Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Does Clinton want a roll-call vote?

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

There are a lot of pros and cons over having a roll-call vote, both from Obama's and Clinton's point of view. In some cases their interests overlap, and in others, of course, they don't. To be clear, this debate has nothing to do with Clinton winning the nomination. But it has everything to do with politics - what is best for Obama, what is best for Clinton, and what is best for the Democratic Party. Here's what the Clinton folks are thinking:

Some advisers to Sen. Hillary Clinton have concluded that a roll call of delegates at the Democratic National Convention would not serve her political interests.

They reason that Clinton would inevitably receive fewer delegates than she ended the primary with, which would send an unmistakable signal that her political standing had waned. Clinton herself has been open to the idea in part because many of her donors, supporters and delegates have demanded it. Whether to hold a vote did not come up in negotiations over Clinton's speaking role, Democrats familiar with the subject said.

This view is not universal. Other Clinton aides note that Bill Clinton was generous enough to give did not try to procedurally block Jerry Brown from a roll call vote in 1992 even though Brown had been sharply and personally critical of Hillary Clinton during the primary campaign. Indeed, symbolic roll call votes are regular parts of conventions.


The downside of not doing a roll call is the possibility that unreconstructed pro-Clinton delegates will raise a procedural stink and gum up the convention.

I personally think a roll-call would not be such a bad thing. (Other writers here may disagree). Here's how it could go: Time it to end at 10:05 - just after the networks come on the air. Obama goes over the top - everyone celebrates - great visuals. Then, the NY delegation asks to be recognized. A certain former president, and superdelegate, asks that the nomination of Obama be made unanimous. The motion passes, and a great celebration of party unity follows. Five minutes of that, and a voice comes on the loudspeaker, saying, ladies and gentlemen, the next vice president of the United States, and the VP nominee comes to the podium.

Works for me.