Hillary Clinton continues to hold the edge in delegates, despite the recent wins by Obama this past weekend, with the Associated Press now reporting the tally stands at 1,136 for Clinton and 1,108 for Obama. This count includes the all-important superdelegates.
Of the 796 lawmakers, governors and party officials who are Democratic superdelegates, Clinton had 243 and Obama had 156. That edge was responsible for Clinton's overall advantage in the pursuit of delegates to secure the party's nomination for president. [...]
Both campaigns are aggressively pursuing superdelegates, trumpeting their endorsements the moment they are secured.
"I told my wife I'm probably going to be pretty popular for a couple months," chuckled Richard Ray, a superdelegate and president of the Georgia chapter of the AFL-CIO. Ray said he will remain undecided because the labor federation has made no endorsement.
"If they endorse, then I will, too," Ray said.
Ray plans to rubber stamp his union's endorsement, and in his case that is was probably the intention when he was selected as a superdelegate, but that's not the case for most superdelegates - who for the most part comprise Senators, other elected officials and past officials, party officers, etc.
The national party has named about 720 of the 796 superdelegates. The remainder will be chosen at state party conventions in the spring and summer. AP reporters have interviewed 95 percent of the named delegates, with the most recent round of interviews taking place last week, after Super Tuesday.
For the first time since the AP began contacting superdelegates last fall, more than half of them -- 399 -- have endorsed a candidate. The remaining 320 or so delegates said they are either undecided or uncommitted, making them the subject of intense lobbying by both campaigns. [...]
Donna Brazile, a top Democratic National Committee member and manager of Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign, said party elders have a role to play but said voters should lead the way.
"I don't want to superimpose my personal views; I want to reflect the will of the voters," she said Sunday, noting that as a superdelegate she is torn between Obama and Clinton. "Honestly, I don't want to decide this."
Reflecting the will of voters by rubber stamping the most popular candidate isn't the intent of the rules establishing superdelegates either, or why would you need the "superdelegate" category anyway?
The purpose of a superdelegate is to have them exercise their own judgment above and beyond and irrespective of the popular vote. I can understand her reluctance to cut against the grain, but that's her charge, if she feels it's necessary.
Meanwhile Obama is being quite the hypocrite, but then talking out of the side of his mouth is rapidly becoming one of his specialties...
On the one hand Obama is saying that voters should decide and the superdelegates should follow that lead, while at the same time he's aggressively trying to woo superdelegates to choose him, irregardless of the popular vote.
Obama himself weighed in Friday, telling reporters that voters should determine who superdelegates support, even as his campaign actively courted them.
"My strong belief is that if we end up with the most states and the most pledged delegates, and the most voters in the country, then it would be problematic for political insiders to overturn the judgment of the voters," he said. "I think that should be the guiding approach to determining who will be the nominee."
Not surprisingly, Obama is missing the entire point of the superdelegates as well - which is no surprise and quite convenient since he hopes to end up with the most votes, but it certainly shows a gross disregard for the democratic process set forth in the nominating process rules.
The superdelegates aren't there to rubber stamp the popular decision - they are they to override the popular decision if needed. In fact, the superdelegate rules were written after the 1972 Democratic nomination process chose an unelectable candidate -- Senator George McGovern -- who only carried Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.
So it is imperative that the superdelegates do more than just rubber stamp the popular decision. The end result may match the popular vote, but that's not why they are there.
I don't believe Obama has showed the degree of weakness that is needed to override the popular decision -- if it goes in favor of him -- but the convention is four months away, and someday - maybe - Obama might have to actually address the issues rather than just shake his fist at the sky and chant that things need to change.
If, at that point, he proves to be unelectable then it is up to the Superdelegates to shut his candidacy down by selecting Clinton - regardless of the popular vote and regular delegate count.
The "superdelegate" rules have been in place for 25 years now, and to hear superdelegates saying they intend to rubber stamp the decisions of others is downright scary - but not surprising.
This IS the Democratic party, after all - and this year it's our election to lose. To hear Obama advocating that we ignore the nominating rules is not surprising in the least.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!