"A vote to continue this process is a vote that assists John McCain" - Joe Andrew
There has been an important defection in the Democratic race for Super Delegates. Former DNC Chair Joseph Andrew, appointed to the Chair by former President Bill Clinton, has switched his support from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama. This reversal has sent shockwaves reverberating through campaign Clinton, through the remaining uncommitted Super Delegates and has re-energized the Obama campaign. In his official endorsement speech, Chairman Andrew said:
I have been inspired. - Today I am announcing my support for Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States of America. I am changing my support from Senator Clinton to Senator Obama, and calling for my fellow Democrats across my home State of Indiana, and my fellow super delegates across the nation, to heal the rift in our Party and unite behind Barack Obama." . . . We need a candidate who will re-invigorate the economy and keep good jobs here in America. We need a candidate who will end the war in Iraq. We need a candidate who will provide health coverage for our 45 million uninsured neighbors. We need a candidate who will end our addiction to high-priced foreign oil by investing in renewable energy here at home. - That candidate is Barack Obama . . . My endorsement of Senator Obama will not be welcome news to my friends and family at the Clinton campaign. If the campaign's surrogates called Governor Bill Richardson, a respected former member of President Clinton's cabinet, a "Judas" for endorsing Senator Obama, we can all imagine how they will treat somebody like me. They are the best practitioners of the old politics, so they will no doubt call me a traitor, an opportunist and a hypocrite. I will be branded as disloyal, power-hungry, but most importantly, they will use the exact words that Republicans used to attack me when I was defending President Clinton. (1)
Andrew was one of five Super Delegates to announce their support today for Obama. There seems to be a sense among the uncommitted Super Delegates that despite Hillary's victory in Pennsylvania, it is more apparent then ever that she has no mathematical path to the nomination. Indeed, going to one of the many "Delegate Counters" that allow one to calculate how a given result would affect the remainder of the race like this one at CNN - http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/02/29/delegate.counter/index.html shows that Senator Clinton doesn't have any plausible way to beat Obama. A scenario where Clinton wins 65% of the vote in all of the remaining states (she has only ever exceeded 60% once in any state) and 55% of the remaining Super Delegates (more seem to be heading to Obama every day) still results in Obama getting to the 2025 delegates needed to clinch the nomination.
Once super delegates digest those facts, I think many of them become upset, as Joe Andrew seems to have, at the tactics of Hillary's campaign that seems to be geared toward kneecapping Obama and destroying his ability to win the General Election. Andrew's defection is a powerful signal to the rest of the Super Delegates. If Andrew, a former DNC chair with all of his ties to the Clintons believes switching to Obama is the right thing, and he feels that this is what the party needs to win in November, many super delegates will be persuaded to follow him.
Senator Clinton did her best to try to put a good spin on the news. Clinton told ABC's "Nightline": "I think this has been good for the Democratic Party. ... People can decide however they want to decide. That's up to them. But anyone who believes this is bad for the party I just think is not paying attention, because the level of enthusiasm to be part of this process is, from my perspective, helping us build a stronger and deeper Democratic base." (2)
I don't think anyone is buying the argument anymore that this race for the nomination is good for the party or country. Senator Clinton's negative/unfavorable vote is approaching 60%, the same number believe she doesn't tell the truth. Both of those numbers are up by over 10% over a few weeks ago. Senator Obama's unfavorables are also up although they are not anywhere near as bad as Senator Clinton's. Both candidates' numbers are suffering in head-to-head races against presumptive Republican nominee John McCain. If the super delegates look at Joe Anthony and Senator Clinton's comments it is obvious whom they should believe and with whom they will identify. What the Democratic Party needs is more super delegates to do what Joseph Andrew has done; announce support for Obama and end what has become this toxic race for the Democratic Nomination.
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