Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Forever War

Pennsylvania has voted, and we are no closer to knowing who the Democrats will field in November than we were two months ago.

The pundits are saying that this is a big win for Clinton, and while it may be, a 55-45 win doesn't net her enough delegates to make much of a dent. What this does set up, though, is a situation where it is mathematically impossible for either candidate to have a sufficient majority of pledged delegates to claim the nomination going into the convention.

In short, when it comes to the question of whether Clinton or Obama should be the party's nominee, the party rank-and-file has basically said, "Beats me." Both poll strongly within their core constituencies, both pull enough support from other sources to stay viable. Odds are, they split the remaining pledged delegates right down the middle, meaning that this particular knife fight in a phone booth keeps rolling on with no signs of stopping. That is, until the blood-letting finally ends on the convention floor in Denver.

Denver. Where the unthinkable will happen: the Democratic party's super-delegates will actually have to take sides on the record and say who they're supporting. The prospect scares them spitless.

Look, I have no beef with the party's big-wigs and elected officials picking their candidate. The Democratic Party, just like the Republican Party, isn't a public instutition, it's a private club. Like any other private organization, from the Ulaanbataar Yacht Club to the local Moose Lodge, they can make, amend, or ignore any damn-fool rules they wish. I do happen to think that they have too many super-delegates to make for a manageable meeting, but that's just personal opinion. I did vote for Obama over Clinton, but otherwise, I ain't got a dog in this hunt. I'm not really emotionally invested.

But the prospect of a contested convention does pique my interest. Coronation conventions bore me. They're dull as dust. You already know what everyone's gonna say. You already know what everyone's gonna do. The only spark of interest is when they announce the VP pick. Otherwise? Yawn city. But a contested convention, on the other hand ... Rage, recriminations, and fist-fights on the convention floor make for damn good TV.

The only drawback, really, is that there are four freakin' months to go until that particular convention. Kyrie Eleaison, can we please have a shorter primary season? Please? To save what's left of my poor, tattered sanity? But no. That won't happen. The super-delegates won't come off the fence until they have to. Megan McArdle has an ongoing discussion of this issue, and I think it's a combination of her reasons (1) through (4) inclusive. Committing now is all risk and no reward.

Criminy. At this rate, we'll know who won the Tour de frickin' France before we know who won the Democratic Presidential Primary. Oh well. Nothing for it but to hunker down and wait, I suppose.

No comments: