German Engineering

German engineering: Like many, Buzz is confused by the Democratic Party's process for selecting a presidential candidate. You'd think it would be simple—voters vote, votes are counted, whoever gets the most, wins—but we're talking Democrats here, so things are not that straightforward. We tried to read the original blueprint for the process, outlined in the tome A Nice Methode for Chusing Demokrat Elektors and Divers Profetic Visions, but it turns out that it was written by one Brother Carlos, the Mad Alchemist of Pisa, in 1497. Since we don't read Latin and Carlos died of neurosyphilis in 1498, understanding has eluded us.

We did gather that the party has 796 "super delegates," who are free to vote as they choose at the convention in August. The supers could have a huge say in whether Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton gets the nod, so putting two and two together, we came up with a hypothesis: super delegate = KA-CHING! To test our theory we called David Hardt, president of the Young Democrats of America and an uncommitted super who lives in Dallas. "So," we wheedled, "got any, say, 'flowers' or 'candy' from the Obama or Clinton camps?"

"I'm still waiting for a nice Mercedes convertible, myself," Hardt told us. (Reason 999 to vote for Dems: They have a sense of humor.)

Hardt has received calls from Hillary, Bill and Chelsea Clinton, he told us, and calls from a couple of congressmen on Obama's behalf, but so far no offers of ambassadorships or sweet imported rides.

You might think that personal calls from the Clinton family would have him leaning toward her, but that's not necessarily true. "I have to admit, as someone who's politically active, it's nice to get calls from the candidate himself," Hardt says. (Hint, hint, hint, Obama.) But, in fact, he seems to be leaning toward Obama. A month or two ago, he says, he strongly favored Clinton, but like a good chunk of the country he has caught a touch of Obama fever. "I really am torn. My brain says Clinton, but my heart says Obama. It's a really, really tough position to be in."

Poor man. He obviously needs something—with leather seats and a kickin' sound system—to ease his pain. Can't someone help? (Double hint, hint, hint.)

Seriously, like many Democrats, Hardt worries that come convention time, a narrow race for delegates really could throw the decision to the super delegates, and he doesn't look forward to a floor fight, even if it might increase the odds of that Mercedes.

"We've never had to do this before, and I fear what would happen to our party," he says.

 
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