What I find most fascinating are the excerpts of the reasons presented by the Hunt Commission on why the party should have super delegates:
“We must also give our convention more flexibility to respond to changing circumstances and, in cases where the voters’ mandate is less than clear, to make a reasoned choice. One step in this direction would be to loosen the much-disputed “binding” Rule 11 (H) as it applies to all delegates. An equally important step would be to permit a substantial number of party leader and elected official delegates to be selected without requiring a prior declaration of preference. We would then return a measure of decision-making power and discretion to the organized party and increase the incentive it has to offer elected officials for serious involvement.” (Remarks of Governor Jim Hunt, Institute of Politics, JFK School of Government, December 15, 1981)Changing circumstances. Where the voters' mandate is less than clear. Hmm, these don't sound like Blogger Boyz Rulz at all.
The purpose of the super delegates is to be free to act in the party's best interests when there is no unequivocal decision from the primary voters. They must be free to respond to changing circumstances where a decision made four months ago may no longer reflect the will of the voters.
The changing circumstances here are first Hillary's clear support by the majority of Democrats voting in the primaries. Next, it is her clear dominance of swing states that the Democrats must win in November, most especially Florida. Third is Obama's refusal to put himself up for an unequivocal vote by Democrats in Florida and Michigan so that the will of the voters can be known. Fourth, Obama's dirty laundry and the Republicans' glee over what they can do with it seriously damages any claims he can make to being a "media darling" or being innoculated from rightwing smears. Finally and most telling, the opposition to the front-runner-by-an-eyelash within the party itselof is growing in size and determination with every smear, attack and lie he spews about his opponent.
The role of the super delegates is to prevent Howard Dean and Donna Brazile from taking the entire party over the cliff with them in their insane quest to defeat Hillary Clinton. These two pretty obviously don't give a damn about the party or rank and file Democrats, and it now appears that they really aren't that concerned with taking back the White House or even getting other Democrats elected. It's all about beating HER, and the Devil take the hindmost.
The super delegates arose, as Elaine Karmack writes in the article linked above, because of Teddy Kennedy's arrogant campaign against a sitting president and the way he relentlessly hounded and pursued delegates to get them to vote for him rather than Carter. It is very liekly that Carter lost to Reagan (the election was that close) because of Kennedy's nasty campaign. Ironically enough, Kennedy's battle was against a rule that bound delegates to the candidate, and tried create a situation where all delegates are up for grabs. Rule 11 (H) was changed to make the pledge of the pledged delegates a little less strict, providing wiggle-room to deviate from the votes that selected the delegate: "Delegates elected to the national convention pledged to a presidential candidate shall in all good conscience reflect the sentiments of those who elected them.”
Kennedy, who is now arguing for strict adherence to the voters' sentiments, was for allowing the delegates to vote as they pleased. Wouldn't Teddy rules be fun today? Geraldine Ferraro created the compromise that allowed for the acceptance of unpledged super delegates. I find this all deeply ironic.
The bottom line is that the Obama rulz that all delegates pledged to him must vote for him and that all super delegates from states that he won must vote for him, and that no super delegate from a state Hillary won is required to vote for her (cough - KennedyKerryRichardson cough), and that all other super delegates should also vote for him because he has won the popular vote (not counting MI, FL and the states yet to vote), are in violation of the actual party rules about how delegates - super and otherwise - should exercize their convention vote.