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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Now THIS Is Rich!

From Ben Smith's column on Politico:

Harry Smith asked if after the nominating contests end with the South Dakota and Montana primaries on June 3, "Do you want the superdelegates to have some sort of vote immediately so that you'll know months in advance of the convention what the outcome is?” Dean replied: “Well, I think the superdelegates have already been weighing in. I think that there's 800 of them and 450 of them have already said who they're for. I'd like the other 350 to say who they're at some point between now and the first of July so we don't have to take this into the convention.”

An aide explains that July 1 is not a drop-dead deadline: "The point is before the convention, ideally in June."

Dean has been criticized for not taking a heavier hand in ending the bruising contest.
The aide elaborates on the chairman's thinking: "Dean is personally engaged in this process, he's had numerous conversations with over 60 leaders inside and outside of the Democratic Party, to hear their thoughts, get their input and encourage them to help reinforce the importance of keeping the party united behind our nominee in November. ... He does not want to discuss those conversations publicly because in Washington, you can work behind the scenes and not worry about getting credit and actually get something done -- or you can talk about it in the press and not get anything done. But ... he wants to see this resolved before the convention and will encourage the superdelegates to make their choice known once the voters in the remaining states have had their say."

In an interview with AP's Nedra Pickler, Dean also made it clear he wants to get the show on the road. "There'll be some nasty fights if it goes to convention, and people will walk out," he told Nedra. "But I've also been talking to a fairly significant number of, by and large, nonaligned people about how we might resolve this." Nedra adds: "Dean wouldn't talk in detail about what the plan is, but it likely involves encouraging superdelegates to pick a candidate shortly after the voting ends."

So Chairman Dean wants all the unseemely muss done with, eh? "Ideally in June", he says. Chairman Howard Dean is the rocket scientist who created this problem in the first place!

You see, the party which does NOT hold the White House gets to choose the time of its convention, and the party which DOES hold the White House must hold its convention afterwards. When looking at the twenty-odd announced candidates, Howard Dean saw a great deal of potential for animosity and bad blood on the Republican side, while Hillary Clinton was assumed to be the inevitable nominee of the Democrats. So Chairman Dean himself chose the end of August for the Democrats to hold their convention, forcing the Republicans to hold theirs on Labor Day weekend. It seemed like a good idea at the time - a GOP bloodbath that would rankle all summer.

Be careful what you wish for, Mr. Chairman - the GOP has chosen a candidate, and the stresses on the Democrats caused by your timeline will not be easily mended. For Howard Dean, the architect of disaster to piously intone that the campaigns must cease in June and the Super Delegates must choose at the time invites an obvious question - gee, Howard, why didn't you schedule the convention for then?

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