak

I admit it, I’m utterly baffled.  I am beyond fully comprehending the latest move on behalf of the Clinton campaign.  Not that I don’t understand it, I know full well the driving motivations and can grasp the reasons for doing it, I simply just don’t understand how any half way reasonable person would actually think it was a good idea.

The move comes in the form of a website, one designed to make the case for Hillary Clinton.  But unlike what one might expect, a website designed to show how she is ready to be the president, one that might point how she stands head and shoulders above the rest of the competition, the only thing this site does is provide a justification for changing the rules of the game in the middle of playing it.

Created in the form of a “fact hub”, The Delegate Hub presents a set of “facts” which lay the groundwork for any inkling of democratic principle to be removed from the Democratic nomination race.

FACT: Any time ANY candidate presents an item as unquestionable “FACT!” do not take it as such.  There’s a good chance they are twisting things around or maybe just outright lying.  I wouldn’t really even trust the Obama campaign in such a situation and I’m one of their supporters.

In truth, the so called fact hub has a little of everything when it comes to lies, from outright untruths to lies of omission.  Indeed, the actual lay out of the website itself is in a way dishonest; instead of making it blatantly honest that this is coming from the Hillary campaign, with a nice banner or something, the website looks on the surface as an impartial resource; one that simply presents facts regarding the Democratic nominating process.  You have to look all the way at the bottom to see, in small print mind you, “Paid for by, Hillary Clinton for President”.

But the deception far from ends there.  Then comes the usage of “Automatic Delegates” a term that Orwell would be proud of, one that strips all of the connotations out of the old “Super Delegates” term.  We’ve seen this coming already, but it’s still something of a shock to read.  Quick humorous note, in quoting Rep. Clybern on the usage of “Automatic Delegates”, the site puts the term in brackets…  Wonder what the original quote had said…

So let’s take a look at these “facts” one by one, shall we?

FACT: Pledged delegates and automatic delegates are the same – they each count for ONE vote.

The Democratic Party chooses its delegates in three ways: 1) through primaries where millions vote; 2) through caucuses where thousands vote; and 3) it gives a role to elected leaders and other party activists in the process.

This one is just outright hilarious.  After putting up in big bold print that “Automatic Delegates” and pledged delegates are the same thing, the website handily goes through and points out that they are not.  Even funnier, the point of this little bit of distinction is the Clinton campaign’s attempt to have it both ways.  They make it evident that they are pointing out the disparity between caucus selected delegates because Obama has won far more caucuses than Hillary has, and in this way they are trying to make it seem that the caucus delegates are worth less because fewer people vote for them.  At the same time they are trying to make the case that Automatic Delegates are just as good as any other delegate because… well… they help Hillary.

This even though only one person decides who an “Automatic Delegates” votes for.

There is some fact here, don’t get me wrong.  One delegate’s vote is equal to another delegate’s vote, there’s no debating that.  It doesn’t matter if the delegate is pledged or “Automatic”.  What does matter is that pledged delegates are chosen by voters whether they be in caucuses or primaries.  “Automatic Delegates”  are based upon the decision of one person.

FACT: Neither candidate can secure the nomination without automatic delegates.

The Obama campaign is trying to shut down the Democratic race before the rest of the country votes. There are still many states and territories that have not voted with over 1000 delegates at stake.

The bold is pretty much true; at this stage of the game, neither candidate is likely to win based upon pledged delegates alone given that the nomination is not decided upon by a plurality but instead by reaching the magic number which represents a true majority.  On the other hand, the claim that the Obama campaign is trying to shut the campaign down is both dishonest and hypocritical.

It is dishonest because I’m pretty sure the Obama camp has yet to say, “Oh, we should just end it here.”  You’ll find plenty of Obama supporters saying it, myself included.  You’ll also find some Democrats that are worried this contest may rip the party apart saying it also, but I don’t see it in the actual Obama campaign.  Of course they’re going to make the case that they are winning, but what candidate doesn’t?

And that’s where the hypocrisy comes in.  The Clinton camp, the camp that originally tried to tell us it would all be over on February 5th, the same campaign that has downplayed every state that it has lost to the point of non-existence (which would make the last ten, to be exact), the campaign that puts out a definite vibe that only the big states should matter, is the last campaign that should be pointing fingers and talking about how all the states should get a say.  Indeed, one of Clinton’s top strategists, Mark Penn, emphasizes this point when he says “It would be hard to imagine a nominee from this party who didn’t win” the big states like New York and Texas

FACT: Automatic delegates are expected to exercise their best judgment in the interests of the nation and the Democratic Party.

The Obama campaign is claiming that automatic delegates must follow the lead of pledged delegates and switch their vote to Sen. Obama.

No argument with this one, the “Automatic Delegates” are expected to use their best judgement.  It’s just what that best judgement is that is up for debate.  I will concede that under the most purest of standards, Obama maybe is pushing it a little bit to suggest the Super Delegates should follow the plurality of pledged delegates, but this is nothing compared to what the Clinton campaign is doing.

And while we are on the topic of best judgement, I don’t think the Super Delegates in question are oblivious to what is going on in this contest.  I think they understand how catastrophic it would be for them if they were to overturn the choice of the voters.  Indeed, I think it shows very poor judgement to nominate a candidate if doing so would overrule the candidate who won more pledged delegates and thereby hand the general election over to the Republican candidate.

Nope, not very good judgement indeed.

FACT: Florida and Michigan should count, both in the interest of fundamental fairness and honoring the spirit of the Democrats’ 50-state strategy.

An important part of the debate over delegates is the role of Florida and Michigan. Hillary Clinton believes that the voices of 600,000 Michigan primary voters and 1.75 million Florida primary voters should be heard at the Democratic convention.

You should know my response to this one pretty well by now.  You want to seat those delegates?  Sure thing.  All we require is that there be a do over where both candidates are allowed to campaign and have their names on the ballot in both states.  In Michigan, of the top tier candidates, Hillary Clinton’s name was the only one on the ballot.  In Florida, everyone’s name was on the ballot, but it’s still moot given that there was no campaigning allowed.

If this is not adhered to, it’s pretty simple; it’s not a democratic practice, it’s not about silenced voices, it’s about gaming the system to one’s own benefit.  Hillary Clinton had more than ample time to protest the decision to unseat both states’ delegates before the process began.  She didn’t, and to their discredit, neither did the other Democratic challengers.

But that’s the game.  I’m all for these folks having their say in the Democratic nomination process, but I want that say to be a fair one, where all candidates are allowed to make their case to the public at large.

FACT: There is a clear path to an overall delegate majority (pledged + automatic) for Hillary Clinton after all states have voted — with or without Florida and Michigan.

Contrary to the Obama campaign’s claims that the race is over, all voters should have their say before a candidate declares victory and tries to circumvent the democratic process. The race is currently a virtual tie, with the campaigns now separated by a small handful of delegates, barely 1% of all the delegates to the Democratic Convention.

Sort of true to a point.  Hillary can win the nomination by swiping away all of the Super Delegates as point out above.  But to claim the race is a virtual tie is getting further away from fact the further along we go.  Right now, according to CNN’s tally, Obama has a seventy delegate lead.  This calculus is a little presumptive, however, as it factors in Super Delegates, delegates who are free to change their mind at any moment.  If we factor out the Super Delegates, that gap widens to close to a hundred-fifty.

That’s no tie.

And again, we have to deal with this false statement that the Obama campaign is trying to shut this contest down.  If that were the case, they probably wouldn’t be out in Texas and Ohio doing what they have done this entire primary season, trying to win votes.

Which is the ultimate irony in this whole practice.  This website is, as I mentioned above, nothing more than the Hillary Clinton campaign making a case for cheating.  It’s not really cheating because at the most basic level nothing that she is doing is exactly breaking the rules (with perhaps the suggestion of seating Florida and Michiga), but it’s not like she’s even trying to play fair.

But instead maybe she should be making a case to vote for her as opposed to allowing her to sneak away with the nomination through decidedly undemocratic methods.  The Obama campaign got arrogant at one point, following Iowa.  They didn’t really say anything, but there was definitely an air that after winning Iowa they would have the game done and finished pretty quickly.  They got their wrists slapped around for it in New Hampshire, and have since fought for every delegate they could get in every state.  No expectations game, no skipping.  They played everywhere, and they played for keeps.

The Clinton campaign came into this thing as though it was hers by right, but when she lost Iowa, she didn’t learn her lesson.  She didn’t learn that perhaps she should instead of acting like it was her turn realized that there were voters to whom she had to make a case.  Instead, she skipped states and built firewalls.

The funny thing about this in the first place is that if she had humbled herself and fought for every delegate she might not have ever come to this place.  If she had made her case to the voters not that Obama was a terrible choice, but she was a good choice, she may not be making the case now that she should be allowed to cheat her way into the nomination.

As it stands, all this site ends up being is a big flashing billboard advertising that, yes, she is willing to tear the party apart to win, but at least she wants you to feel okay about it.

2 Responses to “Clintonian Newspeak”

  1. Dynamic says:

    You’ll note that in the quote from Dean, they start the quote after where he would have said Super Delegates and so are able to use the term Automatic Delegates, even though that’s unlikely to be what he said.

    I’m so tired of Hillary. I had so much more respect for her before this primary season… she’s been a pretty decent senator for us, but a miserable presidential candidate, to say the least.

  2. Yah. I know what you mean. I mean, you’ve been kicking around here and I know you have really given Senator Clinton the benefit of the doubt in a lot of areas, and I know where you’re coming from.


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