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May 08, 2008

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Clinton is getting a lot of flak for this, at least in the blogosphere. In The Nation, Betsy Reed calls Clinton's campaign tactics "racist".

If you're implying that Clinton will get a pass on this because she's a Democrat, you need to check around a bit. Believe me, she is *not* getting a pass. She is alienating, outraging, and pissing off many, many people.

I'm one of them. I've called the DNC and asked them to exert some leadership here, to get on the superdelegates to pressure Clinton out of the race. I want her out and gone.

she really is a disgrace.

What the Kid said. Clinton has been getting plenty of criticism for this and previous comments from her and from her campaign, and Clintonites have been complaining for ages about how she's being called racist.

I don't understand what this has to do with McCain, who seems to be focusing more on painting Obama as a traitorous furriner -- the candidate of Hamas, as opposed to "the American President Americans have been waiting for" -- rather than being quite so explicitly focused on race (though of course the furriner part does have racial connotations).

Seb,

Can you clarify what claim you're trying to make? Are you trying to say that Democrats get a free pass on racism while Republicans are held to stricter standards? If so, who are you alleging gives this free pass: the media or the public or who? Or are you trying to say that Democrats politicians or activists are more racist than their Republican counterparts?

You suggested that we'll see...if you have a testable hypothesis, it might be good to specify what criteria you'll be judging it on now, rather than after the fact. I can tell you right now: some people will criticize Clinton and some will defend her. There will not be a universal response. So, I think you'll find evidence for whatever you want to believe in this story: there will definitely be some people who won't condemn Clinton and you should be able use them to justify, well, anything at all.

For a Republican this would be a career-ending moment in a presidential campaign (see also Lott for non-presidential ramifications).

I'm not implying that she'll get a pass on it.

We will see if she is forced out of the campaign over this. We will also see if she is promoted to Senate leadership in the future despite this. It is too early to tell.

But in any case I think retrospectively it allows us to rexamine other borderline racist statements in a different light.

For the record, I predict that we will not see large movement over this in the only people who can make a difference at this point--the leadership of the Democratic Party that is represented by superdelegates, and that she will still be in the race two weeks from now.


For a Republican this would be a career-ending moment in a presidential campaign (see also Lott for non-presidential ramifications).

I don't understand why you think this is true. I mean, if McCain did say the exact same thing, do you really think the Republican party would force him out of the race? Do you think that we'd be seeing tons of pledged republican delegates going on TV saying that they couldn't in good conscience support McCain after that and would be voting for Romney? I mean, do you really think that McCain would get serious scrutiny from his good friends in the press corps on anything? Think of all the good barbeques that might ruin!

We will see if she is forced out of the campaign over this.

How could she get forced out? I mean, superdelegates can all declare for Obama tomorrow, but that won't force her out of the race. She has her own cash and a bunch of psyched up volunteers. I don't see anything the party can do to force her out.

"I mean, superdelegates can all declare for Obama tomorrow, but that won't force her out of the race."

Depends on what you mean by 'force her out of the race'. If all the superdelegates declare for Obama, it is over. No question of threshold, no question of funny math, no question of Florida, no problem with Michigan.

She can 'run', but at that point she is like Ron Paul.

Now it may very well be that 2 or 3 superdelegates will use this to declare their vote, but it won't be the wholesale statement that the Democratic Party leaders could make if they really wanted to.

And I'm not blaming you or individual Democrats personally. Believe me I'm well aware of what it is like to have Party leaders that make me want to scream and that tolerate things that are just completely wrong.

Sebastian, can you provide an example of a single statement that can be interpreted as racist but could also be explained as just poorly phrased, from a politician who had no previous connections with racist groups or statements, that produced a career-ending moment? Gaffes tend to have a huge effect only if they reinforce an existing impression about a politician. If McCain had said this, he would get a lot of criticism, but I find it hard to believe his fans in the media would turn against him enough for it to damage him irreparably.

It's possible that Republicans are more likely to have problems with such statements even if they don't make them more often than Democrats. But surely part of that has to do with the fact that Republicans are more likely to associate with groups like the Council of Conservative Citizens, and that most of the unreconstructed racists who are still around are in the Republican Party, having left the Democratic Party decades ago.

how could this person be a racist?

"and that most of the unreconstructed racists who are still around are in the Republican Party, having left the Democratic Party decades ago."

Do you ever talk to anti-immigrant Democrats in California? To say that they are everywhere would be a significant understatement.

And it wasn't just poorly phrased. Why did she wait until after South Carolina and just before Kentucky and West Virginia to come out with this kind of statement? What a coincidence that a baldly racial appeal comes out right after the last big state with a black population votes. What a coincidence that a baldly racial appeal comes out right before two white Southern states vote. How many coincidentally poorly phrased racist comments have to come out of her campaign before we don't have to treat them all charitably? You seem to be suggesting that Clinton had a near-perfect record before, and this was just a one time slip from her and her campaign.

It isn't.

We've had the drug dealer implications.

She just didn't know if he were really Muslim.

We had the Jesse Jackson game from her husband.

We had the 'black candidate' comments.

We had the lament about how much harder it is to be a woman.

And certainly some I don't remember.

And NOW we have a baldly racial statement.

If this were a one time slip, fine. The campaign has been making these slips for months now. At some point the benefit of the doubt ends.

Well she does have a point. After all us urban elitists are not Real Americans and as such our votes don't count. Then of course there is that old rule about African American votes only counting for 3/5 of a white person vote.

Don't worry Seb, HRC will get tons of crap for this - deservedly so IMHO.

Well, I did compare her to Jesse Helms some weeks ago -- although I do think some of those statements are more justifiable than others. For example, Eric Boehlert has a point that the "60 Minutes" quote came after Steve Kroft bizarrely continued badgering her on the question until she managed to say something questionable. But you're right that there are too many of them to explain away at this point.

African American votes only counting for 3/5 of a white person vote.

Argh. What are they teaching in American history classes nowadays? Blacks had *no* votes, but slaves counted as 3/5 of a free person for the purpose of giving the whites in their states greater representation.

Would it be reasonable to speculate that HRC hasn't been forced out of the race because Republicans have kept her in?

Wow, if a little racism is all it takes to unseat a presidential candidate, I guess we can expect McCain's "I hate gooks" comment to resurface and effectively end his campaign...or not.

Why did she wait until after South Carolina and just before Kentucky and West Virginia to come out with this kind of statement? What a coincidence that a baldly racial appeal comes out right after the last big state with a black population votes. What a coincidence that a baldly racial appeal comes out right before two white Southern states vote.

I think this point is very weak. Over time, as the situation has deteriorated, Clinton has been under increasing pressure. If you think this was a mistake, that would provide a plausible explanation why this "mistake" was more likely to happen now, when here campaign is at its most dire state.

Also, the argument she's making here relies on the results from NC and PA: she couldn't have made this argument until after NC voted the way it did. In the past, she might have been able to make a similar but weaker argument that didn't rely on the NC numbers, but so what? I don't even see how this claim helps her with the upcoming primaries: KY and WV are going to go for her in a big way and these comments won't change that one way or the other.

I do think that you're probably right regarding the number of these "mistakes" that keep popping up; I just think this one argument doesn't work. After all, the extent to which this has been a repeated ongoing problem suggests that its not particularly well timed: the campaign has made lots of racially problematic statements before states with large black populations were about to vote. In any event, it doesn't seem like these comments would have depressed Clinton's voting share from African Americans in NC much anyway: when you're sitting near zero, there's not much further down you can go.

Turbulence, the argument isn't an attempt to sway WV and KY voters. The audience is the superdelegates, though it seems unlikely that they'll react well to it.

KCinDC,

Yes, I agree. But I read Seb's sentence What a coincidence that a baldly racial appeal comes out right before two white Southern states vote as implying that Clinton was trying to appeal to primary voters in KY and WV. Perhaps I misread him. If he believes that though, then the point that this statement can't be expected to do much for Clinton in those primaries seems relevant.

I'm outraged. Her statement is flat out racist and shouldn't be tolerated. I wrote earlier:

...does the Democratic Party really want to select a nominee based on the fear that there might be some racist Americans who won't vote for the nominee? Does Bobby Kennedy need to come back to life and give them some spine? Did we let racists dictate what happened in school desegregation and the passing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act?

As RFK said, "Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope..."

It's time for the Democratic Party to stand up and do the right thing.

And I would add, stand up to her right now.

Even George Will gets it.

The audacity of hopelessness ... what a perfect summation.

Turbulence,

I think the point is not that it happened before 2 southern states voted but that it didn't happen until after states with large Democratic African-American voters had already voted.

I don't understand what part of her calculation for the general election accounts for no need for the African-American vote. As someone pointed out on daily kos, the only reason Kerry took PA was because of the heavy turnout of African-Americans of which he took over 90% of their vote.

Sidenote: I don't recall anyone remarking at the time that his receipt of 90% of the African-American vote was racially motivated.

"the campaign has made lots of racially problematic statements before states with large black populations were about to vote."

I'm not sure that is the case. The biggest ones seem to me to have happened immediately after large black populations had already finished voting. Most memorable would be the Jesse Jackson comment from Bill Clinton and this current one from Hillary.

When was the drug deal 'slip' and the repeated explanations afterward where campaign members got to talk about Obama and 'drug dealer' in the same sentence for 3 days? Seems to me it was in mid-December. So not after a black population had voted, but before a large white population was going to vote. Maybe that doesn't count in the theory because it was before any of the votes? (Though it suggests that the pattern may extend from the very beginning of the campaign rather than just the high pressure of the end).

George Will thinks that not having winner-take-all primaries is opposed to diversity?

"Perhaps I misread him. If he believes that though, then the point that this statement can't be expected to do much for Clinton in those primaries seems relevant."

Things like this don't have to have only singular causes.

Her main audience is the superdelegates.

and

The largest black voter populations have already voted

and

She needs to win all the remaining contests by overwhelming margins. The fact that racist appeals may not help 'much' is beside the point. They may help some small tiny amount, and she needs every tiny amount to win. She is willing to make such statements over a tiny amount of potential help to her campaign despite what it does for the Democratic Party brand with respect to race relations.

White, working-class voters have voted for Clinton in greater numbers than they have voted for Obama.

What is racist about noting that?

Model 62,

I'd guess the problem would be in the implication that groups less inclined to support Clinton (i.e. African Americans) are not hard working Americans. Given that this nation has a long history of pretending that AAs are lazy people who refuse to work (think Reagan's welfare mother with a cadillac), that comment looks like a dog whistle...

Or she might have just flubbed her words because she's exhausted and under a lot of stress. If this was the only questionable incident, I think people would be more inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt.

Model 62,

What we need is a bit of speech act theory. You do not simply assert propositions with words -- you assert propositions for a reason.

Clinton is not a demographic analyzer of voting patterns. She is a political candidate. So when she (or any other such candidate) says aything, it implicitly comes with the tag line, "And that's a reason you should vote for me."

Therefore, when she says, "I got most of the white vote", she is claiming "You should vote for me because I got most of the white vote." But that claim necessarily gives white votes greater authority than black votes. It is asking the audience of the statement (the superdelegates, the primary voters of Kentucky and West Virginia) to act in a racially discriminatory way.

Model 62- I suppose it all depends on Clinton's purpose in noting this fact. Is she noting it just to inform others of this trend, or is she being persuasive and making some sort of implied argument by noting it? The context suggests the latter.

So what do we then make of this comment in that context? I think this means that her statement amounts to claiming that Obama can't win because he's black and too many people are racist and that these racists like Clinton better. Again, all factual.

But the disturbing implication is that this should be a decisive factor in choosing Clinton over Obama. The priority should be to work with this trend rather than working to change these people's perceptions -- at least in the short term.

Sebastian,

Are there any other examples beside John Lott of Republicans who have suffered career-ending ramifications from a "borderline racist statement"?

And assuming Lott is the case you're thinking of: Are you sure that saying support from white working-class voters is valuable for a Democrat in the general election, is equivalent to suggesting that the US would be better off if an avowed white supremacist had been elected president?

The way the quote goes it does not sound like a prepared statement. I could interpret it in two ways:
1. She wanted to specify the subgroup of whites that are hardworking (as opposed to white fat cats that would not vote D in any case) without intending any reference to the b/w division: 1. workers, 1.1 white workers, 1.1.1 hardworking white workers (not implying that 1.2 black workers have no 1.2.1 hardworking black workers subgroup)
=>clumsy choice of wording, no racism
2. she is angry because those ungrateful blacks did not vote for her as they should have done and lashed out against them. Had it been the women that defected to Obama, she might have made a sexist instead of a racist remark.
=> situational racism
The idea that she deliberately made a racist remark for tactical reasons seems a bit remote to me. This does not change the fact that she should either explain that she meant what I put under 1. or to seriously apologize (not the "I regret that people misunderstood me" that has be come the political standard)
---
I also do not think that a similar remark would really hurt the Son of Cain now. It could have been used gainst him while there were still other rivals (it would have been pure hypocrisy but that has never stopped the true GOPster operative). To call his wife a [c-word] in public did not make to my knowledge a big dent in his press armour.

"Even George Will gets it."

That has to be my favorite George Will column of all time. *Nobody* got any sunshine (well, except Douglas MacArthur).

"George Will thinks that not having winner-take-all primaries is opposed to diversity?"

He was just saying that having winner-take-all primaries in some states would mean that there was a diversity of kinds of primaries.

Now we are getting into the interesting issue......states' rights......

Ahh, excellent explanation, Pithlord. Thanks.

But I don't think this, "that claim necessarily gives white votes greater authority than black votes," is quite right because there's nothing necessary about it.

"That claim necessarily gives white working-class votes greater authority than other votes" is better (since HRC's claim is that the winning candidate is the one that can nab the most white working-class voters instead of the one who does well among college-educated white voters and African-American voters), but makes the statement demographically discriminatory rather than racially discriminatory.

On preview: I agree with nous' last paragraph. Politicians should spend less time pandering to misperceptions and more time correcting them.

Lemuel, Sebastian was referring to Trent Lott. John Lott has his own problems, but they're not connected to race and he's not a politician.

Sebastian might also have been thinking of George Allen.

Stupid comment by Clinton, but hard to see how it could amount to "racist pandering." Those to whom such thoughts would be woo-some already have a party, and most in the "swing" party are bound to be offended.

"Are there any other examples beside John Lott of Republicans"

Possibly you mean Trent Lott, not John Lott?

Lemuel, Sebastian was referring to Trent Lott. John Lott has his own problems, but they're not connected to race and he's not a politician.

Oops. I blame Wordpress!

Are there any other examples?

George "Maccaca" Allen. maybe.

Limbaugh's football announcer career was killed by his comments about McNabb.

Yeah, Cleek, but if you're going to Limbaugh, especially as a sports commentator, then that opens up all sorts of nonpoliticians like Jimmy the Greek and Michael Richards and Dog the Bounty Hunter.

Though we should not forget all the people who have been damaged by slurs against other ethnic groups. I think that Jesse Jackson's "Hymietown" moment did him serious damage. (It was also the moment when I decided I could not vote for him ever. It wasn't just the original statement, but the fact that it took him so very, very long to retract and apologize for something that was plainly just wrong.)

IMO, Limbaugh's day job as a professional Republican (and "national treasure") puts him in a different class than Richards and Jimmy.

But Limbaugh's McNabb comments didn't affect his status as a professional Republican and "national treasure".

So, is Andrew Sullivan playing Atrios' role vis a vis when Clinton will drop out. Pundit after pundit after pundit has insisted for years that "Bush will/will be forced to pull all/large #s of US troops out of Iraq by such and such a date because of this or that." And all the while Atrios said "wrong wrong wrong, there will be 100,000+ US troos in Iraq in November 2008" and has been proving right.

Now, pundit after pundit after pundit has insisted that Hillary has lost and must drop out and most assuredly will do so by X date. And Sullivan, repeatedly (although maybe not, but that what it seems to me to be like) insists she will take it to the convention.

Thus, in today's performance, the role of George W. Bush will be played by Hillary R. Clinton.

To be sure, Hillary's stubborness likely isn't going to directly lead to hundreds of lives lost and billions of wasted dollars, but it appears to be stubborness of a kind.

Hillary's stubborness likely isn't going to directly lead to hundreds of lives lost and billions of wasted dollars

But it might do so indirectly, if it leads to the election of John McCain as president. (And that should be "hundreds of thousands of lives".)

Yeah, I deliberately inserted indirectly to ward off certain objections to the comparison.

But Limbaugh's McNabb comments didn't affect his status as a professional Republican and "national treasure".

no. but it did end his career as a football announcer.

(i didn't say he was the best example!)

A clumsy choice of words at the very least, but the underlying rationale she is offering to the SDs is no different than last week or last month: working class voters, even Democrats, will find reasons to vote against Obama, so I'm more electable. The most charitable interpretation of this recent quote is that she wants to offer respect to the people making these disreputable arguments -- these are *hard working* people that are just too racist to vote for Obama, or too stupid to slice through GOP propaganda (which I have been amplifying and legitimizing for months.) These good people just bought all my (and the GOPs) bullshit insinuating that Obama didn't care for their interests or might, just might, be a secretly unpatriotic person, but remember, they are hard working. Not bitter or anything.

I detest Hillary Clinton. Please don't put her on the ticket. Please, please, please.

Shorter Hillary: "I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on, because, you know, he's black."

For what it's worth, Clinton-supporter and Obama-basher Avedon (of The Sideshow) has skipped, as per usual policy, over this latest Clinton kerfuffle.

(She claims to be objective. yeah, right.)

Good point Sebastian.

There is no doubt that the reaction would be more furious if it was McCain. However, the same holds true of countless things Republicans get a pass for, even though it is allegedly proof of some Democratic perfidy. One current example is the Cindy McCain tax return story. Others are the numerous recent gaffes by McCain that get excused by compliant media.

And it is racist. Every time someone talks about how the black vote is what supports Dems, they are implying that somehow the result is not legitimate unless a majority of whites also voted for Dems. Here it is all withni the party, but it is the same racist meme -- as if black votes count less.

Clinton is getting a pass on this from some people--her on-line supporters.

I can't prove it, but I think she has gotten lots of passes for lots of things becuase she is female.

Just for fun try to envision the primary up to this point with both Obama and Clinton as white males.

Those to whom such thoughts would be woo-some already have a party, and most in the "swing" party are bound to be offended.

Right. Because there are exactly no racists in the Democratic party, anywhere. Not a one.

As someone with lots of blue collar Democratic relatives, I can authoritatively call bullbleep on this. I also agree with Sebastian that it's awfully convenient that Hillary had this "slipup" only now that those pesky black voters are out of the way, and lots of hard workin', beer drinkin', affirmative action resentin' white folks down in Appalachia are set to vote.

This really is a deplorable comment, and, as Sebastian notes, it's part of much too clear a pattern for me to give Hillary the benefit of the doubt.

but the underlying rationale she is offering to the SDs is no different than last week or last month: working class voters, even Democrats, will find reasons to vote against Obama, so I'm more electable.

She's giving white collar liberals and African-Americans lots of reasons to vote against her, or at the very least stay home. The Democrats won't win Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri, or almost any of the other swing states without high turnout among those groups. How exactly is "I appeal to the racist white vote and he doesn't" a compelling rationale to support her?

Xeynon, I think the racists who are voting in the WV Democratic primary have already noticed that Obama is black, so I can't see how her statement could be attracting more new racists than it was alienating nonracists.

I have a slightly different view.

Outside of a very few places, racist appeals that are insufficiently coded aren't usually that effective because even the people that they are aimed at don't or won't admit that they vote based on racist sentiments. They have a real possibility of backfiring, particularly with those who want to be seen as not being racist (like the average superdelegate, I think we can presume). By making an appeal in such overtly racial language, Clinton makes it harder not easier for many people to supporter her, though it is possible that WV and KY voters are the exception that proves the rule.

Also, I have to imagine that this was not for the benefit of super delegates because she can talk to them through back channels without inciting insurrection among certain classes of voters.

So . . . I don't know what the hell is going on, it was clearly intentional and I have to believe that judgment is wearing thin in Camp Clinton.

I think the racists who are voting in the WV Democratic primary have already noticed that Obama is black, so I can't see how her statement could be attracting more new racists than it was alienating nonracists.

Indeed, which makes it all the more mystifying. I suspect that Barbara's explanation - that this was the gambit of an increasing fatigued, frustrated, and desperate campaign - is fundamentally correct. I rather suspect that a less cynical pol than Hillary (Obama, say) would not be saying the same things in the same situation, though.

Jonathan Chait has a good article that riffs off of this, not so much from the racial angle, but the populist angle. He labels it conservative populism, and describes how it is practiced by Republicans and now by both Clintons.

Worth a read.

She may or may not have been pandering to the lower-class [let's call it what it is] racists themselves, as in, "I know you are the hard workers and they get handouts and quota'd into Princeton and Harvard!" - maybe, maybe not. But she was DEFINITELY making the argument to superdelegates. Fear of the racist Dem vote in the general- this is not the first time this has been raised, just the first time it's been explicitly raised by her.

And you know who else is going to be offended by this? White lower-class non-racists. Because she just called them all racist. It was one thing when she said "Obama thinks you're bitter!" or "I'm the only one who cares about you saving money on gas!" Fine, whatever. Panderama as usual. But now she just said "You'll never vote for the black guy, even in the general election!" You're not voting for me because I'm experienced, blah blah blah, but because you're racist.

OOOooooooh, that's going to piss off the non-racists.

That was my point Phoebe, there are a lot of people who don't like being treated as if they are racists -- some because they aren't, some because they believe they aren't and others because they don't want others to think that they are no matter whether they are or they aren't. I can't speak for the average voter in WV or KY, but the average super delegate needs cover to overturn the pledged delegate and popular vote margin -- publicly going out with the case stated in racial terms means that, should the super Ds select Clinton, there will be a strong inference that they went along with her racially based case. It makes no sense to me that this would work as an appeal to supers.

yay for Seb posting on the front page...

II agree, it is nice to see Seb back on the front page.

I think that parrt of the facination of watching Hillary inaction comesf rmthat old Greek characgter is fate theme.

Some day somebody is going to write a book about this primary and character-is-fate will be the fundamental premise. Nearly every step of the way HRC, because of elements in her own personality, screwed up her own chances and (nearly) every step of the way Obama because of elements in his personality did the smart thing.

I don't think that HRC is a racist and I'm not sure that her current desperate message "My supporters are white and his aren't!" is a racist message. But it is offensive, clueless, possibly marginally effective in the short run but harmful in the long run, and shows her tin ear for comunication.

In other words typical of how she has run her campaign. She just isn't all that good at politics.

To the extent that Sebastian's saying that Clinton's comment is getting a pass for its racism from Democrats, there's now a pretty considerable body of counter-evidence.

Since midday yesterday when CaseyL made the same point, there's been this post at Talking Points Memo, this NY Times editorial, and Obama has pulled into the lead in superdelegates.

There isn't going to be a campaign to drum HRC out of politics -- and on what planet would one expect there should there be? Efforts to unite and heal from here on out are more important to the party than showing degree of outrage sufficient to satisfy a conservative, mostly Republican-voting blogger. The vast majority of Clinton primary voters will be Democratic voters in the general election.

Incidents showing racism or anti-semitism that end up severely damaging political careers do so because they support a pre-existing understanding of the politician -- bringing what was suspected out into the uncontrovertible open. The HRC statement is part of an undeniable racially-divisive drumbeat out of her presidential campaign -- but one that so disappointed and shocked many Democrats exactly because it ran against their understanding of the Clintons.

Sorry: here's the TPM post I was referring to. Another data point since I refreshed that page: Joe Conason joins the chorus of dismay and repudiation.

I keep hearing that the Clintons aren't racist, and yet, I can't help feeling that, if they were dropped into the 1800s and given a farm, they'd quickly buy up slaves to work the land.

"Nothing personal," they'd say, "it's just business. Can't compete without slaves. But we love black people."

And maybe they do. Maybe they're not personally racist. But when they throw African Americans under the bus, even when it's "just business", it sure seems like a distinction without a difference.

Being 'not racist' is also not an immutable condition. I'd think that, for a person of such a huge ego, being publicly rejected by the majority of African Americans could well lead to a reversal of attitude. (But probably not toward her African American friends and supporters, they'd be in a separate mental category.)

Barbara, I didn't say it was an EFFECTIVE appeal to superdelegates - I agree with you that it's nuts, but I don't agree with you that: nuts = H can't have meant to do that. Like praising LBJ at the expense of MLK and his followers - oh yes she meant to do that exactly: "It takes a president" to sign a bill. Pretty speeches not enough.

This is my speculation on the whole thing from here on out: The undecided supers want this over, but they don't want to be the bad cop and "decide this thing before the voters have had their say" which is weak, but whatever. Anyway they resent being put on the spot, and so they wait, even though they can end this thing now.
BUT:
If they think she's stinking things up for the party by nipping at Obama's heels, or fanning racial resentment, etc., then their desire to end this trumps their desire to be an anonymous sheep that waited for every last state to go first. Every time she pulls something stupid, some superdelegates make a break for it and scuttle into Obama's fold.

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