Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Don't rule Hillary Clinton out so fast

I want change as much as anyone else, but despite Barack Obama's lead in the Democratic race for the presidential nomination, he's still only in the stretch with a slightly better lead than Hillary Clinton.

Neither candidate has secured the locked delegates to win the nomination, and the popular vote has been frighteningly split almost equally in half. I think the enthusiasm to end this contest contradicts the primary season itself which has dragged on more than six months since Jan. 3 in Iowa.

The Democratic convention is not until August, more than two months away. That's where we will know or not know the real intent of the so-called "Super" delegates. The term "super" delegates is a phrase coined to described the gaggle of insiders who have been given "unpledged" delegate positions. They can change their minds and support any candidate they want, crossing back and forth from one candidate to another as often as they want.

What that means is that Obama does lead in pledged delegates and allegedly in unpledged delegates, but the reality of those unpledged delegates does not become final until the convention.

So why rush it? Why circumvent the very Democratic process we embrace and try to use numbers, and statistics that can be twisted in many ways to come up with many answers? Why not celebrate the power of the Democratic Party having two powerful and charismatic leaders, Obama and Clinton, and allow that leadership now to move towards the convention where the pledged delegates MUST cast their vote for the candidate they have been assigned to by the will of the American voters, and unpledged delegates can still weigh the real challenge: who is the best candidate to win the nomination and defeat Republican John McCain.

McCain is not a real choice for most Democrats who voted in the heated Obama-Clinton fracass. But, Hillary Clinton remains a real choice for nearly 50 percent of the Democrats who voted. Are we that sure that Obama can blow the doors off McCain in November that we can afford to tell those Americans who supported Clinton that their intentions are basically dimpled chads that can discarded, too?

I say slow down. I say take pause. I say build the Democratic Party and don't allow it to be torn down as we move towards the Democratic Convention. This race is still close and if Hillary Clinton does not drop out -- a right she has and has earned through a phenomenal performance that so closely matches Obama's own campaign showing -- we should work with both.

The Dream Ticket of Obama and Clinton is one that would be powerful. In fact, that is what Democratic voters have said very clearly as we turn the corner to the final stretch into the Democratic Convention. Let's not turn Denver into Chicago by ignoring the feelings of so many.


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