Monday, May 19, 2008

Not-so-Distinguished Party Leaders

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

NPR explains that John Edwards, George McGovern and Mike Dukakis are not Distinguished Party Leaders, and therefore not superdelegates, and talks to two former Democratic nominees about it:

Dukakis is not a superdelegate, either — only winners are superdelegates.

Dukakis says he does not mind not being a superdelegate: "I don't have to deal with all the phone calls [from campaigns]," he says.

McGovern, like Dukakis, says that he does not mind not being a delegate.

"I get lots publicity, lots of recognition, but there are people I know in this state that have worked hard over the years," McGovern says. "Most people never hear of them, and this is a way to get them a little recognition."

and in the future?

Nonetheless, [Tad] Devine thinks the Democratic Party would be well-served by including former nominees for both president and vice president in the ranks of the supers.

"They've been through this process like no one else," he says. "I think to run as the candidates, to give that acceptance speech, to understand the way the campaign works from the inside and to have seen America through the eyes of a candidate, is a unique experience."

Fun article, but it totally ignores the currently most controversial losing nominee of all.


Ben said...

Yeah. The idea of Lieberman and Ferraro being superdelegates send chills through my spine

Jack said...

It's a good idea - these people are as prominent as any and have been involved in the process.

But a better idea: eliminate the superdelegates entirely.

David HG said...

Took the words out of my mouth, Jack.

Better idea: get rid of superdelegates!

John said...

So, if you include losers, this would add...

1. George McGovern
2. Sargent Shriver
3. Geraldine Ferraro
4. Michael Dukakis
5. Joe Lieberman
6. John Edwards

in addition to John Kerry, who is already a superdelegate by virtue of his Senate seat, and Al Gore and Walter Mondale, who are in by virtue of being former vice presidents.

Am I missing anyone? I'm not sure whether such a system would include Thomas Eagleton (who died last year, anyway), who was nominated for VP at the 72 Convention but withdrew before the actual election and was replaced by Shriver.

Lloyd Bentsen and Ed Muskie are dead, as well, but had such a system been in place from the inception of the superdelegates, Muskie would have been a super in 1984, 1988, and 1992, and Bentsen would have been one in 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004.

John Sparkman, Stevenson's first running mate, would have been a superdelegate in 1984 (he died the next year).

I think that about covers it.

Jack said...

That's all of them.

A couple of other suggestions while we're at it, since I think superdelegates are here to stay (not that my suggestions will have any impact!): A candidate should not be allowed to vote for him/herself as a superdelegate. It strikes me as an unfair (though very slight) advantage that Hillary Clinton, Obama, Richardson, Kucinich, Dodd and Biden are superdelegates and Edwards not (and to clarify, I have never been an Edwards supporter).

Another one - don't let superdels vote in the primaries. I know, a very small change, but this way they can't vote twice.

Rambling Johnny said...

John Edwards was a Senator from January 6, 1999 – January 3, 2005
He should be a super this is kind of surprising. Not that am an Edwards supporter just that it kind of weird that former senators are not superdelegates.

Matt said...

If former Senators were superdelegates, you'd probably add another 30-70 supers I would guess. (But at least Mike Gravel would be a superdelegate - unless he lost it because he's now running for the Libertarian nomination). Add former Congressman, and who knows how many more. Probably not the direction the party wants to go in.

Amot said...

I guess the party wants only active politicians (both party activists and elected officials) plus several really distinguished persons to be superdelegates. 800 is pretty big number. Imagine 1000 supers holding 24-25% of the votes at Denver. A candidate could lose 1:2 but if he gets the supers he still could be the nominee. IMO they should be reduced to 10% of the total delegates.

DocJess said...

Wait, wait, wait -- the reason Lieberman cannot be a super delegate is because he is a turncoat Republican -- AND I DON'T MEAN RINO.

The deal about Super Delegates to the Democratic party -- right or wrong, good system or bad system is that THEY MUST BE DEMOCRATS. If nothing else, they must be members of the party.

I would like to say that they must actually support a Democratic candidate, but once she loses the nomination, Hillary Clinton (and husband Bill) will still be legitimate Supers by virtue of her current Senate seat and his prior service as POTUS. And they will be supporting McCain and not the Democratic candidate.

At least they are still registered Democrats.

LIEBERMAN is NOT -- and should NEVER AGAIN (and as Jew, he knows what "Never Again" really means) be listed on ANY Democratic list.

ltr said...

I think the best solution would be left up to the states where the former candidates live.

Perhaps former party nominees for Pres. and VP should automatically be given SD status, but there would be a few snags:

1. What would happen in an Eagleton situation, if one were around today? Would he have been considered a former nominee, even though he was kicked off the ticket?

2. Eagleton's replacement, Sargent Shriver is still alive. He's in his early 90s and suffering from Alzheimer's. He hasn't been active publicly in a long time and is basically a recluse.

3. I would think Lieberman lost his status when he left the party. Membership in the party should be required to be a SD.

So, I guess the best course of action would be to leave it up to the party (most likely the states) to grant SD status to people like Edwards or (shudder) Geraldine Ferraro. Or even the candidates, who pick additional PDs in some states, and could award them to supporters.

TINAandRON said...

WOW IM A MIND READER. I asked this question on the Blog last week (good catch with Ferraro). But the News story still didnt answer the question WHY ARENT THEY SUPERS? I know they arent everyone says so, but WHY? And dont say because they didnt win. Why was it determined so.

Kennyb said...

Under the DNC rules, the unpledged PLEO delegates are: All Democratic members of the United States Congress, Democratic governors, members of the Democratic National Committee, "[a]ll former Democratic Presidents, all former Democratic Vice Presidents, all former Democratic Leaders of the U.S. Senate, all former Democratic Speakers of the U.S. House of Representatives and Democratic Minority Leaders, as applicable, and all former Chairs of the Democratic National Committee." There is an exception for otherwise qualified individuals who endorse another party’s candidate for President; under Rule 9.A, they lose their superdelegate status.[

Dink said...

Joe Lieberman is still a registered Democrat. He is not a Democratic Senator because he lost in the 2006 Democratic primary here in Connecticut to Ned Lamont. Lieberman then ran as an independent and with the help of a lot of Republican money from out-of-state was elected. Up until now he still caucuses with the Democrats in the Senate, which is important since if he switched to the Republican caucus they would gain control.

Matt said...

No, the GOP would not gain control if Lieberman switched, due to Senate rules adopted in Jan 2007. See this article.

Benjamin Schak said...

Much better than a bunch of random State Vice-Chairs, Unpledged Add-Ons, and DNC members.