Hillary Clinton sat down last week with KLRU public television in Austin to discuss her thoughts on the Michigan and Florida delegate situation. She stated that she would press to seat the Michigan and Florida delegates, while dismissing the primary votes of Texans as irrelevant to the Democratic general election strategy.
Think I'm kidding? See for yourself:
Here is a transcript:
Host: Finally, the Michigan and Florida delegation, speaking of the primaries. There's been a lot of talk about what your campaign would do should it get to the convention. Would you committ today to honoring the agreement made earlier to not to seat the Michigan and Florida delegation in the way that had been discussed?
Clinton: Well, let's talk about the agreement. The only agreement I entered into was not to campaign in Michigan and Florida. It had nothing to do with not seating the delegates, and I think that's an important distinction. I did not campaign in either.
Host: The press seems to have missed that distinction if that's the case because the talk is that you agreed not to seat the delegation.
Clinton: That is not the case at all. I signed an agreement not to campaign in Michigan and Florida. Now the DNC made the determination that they would not seat the delegates but I was not party to that. And I think it's important for the DNC to ask itself "Is this really in the best interest of our eventual nominee?" We do not want to be disenfranchising Michigan and Florida. We have to try to carry both of those states. You know, I'd love to carry Texas but it's usually not in the electoral calculation for the Democratic nominee. Florida and Michigan are. And therefore, the people of those two states disregarded adamantly the DNC's decision that they would not seat the delegates. They came out and voted. Now, if they had been influenced by the DNC - despite the fact that there was very little campaigning, if any - they would've stayed home. But they wanted their voices heard. More than 2 million people came out. I mean, it was record turnout for a primary. And Florida in particular is sensitive to being disenfranchised, because of what's happened to them in the last few elections. I have said I would ask my delegates to vote to seat Michigan and Florida.
Host: So your intention is to press this issue?
Clinton: Yes it is. And you know, it's in large measure because both the voters and the elected officials in Michigan and Florida feel so strongly about this and, you know, Senator Bill Nelson of Florida, early on in the process, actually sued because he thinks this is absurd on it's face, that 1.7 million Democrats who eventually voted would be just basically, you know, disregarded, and I agree with him about that.
I do agree with one thing: Michigan and Florida deserve to seat their delegates. But I adamantly disagree with Hillary's accusation that this is the DNC's fault. It is not the DNC's fault that the Michigan and Florida delegations are in limbo. Unfortunately for the voters, their state parties broke the rules. And they broke the rules knowing the consequences. There have been several ideas discussed which would resolve this issue, including splitting the delegates between Clinton and Obama or holding caucuses. This problem will eventually be resolved and the delegates will be allocated and seated. That's not my main issue here.
My main issue is Hillary saying this: "You know, I'd love to carry Texas but it's usually not in the electoral calculation for the Democratic nominee."
That, my friends, demonstrates everything that is wrong with the Clinton general election strategy. It's cherry picking. It's saying some states matter and some states don't. It's saying that we are going to cede entire states - nay, entire regions - to the Republican party. It's telling us that a Clinton general election campaign would return to that oh-so-successful strategy of competing in "swing states" while ignoring everyone else. It is saying to Howard Dean, the DNC, the grassroots, and everyone who believes in the 50 state strategy that we are naive morons who are wasting precious resources trying to compete in "red" America.
Well I have a message for Senator Clinton. There is no red America. An Obama general election campaign will demonstrate that every voter counts. We will not ignore entire regions. We will go after every voter, from those in "blue" New York to those in "red" Idaho. We will not claim that some states matter more than others, but rather, that all states are equally valued and respected. We will not say to Republicans and Independents that they can't join our movement for change, but rather, we will welcome them with open hearts and open arms.
We have heard from Hillary herself (see this youtube video) that we need 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a Republican filibuster. For a moment, let's take this at face value. The Clinton strategy of cherry picking where to campaign will absolutely ensure that we will not achieve that goal. How in the world can Senator Clinton claim we need 60 votes while campaining as if only certain states matter? Does she not get it?? The Obama strategy of competing everywhere will ensure that his coattails are long, and that we will have a much better chance of achieving the supermajority required to pass progressive legislation over Republican objections and obstructionism. With an Obama campaign, every state will be a swing state.
Look, I respect Hillary Clinton. She is an intelligent, accomplished woman who would make a fine President. But she is being incredibly ill-served by her campaign team. If Terry McAwful, Maggie Williams, and all the other top brass on Team Hillary have deluded themselves into thinking that this is a good strategy, well fine, keep going and run your campaign into the ground. On March 4, Texas will finally put the nail in the coffin of that campaign and we'll all finally be able to set our sights on crazy John McCain.
So let's do this. I implore everyone around the country to help us win Texas. I know we can do it with your help! Make calls today. Donate. Spread our message of hope and change. And let's not forget our friends in Vermont, Ohio, and Rhode Island. Obama volunteers on the ground in these four states are giving everything they can and putting huge amounts of time, blood, sweat, tears, and energy into this campaign. Let's March 4th together! YES WE CAN. SI, SE PUEDE!