Just What, Precisely, Is the Plan?

Up front: 1- Yes, I am an ardent Obama supporter. 2- I do not claim a monopoly on good ideas; neither do I possess crystal clear insight. 3- Sen. Clinton has every right to continue her campaign. 4- Florida and Michigan will somehow be seated with voting delegates. 5- I will vote for her in November if she’s the nominee.

All over everywhere, particularly since the Indiana and North Carolina primaries, there is great discussion about a- Sen. Clinton pulling out of the race, and b- since she is continuing to campaign, she gives the impression that she can win the nomination.

So, I have this one elegantly simple and simultaneously complex question: Just how does she plan to win the nomination? I don’t want vague, general answers. I want to know precisely what is her plan? Because I just don’t see how it’s possible.

Don’t tell me let’s give it to the one who wins more popular votes. That’s not how the system works. The nomination goes to the candidate who earns more delegates (elected and unpledged). To propose changing the entire system at this point is akin to suggesting that, 10 minutes into the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl, the game’s winner will be determined not by points but by which team racked up more first downs. If the delegate count is not the measure, then why even have a convention? To choose a running mate? That’s a pro forma procedure. To ratify a platform? When was the last time a candidate ran on the party’s platform (instead of their own)? To validate credentials? If the winner is to be determined by popular vote, then why credential the delegates that aren’t needed? To set rules? That’s a joke, right? Must be that the reason to have a convention would be to listen to speeches and collect buttons and bumper stickers.

Also, please don’t tell me why she *should* win. I’m asking for how she *plans* to win. I’m not asking for why she’s the better candidate. And please don’t tell me what her general election prospects or plans are. That’s putting the cart before the horse. First she has to win the nomination. Exactly how is she going to do that?

Yes, Florida and Michigan will be seated. At this point, no one knows how that will become manifest. The chances that they will be seated as currently tallied are slim. Their present form is as inherently undemocratic as not seating them at all. Someone far smarter than I will make a proposal that will please nearly no one and will be closer to fair than either not seating them or seating them as currently tallied.

So the question remains, how does Sen. Clinton plan to accomplish the task of collecting enough delegates to win the nomination? What’s the plan? What exactly does she have in mind? Details, please. Give me details. My question is legitimate and sincere, because I am genuinely interested in learning something because I just don’t get it. There are others who contribute here and are better connected to the Clinton campaign than I and hopefully they, along with some of the regular comment contributors, can answer that one question.

  31 comments for “Just What, Precisely, Is the Plan?

  1. May 13, 2008 at 10:45 am

    All valid questions Bill and I can’t answer any of them, I’m in the same boat you are in. I want to hear the justification as well.

    I think Clinton will drop out by next Wednesday, that’s my prediction.

  2. Dan Chmielewski
    May 13, 2008 at 10:54 am

    Not if she retakes the superdelegate lead which could very well happen

  3. May 13, 2008 at 11:25 am

    The only possible way she could win would be to woo hundreds of Obama’s superdelegates away from him – in that regard, she’s not mathematically eliminated. That said, that isn’t going to happen.

    Great post, btw. I’m as curious as anyone to see how this is answered without the usually “but but but she should be the winner” nonsense.

  4. May 13, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    Obama can’t get enough delegates to win the nomination either. Why is it that folks always fail to mention that?

    He will get trounced today. Since the whole Rev. Wright story broke and the media began to actually question him about anything, Hillary has done much better at the polls than he has.

    He padded his numbers when the media acted as his propaganda machine. I think what we are seeing now is a sign of things to come should he get the nomination. That doesn’t bode well for the Democrats.

  5. May 13, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Just chill, fellow Obamists, stop pickin on the Hillbots. Time is on Barack’s side and the sooner we’re all re-united and enthusiastic the better.

    And also I think it’s true when people say that this long drawn-out primary is good for the party. What is it, 3.5 million new registrations in recent months?

  6. May 13, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    “Time is on Barack’s side”

    I don’t think so. The more time people have to find out about Obama the less likely they have become to vote for him. He will get absolutely trounced in West Virginia today and the media and the sheep will call for Hillary to drop out.

    The longer this drags out the better it is for Hillary.

  7. Gary Kephart
    May 13, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Sean, you didn’t answer Bill’s questions. Please be specific.

  8. May 13, 2008 at 12:47 pm


    I think Sean already has. Neither candidate has enough delegates OVERALL to win. And yes, superdelegates have every right to base their decision on who won the popular vote and/or who’s more likely to beat McCain. End of story.

    Sean & Dan-

    Thank you. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks that media elite pundits should butt out and let the voters decide.

  9. May 13, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    Nobody expected Obama to do well in WV, even before the Reverend Wright crap. Which “Party Leaders and Elected Officials” (I hate the term “Superdelegate”) have signed up with Hillary in the last couple of weeks? Which have defected from Obama to Clinton?
    She’ll gain ground today in the pledged delegate count, but it won’t be enough to eventually surpass him.
    How long will she have the money to keep going?

  10. May 13, 2008 at 12:51 pm


    I’d like to hear Bill answer those same questions in regards to the Obama campaign. Neither one can win the nomination unless the super delegates switch or pledge in a big way to one candidate or another.

    The convention should be a good old fashioned political battle. That is what the convention was always about. The media shouldn’t decide who the candidate is or when and how they are selected.

    If it comes to down to a raw political battle my money is on the Clinton’s.

  11. May 13, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    The only mention of Obama I made in the OP was to acknowledge that I am a supporter. Nothing in the post advocated for him and nothing in the post slammed Sen. Clinton.

    Sean, I’m not going to participate in message creep. Yours is a valid question which I’d be willing to discuss in another post once this is answered. I got dibbs on the question because I got there first. 🙂

    Andrew, No. With all due respect to you and Sean, he didn’t answer my questions. So far, I haven’t read anything that says Sen. Clinton is going to do A, B, and C to secure the nomination. And that, my friend, was — and still is — my question.

  12. May 13, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    It was the same “elite” media pundits (my God, could we throw more stereotypes around) who had painted Clinton as the inevitable in the first place. They created the horse race, this is what they did.

    Clinton squandered name recognition and took the nomination for granted, if she had fought like this from the beginning, maybe she wouldn’t be in this position. Clinton lost this race fair and square and I’m tired of hearing her supporters complain about how things are done, they’ve always been done this way and the rules shouldn’t be change because of CLinton.

    She’s given her own campaign 11 million dolalrs! What’s not elitist about that? She’s trying to buy the nomination with her own funds, just as bad as McCain using his wife’s corporate jet to campaign around the Country.

    She started out with the same amount of money as Obama, more name recognition and other advantages, she blew it.

  13. Gary Kephart
    May 13, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    Andrew, Sean,

    Bill’s right. The question has not been answered.

  14. May 13, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    “Clinton lost this race fair”

    Did I miss something? Did Obama garner enough delegates to win the nomination?

    I realize that in the eyes of folks like Tim Russert and other media pundits that Obama has won. But the facts state otherwise.

    As far as being tired of things, I am tired of hearing people say Hillary should drop out of the race.

  15. May 13, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    Well, I haven’t heard anyone here ask her to drop out, so I’m at a loss about that one.

  16. May 13, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    Focus, people, please.

    My question did not say anything about Sen. Clinton dropping out. It also didn’t say anything at all about Sen. Obama other than I support him. It did not say anything about his chances, his plan, or any other kind of detail.

    The narrow question remains: What is Sen. Clinton’s plan? Give me, please, “Her campaign plans to do A, B, and C to secure the nomination.”

  17. May 13, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    Give me, please, “Her campaign plans to do A, B, and C to secure the nomination.”


    If I knew the answer to those questions I would obviously be working for her campaign rather than in the title insurance industry. Neither myself, Andrew or anyone else on this thread is working as a consultant to the Clinton campaign.

    My advice would be for her to stick it out and to fight for the nomination all the way to the convention. Do not allow the media and the Obama campaign to dictate when and where this race ends.

    The longer the campaign goes the more blue collar working folks jump on board with her campaign.

  18. May 13, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    Sean, thank you. That’s the first honest answer I’ve gotten. It doesn’t tell me much, but you do get serious points for honesty. I am grateful for and appreciate the integrity it takes to give such an answer.

    Perhaps I could lighten up and rephrase the question: Knowing you don’t work for Sen. Clinton and also that you are intelligent and experienced, under what realistic scenario do you see her obtaining the nomination? What would it take? What is the likelihood? To remind, I stipulated up front, Sen. Clinton has every right to continue her campaign.

    You see, Sean, I can’t tell how it’s possible. We’re running out of states (6 remain, including PR) and delegates. I know a lot, and have a lot — most likely a great deal — more to learn than what I know. So, what am I missing? My guy loses? I vote for Clinton. I just don’t see how that’s going to happen. And that’s why I pose the question. I want to learn.

    This is a question for Sean. Andrew, you have to answer the original one, NCS, too. 🙂

    Again, Sean, thank you.

  19. Northcountystorm
    May 13, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Here’s the plan Bill. It’s the same plan that those of us who have played sports understand very well: you play until the final whistle, the final inning, the final period. You don’t quit, especially if you’re the first woman to come this close to the Presidential nomination of a major political party. You keep fighting and, hopefully, keep winning. West Virginia is up today and I suspect she will do well there, despite Obama outspending her , having more staff on the ground, more campaign headquarters and the endorsement of Sen. Rockefeller.

    Why is West Virginia important in her winning the nomination despite LC’s pooh poohing it? Ultimately the delegates will have to determine who has the best chance to win. The eventual Democratic nominee has won West Virginia since 1976. No Democrat has won the White House since 1916 without winning West Virginia and while Bill Clinton won it, Al Gore and John Kerry lost it. What about Obama? Well, the White Wine Wing of the Democratic Party isn’t exactly strong here and frankly, Obama has been DOA in West Virginia since his San Francisco wine and cheese riff on bitter Americans clinging to God, Guns and hatred for illegal aliens. Add on Rev. Wright and we’re talking 5 electoral votes for John McCain.
    So Bill, Senator Clinton goes to the delegates and makes her case—Obama either can’t or will have great difficulty winning states like Ohio, Florida, West Virginia, Missouri(an essential tie pre-God & Guns and Rev. Wright), Pennsylvania and other key battleground states. The delegates will hopefully respond to this and realize she is the better candidate for president. Unpledged delegates are free to shift their support, which some have done.

    Popular vote doesn’t elect or nominate a president but it is an indication of the depth of a candidate’s support. It should not be the only measure but should be included as a measure of whom should be the nominee.
    Add Florida and Michigan delegates and vote with what she’ll end up with and you’ve got a very close result. unpledged delegates then will have to decide who stands the better chance to win. I submit they will select Senator Clinton.

    Now you or others may disagree that Senator Clinton stands a better chance to win but since you have narrowly limited the discussion on this thread to what the plan would be you’ll just have to have at that argument another day on another post. If this is too general for you, tough. The Clinton campaign doesn’t send me detailed strategy memos.

    By the way, I’m not saying Obama can’t win in November. Some do. I think Clinton would stand a better chance to win. I do think if Obama is the nominee he will not be able to pull it off without a strong VP nominee.
    They usually don’t add much to the mix(Edwards, as much as I like him, didn’t pull his own state nor much else)but sometimes, like in 1960, they do, and if Obama gets it, he’ll need someone who can deliver the white working class vote in those swing states.

    And while you tried to elevate the discussion somewhat, as did Vern, leave it to Heather to start attacking Clinton and her campaign. I guess she missed the Obama memo about being respectful to Clinton and her campaign.

  20. May 13, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Yes, leave it to me to point out the uncomfortable truth. I did not “attack” anyone and I’m tired that reasoned criticism is considered an attack. It’s not personal and there was not one ad hominem, I thought the question I asked was valid.

    I personally think Clinton should stay in the race, she would be crazy to drop out right now. She’s going to win two more States which will help bring in much needed cash.

  21. May 13, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    NCS, thank you for your answer.

    Let’s see if I distill it accurately. She wants to win as many remaining contests as possible and then persuade unpledged delegates to support her nomination.

    Is that correct? And if it is, would that also mean persuading a sufficient number of unpledged delegates to support her even if it requires overcoming her possibly trailing in elected delegates as is currently the case?


  22. Northcountystorm
    May 13, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    Heather–the only uncomfortable truth is that your self-diagnosed condition of “Obamaphillia” has deluded your ability to know what an attack really is.

    When you say someone’s actions are elitist, that is an attack.

    When you say you are tired of Clinton supporters complaining about the way things were done and wanting to change the rules, thats not only a straw man attack(I’ve never advocated changing the rules nor have most Clinton supporters) but an attack on Clinton’s supporters.

    When you say that a candidate is trying to “buy the nomination with her own funds” and that this is as bad as McCain using his wife’s corporate jet, this is an attack, an absurd one but an attack none the less, not to mention suggesting a new rule–candidates must not contribute or loan money to their campaign or they will be accused of trying to “buy” the election..

    As I said earlier, you must not have gotten the memo. You may truly believe your attacks but just because you believe them to be true a) does not make them true and b) does not mean they are not attacks. And not responding to someone else’s attack–an unprovoked Kossack attack that was not in the least what this thread was about. If you want to continue your attacks on Clinton, have at it. Start your own smashmouth post, but please don’t pollute Bill’s thoughtful if snarelike post with your rants about Clinton.

    Bill–And ensure that the votes in FLorida and Michigan are counted(full disclosure–I think some penalty–minor for Florida, larger for Michigan is warranted and I acknowledge Michigan is a different situation because Obama not on the ballot so I am not in total agreement with Clinton on this one—but it would narrow the gap, especially popular vote).

    And at the end of the day I would describe it as urging the unpledged delegates(sometimes referred to as super delegates)to use their independent judgement, as the rules provide, to slect the best presidential candidate. If at the time Obama leads Clinton in the pledged delegates, the unpledged delegates could consider the unpledged delegate count as a factor along with the popular vote, the polls, their own impressions on which candidate is more electable and decide to cast their ballot for Senator Clinton. In doing so they may choose to consider the examples of Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry, Massachusetts Senators Ted Kennedy and John Kerry and other unpledged delegates who have supported Obama despite the fact that Clinton defeated Obama in their states.

  23. Northcountystorm
    May 13, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    In the last comment I mean the unpledged delegates could consider the pledged delegate count as a factor along with the other items.

  24. May 13, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    It’s the same plan that those of us who have played sports understand very well: you play until the final whistle, the final inning, the final period.

    Or until you’re hit in the head hard enough that you’re knocked unconscious?

  25. May 13, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    Well it sure looks like Obama took quite a beating tonight.

  26. May 13, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    I’m amazed at the anti-media sentiment I’m seeing here, specifically people throwing around the term “the media” like the right often does. Newsflash: There’s no “The Media” – there are hundreds of pundits in dozens of types of media – Broadcast, Cable, magazines, newspapers, blogs, etc. Each has an opinion, and each is paid to express it. No one pundit, station or media has a monopoly on liberal thought or the direction of the party. Blaming the media for Clinton’s woes reeks of desperation.

  27. Northcountystorm
    May 13, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    Oh please Doss, there is a reason people take off on the media–most tend to practice “pack journalism” and/or are often biased. Not all of them and there are many good reporters, bloggers, etc. But most follow the leader(the totally arbitrary 10% hurdle for Clinton in pennsylvania for example), play gotcha journalism or lack objectivity. That’s what I blame the media for, not Clinton’s situation which, at least tonight, is anything but woeful. Go take your own desperation, cuddle up with the local fishwrap and watch a Beltway Boys DVD. You’ll feel better.

  28. Northcountystorm
    May 13, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    Gila–They stop fights when a fighter can’t defend themselves. Fighters who are fighting back and winning rounds, even if behind on points, don’t throw in the towel. Well, with the exception of Roberto Duran. And they don’t stop those fights. And Clinton is still winning rounds, tonight by 41%. Unconscious fighters don’t win rounds. Unconscious politicans don’t win elections

  29. Gepetto
    May 14, 2008 at 8:17 am

    Bill, here’s the direct answer to your question. Hillary simply needs to keep Obama from winning the nomination on the first ballot at the convention. After that the delegates are free to vote for whomever. So Hillary’s PLAN is to minimize both Obama’s delegate count and his superdelegate count. Winning delegates is more important at the moment as they can’t change their vote before the convention, while the supers can change until the convention.

  30. The Lovable Curmudgeon
    May 14, 2008 at 11:13 am

    Correction, Gepetto-
    ANY delegate, “pledged” OR “unpledged” can change their vote.
    There is no penalty for a pledged delegate to vote for someone else.

  31. Gepetto
    May 14, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    Yes, I guess you’re right. Even more leeway if Hillary can manage to sway a few delegates. Her plan has to be to keep Obama one vote short on the first ballot.

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