Lately, prominent Democrats have come out and tried to exert influence over the Democratic nomination for President. Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid issued a joint statement strongly urging the superdelegates to make their choice as to who they are backing between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama by June. Not to be outdone, former President Jimmy Carter told Hillary Clinton to drop out of the race by June.
Did you find that as funny as I did?
Seriously, do any of these four knuckleheads have any idea that their opinions are just that? For one, the superdelegates do not have a June time limit to make their decisions. If they want, they can wait until the convention to make their decision who to back. And nothing the DNC Chair, the Speaker of the House, and the Senate Majority Leader say will change that. It's their choice, not the choice of party leaders.
Now, onto Carter. I have no love for Hillary Clinton, but having Carter tell her she has to drop out by June is beyond the pale. It's her decision, not yours, Mr. Carter. If she wants to keep running past June and hamstring the party, let her make that choice. Then, you can go back to what you're good at: slandering Israel and meeting with a terrorist group to accomplish nothing.
This begs the question of why these four Democrats felt they had to try to dictate to members of their own party to do what they want. Put simply, all of them have a vested interest in seeing a Democrat win the White House.
- For Pelosi and Reid, it will help keep them in power in Congress since a successful Presidential candidate would buoy Democrats' chances of keeping or expanding their power in the House and Senate. Plus, it would wipe away their many mistakes over the past year or so. A tall order, I know, but backing the party's candidate while retaining hold of Congress would make it happen. Reid, especially, needs Clinton or Obama to win to open up the possibility that Senators can win the White House, but only if they're Democrats. That's some powerful bragging rights there.
- For Dean, it would make him look like a political genius. Although he was heralded as the brains behind the "50 State Initiative" that Democrats rolled out in 2006, it can be argued that the initiative was only partially responsible for the Democrats' success in 2006. The atmosphere was ripe for Republicans to lose, and from a historical perspective, Democrats didn't score an impressive win. They won control of the House and control in name only of the Senate, but they actually won fewer than normal seats. Dean needs a Democrat to win the Presidency so that he can prove to doubters that 2006 wasn't a fluke.
- For Carter, it would stir up hope that a trend started by Bill Clinton would continue. Before Clinton's Presidency, Carter was a non-entity, save to Habitat for Humanity. After Carter seemed to pull Clinton's hash out of the foreign policy fire, Democrats rediscovered Carter and started seeing him as an elder statesman/foreign policy expert. It's a good bet Hillary would draw on Carter's knowledge sooner or later since Bill did, and Obama seems to hold a high regard for Carter. With a Democrat in the White House, Carter could remain viable as an advisor, official or otherwise.
They'll deny any personal stake in the outcome of the Obama/Clinton fight, but they'd be lying. Pelosi, Reid, Dean, and Carter need a Democrat to win for them to be more than footnotes in history. They see the fight between their candidates as hurting their party, but more importantly, hurting their own chances of getting their wishes.
And you know what they say about if wishes were nuts, right?