The Clintons’ War Against the Math

By Kate Barrett

May 6, 2008 1:58pm

First the Clinton campaign started trying to change the English language.

"Superdelegates" is a long established word in politics. "We need superdelegates to win the nomination, and the Democratic caucuses will not endorse unless we meet with them," said Dee Dee Myers, press secretary to then-Gov. Bill Clinton in 1992.

But then the Clinton campaign realized its candidate couldn’t likely win the nomination without superdelegates voting en masse contrary to what a majority of the pledged delegates did.

So to fight the impression of a bunch of (mostly white) party insiders "thwarting" the will of the pledged delegates — as the Obama campaign likes to cast it, though DNC rules allow super-Ds to vote however they want, for whatever reason they want — the Clinton campaign replaced "superdelegates" in their lexicon with "automatic delegates." 

(How very Humpty-Dumpty. "’When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone,’ it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.’" )

Then the Clinton campaign went after history — stating flatly that Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, never supported NAFTA, for instance. Which may be what she felt in her heart, but as a member of the Clinton administration she spoke in favor of it publicly and privately, lobbying support for the trade plan.

So English, then History.

And now they’re going after the math.

Since Clinton is unlikely to reach 2,025 delegates before Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois does, they simply have declared a new number as the target.

The DNC says the number is 2,025. But the Clinton campaign has decided that since in their view Michigan and Florida should count 100% — despite the fact that according to the DNC, those states don’t count right now — the new number is actually 2,209.

Despite the fact that Clinton campaign chief Harold Ickes as a member of the DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee voted to strip those two states of their delegates for violating DNC rules and holding their contests early…despite the fact that Clinton campaign chair Terry MacAuliffe made a similar threat to Michigan when he helmed the DNC in 1996 — they have created an alternative universe where previous statements of principle, and rules don’t matter.

Clinton started pushing that number today. 2,209. (Though her website says the number is actually 2,208.)

The DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee will meet on May 31 to consider challenges to its decision to not recognize Michigan and Florida.

There will likely be something worked out. But to presume it will just be a 100% recognition of two states that broke the rules is a rather strong presumption. Informed Democrats speculate it could be something like 50% of the delegates counting. Either way, nothing has been worked out yet. 2,209 is not reality. 2,209 is based on conjecture.

So the Clintons are battling the math. (Not to mention her new battle with economists.)

English, then History then Math.

Science — watch your back.

- jpt

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