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Man of Steal

BY RICH HERSCHLAG
02.28.2008 | POLITICS

Faster than Jon Corzine on the Garden State Parkway. More powerful than a state caucus. Able to thwart entire electorates in a single backroom deal. Look, up on the Hill! It's a Byrd (Robert Byrd, U.S. Senate). It's a Payne (Donald Payne, U.S. House of Representatives). It's Superdelegate!

Yes, it's Superdelegate, strange politician from another era who came to the convention with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal primary voters. Superdelegate, who can change the course of national elections, bend the will of the people with monied hands. And who, disguised as an elected official -- ill-mannered member of a once great American political party -- fights a never-ending battle for pork barrel politics, influence peddling, and the former Soviet way.

The superdelegates, to paraphrase F. Scott Fitzgerald, are not like you and me. They are not merely politically correct. They are politically absolute. They are multicultural. They drive hybrid cars. They have significant others. Superdelegates are so cool they can use the N-word and get away with it. Superdelegates don't only feel your pain -- they create it.

They are not merely treehuggers. Trees hug them back. They have tiny carbon footprints, but they will walk all over you when you stand in their way. And while many superdelegates have indeed gone green, still others may go yellow in Denver come August. They are advocates of universal healthcare, not just for some, but for all superdelegates.

Superdelegates support civil unions -- between themselves and high-powered Washington lobbyists. They support campaign finance reform for other political parties. They have been known to flip a coin or two. Heads they win. Tails you lose. Superdelegates personify the Electoral College, the three-fifths compromise, and above all, that great American tradition of trusting the masses. Not.

Superdelegates support amnesty, unless you happen to be part of the opposing delegation. You can take superdelegates out of the Beltway, but you can't take the Beltway out of superdelegates. They support free trade between deadlocked factions in the wee hours before a candidate is selected. Superdelegates will end the war. . . between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Superdelegates favor checks and balances. Especially big campaign checks and even bigger campaign fund balances. Superdelegates will take your calls and pledges. Operators are standing by. Superdelegates are against torture but are part of a cruel and unusual system. They have produced galvanizing candidacies like that of Walter F. Mondale. Superdelegates would make Boss Tweed proud.

Superdelegates are handpicked much like Raul Castro but with less transparency. They are the reason Human Rights Watch still watches us. Superdelegates are not just good ol' boys. They are bad ol' boys and worse middle aged women. But when duty calls, superdelegates will boldly unite against a common enemy -- Ralph Nader.

Some, like Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, are both queens and kingmakers. Others, like former U.S. President Bill Clinton, are guided largely by nepotism. Still others, like Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, will probably end up voting for their husband's candidate. Some, like Senator John Kerry, have been swiftboated. Others, like Ted Kennedy, could have used a swift boat at least once in life. And some, like Dennis Kucinich, are currently uncommitted but may be committed any day now. All, like Evan Bayh, deserve a bye. And a bub-bye.

But lest we forget, superdelegates are human. Back in the day, a friend of mine went out with a superdelegate. She had a multiple orgasm and demanded a recount. Question: What do you get when superdelegates mate? Answer: The nominee.

About the Author
Rich Herschlag is the author of a new book, Before the Glory: 20 Baseball Heroes Talk About Growing Up and Turning Hard Times Into Home Runs (HCI, 2007). His other books include Lay Low and Don't Make the Big Mistake (Simon & Schuster, 1997) and Women Are From Manhattan, Men Are From Brooklyn (Black Maverick, 2002).

Also an engineer, he runs a consulting business, Turnkey Structural, that specializes in the rehabilitation of residential and commercial buildings. Also a radio commentator, he can be visited at RichsRant.com.

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