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Hillary Clinton's Nuclear Option

Tom Edsall at the Huffington Post has a piece today in which he writes the Hillary camp is considering using the nuclear option to secure, or should I say steal, the nomination if she wins Indiana but loses North Carolina by a slim margin and can convince the super delegates that she's a better general election candidate:

With at least 50 percent of the Democratic Party's 30-member Rules and Bylaws Committee committed to Clinton, her backers could -- when the committee meets at the end of this month -- try to ram through a decision to seat the disputed 210-member Florida and 156-member Michigan delegations. Such a decision would give Clinton an estimated 55 or more delegates than Obama, according to Clinton campaign operatives. The Obama campaign has declined to give an estimate.

Using the Rules and Bylaws Committee to force the seating of two pro-Hillary delegations would provoke a massive outcry from Obama forces. Such a strategy would, additionally, face at least two other major hurdles, and could only be attempted, according to sources in the Clinton camp, under specific circumstances...

When I mentioned this scheme to my husband, his first response was "why would they commit political suicide for Hillary." But if Hillary can convince her supporters in the RBC that she can win the general, and depending upon which poll you look at - the Clinton camp is pointing to this one that has Clinton leading McCain in a head to head general election match up - this may not be political suicide; there's a chance that this could be political life-saving. Just imagine what Hillary would owe these folks should they implement the nuclear option, giving her the nomination and she then goes on the win the general election in November. But this is a huge and very complicated risk that would require the political planets aligning just right, as Mr. Edsall points out.

Marc Ambinder, however, doesn't see things in the same way as Mr. Edsall:

Not to the belabor the metaphor, but it's not clear to me that Clinton really has this weapon in her arsenal. The rules and bylaws committee may or may not be comprised of a majority of Clinton supporters (many of its members remain uncommitted), but they're not going to be asked to vote on any challenge that would award Clinton her entire delegate haul from Michigan and Florida. The two challenges they've been asked to consider would, at most, award Clinton an extra 30 delegates -- half of her margin from Florida and half from Michigan. One of the challenges, if successful, would allow 23 superdelegates from Florida to make known their preferences, and Clinton would net a few.

In any event, whatever the RBC decides, the party's credentials committee, which won't spring into existence until late June, has final say. And Obama will probably have a majority of members on that committee, enough to send a majority report to the convention with whatever recommendation arises from that deliberation. (Clinton's backers would send a minority report.)

Dave at Political Machine weighs in as well:

But on the other hand, Hillary knows that this is her one chance at the presidency. The stars were aligned, it was hers, and I think she sincerely believes that Obama will lose, and she will only be doing her party a favor. Even against majority wishes. If push comes to shove and we come down to continued muddle results, as in a split victory between Indiana and North Carolina, I think she could do it.


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Comments (25)

I just hope this happens. J... (Below threshold)

I just hope this happens. Just the attempt would fracture the dem's to a point of no return for the forseeable future.

Hey Steve! ww

The Left has gotten so clos... (Below threshold)

The Left has gotten so close to the Progressive Utopia, they will not let go.

Its like the monkey who has grabbed a piece of fruit in a vase and now his hand & fruit together are too big to pull out of the vase. The monkey just sits there dumbfounded indefinitely.

Heh, the convention in Denv... (Below threshold)

Heh, the convention in Denver is going to be as much fun to watch as a demolition derby if this works in HRC's favor.

I hope you don't mind JPM10... (Below threshold)

I hope you don't mind JPM100 but, I'm going to have to incorporate your analogy in one of my articles...it's just too perfect not to and I remember the lesson from childhood.

Hillary Can't Wait: Screw'emGate


Downside Legacy at Two Degrees of Bill Clinton

The Clinton Legacy

"Just imagine what Hillary ... (Below threshold)

"Just imagine what Hillary would owe these folks should they implement the nuclear option, giving her the nomination and she then goes on the win the general election in November."

When have the Clinton's cared about who "owed" them anything?

The nuclear option is reall... (Below threshold)
Corky Boyd:

The nuclear option is really not the last resort. Nor will the Rules and Bylaws Committee probably be used. The power is in the Credentials Committee as Marc Ambinder points out.

The true nuclear option would be going to the courts. The fact that it would be suicidal to probably won't stop either candidate. It would delay the selection of a nominee beyohd the the states' filing deadlines.

I'm not sure the Credentials Committee even can act prior to the connvention because that's the first time the state parties can present their delegates. That's when the fireworks will begin.

You have to give Evita her ... (Below threshold)

You have to give Evita her due; she has looked quite impressive on Fox lately. You would have thought she a member of the Knesset. Imagine if we had a candidate who wanted to win as badly as she does?

If nothing else it's great to read on the blogs all of the lefties enabling each other...they don't even understand how their egalitarian rules have caused this mess.

Oxford Dictionary:... (Below threshold)

Oxford Dictionary:

of, relating to, or believing in the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities...."

It's nice that a right winger finally acknowledges one of the principal differences between us "lefties" and some on the extreme of the right, such as, I guess, Infidel. Thank you.

Child molesters are equal i... (Below threshold)

Child molesters are equal in JFO's mind, so are animal fornicators. Such a nice belief system where everyone is the same. Kumbaya, my Lord...everybody sing. I believe in human beings have the same rights I do if they stay within the accepted norms of society. ww

HILLARY CLINTON CAN BEST W... (Below threshold)


It's time for everyone to face the truth. Barack Obama has no real chance of winning the national election in November at this time. His crushing defeat in Pennsylvania makes that fact crystal clear. His best, and only real chance of winning in November is on a ticket with Hillary Clinton as her VP.

Hillary Clinton seemed almost somber at her Pennsylvania victory speech. As if part of her was hoping Obama could have proved he had some chance of winning against the republican attack machine, and their unlimited money, and resources.

But it is absolutely essential that the democrats take back the Whitehouse in November. America, and the American people are in a very desperate condition now. And the whole World has been doing all that they can to help keep us propped up.

Hillary Clinton say's that the heat, and decisions in the Whitehouse are much tougher than the ones on the campaign trail. But I think Mr. Obama faces a test of whether he has what it takes to be a commander and chief by facing the difficult facts, and the truth before him. And by doing what is best for the American people by dropping out of the race, and offering his whole hearted assistance to Hillary Clinton to help her take back the Whitehouse for the American people, and the World.

Mr. Obama is a great speaker. And I am confident he can explain to the American people the need, and wisdom of such a personal sacrifice for them. It should be clear to everyone by now that Hillary Clinton is fighting her heart out for the American people. She has known for a long time that Mr. Obama can not win this November. You have to remember that the Clinton's have won the Whitehouse twice before. They know what it takes.

If Mr. Obama fails his test of commander and chief we can only hope that Hillary Clinton can continue her heroic fight for the American people. And that she prevails. She will need all the continual support and help we can give her. She may fight like a superhuman. But she is only human.

Sen. Hillary Clinton: "You know, more people have now voted for me than have voted for my opponent. In fact, I now have more votes than anybody has ever had in a primary contest for a nomination. And it's also clear that we've got nine more important contests to go."


Jacksmith... Working Class :-)

Wow Willie....you're full o... (Below threshold)

Wow Willie....you're full of hate once again I see. Sad that one has to have your mindset to actually believe the tripe you sometimes put out.

Problem is, JFO - we've see... (Below threshold)

Problem is, JFO - we've seen how these 'egalitarian' states work out. Some group thinks it's much more 'equal' than the others and gets hold of power, old grudges are satisfied in blood, and you end up with a totalitarian state. The common man doesn't matter - what matters is the opinons of those who would force 'egalitarian' principles down the throats of others, no matter how much they're choking on them.

But the folks who really believe they're being 'egalitarian' will overlook any wrongs that are committed in their quest for perfection... and any evidence that may pop up that they're taking the wrong Road to Utopia.

"At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child - miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill disciplined, despotic, and useless. Liberalism is the philosophy of sniveling brats." - P.J. O'Rourke

Forgive me for not supporting a 'progressive' ideology.

Just putting your words to ... (Below threshold)

Just putting your words to music JFO. As far as hate, you are the master buddy.

Jacksmith, are you advertising/shilling for Hillary? Do you actually believe that tripe or are you jesting? ww

Nice try defining my use of... (Below threshold)

Nice try defining my use of the word JFO, but the modern liberal isn't all about strictly interpreting original meanings of words or institutions.....it's about using formally noble terms to seduce the majority who would never allow your lefty subterfuge style enforcement of policies be rammed down our throats.

All those useless diversity programs and identity group departments at the institutions of brainwashing have perfected the doublespeak that would cause a person with your outlook to think the Dems approach to egalitarianism is about equality.
Equality of results...lowest common denominators.........and mostly, which was the subject I was addressing, anti-rebublican (small "r", don't get nervous) schemes to pretend to be "fair" only to destroy your own party of like minded elitists.

From infidel - the right wi... (Below threshold)

From infidel - the right wing mantra. All the world is stupid except for right wing extremists.

How's that working for you folks these days?

"When I mentioned this s... (Below threshold)

"When I mentioned this scheme to my husband, his first response was 'why would they commit political suicide for Hillary.' But if Hillary can convince her supporters in the RBC that she can win the general, and depending upon which poll you look at - the Clinton camp is pointing to this one that has Clinton leading McCain in a head to head general election match up - this may not be political suicide; there's a chance that this could be political life-saving." -- Kim

We've known since Florida 2000 that all you Republicans don't think highly about Democracy, but this time it is the DEMOCRATIC party we're talking about. The Democratic nominee will be the one who has gotten the most votes from the people: Barack Obama. Geesh!

And then in the fall presidential debates while we Democrats will be admiring the intellect of the magna cum laude Harvard Law School grad whom we selected, you Republicans will be clapping and spilling your beer while cheering on your sixth-from-the-bottom-of-his-class Naval Academy alumnus.
notiz=Broad brushing will get you every time.

Right on cue Herman makes a... (Below threshold)

Right on cue Herman makes an appearance with his totally lucid commentary.

Herman, write a pro se brief to SCOTUS and stop whining about the 2000 election. If the New York Times can do it, you can too.

From JFO........Th... (Below threshold)

From JFO........

The extreme left wing mantra; putting words in everybody's mouth.
All the world is stupid because they're not socialists.

"All the world is stupid ex... (Below threshold)

"All the world is stupid except for right wing extremists."

If everyone who disagrees with you is a right-wing extremist, JFO, you might have a point.

But the problem is - I don't consider myself an extremist. And I don't consider myself right-wing. I think I'm a centrist - some things I'm to the left on, some things to the right. I'm a moderate - pretty much in the middle, and I'm open to arguement and persuasion. Insults, fortunately, show much more about the 'progressive' cause than you might like - it shows that a lot of 'progressives' see agreement and cooperation by those outside the fold as being superfluous - indeed, undesireable because it'll dilute the purity of your causes. (Hmm. Why does that sound familiar?)

Because the 'progressives' know what's best, better than anyone else. They don't NEED to persuade, because they're so completely and totally right.

So that's needed is to state how smart they are, and how stupid everyone else is, and the stupid ones should just shut up, stop objecting, and get in line behind the 'progressives' who will lead us into a glorious future where everyone is above average and nobody wants for anything.

Funny how your insults don't seem to get the desired result, isn't it?

Way to go JLawson.I ... (Below threshold)

Way to go JLawson.
I actually think many liberals (and moderates)in the media are smart. Mort Zuckerman, James Carville,Juan Williams, Susan Estrich (who I can't help but want to have a beer with).....these are all tough smart people who I might not always agree with, if at all.
Then there's Bill Mahr............

Corky, I don't see how this... (Below threshold)

Corky, I don't see how this ends up in the courts. A political party is a private association - you can have whatever screwball rules you want. Anybody who files a lawsuit over internal party procedures gets laughed out of court.

JFO, you can't be serious. How egalitarian, really, is this superdelegate structure? How egalitarian is it to exclude delegates from two states?

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

I don't see how the Democra... (Below threshold)

I don't see how the Democrats can go with anybody but Obama this election. And I don't see how Obama can win.

I've got no problem with ho... (Below threshold)

I've got no problem with honest disagreement - what I've got a problem with are those on the other side who are simply either going "Shut up, I'm smarter than you are and once we're in charge all you lot are going up against the wall!" or those who won't recognize that my point of view is derived from years of observation and thought - not 'kool-aid gulping mantras'- and that if I respect THEM enought to listen and not be insulting to THEIR points of view, they'd better return the favor.

I'm aligned with no party. I vote for who I think will be best for the POSITION - regardless of whether there's a (R) or a (D) behind their names. And negative campaigning DOES have an impact on my thinking - it makes me think the one stooping to it is LESS qualified than the one he's blasting, not more.

In the case of the Presidency - I don't give a damn if McCain's a 'maverick', Hillary's 'progressive', or Obama promises 'Change'. I'm looking at what they're promising, and what plans they've got for delivering.

I've got certain issues I'm concerned with. Winning the war in Iraq. Oil drilling. Tax reform. Social Security reform. I'm not looking for perfection - I'm looking for ideas that can WORK, and I'm not looking for any quick fixes. We took decades to get into this state, we're going to need decades to fix it. Anyone promising a band-aid will cure it all is automatically suspect.

Address my concerns with reasonable, rational, VIABLE solutions, and you'll get my vote. Promise me all sorts of goodies without any rational way to acheive them, and I'll pass over your name without hesitation.

But I've got to admit I'm sure not seeing a hell of a lot of stuff from the left on any of the issues I worry about ... at least, not what I consider reasonable and rational.

This is getting long, so I'll just use the most painful thing right now.. Re oil - how is raising taxes on the oil companies supposed to bring down the price of a barrel of oil on the world market, with China and India drinking more and more? Is THAT the best idea for solving the gas crisis? Is it the cornerstone of a reasonable, rational, domestic energy policy? (BTW, whatever happened to Pelosi's reasonable, rational energy plan?)

No attempt is being made to get more domestic drilling going. No attempt to increase domestic production. No push in Congress to build refineries. (Or anything else, for that matter, regarding energy.) Just... tax the oil companies. So... can any of you marvelously wise 'progressives' out there explain to me how THAT is supposed to INCREASE the supply of oil on the world market, which is driving the cost of oil to insane heights?

As I said - reasonable and rational and VIABLE solutions will get my vote - but they seem to be scarce this political season. Should I instead vote for someone I KNOW won't be able to deliver, because the promises are so nice that I'll be able to forget for a while that the politician has no intention in hell of delivering?

After you calm down Lawson ... (Below threshold)

After you calm down Lawson you ought to look at my comment in the context in which it was written or take a reading comprehension course.

I think Bill Clinton des... (Below threshold)
John S:

I think Bill Clinton deserves his unconstitutional third term. In 15 months we'll see gas lines, severe food shortages, 20 percent inflation... A nuclear exchange between Iran and Israel is likely... Can you imagine paying $100 gallon for gas on a 10 gallon federal ration stamps? Won't be a fun time to be president.

If McCain wins, Republicans could end up out of power for 50 years. Go Hillary!






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