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Cracker Squire

THE MUSINGS OF A TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN DEMOCRAT

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Location: Douglas, Coffee Co., The Other Georgia, United States

Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What once appeared to be a once-in-a-generation blessing — having two strong candidates with significant appeal among Democrats — is a burden now.

From Politico.com:

Democrats are increasingly nervous about their party’s protracted nomination fight, and some prominent figures are publicly warning that the party needs to act fast to avoid disaster.

Chief among these voices is Phil Bredesen, the two-term governor of Tennessee who is uncommitted to either Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) or Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

Bredesen is doing something about his concerns. He was in Washington this week to promote his idea for holding a “superdelegate primary” in June, in which the 795 party bigwigs would gather to hear one last time from Clinton and Obama before casting a final vote.

Rather than allow the horse-trading and bloodletting go on all summer, he’d get it over with during a two-day business meeting in a neutral, easily reached city like Dallas.

“Invite the candidates to come and talk if they want, and then literally call the roll,” he explained. “We should not go through the summer and have a divided and exhausted Democratic Party. The inescapable conclusion is: OK, you’ve got to find some way to bookend and bring it to closure earlier. How do you do that? Do it in June rather than August."

The governor said he decided to push the plan because of what he called a “sea change” in opinion among Democratic elites. What once appeared to be a once-in-a-generation blessing — having two strong candidates with significant appeal among Democrats — seems more like a burden now, as the race drags on toward April and May contests that are unlikely to offer any more clarity than the muddled results of the past three months.

“Ninety days ago, everybody was talking in warm terms about both the candidates: ‘Isn’t it wonderful? Whoever’s president is going to be great,’” the governor said. “It has gotten vastly more polarized now, and that really concerns me.”

To Bredesen, an even-keeled political pragmatist, superdelegates are certain to ultimately decide the nominee, so it makes no sense for them to do it later rather than sooner.

“The bottom line here is that we have a problem, and I think we need to take it off autopilot and try to find some way of resolving it,” he said. “I don’t know any way that is not going to generate some hard feeling and some divisions in the party. But if we do it early, we’ve got a chance to patch them up.”

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