2008 The Whip
posted by August 21 at 9:40 AMon
One of the best new story-lines ahead of the Democratic convention is how Hillary Clinton’s people are deploying a “whip” team to keep her disgruntled delegates from doing anything too crazy (like playing kazoos for example—seriously).
Well, it just so happens that, to prepare myself for Denver, I had a long talk yesterday afternoon with the whip for the Washington State Clinton delegation. That would be former state Democratic party chair Paul Berendt, and he sounded genuinely nervous about being able to keep at least one of Washington’s 25 Clinton delegates in line. (Naturally, this particular delegate is first on the list of people I want to interview in Denver.)
Berendt also gave me a very interesting breakdown of where the Washington delegation stands, vote-wise. We have a total of 97 delegates headed to the Democratic National convention. Of those, 17 are superdelegates who will presumably vote for Obama, 55 are Obama delegates, and, as mentioned above, 25 are Clinton delegates.
Now, you’ve probably heard about how Clinton’s name is going to be placed in nomination so that her supporters can vote for her and have a moment of “catharsis.” Of course, the more catharsis they have, the worse it looks for Obama. So are any of this state’s Clinton delegates going to give up the ghost and vote for Obama instead?
Not very likely. Berendt says he’s personally waiting to hear directly from Clinton at the convention. And he describes Washington’s Clinton delegates this way:
This Hillary group is very dedicated to her. They’ve kind of gotten over the fact that she wasn’t nominated, but there’s still a deep-seated loyalty to her, and for a number of these people they’re still watching her and trying to read between the lines… They just want to make sure she’s fully respected and acknowledged at the convention… It’s real. It’s very hard core.
Who so hard core?
This was a time for a dynamic woman to be elected president. There’s still some bitterness about that… It shocked a lot of people that Obama seemed to have this cult-like following. It kind of surprises me, honestly.
Thus sayeth the Clinton whip from Washington. It’ll be fascinating to see how all this plays out in Denver—and me, Annie Wagner, and Charles Mudede will be there watching closely.