Pelosi’s neutrality, Obama’s victory

Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want Michigan or Florida seated, and doesn’t want the superdelegates to overrule the pledged delegates. I.e., she wants Barack Obama to be the nominee.

Nancy Pelosi, who will chair the Democratic National Convention, must officially remain neutral as between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. But as Peter Finley Dunne’s “Mr. Dooley” said about the US stance in Word War I, “I know we’re supposed to be neutral: but who are we neutral for?”

There was reason to think Pelosi might be neutral for Obama when her friend George Miller endorsed him. Now it’s closer to a certainty. On the two key procedural questions, Pelosi has come down firmly on what is now the pro-Obama side: she doesn’t want the Florida and Michigan primaries to count, and she doesn’t want the superdelegates to overrule the majority of the “pledged” (elected) delegates.

Since it’s virtually impossible for HRC to overcome Obama’s 134-pledged-delegate lead (not counting Michigan or Florida) in the remaining primaries and caucuses &#8212 she’d have to do well to bring that lead down below 100 &#8212 Pelosi’s stance amounts to awarding the prize to Obama.

SFGate: Politics Blog

Pelosi: Don’t overrule the voters

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — who may be the most super delegate of all as chair of the Democratic national convention in Denver — gave an interview with Bloomberg TV’s Al Hunt in which she laid down the law for super delegates:

Don’t veto the people’s choice.

“I think there is a concern when the public speaks and there is a counter-decision made to that,” she said, adding quickly, “I don’t think that will happen.”

She said the governors, lawmakers, DNC members and others picked as super delegates are chosen through a grassroots process and are accountable to the party’s voters.

“I do think that they have a respect — it’s not just following the returns, it’s also having a respect for what has been said by the people,” Pelosi said. “It would be a problem for the party if the verdict would be something different than the public has decided.”

That message will be music to the ears of Barack Obama, who’s building a lead in pledged delegates and is urging the super delegates to follow the voters. He now leads 1,133 to 996 in pledged delegates, while Hillary Clinton has a 242-163 edge among super delegates, according to the latest tally by RealClearPolitics. Obama holds the overall edge, 1296-1238.

Pelosi had one more stunner in the interview: She said the Florida and Michigan delegates should not be seated if those delegates would decide the nomination.

“Well, I don’t think that any states that operated outside the rules of the party can be dispositive of who the nominee is. That is to say they can’t make the difference because then we would have no rules,” she said.

Pelosi added, “But I do think that the best outcome for us is if one of the candidates pulls ahead and this issue is disposed of long before we get to the convention. We certainly don’t want to ignore Florida and Michigan, but we can’t ignore the rules which everyone else played by.”

For a play-it-safe speaker who’s pledged to stay neutral, these are sharp words. And she will be one of key referees if this fight isn’t settled before Denver.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: