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An Open Letter to Democratic Superdelegates

By Jill Chapin

February 13, 2008

Dear Potential King or Queen Maker,

I would hope that you will never have to be in a position to overturn the will of the people, but if you are looking for the best antidote to your Republican challenger in November’s election, it might behoove you to avoid the possibility of poisoning the process by supporting Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama.

Policy differences should be taken off the table, because there is very little daylight between them. This decision that you may have to make has little to do with their agenda and more to do with their ability to win in November.

And as of now, it also has everything to do with who has won the most states, the most delegates and the most popular votes. Going against the will of the people by voting for Clinton over front runner Obama will decimate the Democratic party. We’ve already been through our disenfranchisement in 2000 with nine people on the Supreme Court deciding an election. If 796 people are now willing to once again overturn the voice of millions, our credibility as the world’s leader of fair elections will be embarrassingly exposed as a sham.

If that isn’t enough to temper your decision, consider that the worst that has been said against Barack Obama so far is his inexperience. This is about as bad as it gets for him. His chief rival, however, has so much baggage that Republicans are practically campaigning for her victory in the primaries. Rush Limbaugh, who is no fan of John McCain, nevertheless is so loathe to imagine a democrat moving into the White House that his rallying cry is "Keep her in it so we can win it."

More ominous are hints coming from both sides of the aisle that President Clinton’s White House romps will be resurrected, only this time, these extracurricular activities are post-presidency. More cause for concern, however are other skeletons that are likely hiding in the Clinton closet, clattering to come out. You don’t need to be a political pundit to understand why nothing is being said so far. Republicans don’t want her out of the race yet.

Her refusal to be candid about so many questions concerning her White House years smacks of insincerity and a cover up, which can make or break a run for the presidency. With an Obama movement under way, why derail the cleanest choice we have?

If any of these potentially destructive stories floating about should be true - and history indicates it to be highly likely - how can Democrats get their message out while having to contend with these distractions once again? Of course the Clintons and their operatives will deny everything, but even Democrats are becoming weary of their disingenuous right-wing conspiracy allegations.

Also on your checklist of things to consider before anointing your candidate should be the decision on whether or not the delegates in Michigan and Florida will be counted. These two states went against party rules and held their primaries before Super Tuesday. If those delegates are later reinstated, then what was the point of initially excluding them? Is this a fair reversal of your party’s own rules? With candidates forbidden to campaign in those states, it is not surprising that the candidate with the biggest name recognition at that time won the contest.

Another suggestion to you potential rainmakers is to keep your antennae tuned into what your Democratic electorate is saying if Obama should take the nomination versus how they would feel if Clinton should secure the slot. What percentage of Hillary supporters say they could live with an Obama ticket, and how many Obama supporters say they will vote for McCain or sit out the election if Clinton is handed the nomination?

There simply is no visceral hostility among voters directed toward Barack Obama. If democrats want to win in November, it would certainly be to your advantage to avoid a big chunk of your own party declining to vote for a Hillary Clinton White House.

If you are a superdelegate who supports Clinton and who may have to decide this nomination behind closed doors, I hope you first get ironclad proof that there isn’t a chance in hell of the Clinton’s marital mess - or any other unpleasant revelations - spilling over into the fall campaign, thus crowding out the real issues that we voters need to hear.

Shame on the Clintons for putting us through all of this in the nineties. Shame on you, superdelegates, if you put us through this again.







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