Political endorsements don't mean 'jack'

Two days after Sen. Hillary Clinton completed an impressive victory over Sen. Barack Obama in the Pennsylvania Democratic presidential primary, and Gov. Ed Rendell’s endorsement of Clinton is seeming successful.

Of course, Rendell is one of the quickest to tell you political endorsements don’t matter, as he told the Colbert Nation during an interview on the Colbert Report last week, as he told Karen Tumulty of Time magazine earlier this month.

I don’t think any endorsement for President means jack.”

In the Time profile, Rendell’s influence was largely attributed to his ability to politically navigate for Clinton, including his former stomping grounds and bastion of Democratic votes, Philadelphia, not his endorsement of Clinton.

Lower profile candidates can earn attention by bringing out celebrities or well-known politics, unquestionably important, but for races that involve household names like “Clinton,” it’s less clear.

Philadelphia City Councilman Darrell Clarke – who represents Temple University’s Main Campus – is alone among 14 council Democrats in not taking a side between Obama, who has seven, or Clinton, as the six others and Mayor Michael Nutter have.

Clarke says endorsements of presidents are junk, too.

In theory, endorsements should matter, and they can, but far too often they are too damn predictable. The Clintons have a long relationship with Rendell; Obama endorsed U.S. Representative Chakah Fattah in last year’s Philadelphia mayoral election, not Nutter.

As Republican presidential hopefuls dropped out, they threw their weight behind Sen. John McCain, as Rudy Giuliani did (depicted above). Who cares though? U.S. Representative Ron Paul and former Gov. Mike Huckabee have yet too, but only candidates thought to be on the fringe can work outside of the political limitations of U.S. partisan campaigning.

There are too many understood and ardently followed rules.

So unless there is a real break, no one pays mind, and even then, the hand-shaking is all about face time on TV and radio and print, not real meaning.

Photo of Rudy Giuliani endorsing Sen. John McCain in his Republican presidential bid by Spencer Weiner, courtesy of the Los Angeles Times.