Speaker Nancy Pelosi ticked off the Clinton campaign with her statements this week that problems could divide the Party if the will of voters is overturned by super delegates. Hers is a very real concern. Democrats are going to be extremely upset if, after going through a long, painful primary process the candidate with a clear majority of votes and pledged delegates loses the nomination. Nancy Pelosi was stating the obvious.
This is one of those times when I adopt my "other shoe" test. This test involves looking at an issue from the standpoint of the person standing in the other shoes. If doing that forces me to change my mind then that means I should rethink my position. In this case the Clinton campaign needs to adopt the "other shoe" test. Would they be protesting the Speaker's comments if Hillary were clearly ahead in votes and delegates? No.
A collection of Clinton supporters including Mark Aronchick sent this letter to Pelosi:
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the US House of Representatives
Office of the Speaker
H-232, US Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Madame Speaker,
As Democrats, we have been heartened by the overwhelming response that our fellow Democrats have shown for our party’s candidates during this primary season. Each caucus and each primary has seen a record turnout of voters. But this dynamic primary season is not at an end. Several states and millions of Democratic voters have not yet had a chance to cast their votes.
We respect those voters and believe that they, like the voters in the states that have already participated, have a right to be heard. None of us should make declarative statements that diminish the importance of their voices and their votes. We are writing to say we believe your remarks on ABC News This Week on March 16th did just that.
During your appearance, you suggested super-delegates have an obligation to support the candidate who leads in the pledged delegate count as of June 3rd , whether that lead be by 500 delegates or 2. This is an untenable position that runs counter to the party’s intent in establishing super-delegates in 1984 as well as your own comments recorded in The Hill ten days earlier:
"I believe super-delegates have to use their own judgment and there will be many equities that they have to weigh when they make the decision. Their own belief and who they think will be the best president, who they think can win, how their own region voted, and their own responsibility.’”
Super-delegates, like all delegates, have an obligation to make an informed, individual decision about whom to support and who would be the party’s strongest nominee. Both campaigns agree that at the end of the primary contests neither will have enough pledged delegates to secure the nomination. In that situation, super-delegates must look to not one criterion but to the full panoply of factors that will help them assess who will be the party’s strongest nominee in the general election.
We have been strong supporters of the DCCC. We therefore urge you to clarify your position on super-delegates and reflect in your comments a more open view to the optional independent actions of each of the delegates at the National Convention in August. We appreciate your activities in support of the Democratic Party and your leadership role in the Party and hope you will be responsive to some of your major enthusiastic supporters.
Susie Tompkins Buell
Robert L. Johnson
Marc and Cathy Lasry
Alan and Susan Patricof
Lynn de Rothschild
Stanley S. Shuman
Maureen White and Steven Rattner
This has initiated a firestorm by Obama's campaign whose spokesman Bill Burton issued this statement:
“This letter is inappropriate and we hope the Clinton campaign will reject the insinuation contained in it. Regardless of the outcome of the nomination fight, Senator Obama will continue to urge his supporters to assist Speaker Pelosi in her efforts to maintain and build a working majority in the House of Representatives,”
This tit for tat betweens the campaigns is what is angering Democrats everywhere. Every issue, everything said, is fodder for the back and forth. With no debates where the Senators can face off and have to face questions and respond directly what we have are dueling press releases. It's getting old and we still have four weeks left until the Pennsylvania primary. Will we survive? Meanwhile I keep applying the "other shoe" test and hope the shoe doesn't wear out.