Stealing Obama's votes

Make no mistake about it: Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer wants to make damned certain you never have a chance to cast a vote for Barack Obama. So does Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

They, and the ruthlessly ambitious Debbie Dingell, want to be behind-the-scenes kingmakers. They want to deliver the Democratic presidential nomination to Hillary Clinton, for the sake of their egos and their careers. But it isn't turning out the way they planned.

They are in trouble now, and starting to panic. The nomination is slipping away from Clinton, and from their grasp.

Having stupidly botched the primary, they are now fighting desperately to keep from doing the right thing.

Michigan needs a new round of voting. The national Democratic Party agrees, and wants the state to hold caucuses.

But our local party bosses say: No way.

You should let them know how you feel about this. Especially if you believe in democracy, or fairness, or are a person of color.

You should want a new round of voting regardless of whom you want to win this election. You should want a new round of voting even if — maybe especially if — you are a Hillary Clinton supporter. Why?

Because if the corrupt party hacks manage to use Michigan's phony primary to deliver the nomination to Clinton, guess what: There may well be, as NBC's Tim Russert has predicted, a wholesale revolt by young people and African-Americans who will have been robbed of their votes and their victory once again.

Do you think they will knock themselves out for Hillary Clinton, the uncharismatic (to put it mildly) establishment candidate whose forces stole the nomination they have done so much to earn? Seriously: If the Michigan Democratic Party does what it is now trying to do, get used to how the words "President McCain" sound. Oh, and enjoy his nominees to the Supreme Court.

But it doesn't have to be this way, if enough of you pound hard enough on the skulls of the creatures who control things.

The Democratic National Committee, Zeus love 'em, suggested the perfect and fair solution to the mess Our Democrats created.

Do it all over. Select convention delegates through caucuses run by the party, and do it soon. Give any Democrat who wants a chance to vote between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Democrats know how to hold caucuses, and how to do it well, after years of practice. They did it four years ago. They'd tell us where to go to vote, or we could vote by mail, or on the Web.

Then the result would be fair, and accepted, and they would seat our delegates. If Hillary Rodham Clinton wins the caucuses, she will have deserved every vote and every delegate.

But now we have a situation where she is trying to get Michigan votes on the cheap and by cheating. Here's a little background.

Though Brewer, Dingell and Granholm are now hell-bent on delivering the nomination to Clinton, what they really care about far more is power, control and their own egos.

Originally, they weren't all committed to Clinton. In fact, Mark Brewer wanted John Edwards, whose national campaign manager was Brewer's old boss, David Bonior.

Ironically, I'm told Brewer also wanted caucuses rather than a primary; that might have maximized turnout among the union members who were expected to be for Edwards.

But Brewer went along with Debbie Dingell, who wanted to make a name for herself and for Michigan nationally by establishing the early primary. Back then, no one — not they (nor this writer) — thought Barack Hussein Obama had any serious chance.

They all thought it was going to be Clinton vs. Edwards. More importantly, our arrogant local Democrats (especially Dingell) didn't think the party would really punish them for breaking the rules.

Guess what. They did. The national Democratic Party took all of Michigan's delegates away. They asked the candidates not to campaign here, and none of the serious ones did. Then they asked the candidates to take their names off the Michigan ballot.

And all the major ones did ... except Hillary Clinton. She said in New Hampshire that it was no big deal, because "Michigan's vote is not going to count for anything." That was when she thought she was participating in a coronation, not a nomination fight.

But now it is clear she very much needs the nonexistent delegates she "won" in Michigan, by getting 55 percent in a contest without any other contenders. (There are also "uncommitted" delegates, who may vote for her too if they are told to.)

For she is, incredibly, losing. On Super Tuesday, Obama fought her to a draw. On Saturday night, he beat her like a tin drum, winning landslides in three states that are vastly different from each other.

Obama won Washington, normally a Democratic state, and Nebraska, one of the most Republican states, by more than 2-to-1. Both have very few black residents. He won Louisiana by a landslide, and added the Virgin Islands for good measure.

You now know what happened in Virginia and Maryland Tuesday night. Obama has the momentum, and is also raising more money. But his strategists — and hers — calculate that neither is likely to reach the convention with enough delegates to win. Not without Michigan and Florida.

So here's our chance to do it over, do it right, and, ironically, become, after all, the state that decides it all. That is, if the leadership simply does the right thing. Sadly, you better not hold your breath.

Today's Kwame moment in history:
Set the Wayback Machine to the fall of 1973, when the future mayor was hard at work on toilet training. Spiro T. Agnew, the nasty, youth-hating vice president of the United States, was discovered to be a common crook.

While governor of Maryland, he started taking kickbacks from public works contractors. He continued soliciting bribes even while he was vice president. Eventually, tired of his greed, some of the crooked contractors seem to have turned him in.

When caught, he claimed innocence. He pleaded ignorance. He blamed the press. He would have blamed white racists, except that he was one. He swaggered. He hid.

He swaggered some more. "I will not resign [even] if indicted," he told cheering crowds of stooges. U.S. Attorney General Elliot Richardson knew better. He had an "open-and-shut" case, and told Spiro it was the slammer for sure. That is, unless he played ball. Agnew then resigned on the spot.

That is, once they agreed that he wouldn't have to go to jail. All he had to do was pay a fine and pay back taxes. The feds agreed to that, since it was clearly in the best interests of Detroit — oops, the nation — to have him gone as quickly as possible. With that, Spiro scuttled off the stage.

That's it for today, kids. And as always, any resemblance to any persons living or having perjured themselves is strictly deliberate.

Jack Lessenberry opines weekly for Metro Times. Contact him at [email protected]
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