Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Enough is Enough

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is tough, smart and a hell of a campaigner. But after her crushing loss in North Carolina and narrow win in Indiana yesterday, it is clear that she will not be the Democratic nominee for President. To maximize the chances of beating Senator John McCain, it is time for the Democratic race to end. And the following nine Maryland residents can make that happen.

Now that 93% of the pledged delegates have been selected in the state primaries, the winner will be decided by the party’s super delegates. For the most part, they are sitting or former Senators, Congressmen, state and local elected leaders and state and national Democratic National Committee members. As of this writing, there are 795 super-delegates, of whom 271 are pledged to Hillary Clinton and 257 are pledged to Barack Obama. If the super delegates decide to support Senator Clinton, they will be overturning their own party’s popular vote. That is incomprehensible for a party that calls itself “Democratic.” Out of respect for their own voters and in the interest of taking the fight to the formidable Senator McCain, the party’s super delegates must state their support for Senator Obama. And they must do it now, before another Democrat-on-Democrat attack ad is broadcast or another self-inflicted wound to the party appears in the papers, the cable channels or YouTube.

Maryland has 29 super delegates, of whom 11 are pledged to Senator Clinton, 8 are pledged to Senator Obama and 10 are undecided. The 10 undecided super delegates are:

Senator Ben Cardin
Congressman John Sarbanes
Congressman Steny Hoyer
Congressman Chris Van Hollen
Susan Turnbull, Vice Chairwoman of the National DNC, Bethesda
John Gage, President, American Federation of Government Employees
Belkis Leong-Hong, President, Knowledge Advantage Inc., Gaithersburg
Heather Mizeur, State Delegate from District 20, Takoma Park
Gregory Pecoraro, City Council Member in Westminster
John Sweeney, President, AFL-CIO

Ms. Turnbull is unable to commit to a candidate because she is an officer of the national DNC, but the other nine are free to vote their conscience. It should not be a difficult choice. Maryland Democrats voted for Senator Obama by 60-36.5%. Senator Obama won 55% of the vote in both Congressman Sarbanes’ and Congressman Van Hollen’s districts and claimed a whopping 66% in Congressman Hoyer’s district. Delegate Mizeur’s State District 20 voted for Senator Obama by 64-35%.

Senator Clinton cannot win unless she convinces the party establishment to ignore its own rank and file – an unthinkable prospect that reminds us of George W. Bush’s “victory” in 2000. How many more attack ads, pot shots, innuendos and whisperings must we endure before marching into the real battle against the Republicans?

If the nine uncommitted Maryland super delegates above declare for Senator Obama on the same day, that could strike the final blow in the Democratic contest. Ladies and gentlemen, please do it – NOW. And then onward to victory in November.