“So-Called Pledged Delegates”

She wasn’t misspeaking this time. Hillary Clinton truly,honestly believes that pledged delegates are going to change their minds andthis will help her win the nomination.

When she saidthis in her Philadelphia Daily News interview the other day, I figured it was a fluke:

And also remember that pledged delegates inmost states are not pledged. You know, there is no requirement that anybodyvote for anybody. They’re just like superdelegates .

But then she repeated it in a curiousnew interview with Time ’s MarkHalperin:

[A]s you know so well, Mark, every delegate with very fewexceptions is free to make up his or her mind however they choose. We talk alot about so-called pledged delegates, but every delegate is expected toexercise independent judgment.

That’s right. “So-called pledged delegates.” So now, we’re to assume, it’s not just superdelegates who willoverturn the pledged delegate count. Pledgeddelegates are going to help overturn it, too. At this rate, why hold elections inthe first place? Let’s skip the rest of the primaries and go right to theconvention, where all the so-called pledged delegates can get down to thebusiness of ignoring the people’s votes.

The Clintoncamp vehemently denies that it will actively pursue Obama’s pledged delegates. But then why float thepossibility? It makes zerosense strategically. True, no one puts a gun to the heads of pledgeddelegates and forces them to vote one way or another. But most of them wouldnever go switch their vote—that would mean burning bridges, betraying friends,and reversing the will of their own constituents. And from a PR perspective,it’s disastrous. The Clinton camp has beenscreaming “disenfranchisement” in Florida and Michigan. Do they reallywant to push an idea that would flush real votes down the toilet?

What began as a series of casual asides—first by HaroldIckes, then by Clinton herself—is now starting to look a coordinated effort. We don’t ask this question lightly, but what are they smoking?