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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Waiting for a Sign (Or: Things to Do in Denver When Your Candidate’s Nomination Hopes are Dead)

posted by on June 17 at 13:15 PM

In my column in the coming issue of The Stranger, I report on the mood among the 28 pledged Hillary Clinton delegates from Washington State who are headed to the Democratic National Convention in Denver this August. These delegates know that their candidate has conceded defeat in the Democratic primary fight, but they’re not giving up just yet.

Hillary Clinton has suspended her presidential campaign, endorsed Barack Obama, thrown her “full support” behind him, and called upon her supporters all across the country to join her in doing “all we can to help elect Barack Obama the next president of the United States.” But here in Washington State, Clinton’s 28 pledged delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Denver are, according to one of the group’s leaders, still waiting for a clearer sign from on high.

Absent some further instructions from Clinton, these delegates all plan to vote for her, not Obama, at the convention in late August.

Those who don’t understand the motivations of these self-described “hardcore” Clinton supporters will find further explanation in my column, in which Clinton delegates complain of being treated shabbily at the Democrats’ state convention in Spokane last weekend and make it clear that more needs to be done (like, say, giving the vice presidential slot to Clinton) in order to win them over.

But there are some things that wouldn’t fit in the column, like the following letter, which should also go some way toward explaining the mindset of our state’s Clinton delegation. Here’s a clickable PDF of the letter, from Clinton national delegate Marvin Wells of Tacoma, who complains the primary race left him feeling like a “nobody”:


And here’s a quote that I couldn’t fit in the piece, from Spokane attorney Cynthia Schwartz, another displeased Clinton delegate who—even now, ten days after Clinton suspended her campaign—spoke to me in the present tense about how Clinton “is” (not “was”) the more viable candidate against McCain. Schwartz also said:

It seems to me that the media has continued to count her out when the public did not count her out… We’re just essentially being told by the media or the Obama campaign—I’m not sure which it is—that we should just essentially fall in line behind him. We’re not convinced. We’ve not seen anything from the Obama campaign that would make us want to do that.

In my column, Dwight Pelz, an Obama superdelegate and the chair of the Washington State Democrats, describes all this talk as “sound and fury which signifieth [sic] little.”

But if other Clinton delegations from other states follow the Washington example, it could “signifieth” something. There are, after all, more than 1,500 pledged Clinton delegates around the country who might well be moved to cast their votes for Clinton in Denver—which would not exactly be a telegenic showing of party unity.

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If Obama was even considering making Hillary VP, he would have given Patti Solis Doyle some other job. Any job. Not VP chief of staff. It's called a hint.

I thought a lot of those delegate types were hoping for careers in politics. Why would they offend the next president for the sake of the junior Senator from New York? Some day she'll become the senior Senator from New York, but those coat tails don't help a minor pol from WA.

(I'm glad I'm not the guy who misquoted Macbeth like Pelz. Cringe.)

Posted by elenchos | June 17, 2008 1:25 PM

That's a weird way of writing "sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Posted by Jay | June 17, 2008 1:26 PM

I'am? Ugh...

Get over it, people. I was fiercely pro-HRC and she didn't win. I'm now for Obama, and the "what ifs" and the "but...but...but!" aspect of these HRC die-hards strike me as ridiculous.

Nothing underscores the "me"-centric aspect of this country more than listening to some "offended" HRC supporter go off about how Hillz, or they, were so incredibly disrespected that they simply cannot vote for Obama or, even more sublime, are going to vote for McCain.

Well, I hope these morons feel better the morning after the election when the R's have won and the Supreme Court is a dead kitty in a pit bull's jaws, outside a snowy Chicago project.

Get the fuck over it and vote D, people. It's for the greater good -- or don't any of these hambones remember that concept?

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | June 17, 2008 1:26 PM

Even aside from the appalling grammar and Snopesworthy preciousness, "Mr. Nobody"'s letter is basically negated by the use of Comic Sans MS.

Posted by Breklor | June 17, 2008 1:32 PM


Posted by Jerod | June 17, 2008 1:36 PM

@4...not just comic sans, but CURLZ MT is in there too. sick.

Posted by greg | June 17, 2008 1:42 PM

@4: it was the first thing I noticed about his letter, which is why I didn't bother reading it.

Posted by Ziggity | June 17, 2008 1:43 PM

pushing a wheelbarrow across a 2-lane road doesn't sound that hard, mr. nobody.

if HRC delegates want to vote for her on the 1st ballot & switch to BHO on the second, BFD.

Posted by max solomon | June 17, 2008 1:45 PM

This is why I don't get how Obama supporters somehow came to be labeled the cult members.

Posted by tsm | June 17, 2008 1:47 PM

As an African American, I'd love to sit down and talk with Mr. "Nobody" Wells. He is bitter, but needs to move on. ...And why did he put an apostrophe s after Tacoma?

Posted by Tony | June 17, 2008 1:48 PM

Who cares what those deadenders want?

They lost.

Get over it. Or get ready for Mr Three Wars At The Same Time, Triple Budget Deficit, Triple Trade Deficit, Triple Tax Cuts For The Ultra-Rich President "Dementia" McCain.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 17, 2008 2:00 PM

WiS @11:

Did you come up with that "deadender" thing all by yourself? Because you seem inordinately proud of it.

Posted by Judah | June 17, 2008 2:07 PM

COMIC SANS! He IS a nobody.

Posted by Fnarf | June 17, 2008 2:12 PM

The horror! Comic Sans AND Curlz? Yikes!

Posted by Lola | June 17, 2008 2:27 PM

imagine the uproar if someone misquoted shakespeare using comic sans.

Posted by skye | June 17, 2008 2:27 PM

Great points, Marvin Wells! And I have it on good authority that neo-Marxist Michelle Obama’s gonna offer us honkeys an ultimatum to join the Symbionese Liberation Army, the Next Generation, prior to Denver.

It’s only those whiteys that refuse who are gonna be mowed down AK-47 Commando-style or forced to eat grenade sandwiches.

A forwarded chain e-mail told me so!

Posted by Original Andrew | June 17, 2008 2:32 PM

Paul Berendt can die in a fire.

Posted by NaFun | June 17, 2008 2:38 PM

I just can't let it go. I still visit I really don't understand what beef is. In addition to the misogyny* they seemt to think that McCain more closely approximates their political views. I though the idea was that Clinton was more populist than Obama (c.f. elitism and health care) but apparently now some of the deadenders think he's too liberal.

Presumably they've just decided to spew the toxins in their new republican environment. Still it's bizarre to see a bunch of feminists spit the world liberal.

* Apparently among his other sins he's completely linked to Randi Rhodes who called Clinton a "fucking whore". That's pretty rotten but I haven't been able to ascertain the connection between here and Obama. Despite what Violet Socks thinks that just doesn't seem like the sort of thing Obama would get behind.

Posted by daniel | June 17, 2008 2:38 PM


I obviously couldn't be everywhere at all times this past weekend, so maybe the Clintonites were mistreated by some Obama supporters.

On the other hand, I heard no biases from the Convention speeches. I also heard Sen. Kohl-Welles talk about plans to have Obama speak on a conference call to many of the female Clinton supporters, and more than one Obama delegate who said s/he was spending time during the weekend speaking specifically with Clinton delegates about how they felt and what they needed to hear from Obama supporters and/or the campaign to bring them into unity.

As for Wells, he was invited up to speak during the Sunday morning breakfast by Pelz... and my thought was how unsurprised I am that a person who voted for Reagan might have problems supporting Obama. I'm not saying Wells shouldn't be welcomed into the Democratic Party fold, or that he can't be convinced to vote for Obama. But it's not a stretch to imagine there's some emotional distance to travel there...

Posted by Mickymse | June 17, 2008 2:45 PM

The reclusive leftist people are sad and delusional. Ignore them. I mean, when you get to the place where Michelle is the wife who gets treated like shit not Hillary, you're clearly out of your When you get to the place.

Posted by Anonymous | June 17, 2008 2:46 PM

Paul Berendt can die in a fire.

Posted by NaFun | June 17, 2008 2:51 PM

Pelz could have used kinder Shakespeare quotes, verily.

Maybe "What's gone and what's past help should be past grief"?

Posted by NapoleonXIV | June 17, 2008 2:52 PM

Eli, are you seriously suggesting that those delegates who prefer Clinton should hide their preference and vote instead for the winning candidate in the interest of "party unity"?! Isn't that a bit... Maoist?

The votes will be counted in Denver and Obama will win, but that's not enough for you. He must be seen to enjoy the unanimous adulation of every delegate. Isn't that a bit... Stalinist?

If it becomes clear that your prefered candidate will not win in November, will you be voting for the winning candidate in order to show national unity?

Posted by David Wright | June 17, 2008 3:36 PM

We'll re-defeat NO-Bama in November!!!

Posted by clintonsarmy | June 17, 2008 3:40 PM

How selfish for people to think that elections are just about them? This is a sickness. If you can't play in the grown-up world of politics maybe its time for them to get out. Just sit home and wait for the next 4 years because it seems that if you paid attention on a day-to-day basis you'd realize it really is not all about YOU.

Posted by Shawn Fassett | June 17, 2008 3:43 PM

David Wright, when I think about how the Republicans will ask all those Romney and Guliani and Paul delegates to line up behind McCain, it seems so... Maoist.

it seems so... Maoist.

it seems so... Maoist!!

Shit. When I do it, there's no thunder right on Maoist. What's the HTML to turn on the naturalistic fallacy?

Anyway, David, the difference is that the delegates have already been counted and the outcome is known. The vote will help send a message of unity and that's worth something. here is nothing to gain for Democrats by having all those delegates vote for Hillary except; it helps the Republicans if Obama is seen to lack a strong mandate. (Which is why you want them to do it!) Comparing it to the November election is nonsense because the outcome of that is not known, and because no Democrat wants a Republican president to have a strong mandate, or vice versa.

Posted by elenchos | June 17, 2008 3:49 PM

The difference is that Hillary has more delegates than Teddy Kennedy did when he got his first ballot symbolic roll call in 1980, or Gary Hart in 1984, or Jesse Jackson in 1988, or Brown, Tsongas and Casey combined in 1992 ... and ten times as many as Howard Dean brought to convention in 2004.

Contrary to popular belief, the mother's milk of politics isn't money. It's recognition,, and Obama's "new rules" are the blueprint for a mug's game.

Posted by RonK, Seattle | June 17, 2008 4:26 PM

Part of me can't wait until these retards go play sour grapes with their country and vote McCain because ZOMG their substanceless and reactive gender supremacism didn't prevail.

Because then people will quit bitching at my fellow hardcore progressives who voted Nader in 2000. Would-be Dems voting Nader in 2000 at least voted for a candidate who represented what they believed in, not simply for someone who wasn't the front-runner. Nobody who voted Nader -- and nobody who *didn't* vote Nader, for that matter -- expected Gore would lose as a result.

Dems voting McCain in 2008 are just bitchy, vengeful, reckless fucktards. They will make Nader 2000 voters look like people who chose a midsize over a compact in comparison.

Posted by K | June 17, 2008 4:43 PM

Nah, we'll still hate the Naderites for allowing the USSC to pretend that Bush won in 2000, @28.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 17, 2008 5:09 PM

I saw no evidence of Clinton delegates being disrespected or treated as "invisible" at the convention. Not sure where that's coming from.

Many of the major speakers spoke about getting together behind Obama to defeat McCain, including long-time Hillary supporters like Murray and Cantwell. Most of those speakers at least had a few words to say about Clinton's contributions as well. The balance seemed fair and appropriate.

I'm surprised that the Lyndon LaRouche crazies haven't gotten mentioned anywhere. They were masquerading as Clinton supporters, and spouting off their conspiracies about the British Empire via George Soros destroying us, buying Obama, and causing the sub-prime lending crisis among other things.

Posted by Convention Attendee | June 17, 2008 5:42 PM

Attendee @ 30 -- You saw nothing ... and yet a fellow attendee (who chaired 12 Washington State conventions, and who was the first State Chair to endorse Howard Dean in the previous nominating cycle) observes a recognition deficit.


Posted by RonK, Seattle | June 17, 2008 6:22 PM

The comments made about Clinton at the convention, even though they were from supporters, were passing at best. I think that given the number of people in the state and the country who did I(and are) support her, their anger and disappointment about the current situation, and how important they will be in Nov - it would not have hurt anyone to spend some quality time recognizing Clinton for what she brought to this process - the dialog, the voters, the energy. It was a good race, she was a good candidate, she has influence with this party and with voters that should not be taken for granted.

Posted by watcher | June 17, 2008 7:54 PM

AND - what kind of a leader is Dwight Pelz for not recognizing that? It's not rocket science. He should not have endorsed early, and he should be doing more to reach out to the Clinton supporters. And as aside, he should be replaced post haste as the party leader.

Posted by watcher | June 17, 2008 7:56 PM

The rest of Marvin's letter can be found here:

Posted by the real story | June 18, 2008 10:38 AM

I can't take anyone who uses Comic Sans seriously.

Posted by k | June 19, 2008 9:40 AM

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