Thursday, February 14, 2008

Super with a D. a.k.a. "Super Delegate"

Super with a D.
That’s what I want my new calling card to be.
Everyone else may be Super Bad or Super Man.
But me, I’m just happy being me. With a D.

I represent 299 percent of America:
The 80 percent of Americans that are Caucasian;
The 72 percent that are students;
The 60 percent that go to sleep at night with a teddy bear (or used to);
The 41 percent that are musicians;
The 37 percent that believe we each have the power to make a difference (others are too young to know they can, too old and know they can’t, or just the right age and simply don’t care);
The 7 percent that are male and between the ages of 25 and 29;
The 2 percent that like smooth peanut butter over crunchy.

Not enough to make that super cut you say?
Well, I represent a cross section of America:
Your average, single 29 year old politically conscious, white, Jewish male law student from a middle class family raised on the Atlantic Seaboard, now living in Manhattan and preparing to be paid much more than my worth as a law firm associate.
I can walk into a bar in New York City and look like everyone else there.
I play the field, run the gamut and cook in the kitchen.
I walk, I ride, I talk, I jive.

There are 796 Super Delegates for the Democratic Party.
796 individuals who hold in their hands the power to choose the future of our country by selecting the party's presidential nominee if the two candidates arrive at a draw.
796 individuals who have the audacity, the gall, the nerves to sit down and nod their head one way or the other.
Well, let my head count also.
Let my head count along with the party heads, the talking heads and the bobbing heads that make up the 796.
One more won’t make a difference. (Or will it?)
Super. Superb. Superfluous. Superstitious.
Those words don’t even begin to describe me.
Super Delegate. Let that be me. Super with a D.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Virgin Islands Are Next

A little more about the presidential primaries since today is the first day I've had a break from campaigning in awhile and I'm suffering some withdrawal symptoms.

Here are some of my thoughts on what lies ahead for the Democratic candidates now that Super Tuesday is behind us without a clear winner:

1) Most importantly, both candidates should note that the US Virgin Islands are next on the Democratic Primary calendar and that I'd be happy to do my part to securing a win for whichever campaign pays for my ticket. (If it helps, the campaign should know that I'm batting a perfect 1000 (2 for 2) in the primaries I've chosen to get involved in, thus making me the closest person avaialable to a sure thing).

2) The next few weeks will probably be bumpy ones for Hillary even though she won the big states last night (California, Arizona, New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts). Obama has a fundraising lead and a good chance of taking wins in the upcoming caucus and primary states, including Maryland, Virgina, DC (Yes, DC votes in the primaries), Hawaii and Wisconsin. Obama's goal of course is to use those primaries to make a stand as the frontrunner and hope that the momentum carries him to seal the deal with a victory on March 4th, when the grand states of Texas and Ohio (along with their 390 combined delgates) have their primaries. Hillary's goal is to make it through the next few weeks as unscathed as possible so that she can make a strong push for wins in those two states and then cap it off with a win in Pennsylvania in April. (Yes, that would mean we'll be biting our nails through the primary season for at least another 2 months.) Put another way, political strategists on both teams are earning their keep right now trying to figure out how to put all the pieces of the puzzle together to secure the nomination for their candidate by September.

3) The Democrats' decision not to count Michigan and Florida's delegates could come back to haunt them given how close the delegate race is. If one of the candidates (that would be Hillary since she won the states) decides to make a push for seating Michigan and Florida's delegates at the Convention then a protracted legal fight could ensue that would flashback to the Gore v. Bush debacle in 2000. The question is which is better: seating the delegates to ensure that the nominee reflects a truly national consensus, or not having them count since the campaigns all went along with the Democratic Party's decision before the primary season started and it would be unfair to change the rules of the game after it's over? Right now I'd lean towards not trying to seat the delegates, but a part of me feels like that's trying to have it both ways for the Democratic party; they want to be able to cherry pick when the popular vote should matter and when it shouldn't.

4) Looking to the general election, much of the debate between Hillary and Obama now is going to turn on who's more prepared to take on John McCain. On this front, both candidates have credible arguments and it will be interesting who winds up ahead on this count. Nevertheless, what remains to be seen is what happens after the nominee is picked. Both Obama and Clinton have repeatedly promised that they'll stand behind the eventual nominee; however, it's equally important that their respective supporters stand behind the nominee as well. Based on anecdotal evidence, my impression is that most people will do just that. Nevertheless, because much of Obama's base are first time young voters, there's a chance that if their candidate doesn't get the nomination (and also isn't given the nod for VP), then they'll be disillusioned with the political process and will choose not to go to the polls for the general election. Needless to say, that would be a shame, and I hope both Hillary and Obama have it in them to make a genuine push for each other when the general election rolls around.

I'm still worn out from yesterday's busy day of campaigning (interrupted by a hooky trip to watch New York City's parade for the Giants after their win in the Super Bowl). Now that I've gotten all my thoughts out of my system and onto the page, I'm going to call it a night so I can prepare for what I hope will be a splendid weekend on the islands.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Go Hillary

I’m sitting down right now listening to Hillary’s national town hall (broadcast on television and on her website)– her closing appeal to supporters and undecided voters before tomorrow’s Super Tuesday primary. While she’s busy reaching out to the thousands of people that are now listening to her, I thought I’d connect with the relatively few voters reading this and put down in words the reason why I’m supporting Hillary in tomorrow’s primary (or today's primary if you're reading this on Tuesday).

Over the last nine months I’ve rallied behind a candidate who has proposed substantive policies to reverse the devastating path that the Bush administration has put our country in the last eight years. Hillary's proposals – most notably her plans for universal health care, reviving and growing the economy, federal immigration, withdrawing from Iraq and rebuilding America’s image abroad - are all real and realistic. They represent the kind of policies we need to bring sweeping reform in our country and that also have the best chance of getting passed by a bipartisan legislature.

Knocking on doors in New Hampshire, organizing debate watch parties, mobilizing volunteers and making a whole lot of phone calls to lists of voters in New Hampshire and New York, I’ve discovered that Hillary has made her tent a big one. I believe Hillary’s administration will continue to build on her history of franchising all Americans by lowering income inequality, getting health insurance to everyone, making education more affordable and promoting a full agenda of civil rights, including repealing the military’s shameful Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.

As a young male 20-something living in New York City, many of my peers have chosen to support Barak Obama for the nomination, and I’ve had the opportunity to engage in substantive discussions on both candidates’ merits. I agree that Obama’s powerful oratory is inspiring and the excitement that he, along with Hillary, has injected into the race for the Democratic nomination is awesome and a testament to the incredible caliber of both candidates. If Obama wins the nomination, I’ll wholeheartedly support his path to the White House. Nevertheless, Hillary has won my vote because I’ve watched her in the debates leading up to the primary. I’ve seen her passion for the job, her incredible intellect, her courage in breaking through gender and social barriers, and her eagerness on the campaign trail to engage hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions, of voters on a personal level through the painstaking process of answering countless questions at each stop along the way. I also believe that Hillary has the greatest chance of winning the White House back for the Democrats in the general election.

These are the reasons I’m voting for Hillary in tomorrow’s election. I’m of course always happy to discuss my reasons more if anybody out there wants to. Above all however, and whether or not you agree with my choice of candidates, it’s most important to me that everyone reading this goes out to vote in tomorrow’s primary. I love seeing democracy at work and tomorrow we have the unique opportunity of participating in an election where every single one of our votes will make a difference in the outcome.

So, get out and vote and, GO HILLARY!

[On a random concluding note, I'm happy to announce that you've all just had the pleasure of reading my 42nd posting on this blog, marking the one year anniversary of Awake at All Hours, since the Blog Came Back the day after last year's Super Bowl!]