Thursday, April 10, 2008

Hillary's Big "Victory"

The one-minute speech on behalf of highwayscribery's effort to become an Obama delegate to the Democratic Party's national convention in Denver would begin with an admission that the whole thing was new to him.

It would seamlessly move into an observation of how Obama's unique campaign, with its heavy online component and call to those outside the process had made it all possible.

The address would briefly detail phone banking efforts in distant states via the Obama Web site and detail a few blogging exploits (such as this) on behalf of the candidate in his battle on the crucial mass media playing field.

It was to close with a memorized recitation of the scribe's favorite passage from "Dreams of My Father," before a genuflection to thunderous applause from caucus people stricken with the epiphany that this scribe guy was the very embodiment of the campaign and a natural choice for delegate.

That was the fantasy. On the ground there were stickers to be printed, a blog post for mailing California Congressional District 30 Obamacans in search of support and a Sunday afternoon of political gladhanding.

We would engage a party we usually just vote for, meet some Obama operatives and deepen our commitment to the movement before leaving very pumped up about what was to come.

The Scribe and Mrs. Scribe were both proud to be on the tentative ballot of 91 delegate candidates and excited about being living examples of all things good and Obama(ish).

But the final list came out and the 91 were down to 17 including a guy named Yaroslavsky whose last name sounds the same as a local County Supervisor you read a lot about.

Then came this article in the "San Jose Mercury News," about the Clinton and Obama campaigns essentially purging the lists of unfamiliar names - newcomers like us - in favor of slates containing the well-known and connected. They're afraid of interlopers and backsliders.

This is what Hillary Clinton's drive "all the way to Denver" hath wrought, so let's not talk about how good her refusal to admit defeat is for the party and, worse, for Obama.

Instead of a party of inclusion in Denver, for the party that claims to be inclusive, we can look forward to grim warfare thanks to Hillary's proclamation that, "There is no such thing as a pledged delegate."

Well, there must be something close, because Ms. Clinton is purging her lists in favor of "loyalists," too.

Chris Dodd and Joe Biden lost Iowa and stepped down. Bill Richardson lost two contests and said goodbye after New Hampshire. John Edwards did not fair well after three and quit when he lost in his natal state of South Carolina.

Clinton has lost 30 contests yet pushes on toward a prize the majority of rank-and-file Democrats have decided will not be hers.

So, rather than growing the ranks, grooming a new generation of activists, and tooling the Obama movement to take on more newcomers, we get something closer to what Ms. Clinton would like the Democratic Party to be.

A closed club of loyal friends.

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