Democratic strategist Jim Jordan, who is not affiliated with either presidential campaign, told the Los Angeles Times Tuesday night, "Anybody who says past this point that this is good for the party or good for the nominee is a fool." The candidates, he said, are "exhausted, they're more likely to make mistakes, and they're raising each other's negatives."
It's a common sentiment among party leaders and officials.
Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, an uncommitted Democratic superdelegate, told the New York Times, "This is exactly what I was afraid was going to happen. They are going to just keep standing there and pounding each other and bloodying each other, and no one is winning. It underlines the need to find some way to bring this to conclusion."
The irony is, Bredesen is complaining while refusing to take a side in the contest. He wants to bring this race to an end, but by remaining uncommitted, he's prolonging the contest.
The longer Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama get bloodied and bruised, the more superdelegates argue they want the fighting to end. If so, it's within their power to intervene. So why don't they?
From a decidedly pro-Obama perspective, Matt Yglesias argued this morning:
If there's a large pro-Clinton group out there, fine. So be it. Stand up and let yourselves be counted. If not, if you're for Obama, then even better -- raise your hand. People keep explaining to me that superdelegates have good selfish reasons to avoid declaring and giving us a chance to end this thing. That's true, but a great many of them also have constituents on whom pressure can be brought to get off the fence without waiting until June.
At this point, we know what we need to know. We know the policy differences between the candidates, we know the "freak show" issues surrounding the candidates, we know the basic shape of each candidate's core electoral coalition, and we know that in the end Obama will have a modest but real lead in elected delegates. Everyone should declare.
The New York Times had an item about five weeks ago on how the superdelegates are feeling antsy, but the uncommitted ones don't want to announce their support for either candidate. Why? Because they're hoping power brokers (Howard Dean, Al Gore, et al.) will intervene so they'll be "relieved of making an excruciating decision that could lose them friends and supporters at home."
I'm sorry to break it to the superdelegates, but this is in their hands -- just as it has been for weeks. Whether they decide in August, June or April, these insiders are going to deliver the nomination to one candidate or the other.
What are they waiting for? The burden of choice is heavy, but unavoidable.