February 17, 2008
Scott Simon was chatting this morning with Tad Devine about Democratic Party super delegates. Simon mentioned that Devine was there at the creation of the super delegates following the 1980 election cycle. Here’s what Devine had to say:
"They were created for a number of reasons…..a feeling at the time that the activists who were getting elected as delegates at the time during the 70s and 80s really didn’t reflect the mainstream of the Democratic Party and that these elected officials [super delegates] would actually be more representative of the mainstream of the Democratic Party. And they were also picked so there would be some mechanism to make sure that there was…a backstop in case someone who was way outside the mainstream was going to be the nominee…."
I about fell out of my chair. This was great. Here was a Democratic Party insider explaining how the super delegate mechanism was created to thwart the voting of the Democratic rank and file activists in the name of some mythical "mainstream" (trans. = center-right, pro-business, etc.) Surely, any interviewer worth his or her salt would home in on these comments, ask some follow-ups, ask for details, clarification, etc. But, I forget, Scott Simon is the one performing this interview.
It would have also been interesting to bring up the string of inspiring "mainstream" candidates that Mr. Backstop has championed. On Devine’s biography, available as a Word document here, we learn that Devine
* “in 1980…worked on President Carter’s reelection campaign as a delegate tracker.”
* “Deputy Director of Delegate Selection in the nomination campaign of former Vice President Walter Mondale and Executive Assistant to the Campaign Manager in the 1984 general election.”
* “served as Director of Delegate Selection and Field Operations in the nomination campaign of Governor Michael Dukakis.”
* “In 1992, Tad Devine was Campaign Manager for Senator Bob Kerrey’s campaign for President.”
* “In the 2000 general election, Mr. Devine served as a senior strategist to the Gore/Lieberman 2000 campaign and oversaw the day-to-day management of the campaign.”
* “In 2004, Mr. Devine served as a senior advisor and strategist to Senator John Kerry’s campaign for President.”
Quite a track record of inspiring (and winning!) candidates and campaigns. A good reporter might have asked if a glance outside the "mainstream" might not have been a good idea…unless that reporter is so steeped in center-right ideology that such a concept wouldn’t even enter his narrow mind.