Congressman Scott defects from Hillary, Lewis on the fence

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Hat Tip: Yahoo, Associated Press, story by David Espo

In a fresh sign of trouble for Hillary Rodham Clinton, one of the former first lady’s congressional black supporters intends to vote for Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention, and a second, more prominent lawmaker is openly discussing a possible switch.

When Israel was in Egypt’s land,
let my people go;
oppressed so hard they could not stand,
let my people go.

Rep. David Scott’s defection and Rep. John Lewis’ remarks highlight one of the challenges confronting Clinton in a campaign that pits a black man against a woman for a nomination that historically has been the exclusive property of white men.

Go down, (go down) Moses, (Moses)
way down in Egypt’s land;
tell old Hillary
to let my people go!

“You’ve got to represent the wishes of your constituency,” Scott said in an interview Wednesday in the Capitol. “My proper position would be to vote the wishes of my constituents.” The third-term lawmaker represents a district that gave more than 80 percent of its vote to Obama in the Feb. 5 Georgia primary.

“Thus saith the Lord,” bold Moses said,
let my people go;
“if not, I’ll smite your re-election dead,”
let my people go.

Lewis, whose Atlanta-area district voted 3-to-1 for Obama, said he is not ready to abandon his backing for the former first lady. But several associates said the nationally known civil rights figure has become increasingly torn about his early endorsement of Clinton. They spoke on condition of anonymity, citing private conversations.

No more shall they in bondage toil,
let my people go;
let them come out with Egypt’s spoil,
let my people go.

In an interview, Lewis likened Obama to Robert F. Kennedy in his ability to generate campaign excitement, and left open the possibility he might swing behind the Illinois senator. “It could (happen). There’s no question about it. It could happen with a lot of people … we can count and we see the clock,” he said.

We need not always weep and mourn,
let my people go;
and wear those slavery chains forlorn,
let my people go.

Clinton’s recent string of eight primary and caucus defeats coincides with an evident shift in momentum in the contest for support from party officials who will attend the convention. The former first lady still holds a sizable lead among the roughly 800 so-called superdelegates, who are chosen outside the primary and caucus system.

But Christine Samuels, until this week a Clinton superdelegate from New Jersey, said during the day she is now supporting Obama.

Two other superdelegates, Sophie Masloff of Pennsylvania and Nancy Larson of Minnesota, are uncommitted, having dropped their earlier endorsements of Clinton.

On Wednesday, David Wilhelm, a longtime ally of the Clintons who had been neutral in the presidential race, endorsed Obama.

The comments by Scott and Lewis reflect pressure on Clinton’s black supporters, particularly elected officials, not to stand in the way of what is plainly the best chance in history to have an African-American president.

“Nobody could see this” in advance, Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, the highest-ranking black in Congress, said of Obama’s emergence. He is officially neutral in the race, but expressed his irritation earlier in the year with remarks that Clinton and her husband the former president had made about civil rights history.

One black supporter of Clinton, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri, said he remains committed to her. “There’s nothing going on right now that would cause me to” change, he said.

He said any suggestion that elected leaders should follow their voters “raises the age old political question. Are we elected to monitor where our constituents are … or are we to use our best judgment to do what’s in the best interests of our constituents.”

In an interview, Cleaver offered a glimpse of private conversations.

He said Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois had recently asked him “if it comes down to the last day and you’re the only superdelegate? … Do you want to go down in history as the one to prevent a black from winning the White House?

“I told him I’d think about it,” Cleaver concluded.

Jackson, an Obama supporter, confirmed the conversation, and said the dilemma may pose a career risk for some black politicians. “Many of these guys have offered their support to Mrs. Clinton, but Obama has won their districts. So you wake up without the carpet under your feet. You might find some young primary challenger placing you in a difficult position” in the future, he added.

Obama and Clinton are in a competitive race for convention delegates. Overall, he has 1,276 in The Associated Press count, and she has 1,220. It takes 2,025 to clinch the nomination.

The New York Times is reporting that John Lewis has left Hillary’s plantation, a notion rebuted today by his press spokeswoman.

Campaign mailbag: Hillary’s desperate appeal

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Dear Fool,

It should be abundantly clear to even the comatose that my imperial campaign is falling apart, my inevitability is a myth, and Darth Bubba is too self absorbed to cede the limelight to me. My maniacal dream of dynastic restoration is crumbling into a morass of arrogance, ineptitude and racist condescension.

We tried to make nice with Negroes; they rejected us, now its time to prove to them how awful it is to be on the wrong side. And we’re going to keep proving them wrong as many times as we need to until we win back the imperial throne of the White House.

You and I know that only the white power structure, not the people; get to decide where this race for the Democratic nomination will end up.
And, before very long, the nefarious corporate interests who depend on us the most – the investment banks, the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical companies and the defense contractors who have given more money to me than to any Republican – will have their say in states like Wisconsin, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, Pennsylvania and others.

Yield to the power of the Dark Side. Contribute now.

Don’t forget what we’re fighting for: the unlimited power to do the bidding of the same white capitalist patriarchy that has always run America. They’re the reason our campaign was flush with cash in the beginning, and why I will do whatever it takes to win. And winning means having the M.O.N.E.Y, and a ruthless game plan to even this race up so I can aggressively steal this nomination away from Barack Skytalker with more super delegates at the convention.

It’s MY TURN, dammit. I command you to make a contribution now.

When we embarked on this journey, I promised you crumbs from my imperial table and you bowed in submission. I command you to kneel at my feet again. That’s what you’ve got to do — right here, right now.

With sincere condescension,

Hillary

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Empress of Triangulation

P.S. Remember, no matter how many Negroes bail on us, you and I will keep courting and brainwashing Hispanics to vote against their class interests in an effort to help drive our campaign to victory in the weeks ahead. I refuse to go down without a fight.