When Madam Speaker Calls
05-30-2008
I was intrigued by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent comment that she was prepared to intervene in the Democratic Party's nomination process, in order to prevent it from dragging on to the convention in August. While her initial statement did not elaborate on precisely what she meant by intervene, additional reporting in the New York Times today suggests that both Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are pressuring uncommitted superdelegates to make their preference public shortly after the final two primaries in Montana and South Dakota are held on Tuesday.
 
The expectation among political observers has long been that this kind of mass declaration would result in large-scale superdelegate movement toward Obama, sufficient to put him over the delegate threshold required for the nomination. After months of watching Obama receive a daily trickle of new superdelegate support, it would be quite a spectacle to see finality brought to the long nominee selection process in such short order. Given that the Democratic Party is not exactly known for its hierarchical party discipline, I would be interested to learn exactly what sort of leverage Pelosi and Reid believe they have at their disposal, and whether they are truly prepared to wield it should superdelegates hesitate next week. The two Congressional leaders are said to be encouraging superdelegates to decide, but we know that in politics persuasion can take many forms.


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