Monday, June 16, 2008

Believe it or not, the Democratic Party does not have an official nominee yet - and what one amazing person is doing to make that clear

Although many people do not yet realize this, Senator Obama has not secured the nomination as the Democratic candidate for President in 2008. He is the presumptive - and even likely - nominee, but he cannot be the official nominee unless and until he is elected as such at the convention. And as before that election rests largely in the hands of the party's superdelegates, who say what they like, cannot make their preference stick until the convention and a ballot occurs. A large number of concerned Democrats have been contacting superdelegates to express their concern that whatever else may be the case, they doubt that Senator Obama can win the general election against the presumptive Republican nominee, John McCain.

One person who has been amazingly persistent in contacting superdelegates is "DanDee". She just sent me the responses she has been receiving. In many cases she has been unable to identify working email addresses for superdelegates (oddly, while many have time to hear from Howard Dean and Senator Obama, they seem to have little interest in making themselves available to rank and file Democrats; note to all superdelegates, if you do want to make yourself available send contact information here and I will happily compile an updated list and post it). In many other cases, she receives what is clearly a cursory, form reply; in a couple some more personal writing, but it is scornful. Of the responses DanDee shared with me, this is the only one that struck me as showing any grace and also provides useful information.

Sent: Sunday, May 18, 2008 6:09 PM
Subject: Response from your email to Susan Turnbull

Thank you for your recent email regarding our nominating process. I have received hundreds of emails and have attempted to read them all. But, because of the sheer volume, I am responding in a general email. It is heartening to know that so many people are so personally engaged in our nominating process.
To clear up any misunderstanding about my position as a super delegate, it is important for me to first explain that as Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), one of nine nationally elected officers, I must remain neutral until our nominee is apparent. This position is mandated by the DNC Charter. According to Article Five, Section 4 of the Charter, the National Chair is "responsible for ensuring that the national officers of the Democratic National Committee maintain impartiality and evenhandedness during the Democratic Party Presidential nominating process." For this reason, I will continue to remain strictly neutral during this presidential primary period in order to respect and honor the process. You can be assured that as soon as we have a nominee, I will be giving 100% for our nominee.
Also, despite some misinformation to the contrary – I am not a member of either the Rules and Bylaws Committee or the Convention Credentials Committee. I do not have a vote in either of those committees.
One factor about my position that I want to make crystal clear is that despite my current role as a Party officer, I consider myself a long-time (38 year) Democratic grassroots activist. Most "super-delegates" who are not elected during the regular primary or caucus process, are almost exclusively long-time party activists who hold our positions due to election to the DNC from state parties or by election to Federal office. More than half are DNC Members who, like me, have spent decades in our community working at the polls, engaging Democratic voters and speaking out on the issues. Because super delegates are not bound by election to one candidate, "super delegates" some of our party's most committed members, will weigh several factors before committing to a candidate. It has been obvious that the results of the primaries and caucuses will certainly be a factor in the decision-making but not the only factor. I am also confident that each super delegate will consider the decision sincerely and with great deliberation. It is also the case that many super delegates are waiting to announce their personal commitment until the final contests are held on June 3rd.
On May 31st the issue of the seating of Michigan and Florida will be considered by the Rules and Bylaws Committee. This is the same group that enacted the original rules regarding the sanctions on these two states. Several proposals are before the committee. Actually, although I am not on the committee, I am confident that there will be delegations seated at the convention from each state. Who those delegates will be and how many votes will apportioned to each delegation will be decided on May 31st. I support representation from both Florida and Michigan.
It has been an incredible time for the Democratic Party and for our Nation. The results in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Illinois in recent months electing three new Democratic Members of Congress demonstrate a trend that I sincerely hope will continue this fall when we increase our majorities in the House and Senate and take back the White House after eight long and difficult years.
It is time to put our country first. This election isn't about one candidate. This election is about our country.
Thank you again for your email; I hope your concerns have been addressed.
Warm regards,

Susan W. Turnbull
Vice Chair
Democratic National Committee

Now "official neutrality" is probably a euphemism. But at least Ms. Turnbull understands and respects her role at the Denver Convention.

It is to reach out to such superdelegates that we must show them, by our dedication to maintaining Senator Clinton's political power, that they have an alternative to a candidate who many of us believe is not the best choice for the Democratic nomination. My own view is that in this regard, the most convincing thing we can do right now, right away is donate whatever we can to retire Senator Clinton's campaign debt. By giving Senator Clinton political financial independence we also give her political capital.

DanDee has been doing her bit - if you can spare even five dollars please donate to RETIRE THE DEBT - all donations today are in DanDee's honor!


Anonymous Mirlo said...

off topic:
I just now unsubscribed from Al Gore's webpage. He endorses Obama and asks for a campaign donation! How very disapointing, especially in view of Al Gore's writings about undemocratic, power-grabing behaviour of the Bush-Cheney Administration in his book "The assault on reason". Doesn't he see what's been going on? What did they promise him, I wonder?

June 16, 2008 at 6:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder how many unsubscribes Gore got today!
I unsubscribed immediately after responding to his request with a letter expressing my disillusionment with his endorsement and this election year.

It feels to me like they just keep throwing out endorsers: okay, let's try Edwards, he'll get them back! Not Edwards, okay, now we'll try Gore! They LOVE Al Gore. Not Gore? Who's next?

They won't get me back. The party has left the people.

--the poster formerly known as nycblue

June 16, 2008 at 10:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know how many, I just know I unsubscribed after getting his email. I really liked Gore and thought he was different than the rest(probably received a lot of pressure from the party); in any case, his endorsement is an assault on reason.

June 17, 2008 at 3:13 AM  

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