The DNCC held a community forum in Lakewood yesterday to provide information about the Democratic Convention in August. Among the dozens of questions from the attendees, from how local businesses can avail themselves of opportunities associated with the Convention and what kinds of community and public events will be held during Convention week, was one asking about the superdelegate process.
At the 2008 Democratic National Convention, about one-fifth of the votes for the party’s presidential nominee will be cast by elected officials and party leaders who qualify as automatic delegates. Of the 795 superdelegates, 447 are Democratic National Committee members.
“These are people who work ’round the clock to elect Democrats” when most people are paying no attention to politics, convention committee chief executive Leah Daughtry told the crowd. “We think it’s fair to give the people who give so much of their time and talent” a vote.
Rep. Ed Perlmutter, who also was present at the forum, vouched for the process:
U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Golden, a superdelegate who supports Barack Obama, acknowledged that the large number of automatic delegates worried the Obama campaign because Hillary Rodham Clinton and former President Bill Clinton have had long-term relationships with so many party leaders.
But “at the end of the day, I believe Sen. Obama is going to get his fair share, and Sen. Clinton will get her fair share,” he said. “I’m not offended by the system.”
Couldn’t the Dems and the Committee Chief have found someone to vouch for the superdelegate system other than Rep. Perlmutter, a superdelegate with a vested interest (in the form of a vote) in the process?
Update and Correction: The DNCC responds:
The DNCC didn’t “find” and “ask” Rep. Perlmutter to vouch for the system. That wasn’t the point of this meeting. One audience member asked a question and Leah and Rep. Perlmutter answered it from their personal perspectives.
Since the purpose of the meeting was not to explain the superdelegate process, it just happened to come up spontaneously, I retract my criticism. I got a different impression from the Post article, but I’m satisfied with the DNCC’s response.