March 31, 2008
Superdelegates are Another Dysfunctional Liberal FixBy J.R. Dunn
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.