“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Superdelegates and Democrats - Who's On First?

March 31, 2008
Superdelegates are Another Dysfunctional Liberal Fix
By J.R. Dunn American Thinker

The most striking thing about the Democrat's superdelegate fiasco is how typical it is of liberalism. If modern liberalism -- the style of liberalism that has existed since FDR's New Deal -- is characterized by anything, it's the fixation on addressing "problems" with massive, grotesque, Rube Goldberg schemes that simply don't work.

This began with FDR's National Recovery Act (NRA), a 1933 scheme to set up a government-run, national industrial collective consisting of virtually every last American company in an attempt to bootstrap the economy out of the Depression. As Jonah Goldberg has pointed out in Liberal Fascism, the NRA was adapted almost in toto from Mussolini's "corporative" system. That is, it was a direct product of fascist philosophy.

It was also a disaster, along with most other New Deal policies. By early 1938 the country was in worse economic shape than it had been when Roosevelt took office five years previously. The NRA (along with the AAA, the CCC, and on through the alphabet) had proven so mesmerizing that the Roosevelt administration neglected to carry out the most basic economic responses to a slowing economy such as lowering taxes, ending tariffs, and easing credit. New Deal economic policies were the equivalent of putting a 500 horse engine in a car after siphoning out all the gas.

Liberals learned nothing from the New Deal. Every last liberal program since, with no notable exception, has followed the same pattern -- urban renewal, the War on Poverty, criminal justice reform, affirmative action, energy policy, federal welfare, the War on Drugs, and so on to the point of insanity. All shared the same recomplicated nature, all were disastrous.

So when it came time to "reform" Democratic nominating procedures in 1982, there was a tradition. The same procedures had been reformed only ten years earlier, but unfortunately this "democratization" had made it possible for any loon with enough financing and a convincing line of patter to stampede the gullible party faithful into giving him the nomination. This was not merely a theoretical concern, as attempts by such figures as the Rev. J---- J------- and the Rev. A- S------- revealed.

The solution was superdelegates. As we all know by now, the superdelegates consist of roughly 790 Democratic notables, including public officials, party stalwarts, senators, and congressmen, who have been awarded permanent delegate status and allowed to vote as they please, beholden to no constituency. If a dubious candidate appeared -- say, a junior politician with little experience, shady associates, and a habit of making vast public claims to be a racial reconciliator while secretly belonging to a racist "church" -- the superdelegates could vote as a bloc to stymie him.

(One result of this setup is that it makes the reactionary, authoritarian GOP far more democratic than the Democrats themselves, but who would ever bring that up?)

Enter the Clintons. Madame Hillary has been trailing Obama by just enough delegates -- a little over a hundred -- to tantalize. This situation will probably continue until the Denver convention. As we are all well aware, to the Clintons, everything -- everything without exception: family, religion, party, country -- is a tactical resource, and can and will be used as such, as circumstances warrant. The sole criterion is: does it involve something that the Clintons want?

Here we have something the Clintons want: the presidency of the United States. We have an obstacle: Barack Obama. And we have a tactic: suborning the superdelegates.

Need we say more?

The media has been full of reasons why this can't happen. All of them trumped by two reasons why it can, neither mentioned in any of these analyses.

First: the FBI files. If dirt exists on any superdelegate, we can sure the Clintons know about it. (Eliot "Sportin' Man" Spitzer was a superdelegate, for one example.)

Second: the character of the Clintons, the sole current national figures allowed to behave with naked self-interest and get away with it. (A situation for which the national media can take considerable responsibility.) No purer examples of power addiction can be found in American political history. When August rolls around, if there is a door, they will go through it. If there is not, they will make one.

What this means for the November election was revealed by the Gallup Organization on March 26. In recent polling, Democratic voters have stated that, in the case of the opponent being nominated, 19% of Obama supporters and 28% of Hillary supporters will vote for John McCain.

It's altogether appropriate that the Democrats should come to ruin as a result of the same type of gimmick they've subjected the country to for seven decades. There's a Shakespearean phrase for the Democratic Party's dilemma: "Hoist with his own petard" -- that is, being blown up with your own landmine. But it's not often you see a petard hoist several thousand people at once (including two presidential candidates), and in front of an audience of millions, too.

I'm looking forward to it.

J.R. Dunn is consulting editor of American Thinker.


  1. No borders to grief
    Illegal immigrant families are torn apart when someone dies. Survivors are afraid to follow a loved one home for burial. Photos | Lea en espaƱol
    Families devastated by Illegal Murderers, Child Rapists, and Drunk Drivers otoh, due to their legal status as citizens, tend to have a grand old time burying their dead and tending to their devastated children.

  2. I Wonder why it's been so damned hard to get a simple story straight?
    A fence is either built, or it isn't.
    Turns out we owe Chertof a Big Hug.
    You First.
    Any guesses on why this stretch is so wurvy?

  3. First round in Denver ...

    How many Superdelegates simply abstain?
    Take a pass ...

    Enough to push the vote into a 2nd round?

    Then every delegate is free to vote the believes, not as the Primary voters directed.

    Al Gore unites the disparate pieces, rides to the White House.
    Obama, under his wing.
    Billary crushed, a mile high.

  4. Here we have something the Clintons want: the presidency of the United States. We have an obstacle: Barack Obama. And we have a tactic: suborning the superdelegates.

    The word "suborn" presumes that superdelegates have some kind of obligation to vote for Obama. But they are voters who have the power to directly elect a candidate rather than elect a representative who in turn elects the candidate. If you say the superdelegates are required to vote the way the "people" voted, you actually disenfranchise the superdelegates.

  5. Another massive mortgage boondoggle–and one lone dissenting vote

    The Senate is on its way to passing yet another massive mortgage boondoggle.
    It would pile billions of dollars more in stimulus-palooza spending on top of the $152 billion already passed into law and radically expand government’s role in meddling with private contracts.
    Last night, members voted on a cloture motion to push forward with the housing measure giving judges the authority to alter mortgage contracts and give them the power to cut interest rates on troubled subprime mortgage loans–in addition to doling out hundreds of millions of dollars for “counseling” that would go to left-wing activist groups like ACORN and La Raza (see also my column today on housing entitlement thug Bruce Marks.)

  6. It began with Mr. Letterman, in his monologue, making some of his trademark McCain-looks-like-a-cranky-old-man jokes.

    “He looks like the guy at the hardware store who makes the keys,’’ he said, according to a transcript provided by CBS.

    “He looks like the guy who can’t stop talking about how well his tomatoes are doing.

    He looks like the guy who goes into town for turpentine.

    He looks like the guy who always has wiry hair growing out of new places.

    He looks like the guy who points out the spots they missed at the car wash.’’

    Then Mr. McCain walked out on stage.
    “Hi, Letterman,’’ he said. “You think that stuff’s pretty funny, don’t you?”

    Then Mr. McCain unleashed a slew of his own you-look-like-a-guy jokes at Mr. Letterman.

    “Well, you look like a guy whose laptop would be seized by the authorities,’’ Mr. McCain said.

    “You look like a guy caught smuggling reptiles in his pants.’’
    Mr. Letterman interjected: “Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it.’’

    Mr. McCain continued: “You look like the guy who the neighbors later say, ‘He mostly kept to himself.’

    You look like the night manager of a creepy motel.’’
    “Well, that’s what I need,’’ Mr. Letterman said.

    Then Mr. McCain delivers the coup de grace: “And you look like the guy who enjoys getting into a hot tub and watching his swim trunks inflate.’’

  7. U.S. Alarmed as Some Exports Veer Off Course

    Officials said the United Arab Emirates were failing to keep U.S. technology from slipping into the wrong hands.

  8. WASHINGTON — Roadside bombings of American troops in Iraq were occurring with unnerving regularity when military investigators made a disturbing discovery: American-made computer circuits sold to a trading company in the United Arab Emirates had turned up in the bomb detonators.
    She pressed a Dubai pistachio wholesaler on why he had bought an American infrared camera, which can detect living objects in the dark, and where it had gone. Later she found he had arranged its return from Iran, where it had apparently been diverted, while stalling a follow-up inspection.

    In nearly 40 percent of her inspections in four years, she found that regulated items were missing or that the recipient would not cooperate. Many of those companies were placed on a list, warning American exporters to be careful when selling to them.

    “This was a huge sieve,” said Lisa A. Prager, a former top Commerce export control official. “Almost nothing that said it was going to U.A.E. was staying in U.A.E.”

  9. (anti Dubai Ports deal folks all raving moonbats, of course.
    "Conservative" Dogma.)

  10. No, doug, Republican dogma.

    The MSM continue to refer to Mr Bush, as "conservative" when there is very little of the US that he has worked to conserve.

  11. That Abigail Adams.

    What a woman.

    She's no Britney Spears. No Madonna. No Paris Hilton.

    She doesn't need a moslem man to guard her honor.



    Months alone at home running the place.

    Great mother to her children.

    Self-sacrificing, for her children, country, husband.

    If two roads diverge, one down through the valley along the seashore, and one up over the rugged mountains, she'll take the higher rugged road, where the air is thinner, and it's closer to the stars.

    Abigail Adams.

    First Lady.

  12. Good,
    Won't have her babbling in my ear to ruin my walk by the seashore!
    Lady had no common sense!
    Probly be a Global Warming Nut if she lived today!
    The air is thickening!
    The air is thickening!
    It's the work of the Devil!

  13. aenea is a Hillaryslave.

    Hey, Whit, Obama's gonna put AlGoreInc. in charge of the global climate. Sleep easy.

    The democrat party doesn't trust the people. So they rig up a superdelegate gimmick. Which may roadside bomb 'em. Gotta love it.

  14. Al Gore, Plenipotentiary, Gobal Climate.

    (Just trying to acclimate Whit)


    April 2, 2008

    If happy little bluebirds fly
    Beyond the rainbow
    Why oh why can't I?

    The aim of the Nader/Gonzalez campaign?

    Stick it to both corrupt corporate parties in 2008.

    In every state in the union.

    Yesterday, we rang the bell in New Mexico.

    A couple of weeks ago, you - our loyal supporters - donated more than $10,000 over the course of a short couple of days to fund our ballot drive in New Mexico.

    As soon as you donated the money, we sent out our volunteers to New Mexico.

    And yesterday, at the state capitol in Sante Fe, our volunteers turned in 6,747 signatures - more than twice the number needed to put Nader/Gonzalez on the ballot in New Mexico.

    Mission accomplished.

    Thank you.

    Tomorrow, our volunteers will deliver more than 1,500 signatures - more than double the number needed - to the Board of Elections in Pearl City, Hawaii.

    Mission soon to be accomplished in Hawaii.

    In a little over a week, you helped raise over $50,000 to fund a ballot drive in Arizona.

    As a result, our folks are on the ground now in Phoenix and Tucson.

    In Arizona, we need to collect at least 40,000 signatures by June 4.

    We anticipate meeting the Arizona deadline and putting Nader/Gonzalez on the ballot in John McCain's home state.

    Again, thank you.

    Next up Kansas - home to Dorothy, Auntie Em, and Toto.

    (Little known fact - Frank Baum, the author of the original Wizard of Oz, and Yip Harburg, the man who wrote the lyrics for the movie - were both populists in the Nader/Gonzalez tradition. The Wizard represented Wall Street? The Wicked Witch the railroads?)

    In Kansas, we need 10,000 signatures to get Nader/Gonzalez on the ballot.

    We need to raise $15,000 to give the people of Kansas the chance to vote for Nader/Gonzalez and to help counteract the power of the agribusiness giants that dominate the Midwest.

    State by state, we'll put Nader/Gonzalez on the map.

    We would like to raise the money needed to fund our Kansas ballot drive in short order.

    We're looking for 150 of you - our loyal supporters - to give at least $100 each to put Nader/Gonzalez on the ballot in Kansas.

    Please, help us now to get 'er done in Kansas.

    Please, donate now to Nader/Gonzalez.

    Make your dreams come true.


    The Nader Team

    PS: We welcome your comments to the blog.

  16. "In a little over a week, you helped raise over $50,000 to fund a ballot drive in Arizona."
    Why not fund a drive to raise the Arizona?

  17. Why not, indeed? Remember--

    If happy little bluebirds fly
    Beyond the rainbow
    Why oh why can't I?

    A campaign slogan to remember.

  18. The War Nerd has a great article on the Basra scuffle. It is well worth reading it all. He starts it with:

    "What happened in Iraq this week was a beautiful lesson in the weird laws of guerrilla warfare. Unfortunately, it was the Americans who got schooled. Even now, people at my office are saying, “We won, right? Sadr told his men to give up, right?”

    Wrong. Sadr won big. Iran won even bigger. Maliki, Petraeus and Cheney lost.

    For people raised on stories of conventional war, where both sides fight all-out until one side loses and gives up, what happened in Iraq this past week makes no sense at all. Sadr’s Mahdi Army was humiliating the Iraq Army on all fronts. In Basra, the Army’s grand offensive, code-named “The Charge of the Knights,” got turned into “The Total Humiliation of the Knights,” like something out of an old Monty Python skit.

    Thousands of police who were supposed to be backing up the Iraqi Army either refused to fight or defected to Sadr’s Mahdi Army. In Basra, the Iraqi Army was stopped dead and clearly in danger of being crushed or forced to retreat from the city. In Baghdad, Sadr’s militia was rocketing the Green Zone non-stop—not a good look for the “Surge is working” PR drive—and driving the Iraqi Army clean out of the 2-million-man Shia slum, Sadr City. And in every poor Shia neighborhood in cities and towns all over Iraq, new branches of the Mahdi Army were forming up and attacking the government forces.

    Then, after four days of uninterruptedly kicking Iraqi Army ass, Sadr graciously announces that he’s telling his men to end their “armed appearances” on the streets. Makes no sense, right? Nah, it makes a ton of sense, but you have to stop thinking of Gettysburg and Stalingrad and think long and slow, like a guerrilla. "

    Who Won Iraq's "Decisive" Battle?

  19. Finally, a slogan worthy of the American people. :(

  20. Ash, your posts always have a sense of glee when you post stuff you perceive as being negative for the United States. It's disturbing.

  21. The War Nerd is in Fresno, this guy's in Baghdad:
    From Iraq: Observations of a USMC Liason to the ISF

    Stories highlighting defections. It was reported yesterday that 40
    Iraqi Police (IP) defected to "join the militia movement". This is most
    likely true. However, the IP consists of tens of thousands of personnel
    and that number equates to less than half of 1% of the IPs. This should
    not be viewed as a systemic issue and represents an improvement on
    several orders of magnitude from years ago when defections were far
    greater in magnitude and scope.

    Seems the only scenario left painting a victory for Iran is Kevin's, namely that Maliki is merely an Iranian Proxy, and they didn't want him humiliated.

  22. Yes, Bend is nice. All of that out there is nice. To the south and a little east are the Steens Mountains and although this wiki article doesn't have a good picture, they are neat looming up out of the desert. Going down by the Steens is one way, a longer way, to head to Vegas from here. Always a beautiful drive.

  23. Depends on your POV, Al-Bob:
    The Hesbos in Canada find it invigorating.

  24. Here's a pretty good shot, they go along for miles and miles. They are a little higher than this, though, as I recall. I've never been up in them, just driving along, looking with the binoculars. Desert county, really beautiful.

    There are places where you can see tracks, ruts, from the old Oregon Trail down thataways somewheres, as I recall.

  25. Well, we're all for enlightenment, women's rights, gay rights, human rights, freedom of everything, and who better to bring us all that than ol' Mookie al- Sadr, eh Doug?

  26. "There are places where you can see tracks, ruts, from the old Oregon Trail down thataways somewheres, as I recall."
    Schoolchum of mine lived on a ranch in "Sunflower Valley"
    Kinda God-forsaken for Calif., but I was just tellin the wife about some rocks in the foothills there that had Indian grinding holes in them.
    Don't know why they live there, unless the Chumash didn't want to share their Abalone Burgers.

  27. ...or their PR Guy in Canuckistan,
    our very own Ash.

  28. The cycle of life:
    Our grandkids will learn how to crouch under their desks with the lights out:
    Nuke Protection and Global Warming Cure in One!

  29. humph, that reminds me, I saw a rock and grinding stone at a construction site in Moscow just the other day. Wife and I looked at it--had to have been an old Indian artifact, but the guy we were looking for wasn't around. Was lying there by his pickup truck. Will have to remember to ask him about it.

  30. Boise was named a top disaster area for terrorism in a government report just yesterday. Nobody could figure it out exactly, why it made so high on the list, but the answer seemed to be vulnerability from possible breaching of nearby dams.

    You're right about Bend. I remember seeing old maps about fall out patterns in the United States, from a possible all out Soviet attack, and my sis and noticing that around middle of Oregon was darn near the only place in the USA where you might be able to breathe, afterwards.

  31. gotta go, hold down the fort, al-Doug.

  32. The one's on the ranch were kinda permanent:
    Rocks about the size of a small schoolbus!

  33. As long as Al-Ashie doesn't have reinforcements, we'll be ok, Al-Tonto.

  34. The teachers said we were high on the Nuke list.
    I mostly laughed at that:
    They're going to Nuke my Podunk Town of 3,200 Okies?
    Teachers said it was them thar Oilfields.
    Only Ash woulda known for sure.
    Nukular Ash.

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