Saturday, February 16, 2008

It's Hard Out Here For a White Superdelegate

I guess we all thought that maybe we had gotten away from the "Ole boys club" in politics. Women and minorities have come a heck of a long way since I was young. No doubt. But there is also no doubt who still runs the club.


In an ironic twist to the historic Democratic nominating contest between an African-American and a woman, the balance of power may be held by a more familiar face: the white male.

But superdelegates have never reflected the diversity of the Democratic party as a whole, nor were they designed to. They represent the party insiders, a group that white men still dominate.

Nancy Pelosi said recently that it would be a problem if the superdelegates chose someone who didn't win the popular vote. But will the superdelegates listen?

Susan Estrich is staunch Democrat, political analyst, and the 1988 campaign manager for Michael Dukais' run for the presidency. She was also a part of how the superdelegates came about. Here she describes how 26 years ago the big wigs of the Democratic party decided to take back control of the nominating process from the "crazies" who had dared to come out in the primaries and nominate people the "elders" didn't think could be elected in the general. These people were referred to as "Fringe types" and this was "code for feminists, gays, minorities and crazed environmentalists." (her words, not mine)

Also her words:

"What we needed, in many minds, were more white guys with cigars."

No people. This wasn't 1962, this was 1982.

Estrich was one of the few voices crying out against it:

"My principled argument was that the category of elected officials and party leaders would, contrary to the rules governing the Democratic Convention (which only two years earlier had voted to require itself to be equally divided between men and women, and to reflect the diversity of the party), be brimming with white guys. You're going to let white men decide who the nominee will be, I argued, loudly and full of conviction, to anyone who would listen. It's not democratic. It's closing up the system when we should be opening it up. Exactly, more than one person said to me. About time, others muttered."

Well, myDemocratic friends, the chickens are coming home to roost. And in a way they never expected. The superdelegates were created to keep the "crazies" from deciding the nominee. (uhh.. that would be you, if you are a feminist, environmentalist, gay rights activist, and let's just throw in anti-war activist, because you know you are in there too) What you need is smart white men to tell you who needs to be nominated. Which is exactly what you will get if Obama wins the popular vote, but loses with the superdelegates.

Ironic isn't it? The media and the left love to create the image of the Republican party as the white boys club, when in fact, they have nothing on the Democratic leadership.

But I digress.

Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania (Democrat!) recently said that the country was not ready to elect a black man.

Is he right? Or is the Democratic leadership not ready to nominate one?