Sunday, July 6, 2008

An Update on Clinton’s Possible Role at the Democratic Convention

Heidi Li Feldman is a legal scholar who answers questions today at Heidi Li’s Potpourri posed by Clinton supporters regarding the Democratic convention: Feldman suggests we consider the following:

“1. We know the Obama/Clinton camps are in negotiations about Senator Clinton’s role at the convention, and her involvement in campaigning for Obama should he become the nominee because both Clinton and Obama have said as much. ANYBODY engaged in high level negotiations of any kind SHOULD be using lawyers for the job. Smart lawyers keep the content of negotiations as confidential as possible, which is why we lack factual information about what precisely is on the table.

“2. Jonathan Mantz communicated to “top” fundraisers that the big push to pay off the debt would last through July 15, a fairly arbitrary date.

“3. To the annoyance of some Hillraisers, the Clinton campaign stopped using Hillraiser accounts for purposes of retiring the debt. The Hillraiser links take people to Senator Clinton's senate reelection fund.

“4. President Bill Clinton: not stepping up to help Senator Obama, barely takes his phone call.

“5. As Senator Obama looses support, he may well be more and more afraid that if Senator Clinton’s name is put in nomination at the Democratic Party's convention, then Senator Clinton might actually win the nomination.

“6. As it is easier to gain the Democratic Party nomination without having to fight for it, Senator Obama may well be pressuring Senator Clinton to resist efforts to have her name put in nomination (this would include nominating speeches on Clinton’s behalf, something which Senator Obama's campaign would most definitely prefer not to happen.)

“7. Senator Obama is having to bail out the DNC which has no money to really hold a convention and that gives him major leverage over Senator Clinton and the convention organizers.

Feldman continues:

“Taking 1 - 7 together I think it is a safe bet that the Obama camp wants an agreement with the Clinton camp that can be announced in the third week of July, just four weeks from the convention, an announcement that would indicate that Senator Obama, the presumptive nominee, will get his coronation.”

Feldman concludes:

“I believe Senator Clinton is resisting such a spectacle. Apart from continuing to asking for donations to retire the debt, she has never said she did not want her name entered into nomination. Senator Clinton has said publicly that she is actively working to make her policy positions part of the Party platform, which is decided at the Convention. She has said her she is confident her delegates will have the chance to voice their support for her during a roll call vote. (Note: such a roll call vote has meaning only if Senator Clinton's name is placed into nomination at the Convention itself.)

“Despite the lack of more concrete information about these negotiations - which could be covering issues such as when and if Senator Clinton will speak at the convention, what the final status of Michigan and Florida will be, and much more - the situation requires urgent action in by those who seek an authentically democratic convention - which, in my opinion, includes putting Senator Clinton’s name into nomination so that any convention roll call vote is not only authentically democratic, but is also truly representative of all the Democrats who voted during the primary season and gave us all the closest result in modern Democratic party primaries. Negotiations do not occur in a vacuum. Now is the time to let both camps know that rank and file Democrats want a substantive convention rather than a showy coronation. That matter will not be decided at the Convention itself; it is being decided as I write and you read this post.”

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