The Threat

Just one more reason to support Senator Obama — some deep-pocket Dem Party backers are trying to gag Nancy Pelosi by threatening to withhold support from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee if she doesn’t watch her words. Pelosi had urged superdelegates to support the candidate with the most pledged delegates by the time of the nominating convention this summer. Twenty donors who have given the DCCC nearly $3 million since 1999 have implied that they will stop being so generous if Pelosi doesn’t keep her opinions to herself.

This came up on last night’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Jonathan Alter speaks:

ALTER: Well, they‘re saying we are the rich people in the party and it‘s almost like a little bit of a threat to Nancy Pelosi, but it carries a lot less weight than it would have in the past. And here‘s why. I know a lot of these folks. This is the financial backbone of the Democratic Party. These are long time Clinton backers who are very upset right now that their candidate seems to be going down the tubes.

They used to, essentially run the finances of the Democratic Party. Now, you have a situation where you have a candidate who has raised so much more than any other candidate in American history and his average donation, Barack Obama‘s, is $109.

So, he has tapped into hundreds of thousands of small donors who made this crowd of wealthy donors much, much less relevant in the Democratic Party, and their threat to Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean and the rest, much, much less relevant than it would have been, say four years ago.

OLBERMANN: Right. Human beings versus dinosaurs, it sounds like if you have that comparison, if that were biologically possible.

Notice that Pelosi hasn’t endorsed either candidate. She’s just saying what she thinks is good for the party. She’s the bleeping Speaker of the bleeping House, and the money people are trying to shut her up.

The twenty donors probably are not evil people, but who can say what they expect for their money?

One of the reasons the Dem party hasn’t been worth a bucket of warm piddle since the 1970s is that, once the old New Deal coalition broke up, the Dems have had to crawl to Big Money special interests to get the funds to run for office. As others have said, the Dems have had to get in line for the second biggest checks. That has put a big limit on how “progressive” they can afford to be, if you catch my drift. It’s the reason why so-called “liberals” like the Clintons never seem to accomplish much that’s all that, y’know, liberal. In the past several years sorta moderately not too far Right is the best we’ve been able to hope for. has an online petition. says,

A group of millionaire Democratic donors are threatening to stop supporting Democrats in Congress because Nancy Pelosi said that the people, not the superdelegates, should decide the Presidential nomination.
They’re Clinton supporters and they’re trying to use their high-roller status to strong arm the Democratic leaders.
So let’s tell Nancy Pelosi that if she keeps standing up for regular Americans, thousands of us will have her back.
A compiled petition with your individual comment will be presented to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic leadership.

The online Clinton supporters, meanwhile (no links; you know who they are) are outraged that Pelosi would meddle with the political process and defy the will of the people. I’m serious. I guess the only people allowed to have “will” are the ones with money.

And look who’s been reduced to quoting Karl Rove. This is so sad. Please, everybody, get a grip.

Update: Obama “raised $91 million in the first two months of 2008 alone, most of it in small amounts over the Internet.” Somehow that not quite $3 million in nine years doesn’t seem so grand.

14 thoughts on “The Threat

  1. Wow. I just read through that TL thread, and besides the belief among the commenters that Obama was the political equivalent of James Frey (while Hillary Clinton was guilty of merely a “slight embellishment”), what struck me was absolute certainty they all had that the GOP actually wants to meet Obama in the general election rather than Clinton. What on Earth is that about?

  2. Alex — I’ve given up trying to talk to or understand Clinton supporters. They’ve flat-out lost their minds.

  3. I read some of the TL thread as well, amazing if you just replace “Hillary” with “McCain” you would think you were reading redstate.hate!

    I think the fact that Pelosi let that ransom note leak to the press shows where her head is at. If she were at all intimidated by the donors threat (or the Clintons) we wouldn’t know about it.

    I got a call from Obama’s campaign today, they want some volunteer help here in N.W. Indiana, I can’t believe that us Hoosiers are going to actually count for something in a primary race, usually our votes are just a formality. I quess Hillary’s failure to accept reality is good for something!

  4. Democrats wanted the Super Delegates but they should of done away with them. Since they are in effect they should be able to vote any way they want accorrding to party rules.

    Caucus are a stupid Democrat thing also. If they did not exist such as the Republican winner takes all delegates. Hillary would of already won by a landslide.

  5. A few month’s back, I was undecided. Leaning heavily toward’s Obama, but really still undecided.
    Today, I signed the petiition.
    Yesterday, I sent $50 to Obama. More $ to follow….

    I’m with you. The Hillary supporters have completely lost their mind’s. Even she, yesterday, had to tell them to chill out.

  6. Are the super delegates sort of the primary’s version of the Electoral College? Has the College ever voted without respect to the votes of those they represent? Just asking. (The remark from Imus prompted the questions.)

    Frankly, I think we’re experiencing a ‘bloodless’ coup? revolution? Anyway, we’re perhaps in the process of kicking out the Establishment.

  7. [email protected]: “They’ve flat-out lost their minds.”

    Yes. It’s a pitiful sight. They’re not just arguing on behalf of a favored candidate, they’re mindlessly spouting all the Republican talking points the Clintons have copied from Karl Rove’s playbook.

    Most likely, they’ll find their minds again after Hillary instructs them that Obama really isn’t all that bad. However, what I think people like Taylor and Jeralyn have lost for a very long time is their credibility and their reputations as honest and thoughtful bloggers.

    But then again, what do I know? According to the Hillary supporters, I’m just one of those over-educated, Volvo-driving, latte-drinking, trust-fund-baby, Obama supporters who doesn’t really “need a president,” but loves to listen to flowerly speeches (even though I own neither a trust fund nor a Volvo and never drink lattes).

  8. Felicity, I could be wrong, but since the superdelegates are unelected, I believe they don’t represent anyone. The other, “elected” delegates, represent the primary/caucus results. Superdelegates are the party bigwigs. I think they “pledge” to a particular candidate, but can give that class ring back at any time, and start dating someone else.

    In the general election, I believe the Electoral College is supposed to function like “elected” party delegates, with a correlation to the popular vote of their particular state.

    (Please take all that with a grain of salt, as it’s 5:15 p.m. on a Friday, and I have a wicked case of spring fever.)

    My take on the superdelegates is, some of them are starting to be wooed away from the establishment (i.e., Clinton). When Senator Ben (“Woodenhead”) Nelson left a voice message on my home phone before the Nebraska caucus in February, urging me to caucus for Obama, I took that as a sign that the times are indeed a-changin’. (Actually I think I yelled, “Wooo-hoo! It’s the freakin’ apocalypse, baby!”)

  9. The twenty donors probably are not evil people, but who can say what they expect for their money?

    They may not be evil people, but I’m tired of not being able to make my own mistakes, and instead suffering from other people’s. I’m a lukewarm Obama supporter (and voted for him). Maybe I made a mistake, but it’s my mistake, not someone else’s.

  10. “They’ve flat-out lost their minds”.

    “There is nothing more frightening than active ignorance”
    -Johann von Goethe

  11. It’s amazing to me since I see two centrists, both progressive on human rights, with very few notable distinctions between them (the AUMF vote the chief one). And while younger voters are expressing understandable passion and some naivete for Obama, the Clinton supporters going off the rails are often seasoned voters, veterans of many elective races, and they’re trying to convince people that Obama is the anti-christ.

    Get a grip sums it up perfectly. It’s not the candidates i find stunning or puzzling, but the activists displaying symptoms of spongiform encephalopathy.

  12. I think were seeing the DLC fighting for their political and financial lives. Who in their right mind would ever hire Mark Penn after this? I also read somewhere that one of his partners is quitting his firm and going to work for McCain.

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