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 k / o
                                       politics + culture

Thursday, January 17, 2008

the Clinton campaign and the caucus dispute

You asked the question in an accusatory way so I'll ask you back. Do you really believe that all the Democrats understood that they had agreed to give everybody at the casino a vote worth five times as much people who voted in their own precinct? Did you know that? Their votes will be counted five times more powerfully in terms of delegates to the state convention who pick the delegates to the national convention?

What happened is that nobody understood, what had happened is that they uncovered it...and now everybody is saying, "Oh, they don't want us to vote."

This hurts the Clinton campaign. This is a major story. (NYT, USA Today, WSJ)

Clinton is doing two things here.

He's coming out in support of a lawsuit to shut down caucus sites after an endorsement went against Senator Clinton. That's the core thing here. It's unbelievable that the campaign of Senator Clinton does not see how poorly this comes off. Second, he's playing politics in a completely disingenuous way and the major media is covering it and reporting on it. The opposition to the caucus sites did not happen till AFTER the Culinary Workers Union endorsed Barack Obama. But Clinton comes out and talks about this as if it was a "plot" to rush a "five to one" advantage through that was "uncovered" late in the game.

That's untrue. It's also inaccurate. And Bill Clinton is getting fact checked on this BEFORE the Nevada caucus...and it's getting play here in the California media.

Even within the odd logic of Clinton's mischaracterization...he is wrong. The only way there is the possibility that there would be a "weighted advantage" to the delegates chosen by the caucus goers on the strip would be if there were very, very low turnout in Las Vegas and very high turnout in rural areas. Does anyone think that will be the case? Of course not. Further, President Clinton KNOWS that won't be the case because he was urging those very same workers, Culinary Union rank and file, to go to the caucuses and vote for Senator Clinton just yesterday!

At any rate, here is an ex-president, on the record, coming out in favor of closing down caucus sites, mischaracterizing the debate when he knows full well that he is misleading the public and implying some kind of plot to give an unfair advantage to Culinary Workers, a plot that no one can really, uh, make sense of since it only became an issue AFTER the endorsement of that union went against the Clinton campaign.

That is devastatingly bad politics for the campaign of Senator Clinton.

And when Bill Clinton goes into the mocking line at the end..."Oh, they don't want us to vote"...he is going someplace that no Democratic advocate or surrogate should go.

But he does so anyway.

That kind of rhetoric is simply not acceptable within the rhetoric of the Democratic Party. I predict this will cost the Clinton campaign in Nevada and California.

Update: great news, the courts will allow the caucuses.

3 Comments:

  • Amen.

    By Blogger John Leek, at 12:00 PM  

  • k/o, thanks for posting this link at tpm.

    By Anonymous TheraP, at 12:42 PM  

  • The 5 times argument just seemed bizarre. Bill Clinton is looking rather unhinged recently.

    By the way, now that Bill has given notice that he'll be riding shotgun with Hillary if she is elected President, is there anyone other than some milquetoast politician who would accept the role as VP? My best guess for VP candidate is Harold Ford, Jr. Do a little patchwork mending with the African-American base after having thrashed Obama.

    By Anonymous rustydude, at 9:28 PM  

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