Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Kentucky Super Delegate Endorses Obama

U.S. Representative Ben Chandler, D-KY6, has endorsed Barack Obama for President.

Kentucky's entire Democratic Congressional Delegation has now endorsed Obama. That's only two out of Kentucky's eight members of Congress, and two out of Kentucky's eight Democratic super delegates, but it's still 100 percent of Kentucky's Democratic Congressional Delegation.

It is also something more than a minor miracle. Ben Chandler is a DINO extraordinaire. I am on record excoriating him numerous times for his Smirky-fellating votes in the House: the despicable bankruptcy bill, gutting the Constitution, giving Smirky/Darth dictatorial powers, legalizing torture, allowing our young people to become IED fodder in Iraq.

Ben Chandler is a classic Blue Dog, the perfect Hillary-bot. What the fuck happened?

Here's a clue from the Lexington Herald-Leader: "Another Kentucky superdelegate, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Louisville, already has voiced support for Obama."

John Yarmuth: Proud Liberal, Awesome Slayer of Mitch McConnell Pet Annie Northup, Voice of Kentucky's Democratic Conscience.

I speculated last year that Yarmuth's upset victory in 2006 might provide a courageous example for Spineless Ben, but I never expected anything like this.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler said that after months of intense and mounting pressure, he decided to ignore any political risks and back Illinois Sen. Barack Obama for the presidency.

"I've listened to the man. I have met with him and, like many of you, I am excited by his message of change for the future," Chandler told about 40 Obama supporters Tuesday morning in Louisville.

He praised Obama as "a man of great integrity and intellect" and of "quiet strength."

As one of the key sought-after Democratic superdelegates, Chandler's decision holds more weight than a normal endorsement. He and Kentucky's other eight superdelegates can pick a candidate during the August Democratic National Convention regardless of the outcome of the state's May 20 primary election.

He is the fifth of Kentucky's nine superdelegates to make a pick, with U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton snaring endorsements from three of them and Obama picking up Chandler and fellow U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth of Louisville.

"Let me tell you what it's like on the floor of the House of Representatives to be an uncommitted superdelegate. It's not a lot of fun," Yarmuth said when introducing Chandler on Tuesday. He recalled recently standing on one side of Chandler on the floor ready to urge him to pick Obama with two congressman backing Clinton ready to pounce from the other side.

Chandler, the grandson of former Kentucky governor and U.S. Sen. Happy Chandler, compared the move to his grandfather's endorsement during the hard-fought 1960 Democratic primary of a young Catholic Massachusetts Senator, John F. Kennedy.

That was an endorsement "against all odds" and the will of other Kentucky Democratic leaders, Ben Chandler said.

Chandler conceded that he is taking some risk by backing Obama, who is trailing Clinton in the polls in Kentucky. But he cited Obama's popularity among young voters as a key reason why he chose to announce his support.

"Now is not the time to be timid. It's instead a time to be bold and support a candidate who can transform our future," he said.

How to say this? Boldness in politics is not a characteristic many - or any - would ascribe to Ben Chandler. That's why I see this endorsement less as a change of heart - or spine transplant - on Ben's part than a strong indication that the political tide in Kentucky is turning toward Obama.

For the record, from the Herald-Leader again:

Three of the other eight known Kentucky superdelegates -- Lexington attorney Terry McBrayer, Owensboro businesswoman Moretta Bosley and Harrodsburg banker JoEtta Wickliffe -- have publicly pledged support to Clinton.

Three other prominent Kentucky superdelegates -- Gov. Steve Beshear, Party Chairman Jennifer Moore and Vice Chairman Nathan Smith -- have remained neutral, and are expected to do so until after the May 20 primary. A ninth superdelegate will be chosen at the state party’s June 7 convention.

I am nearly certain that Beshear, Moore and Smith are all Hillarybots who are keeping quiet out of traditional neutrality before the primary.

But that's what I would have said about Chandler just a few hours ago.

If cautious DINO Ben Chandler can endorse a candidate who's 30 points down in the Kentucky polls, anything can happen.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.