Saturday, August 02, 2008

Imperious Obama Messages

Mississippi Clinton delegates to the Democratic Convention have been receiving interesting messages from the Obama campaign, and they tell you quite a bit about the candidate and his campaign. One of them said:
"We welcome delegates who supported Senator Clinton, and hope to create a unified delegation on the way to Denver."

Supported? Past tense? Sorry, Barack, but this is a little presumptious. I think they still support Senator Clinton - and they think they'll get a chance to vote for her. On the way to Denver? No, no, that's supposed to be on the home from Denver. If you really want a unified delegation, then you don't start by offending nearly half of the delegates in the room.

The Obama campaign may think they've got things under control. They may think there will be no roll call vote for Clinton. But those delegates who are committed to her don't think so. If Obama doesn't allow a vote for Clinton, there will be some mighty upset delegates. They would see it as a lack of respect for Hillary.

The message then goes on to tell them to fill out a Delegate survey at the Obama campaign website. Delegates have already filled out a survey for the Democratic National Committee and the Mississippi Democratic Party, but this is a different one. It's a pretty intrusive survey, asking what you do for a living, what your ethnicity is, how old you are, what union you belong to, whether you're gay, and what your religion is. What business does the Obama campaign have asking all this information about a Clinton delegate?

But it gets worse. Attached to the email was "Guidelines for Delegates Contacted by the Press." It's pretty draconian. If delegates are contacted by any member of the press, even their local press, delegates are not to say anything until they contact the Obama campaign. So if the Natchez Democrat wants to interview Everett Sanders (whom they talk to regularly) about his trip to Denver, he's supposed to ask permission first - and by email. And look at this:
"On a case by case basis, depending on the story and its goal, we may approve these interviews."

Oh, and the delegates should never contact the press directly.

You can tell these dudes are from Chicago, where Democrats are used to taking orders from the machine. But I don't think this went over very well with the Clinton delegates in Mississippi who received this email.

A few days later, another similar email was sent to "Mississippi Senator Clinton Delegates". (Funny, I always thought she was New York Senator Clinton, but maybe I missed something.) But in the body of the email, it says "Dear Alabama Senator Clinton Delegates". Oops! Well, you know how Yankees are - they can't tell one southern state from another.

These imperious emails are just not good strategy. Obama is NOT the Democratic nominee for President. A nominee is not elected until the delegates vote at the Convention. Nearly half the delegates at that Convention are committed to Clinton. They know that barring some major miracle, Obama will win the nomination. However, they expect to get a chance to vote for her. That's what they were elected to do. If that opportunity is not given to them, there will be some very hard feelings - and this will not bode well for November.

Democrats just went through an emotional, hard fought, close primary campaign. As the presumptive winner, Obama should try to win over those supporters of his rival - not only the delegates at the Convention - but those across the country. There are several things he could have done, but he has done none of them. In fact, he is treating them with disdain, as these emails demonstrate. This demeaning attitude will affect, not only the Clinton delegates, but her supporters everywhere - and it will show at the Convention for the whole world to see.

Obama has either decided he doesn't need Clinton voters or he is taking them for granted - assuming they'll have no choice but to vote for him. But they do have choices. They can choose not to vote, to vote for a third party candidate, to write in Hillary Clinton, or even, God forbid, vote for the Republican.

This is a serious miscalculation on the part of the Obama campaign. The November election is probably going to be quite close, and he is giving away a large segment of voters, most of which he could have had. All that was required was a little humility and graciousness. Maybe that's too much to ask.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Casey,
I appreciate your report. As far as I am concerned, Hillary is still in the race. Obama continues to allienate women like me.

Anonymous said...

In a year when the white house should have been served up on a platter to the democrats they just might blow it because:

1) The front-runner underestimated the competition and was out hustled and out campaigned.

2) Bitter supporters of the frontrunner are choosing to forsake their party's choice

I hope you all have been reading Doonesbury lately.

Anonymous said...

And don't forget

3) A sexist, arrogant winner who refuses to reach out to supporters of said loser

KellitaJ said...

Dear Casey,
Boy do you sound outraged!
I think these Obama campaign e-mails, which have been followed up by a phone call interview (on speaker phone) is just strategy by the Obama campaign. They do not want discourse at the Convention in Denver, and if they cannot eliminate the ability for Hillary's Delegates to vote for her on the first vote, then they want us to feel like a part of the Obama team and not "the opposition".
I do not want to be a part of the opposition either, I want to have FUN in Denver!
I personally think that it would be a huge mistake to deprive Hillary's delegates/supporters from the vote Hillary EARNED at the National Democratic Convention, BUT. Obama has the votes to win the nomination, on the first round, so he should have some strategy to make sure that victory isn't snatched from his hands.
So his campaign is "working" the Clinton delegates in every state, inviting us onto weekly conference calls, asking us personal questions and getting chummy.
Strategy is GREAT, especially in a President so that PLANNED CHANGE happens and the work of our Government gets done. Obama has a goal and he will need to be a strong leader to successfully derail the trouble the Bush Sheeple have created in the last 8 years.
I didn't appreciate the note telling Obama delegates not to speak to the press, but then I'm not an Obama delegate and will speak to whomever asks an intelligent question.
Sincerely,
Kelly Jacobs
Delegate to Denver for Hillary.

joeyDEE said...

Get over it people!! She tried she lost!! I know it's a great shock when you though Hillary was to be crowned Amazon queen of North American.

Anonymous said...

joeydee:
It's attitudes like yours, that seem so common with Obama supporters, that drive away Clinton supporters.

K Borgne said...

My vote counts and I want my Clinton delegates to express that vote in Denver. After that is over, I'll make my choice on who to vote for.

John Leek said...

This is a little over the top.

You won't get a chance to vote for Clinton as is her choice.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2008/07/31/2008-07-31_hillary_clinton_asks_not_to_be_nominated.html

You can't vote for someone who doesn't want to be voted for.

References to machine politics aren't helpful and shouldn't have a place in our discourse as we strive to win nationally and in Mississippi for our nominee.

He's not taking anything for granted and has run the smartest campaign of any general election Democrat in a decade.

One choses to be upset by this. It's clear it's not meant to offend.

(I have no clue on the survey, but folks shouldn't assume the worst without at least asking why the information is requested)

Casey Ann said...

Obviously, Hillary has made this choice based on advice (if not pressure) from the Obama campaign, since she is truly trying to help him get elected. I'm not as knowledgeable as those high powered political types running the Obama campaign, but I think this is a strategic mistake. Clinton supporters would have had an easier time moving to Obama if they felt like they got a fair shake and some respect at the Convention. Now it just remains to be seen whether he'll need those votes.

Anonymous said...

I must say that in this election it seems so obvious that we need a change, a drastic change, in Washington. We can't have McCain in office for four years. Initially, a Clinton supporter, I am so thankful that we have a wonderful alternative in Obama!

Come on people! Get over it! Who cares if Obama didn't say the right thing to her supporters. He has the whole world watching him, not just the Clinton supporters. And she's asking for unity.

I'm sick of the dissension. Let's get on with getting a Democrat in office!

J said...

I think it's more to do with the obnoxious and let's be honest here, outright racist statements that have been posted on the "PUMA" blogs. Perhaps what you're labeling as "imperious" might actually be a low tolerance level for mindless racism and bullying. You all need to get your collective heads together and grow up. Please read my blog, I think you'll find it informative:

http://ohmyvolvo.blogspot.com