Saturday, March 8, 2008

Eleanor gee I’m Swellanor about Gore

Eleanor Clift earns her McLaughlin Group moniker with her hankering for Al Gore to get the nod of a knotted-up, brokered Democratic presidential convention.

Is it possible? Well, Clift notes the party’s “good conscience” rule for delegates could supply the necessary latitude:

We have the Ted Kennedy forces to thank for the freedom of choice that all delegates enjoy, not just the supers. In 1980, Kennedy argued for an open convention, while President Carter was determined to keep convention delegates bound. With a 600-delegate margin over Kennedy, Carter prevailed. As a result, any delegate voting against the candidate he or she was elected to represent could be replaced by an alternate and thrown off the convention floor. The rule was strict and enforceable. Kennedy couldn't dislodge any of the Carter delegates. Two years later, after Carter lost the election, the phrase “in all good conscience” was inserted into the rule, belatedly giving delegates the latitude Kennedy had sought.

Clift advises the Clinton campaign has already been eyeballing the rule, but doubts she’ll get traction with it, in what must qualify as the punditry understatement of the week if not the month.

My take? The only real possibility for this is if Obama doesn’t have the nomination bagged on elected delegates alone, especially if he winds up needing half or more of the superdelegates to get the nomination.

If we get to that point, by the time we get there, supers will probably have a long-lasting distaste for Clinton in their mouths. But, they will know we have gotten to that point because Obama has feet of clay or a glass jaw, choose your metaphor.

Now, if that happens, does Gore want it? He will get targeted not only for the stuff that came up in 2000, but comments about his McMansion making him a hypocrite on global warming, and a challenge to say just what he will do about global warming if he thinks it’s so serious.

The flip side is, he’s been bloodied, he is “looser” now, and he could flip the hypocrisy by demonstrating that he could run a “green” day-to-day campaign, relatively speaking. And, he’s even more free of Slick Willie entanglement than eight years ago.

The flip side to that is, he’s won the Nobel Peace Prize. Does he want to come down off the mountain?

Right now, if the Clift scenario threatened to play out the way it would have to, I would rate the chance of Gore accepting a draft as 20-80 percent against.