By Paul Gleiser | March 7, 2008 | Print This
Wow, what a difference a few weeks can make.
The day after New Year’s, we all thought the Republicans were going to get mired in an alley fight while the Democrats would have the advantage of a party unified behind their coronated leader, Hillary Clinton.
Here we are at Spring Break with the Republicans at peace and the Democrats poised for a bloody brawl that will go all the way to the Democratic National Convention this September in Denver.
Barack Obama still leads in the delegate count and likely will all summer. Hillary Clinton regained sufficient momentum and is sufficiently competitive that she absolutely will not quit. (As we have learned, the Clintons never quit.)
And the Democratic National Committee now has a huge problem concerning the delegates from Michigan and Florida that, under the party’s current rules, won’t be seated at the Democratic National Convention. If, as the struggle plays out the DNC winds up seating the delegates under some tortured logic, Hillary will immediately jump into the lead. There is no way Obama will take that lying down. He will maintain that he played by the party’s rules and shouldn’t suffer as a result. If the DNC excludes the delegates, the party risks losing support for the eventual nominee from two critically important states. It’s an issue that could wind up in Federal court.
It’s all a mixed blessing for John McCain. On the one hand, he will gain the advantage of forcing the Democrats to spend time and money figuring out which candidate to nominate while Clinton and Obama beat one another senseless. He can also count on Clinton and Obama to do a lot of the dirty work on each other that he would otherwise have to do himself.
On the other hand, the bad news for Republicans and McCain is that between now and Labor Day, John McCain is going to have a hard time getting his name in the paper. The story will be the Democrat battle and McCain will, more often than he would like, labor in relative obscurity.
Still, a Democratic nomination battle at the convention will be the kind of political theater not seen in a generation.
And to think that absolutely no one predicted it.