Competence

by hilzoy

From the Washington Post (emphasis added, and stolen from publius):

"Supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton are worried that convoluted delegate rules in Texas could water down the impact of strong support for her among Hispanic voters there, creating a new obstacle for her in the must-win presidential primary contest.

Several top Clinton strategists and fundraisers became alarmed after learning of the state's unusual provisions during a closed-door strategy meeting this month, according to one person who attended.

What Clinton aides discovered is that in certain targeted districts, such as Democratic state Sen. Juan Hinojosa's heavily Hispanic Senate district in the Rio Grande Valley, Clinton could win an overwhelming majority of votes but gain only a small edge in delegates. At the same time, a win in the more urban districts in Dallas and Houston -- where Sen. Barack Obama expects to receive significant support -- could yield three or four times as many delegates.

"What it means is, she could win the popular vote and still lose the race for delegates," Hinojosa said yesterday. "This system does not necessarily represent the opinions of the population, and that is a serious problem.""

When I read this, I dissolved in giggles after the first sentence. It was that part about the Texas delegate selection rules "creating a new obstacle for her" that got me. In what sense are the Texas rules a "new obstacle?" Were they only recently passed? Not as far as I can tell -- here, for instance, is a pdf about them from August 2007, which should have given the Clinton campaign ample time to get up to speed. While I was having fun thinking of possible analogies -- would I describe the existence of the Pacific Ocean as "creating a new obstacle" for my plan to walk from Baltimore to Beijing? or the fact that five is a prime number as "creating a new obstacle" to my proving that it is a multiple of two? --my co-blogger publius was actually writing the post I might have written, only funnier:

"Good lord, let’s see if I have this right. The Clinton campaign decides to cede every post-Super Tuesday state to Obama under the theory that Texas and Ohio will be strong firewalls. After – after – implementing this Rudy-esque strategy, they “discovered” that the archaic Texas rules will almost certainly result in a split delegate count (at best).

While they were busy “discovering” the rules, however, the Obama campaign had people on the ground in Texas explaining the system, organizing precincts, and making Powerpoints. I know because I went to one of these meetings a week ago. I should have invited Mark Penn I suppose. (ed. Maybe foresight is an obsolete macrotrend.)"

Note to self: If I ever run for office and base my campaign on the idea that I am ready to lead from day one, I must remember to actually run an effective campaign.

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