Here, for example, is one idea for adding a big democratic dose of clarity, transparency and accountability to the superdelegate dilemma: Hold a superconvention.
Assuming neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Rodham Clinton can clinch a decisive advantage in pledged delegates once the voting is done in June, let’s convene a special summit of superdelegates around July 4 in Philadelphia (a little obvious symbolism is in order here). Get them off the phone and out of the proverbial smoke-filled rooms — and into full public view for the rest of the party.
To maximize this meeting's legitimacy, tap Al Gore — the party’s most senior and respected unaligned superdelegate — as chairman. Invite Obama and Clinton to give a full pitch as to why he or she is the best nominee for the party. Then, much like the individual state caucuses, give committed superdelegates an opportunity to argue for their candidate — and engage their opponents in free-flowing debate. Finally, at a predetermined endpoint, ask each superdelegate to choose sides and record their votes.
To maximize this meeting's transparency, broadcast the proceedings on C-SPAN and webcast them on the Democratic National Committee site so every Democrat can watch. What better way to turn closed and exclusive lemons into open and accessible lemonade — and allow average Democrats who feel shut out to tune into this decisive process.
I love this idea. I really do! It's transparent, it allows for open dialog (assuming that everyone agrees to make it about the issues), everybody gets a say who wants one, and then everybody knows the result. By July 7th, you could see the winner and loser shake hands, congratulate each other, pledge to work together, and then you're done.
So - what do we do to make this happen?