I hadn’t thought about the possibility of McCain withdrawing from the presidential race before November — or not, in fact, securing the nomination at the Republican convention. Frank Dwyer’s piece on the Huffington Post today about just such a possibility does not seem unfeasible when given some thought. It could indeed be the one dramatic surprise move the GOP could conjure up to effectively compete against Barack Obama. Ultimately I break with Dwyer’s argument that Jeb Bush would be that surprise candidate. Different as he may be from his brother, Jeb, as one commenter points out after Dwyer’s piece, will now be tainted by the Bush name and have as difficult a time distancing himself from George W. as John McCain will have distancing himself from association based on their shared party (and positions). No, if such an 11th-hour surprise were to occur it would have to be a different name carrying the mantle. Those who don’t want to see it happen should nevertheless prepare themselves for the possibility.
Here’s Dwyer’s piece.
This debate of superdelelegates vs. the voting public is only going to become more interesting as the primary campaign lengthens. For the time being, I am actually encouraged that there is such a competitive Democratic primary. The sheer volume of interest in this election cycle is fascinating, and I feel fortunate that we live in a time when the general public seems genuinely motivated to affect significant change in our society. It doesn’t seem to be waning as the months continue, and it looks ever-more possible that every state will be relevant in the presidential nominating process (at least on the Democratic side).
Some might argue that the lengthening of the nominating process threatens the eventual nominee, and the possibility of a brokered convention could hurt the Democratic candidate’s chances. But I believe it does something different. It captures the fascination of an entire new generation of politicos and keeps the focus on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, as well as the tremendous energy their campaigns represent.
I agree, for the most part, with this reflection by Rahm Emanuel’s brother on the completely undemocratic nature of superdelegates. However, I depart from his position that the delegates from Florida and Michigan should not be seated. While I believe that Barack Obama offers much more of a possibility for a fresh approach to the presidency, and Obama’s campaign has the most to benefit from not seating the delegates, it was wrong in the first place to penalize Florida and Michigan for deciding to increase the relevance of their primaries. Furthermore, it was wrong for the Democratic Party and the various campaigns that decided not to campaign in those states to continue to enshrine the exaggerated prominence of Iowa and New Hampshire, as well as Nevada and South Carolina, in the nominating process. Florida and Michigan are far more diverse states more representative of this nation than any of the early voting states. More importantly, though, this whole debacle re-inforces the fact that this country is in urgent need of instant run-off voting or, at least to begin with, one national primary day.
Yes, some might argue that seating the delegates would unfairly benefit the Clinton campaign because Obama (and other Democratic candidates) did not campaign in Florida or Michigan, but holding fresh elections in the summer would unfairly benefit whichever candidate has the most momentum at the time. Meanwhile, calling on one hand for the party to dismantle a tradition as anchored in the political status-quo as superdelegates, while on the other hand demanding that the status quo convention of the primacy of early-voting states makes no sense.
Finally, for just one more take on the superdelegate situation, Alternet has another interesting take.