WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at http://www.DemocraticConventionWatch.com
The NY Times gives us its view of the superdelegate race:
The superdelegates are the target of something of an invisible primary as the rival campaigns woo them for endorsements, for the political connections such public backing can bring and for their actual support at the convention, should it be needed. The superdelegates can also be influenced by the primaries. An aide to Senator Barbara Boxer of California said Ms. Boxer would cast her superdelegate vote for the winner of the California primary on Feb. 5.Two comments. First, the note about Boxer is very interesting. It's a safe tactic to take, and one that would make critics of the superdelegate system happy. We'll keep an eye out for other superdelegates who commit in the same way.
Superdelegates were created after the 1980 election and were intended to restore some of the power over the nomination process to party insiders, keeping a lid on the zeal of party activists. They immediately came in handy for Mr. Mondale in his 1984 presidential bid, when they gave him a cushion over the upstart campaign of Gary Hart.
According to a recent telephone survey of superdelegates by The New York Times and CBS News, about one-third have expressed no preference in the 2008 race, about 25 percent support Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and about 10 percent favor Senator Barack Obama. The remainder did not return calls or refused to comment.
But nothing in the rules binds any of the superdelegates, and they are free to shift positions, unlike pledged delegates who are committed to support a particular candidate at least through an initial convention vote. That creates a situation that political aficionados dream about: a deadlocked convention up for grabs until a bloc of superdelegates comes together and anoints a nominee.
Second, the Times says that pledged delegates "are committed to support a particular candidate at least through an initial convention vote." There is nothing in the convention rules that say that. As far as the national party is concerned, delegates are supposed to vote for the candidate they were elected for, but there is no binding requirement to do so. (Although we have heard that there are state rules that may bind delegates - but that needs more research).