03/28/2008 04:16 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Clinton Democracy

Let me see. How many times in the past three weeks have Hillary Clinton's supporters threatened to use the hefty dollar sign they wield as a way to influence the outcome of this -- what we would like to believe is a -- democratic -- nomination process?

That I know of, three times... right? Once in Florida -- remember, the guy, Paul Cejas, a Miami businessman who wanted the $28,000 he donated to the DNC in 2007 back because as he so angrily declared in the New York Times, "If you're not going to count my vote, I'm not going to give you my money," and the guy, Christopher Korge, the Florida real estate developer who raised in or around $140,000 for the DNC last year, and who, in a polite but, at the same time, menacing way, told the New York Times that, "If we do not resolve this issue, I think it's safe to say there will be a request for a return of $140,000." (Strangely enough, neither made their objections known back in late 2007, early 2008). Then there was Michigan. You remember, of course, the letter signed by the Governor of Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell and the Governor of New Jersey, Jon Corzine, which they wrote to the Governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm, (Clinton supporters all), in which they said that they had "taken the liberty of soliciting guarantors" to fund a Michigan revote, which I guess, on the face of it, sounds absolutely wonderful and generous until you read the list of guarantors and find that they are all -- every single one of them -- Clinton supporters and financial backers. I don't know the answer to this question with any certainty but I'm assuming that they didn't approach any Obama supporters for funds. I could be wrong on this of course. (If I am, please, let me know.)

And now we have Wednesday's private letter (intercepted by, as I understand it, the great Greg Sargent over at Talking Points Memo), to the honorable (I love that word, "honorable"), Madam Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, in which twenty Hillary Fundraisers, who between them, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, have donated in or around $24 million to the Democratic Party over the past decade, imply that they would withhold their support if Nancy Pelosi doesn't as they put it, "clarify" her position on superdelegates.

"We have been," they write, "strong supporters of the DCCC. We therefore urge you to clarify your position on super-delegates and reflect in your comments a more open view to the optional independent actions of each of the delegates at the National Convention in August. We appreciate your activities in support of the Democratic Party and your leadership role in the Party and hope you will be responsive to some of your major enthusiastic supporters."

Good lord, I've never read a letter from the mob, but I imagine one could conceivably look something like this. Thinly veiled threat delivered in polite but menacing terms. ("Do as we say lady or ... ).

The troubling thing here is that these are the efforts we know about. What about the ones of which we have no clue? What else are the Clintons up to? These three attempts to take democracy out of the democratic party are merely forewarnings of the type of pressure Clinton supporters with deep pockets would put on superdelegates in the run up to the August convention. More and more I dread the back rooms of Washington and the deals that could be done there.