Dean: Superdelegates Must Decide Now

Dean: Superdelegates Must Decide Now DNC chairman Howard Dean is tired of the democratic process and wants the superdelegates to decide who the Democratic nominee will be now.

An increasingly firm Howard Dean told CNN again Thursday that he needs superdelegates to say who they’re for — and “I need them to say who they’re for starting now.” “We cannot give up two or three months of active campaigning and healing time,” the Democratic National Committee Chairman told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

“We’ve got to know who our nominee is.”

Why? There’s a primary schedule. It has yet to conclude.

The most significant of the early contests, which got incredible amounts of media attention, were in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. Those states awarded 57, 30, and 54 delegates, respectively.

Next Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primary has 188 delegates at stake. That’s followed on May 6 with Indiana (84) and North Carolina (134); May 13 with West Virginia (39); May 20 with Kentucky (60) and Oregon (65); and June 1 with Puerto Rico (63). All those states (and territory) award more delegates than New Hampshire and all but West Virginia award more than Iowa.

What’s so all-fired important that it can’t wait for six weeks?

Barack Obama is ahead of Hillary Clinton, 1644 delegates to 1498. The eventual nominee will need 2,025 delegates. Someone will be much closer to that number six weeks from now. So, what’s the hurry? It’s not as if the Democratic nominating electorate has expressed an overwhelming preference for one candidate and the other is just a nuisance, as Mike Huckabee was toward the end of his run.

Surely, the people of the remaining states deserve a chance to weigh in? Most of them will be competitive in the fall and Oregon is a key Democratic state. If Dean’s goal is to make sure Democratic partisans think the outcome is fair, what could be better than letting the process take its course?

And, isn’t this position ironic from a man who famously vowed, after being defeated in the Iowa Caucuses, “Not only are we going to New Hampshire, Tom Harkin, we’re going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico, and we’re going to California and Texas and New York … And we’re going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan, and then we’re going to Washington, D.C., to take back the White House! BYAW!!!”

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    Wouldn’t it be interesting to have Dean push the superdelegates to make a decision only to have them opt for Rush Limbaugh’s doomsday option!

  2. Nate says:

    John McCain is basically getting a free pass right now while the Democrats are continuing their bitter in-fighting.

    To that end, Howard Dean needs to be focused on the general election and ensure that his party will defeat McCain in November, no matter who the Democratic nominee is. By asking the remaining superdelegates to weigh in now, he shows that he wants to allow as much time as possible for the Democrats’ general election machine to warm up and get in full swing.

  3. yetanotherjohn says:

    A few weeks ago, wasn’t Dean calling for a decision by July 1st? I guess he must have watched last nights debate.

  4. Teri B. says:

    At least Clinton has OWNED her positions on Wright and Obama’s bitter comments, while Obama hedged on the Bosnia question, admitting his “campaign” was hammering on it, “of course,” yet somehow dodging personal responsibility for what his campaign is doing? That just seemed dishonest to me. If his campaign is doing it – HE is. I’d much rather see the candidates own their positions and actions, than try and appear above the fray, when their actions don’t match the perception they’re trying to falsely portray.

    My mother used to warn me about people who throw the rocks, then hide their hand.

    This is a presidential primary, and Obama expects to take the election on technicality? They sound worse than children at a pee wee baseball game demanding the other team forfeit because one of the other team’s players was late. Our VOTE is the foundation of our freedom – without it we have NOTHING!

    IF Obama had consented to re-votes, we wouldn’t even be dealing with this issue – OBAMA’S fault. The DNC CANNOT, without risking losing the general election, disenfranchise Florida and Michigan – the DNC’s fault for not dealing with this in a better way.

    NONE of this, however, is Sen. Clinton’s fault, and she shouldn’t be penalized to the point of having the nomination taken from her nor being forced out on a flawed delegate count by Dean or any of the Super Delegates. What happened to Pelosi’s and Obama’s statements that the super delegates should not go against the will of the people? They’re making her fight with both hands behind her back as it is by taking away FL’s and MI’s say in this process, now they want to shut out other 10 states who’ve yet to vote. This election is as much a sham as any in Iran or Russia.

    Frankly, I find it pretty slimy that Obama is jumping up and down basically saying, GOTCHA, those are the rules, I win on a technicality (one that abuses the voters to boot), so you lose and you have to quit. Some community organizer, huh?

    You’d think if Obama really had this thing wrapped up as they claim, he and his supporters could learn to behave with little grace and dignity, be consolatory, as if they understand democracy and as if they actually want Clinton supporters to vote for Obama. But hey, maybe they think he can win without us. That should be interesting to watch.


  5. Fred says:

    Obama’s campaign has answered reporters’ questions about Hillary’s Bosnia lies. That is a far, far cry from Hillary’s constant negative yammering about non issues. She must have NOTHING substantive to say since she spends her time slinging mud.

  6. Fred says:

    Obama has consistently said he will abide by any solution in FL and MI that the DNC decides on, including revotes.

    It is nothing more than a lie that he has somehow blocked these votes, that have actually been blocked by each state’s own legislatures – AGAIN.

    Hillary should be ashamed for pushing these lies.

  7. Teri B. says:

    Democracy is a GOOD thing, right!?!

    No. 1, more people are engaged and paying attention to the issues in this election that ever before – that’s good for the American people. No. 2, by the time we get a nominee, and start campaigning against McCain, our candidate’s dirty laundry will be old news, while McCain’s will sound like revelations. So, this isn’t where the problem comes in. It’s not about what our candidates are saying about each other.

    The division caused in this election isn’t the candidates’ fault – they’re doing what candidates do. It’s isn’t the voters’ fault – they’re allowed to be divided. Democracy is a good thing, but too little in this primary has been about democracy.

    The DNC has caused it, with not only this FL and MI nightmare, but what Dean is doing right now, in trying stifle the voices of the remaining voters. The media is doing it, by taking sides, slanting coverage, and focusing almost exclusively on rubbish. And he powerful democratic political action groups and other organizations, like, dailykos, democraticundergroud, etc. are doing it, but only furthering the agenda of half the party.

    And these are the very people who keep saying this primary is divisive and most be ended. NO, THEY DON’T DECIDE ELECTIONS, WE DO! And if we give our power to them, we’ll never get it back!

    I don’t know what the democratic party stands for right now, but it’s not anything I want any part of. Dean had better knock this crap off.

    A new Washington post poll, you’re not hearing much about says that the Plurality Thinks Super-Delegates Should Back Winner Of Popular Vote

  8. anjin-san says:


    Democrats are not particularly interested in what you think about affairs within the Democratic Party.

    It is pretty easy to see why you tee off on Obama and Dean so often. They are two politicians who represent the possibility of real change, and that scares a lot of people who are heavily invested in the status quo. After all, a guy like you can make a pretty good living off of the crumbs that fall off of the tables of the powerful.

    You are a bright guy, but I would have more respect for you if you presented even an attempt at even handedness. You are of course entitled to your views and to do as you please with your own website, but you would do well to spend some time at TPM. Josh Marshall is a partisan, but not a hack. Intelligent people from both parties need to step up if we are even going to get back to civil discourse in this country.

  9. anjin-san says:


    Please. To try and present the stripping of the FL & MI delegations as some sort of deny the vote to win effort by Obama is a joke.

    Harold Ickes was instrumental in assessing the penalties against those states. To quote Mr. Ickes, “With respect to the stripping, I voted as a member of the Democratic National Committee. Those were our rules and I felt I had an obligation to enforce them,” he said.”

    If Hillary feels so strongly that some sort of injustice is being done to the states in question, why does she not fire Mr. Ickes?

    By any measure, Obama is winning the race. That may be a hard pill to swallow, but looking for black helicopters is not the answer.