Howard Dean: Kingmaker?
Just who are the superdelegates? According to Wikipedia:
Superdelegates to the 2008 Democratic National Convention include all Democratic members of the United States Congress, Democratic governors, various additional elected officials, members of the Democratic National Committee, as well as "all former Democratic Presidents, all former Democratic Vice Presidents, all former Democratic Leaders of the U.S. Senate, all former Democratic Speakers of the U.S. House of Representatives and Democratic Minority Leaders, as applicable, and all former Chairs of the Democratic National Committee." There is an exception, however, for otherwise qualified individuals who endorse another party’s candidate for President; they lose their superdelegate status. In 2008, Senator Joe Lieberman was disqualified as a superdelegate because he endorsed Republican John McCain.
(Aside: strange that Lieberman was even considered a superdelegate since he is not actually a member of the Democratic party. But I'm so glad he's been stripped (ewww)).
A list of current superdelegates can be found here.
I did a quick hand count of those superdelegates from the above link (both pledged and unpledged) and divided them by why they have that position (DNC member, Governor, Representative, Senator). Here's what I got:
(Note: this was done with a hand count, so the numbers are probably off some (for instance, I know we don't have 55 Senators), but I think the ratios are more important to my point than the overall counts)
Notice that the largest block of superdelgates are DNC members (just after Reps.). Who leads the DNC? Howard Dean. A lot of DNC members really like Dean. They helped elect him three years ago and they, for the most part, really like his 50 state strategy since it gives so many of them money and people that they didn't have before.
My point is this: if this thing comes down to a situation where the superdelegates will decide who goes over the top then Howard Dean could have a HUGE influence over who is the eventual nominee. I think he will try to work towards a deal that gives the majority of superdelegates to who ever gets the majority of elected delegates. I don't think he would abide by an anti-democratic strategy to reverse the popular will.
Dean could very well be the kingmaker in the Democratic primary. And there's no one I would trust more in that role.