Friday, February 08, 2008

Refletions on the Candidates

Reflections on
The Candidates
For President


Super Tuesday came and went, but did little to clarify the Democratic Party's dilemma over its Presidential nomination

Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama did well with their respective constituencies. To put it in the simplest way, she won the big states and he won the small states. There are more small states than large ones, but the bigger states have more votes. He won a lot of red (Republican) states, she won the key blue (Democratic) states. What does that mean? Who knows?

Democratic national chairman Howard Dean was on television the other night urging the major candidates to decide on the nomination well before the convention in late August. He said he did not want to see a 'brokered convention'. That statement showed a profound lack of awareness of American history, in which conventions have had a significant role.

7 comments:

  1. Doug Muzzio5:38 PM

    Henry,

    As you well know, the 1968 Democratic convention nominated Hubert Humphrey who hadn't run in any primaries/caucuses. That convention was the last of the brokered conventions, ushering in several waves of Democratic (and, less so, Republican) "reform".

    Keep 'em coming.

    An avid reader,

    Doug

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  2. Anonymous5:38 PM

    Henry the real point about Howard Dean is that he has absolutely no power to convince the candidates to do anything and further it is virtually certain if either of them wins they will replace him with their own person and if the Democrats lose the Presidency he will likewise lose his job. Howard Dean is the ultimate LAME Duck here, Bye Bye Howard we hardly knew you !

    Arthur

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  3. ARTHUR PICCALO5:39 PM

    Henry the real point about Howard Dean is that he has absolutely no power to convince the candidates to do anything and further it is virtually certain if either of them wins they will replace him with their own person and if the Democrats lose the Presidency he will likewise lose his job. Howard Dean is the ultimate LAME Duck here, Bye Bye Howard we hardly knew you !

    Arthur

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  4. Sam Pryor (Bedford)5:40 PM

    Star Quest Another open convention was the Republican Convention of 1940 in Philadelphia where Wendell Willkie won over Taft, Dewey, Hoover and Vandenberg. My father was chair of the arrangements committee and at 12 years old I attended all the sessions.

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  5. George Bulow5:42 PM

    If the present close race for the Democratic nomination continues (I see no reason that it will not), the primary vote which may ultimately lead to the winner is that of Puerto Rico. That’s right. Puerto Rico. Under Democratic Party rules, they are pledged delegates who are supposed to reflect the preferences of the voters, but are not actually legally bound to vote for the candidate to whom they are pledged. However, candidates may remove delegates who they feel may be disloyal. Pledged delegates generally vote for the candidate they represent. Puerto Rico will present 63 pledged delegates to the Convention. Historically, they have tended to vote as a bloc.

    Another consideration…it will become a brokered convention (i.e. the “superdelegates” will determine the ultimate vote). Some people have expressed their dismay that this may mean a return to the “smoke-filled” rooms of past conventions when party bosses ultimately decided on the presidential ticket. I, for one, do not mind a little less “democracy”. Whatever their shortcomings, successful (i.e. people who have had to face elections, whether for public or party office are sophisticated, want to win, and have a sense of who can best reflect the zeitgeist which a winning candidate must command in order to establish a majority vote on Election Day) politicians face the practical problem of trying to figure out who they can work with, should that person assume office, as well as how it will affect the rest of the ticket (often including them).

    Not only must they try to identify the winning candidate, but they must also consider what kind of “tail” such a candidacy will produce. After all, as the system is set up, achieving true, meaningful and lasting change will also require a more compliant and willing Legislative branch. I do not see the Democrats getting a “veto-proof” majority in the U.S. Senate. They may be able to enhance their majority rule of the House, but given the large numbers of committee chairman from safe (i.e. overwhelmingly liberal) constituencies and the continuing rules of seniority, provision will have to be made to win over more moderate votes from newcomers or any of the Republicans remaining the House who may still be deemed “moderate”. (I once heard a wag say that we are a conservative people because we have a lot to conserve.) In other words, do not be surprised if stalemate continues.

    On the other hand, that may be what we want. Only those pressing matters for which there is a true consensus may make it through the eye of the needle and be translated into legislation. Time will tell.

    As always, your thoughts, brickbats, criticisms, comments and (dare I say it) support are welcome!

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  6. Dear Commissioner Stern:

    Perhaps we'd all like to forget this but, in 2004, Al Sharpton was also a candidate for the Democratic Party's nomination for president. Also note corrections in RED. Also note that Wyoming Republicans also paid a price for jumping ahead in scheduling their primary. The Republican National Committee has slashed half of Wyoming's 28 national convention delegates. RNC rules require the punishment for states that hold their nominating contests earlier than Feb. 5.

    Michael A. Zummo
    Alternate Delegate for John McCain (3rd C.D.-NY)

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  7. It is appalling to me that the press continues to legitimize the likes of Al Sharpton, who has never been anything more than a hustler and a huckster who uses the misfortunes of others to aggrandize and promote himself. I believe he acquired his right to call himself a :minister by mail order, at the suggestion of James Brown, for whom he had served as a bodyguard. As for “overcoming” the Tawana Brawley incident – his behavior throughout that disgusting charade was an embarrassment for black people everywhere. To this day, he has never apologized to Steven Pagonis for defaming his reputation, and nearly destroying his life and career, for which Pagonis sued him and won. I don’t know if Sharpton ever paid one dime awarded to Pagonis. (Of course, as a “minister” he shows hardly any personal income, which benefit was pointed out to him by James Brown early on.) His actions were dishonorable and despicable.



    The ascendancy of Sharpton and others like him illustrates the great void in the area of black leadership, if there can still be said to be such a thing. His influence (which is considerably less than he imagines) speaks to an unfortunate tendency among blacks to elevate anyone who will keep telling us how oppressed we are. He is a dinosaur and an irrelevancy who needs to be retired along with all the other relics of the “Age of Victimization”.

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