early and often

Superdelegates Making Howard Dean Just Want to Scream


I see you up there, headline, and you’re really pushing me to … aaaaargh!Photo: Getty Images

As the debate fallout continue to issue forth (Gibson and Steph are probably in an ABC plane circling above the country), we turn our gaze once again not to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, or the Pennsylvanians, but to the people who actually matter — the superdelegates. After Wednesday’s debate aired some of the candidates’ most controversial dirty laundry to a record viewing audience — while McCain, presumably, cackled with delight — Howard Dean appeared on CNN filled with a new urgency: “I need [the superdelgates] to say who they’re for, starting now,” Dean told Wolf Blitzer last night, likely resisting the urge to scream. But as we well know, no mere man can control the will of the superdelegates, a rogue and fractious species if ever there was one. Especially because, as a group, they really have no idea what to do.

• Patrick Healy reports that interviews with a “cross-section” of superdelegates after the debate turned up none who were swayed by Clinton’s attacks or Obama’s gaffes and questionable relationships. They’ve grown tired of hearing about Bittergate and will likely wait for Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Indiana to hold their primaries before deciding anything. [NYT]

• Sasha Issenberg writes that many superdelegates are trying to follow their constituency but are questioning whether their role should be to “speak for the good of the whole country or just those who elected them,” one of the classic quandaries of representative democracy. [Boston Globe]

• Jon Young talks to two uncommitted Missouri superdelegates who are distraught over the Democratic infighting and conflicted on whom to back. One of them turned off the debate on Wednesday because she couldn’t stand the contentiousness. [First Read/MSNBC]

• Fredreka Schouten cites a lack of urgency among many superdelegates, who feel content to wait to decide until the primaries are over and are unconcerned that a prolonged run-up will hurt the Democratic Party. [USA Today]

• Chadwick Matlin says that the debate played out as well as possible for Clinton, because it reminded superdelegates that Obama is not “Mr. Clean.” Still, he gives her only a 10.7 percent chance of winning the nomination. [Deathwatch/Slate]

• Walter Shapiro writes that Clinton needs to win Pennsylvania by a “hefty” margin in order to prevent a rush of superdelegates to Obama. [Salon]

• Taylor Marsh says the debate “freaked” Howard Dean — and urges her readers to let him know he should relax. She predicts that if the Democrats don’t let the primary play out, feelings are going to get even more “raw” than they are already. [Taylor Marsh]

• Ed Morrissey says Dean’s latest statement is a sign of desperation, and that he needs to end the primary before the Democrats get so bitter that they literally elect McCain in November. The only way to do that, Morrissey writes, is to convince one of the candidates to drop out. [Hot Air]

• John Aravosis thinks Dean realized after Wednesday’s debate that the media is now willing to join Clinton in attacking Obama, and that Dean has had enough. [Americablog] —Dan Amira

Earlier: How Barack Obama Lost the Debate — and Whether It Matters

For a complete and regularly updated guide to presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain — from First Love to Most Embarrassing Gaffe — read the 2008 Electopedia.

Superdelegates Making Howard Dean Just Want to Scream