Hillary For VP?

by John Holbo on January 6, 2008

Like so many others, I couldn’t be happier at Obama’s victory. Here’s hoping for more.

Obviously this is flagrantly, shamelessly hypothetical: would Obama/Clinton ‘08 be a strong ticket?

One thing seems to me clear: Clinton would make an excellent VP, if she were willing to take the job, if Obama would have her. She would bring a lot of competence, knowledge, connections and machinery to the table. I tend to think she might be better at getting things done, as President, whereas Obama is better prepared to do the right things. Put them together, Obama’s name first. That might be as close to the best of both goods as I could hope to extract from this field.

Would she be an asset as a candidate? I think it would be a mixed bag, but ultimately positive. The obvious negative thought: if Obama is the candidate, you need a white man in the VP slot, preferably a Southerner. (Sorry, I didn’t make the wretched world. Not that I would mind Edwards as VP, not at all. I’d love it, if it came to that. But maybe Clinton would actually be better.) What are some of the positives? Well, first, I think a lot of people might agree with me that she would just plain be good at the job. That’s something. Second, I think you might be able to salvage Hillary’s charisma positives while minimizing her substantial negatives. The Republicans can’t do the full-bore Clinton-hate, if she’s just the VP. That would look silly, beside the point, an implicit admission of inability to attack Obama himself. By now she is so obviously Presidential, so experienced, no one could seriously argue that she would make a bad VP, per se. She says she knows how to fight the slime machine. I don’t doubt it. Obama would obviously be picking someone who can get things done. And yet the positives don’t melt away with the negatives: there would be considerable ‘that’s the least she deserves after all this crap’ sympathy. Not to mention women happy to vote for a ticket with a woman on it. Symbolism matters, and the first woman in this post is going to be a big deal. Not that these considerations would be decisive, but I think they would at least balance the anti-Clinton negatives, adding to the happy glow – the most you can hope for from a VP, election-wise (as opposed to doing-the-job-wise).

Quite apart from it still being early days, I don’t know what the odds are of Obama or Clinton being willing to bury the hatchet. My sense is that the history of the VP slot is one of surprisingly large and vicious-looking, yet successfully buried hatchets. Also, she’s still young. Who thinks Hillary doesn’t want to be President so badly that she’d be willing to suffer the relatively small humiliation of having to wait 8 years for an improved, VP-burnished shot at it? I think she’d wait, if she had to.

What do you think?

{ 6 trackbacks }

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Crooked Timber » » No one seems to like the idea of Hillary as VP. What about Cheney?
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Um(a) vice para Obama «
01.07.08 at 10:15 pm

{ 75 comments }

1

Steve LaBonne 01.06.08 at 3:39 pm

I think that Hillary would be a significant DISadvantage to the ticket with her stubbornly high negatives. Given the urgency of electing a Democratic president, that’s not a risk I want to take.

Also “Hillary” and “charisma” don’t belong in the same paragraph, let alone sentence. (That’s why provision of that quality at campaign events has to be outsourced to Bill.)

2

Luis 01.06.08 at 3:40 pm

Quite apart from it still being early days, I don’t know what the odds are of Obama or Clinton being willing to bury the hatchet.

The inside-the-beltway consensus seems to be that this is highly, highly, highly unlikely.

3

Soullite 01.06.08 at 3:40 pm

Why throw the establishment a bone when you don’t have to? We should bury them while we can, and laugh in their faces as a new guard takes over.

4

Anon 01.06.08 at 3:44 pm

Yeah, that would be a very bad call. She’s not the VP type at all. Too “big.” She would be a distraction from Day One.

5

alkali 01.06.08 at 3:45 pm

Also, she’s still young. Who thinks Hillary doesn’t want to be President so badly that she’d be willing to suffer the relatively small humiliation of having to wait 8 years for an improved, VP-burnished shot at it?

I’m sure Mrs. Clinton appreciates your characterization, but the fact is that she is turning 61 this year. Waiting from age 51 to 59 (for example) may be tolerable; waiting from age 61 to 69 may not be.

6

Robert the Red 01.06.08 at 3:46 pm

Senate Majority Leader.

7

Witt 01.06.08 at 3:48 pm

I can’t think of one voter that Obama would be likely to add because he brought Clinton on to the ticket. Seriously — who is going to stay home or vote for the Republican ticket given an Obama/somebody else ticket, but would come out and vote Democratic if Hillary were there?

And anecdotally, he would lose votes from some independent/R-leaning people I know if she were on the ticket.

8

John Holbo 01.06.08 at 3:50 pm

“The inside-the-beltway consensus seems to be that this is highly, highly, highly unlikely.”

But they said that about the first Bush and Reagan. I dunno. There is always a big factor: the towering ambition of the person being told to play second-fiddle. But that’s always there, and always cuts both ways. Is your ambition so towering you are WILLING to play second-fiddle rather than give up hope for trying again in 8 years?

“Why throw the establishment a bone when you don’t have to?” Well, the answer would be: because you might be able to grab the levers of some powerful machinery, without having the machine then lever you around. Obviously this isn’t a fail-safe device but risk played off against a different one: what if Obama gets elected but turns out to be ineffective at working the levers to get the right things done?

9

Nick L 01.06.08 at 3:50 pm

As an outsider, a Obama/Edwards ticket would look much more attractive than Obama/Clinton as it would be the closest thing to a truly progressive presidential administration that the US is likely to see in the foreseable future. Pragmatically, Edwards is a much less divisive figure than Clinton and could reach out to middle America. In addition the pairing would appeal the three major constituencies of the Democrats: cosmopolitan liberals, ethnic minorities and the working class.

10

Steve LaBonne 01.06.08 at 3:57 pm

Nick- bingo. If Edwards is willing to make another VP run he’d be my choice. (I think he was one of the few bright spots in Kerry’s dismal campaign.)

11

Ben Alpers 01.06.08 at 3:59 pm

I would think that if Obama gets the nomination, he would do well to look outside the Senate, and quite possibly the presidential contenders. Politically, a governor or big city mayor would seem to be a good idea (among the presidential contenders that would mean Richardson or–technically–Kucinich, though the latter ain’t gonna happen).

12

harry b 01.06.08 at 4:01 pm

I’m not so excited about the Obama victory, not that I have anyone else I’d have preferred. But making Clinton his VP would be sensible only if he didn’t have about 30 or 40 other options that he probably does. Why wouldn’t he go for a Southern white male, or McCain, or someone the Christians could go for even more than they’ll go for him or, for that matter, Oprah?

13

John Holbo 01.06.08 at 4:03 pm

“Why wouldn’t he go for a Southern white male”

Just to be clear, I am not opposed to Southern white males. I just think it’s a bit lame that a candidate like Obama should, in all likelihood, feel obliged to look there first, if he’s smart.

14

jim jay 01.06.08 at 4:11 pm

I think there is a large gap between how competitant a candidate is and whether they are politically sound.

After all whilst it is a standing joke that Bush is a moron – the real problem with Bush is not his competance but his affiliation to Satan and all his tiny minions. If Bush were more intellectually able it would not necessarily make the world a better place.

Whilst Obama may say some tolerable things on the Iraq war he’s also demonstrated that he’s happy to play the tough guy if he thinks it serves his purpose in the polls – I just don’t know whether he has the moral fibre to withstand the pressures of office and do the right thing in similar circumstances. Conversely Clinton’s problem, in my eyes, is her politics.

Laying all that aside though a ticket of a black man and a white woman would be an astonishing step forwards for US society – particularly if they won (which I think they would).

15

parse 01.06.08 at 4:15 pm

That might be as close to the best of both goods as I could hope to extract from this field. Pretty high on my “do the right things” list is to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan now. Until Obama signals his clear intentions to do so, I don’t think he qualifies as the best you could hope to extract from this field on the do-right pole of you test.

Clinton’s own attempt at executive branch action–remember the whole health care thing–doesn’t provide much evidence of a “get things done” politician either. What in her records prompts such high marks on that score?

16

Steve LaBonne 01.06.08 at 4:24 pm

Pretty high on my “do the right things” list is to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan now. Until Obama signals his clear intentions to do so, I don’t think he qualifies as the best you could hope to extract from this field on the do-right pole of you test.

Sadly, I don’t think Edwards comes close to passing this test either though perhaps he sometimes talks a slightly better game in this respect than Obama. And since Clinton virtually personifies “muscular liberalism”, the unfortunate reality is that we don’t have a viable candidate who’s really better than Obama on this score.

17

GreatZamfir 01.06.08 at 4:35 pm

Parse: you wonder what gives Clinton these high scores on getting stuff done. I would argue it is especially the health care debacle that helps. That was quite some years ago, and she has pretty much been working on the realpolitik ever since.

Obama on the other hand looks suspiciously much like an early 90s Hilary, with the optimism that says ‘my plans are going to be so good, no one will even want to oppose them’. Hilary is clearly very aware of the thigs people will throw in your way. Obama might be too, but then he is hiding it very well.

18

Steve LaBonne 01.06.08 at 4:39 pm

I’m not an Obama man (still rooting for Edwards), but Obama did pull off things like this in Illinois.

19

Adam 01.06.08 at 4:42 pm

I remember how hopelessly quaint those Obama/Gore bumper stickers seemed six months ago. Now: less quaint. Never gonna happen, but I wonder how this would actually play…

20

DavidS 01.06.08 at 4:44 pm

Thinking beyond the election, Obama/Clinton could turn into another version of the JFK/LBJ team — an inspirational speaker in the Oval Office with an experienced, vicious politician backing him up. I don’t know whether she’s be willing to do it, but I’d love to see it.

21

MR. Bill 01.06.08 at 4:51 pm

The interesting question is not whether Mrs. Clinton would take the Vice Presidency, but is the Vice Presidency going to give up the staff and “new powers” from Cheney’s power grab, to return to it’s traditonal role as “a bucket of warm piss”. (or perhaps “the spare tire on the Limosine of government”.)

22

Steve LaBonne 01.06.08 at 4:54 pm

Gore offers a recent example of a healthy role that’s neither of those things.

23

Henry (not the famous one) 01.06.08 at 5:04 pm

HRC taking a subordinate role a second time? I can’t picture it. Far from being a consolation prize, I think she would see it as purgatory. And her experience in 1993-94 isn’t likely to make the role of second-in-command/dealmaker/liaison to Congress either attractive or, more to the point, plausible.

Edwards, for his part, certainly looked last night as he was auditioning for another run at the sidekick role. I’d rather see an Edwards/Obama ticket (with Dodd as Majority Leader), but that doesn’t look likely.

24

Adam Roberts 01.06.08 at 5:13 pm

Surely there’s still time for a Matt Santos/Leo McGarry ticket to be finalised? You know: man of colour paired with experienced White House insider. Or, wait, no; that’s precisely what John’s suggesting … TV infiltrates real life yet again.

25

polk 01.06.08 at 5:18 pm

I think the VP had better be able to get things done. I’m worried about an Obama administration (if he wins) getting off to a very slow start. Wesley Clark has experience running something effectively (Supreme Allied Commander Europe), won’t increase Republican turnout (moderate, white, southern, male), and provides some foreign policy and military gravitas.

26

Antti Nannimus 01.06.08 at 5:19 pm

Hi,

It’s a good idea. Hillary Clinton as VP would make Barack Obama assassination-proof, just as Dick Cheney as VP has done so for George W. Bush.

Have a nice day!
Antti

27

polk 01.06.08 at 5:24 pm

The downside of Wesley Clark as VP would be that he is not a political operator or Washington insider. Nevertheless, I don’t think it’s important to have a political insider as VP because the chief of staff and myriad other behind-the-scenes advisers will be political operators.

28

Adam Kotsko 01.06.08 at 5:43 pm

I had almost convinced myself to hold my nose and vote for Hillary shortly before the Iowa caucuses, but then I was thrilled and relieved when Obama won. Putting Hillary on the ticket would introduce some cognitive dissonance for me.

29

peter ramus 01.06.08 at 6:02 pm

Obama/Clinton is not bad, for Democrats. Bush/Cheney is bad for everybody, and the Republicans, gingerly trying to find a replacement, will not win the upcoming election. The Democratic nominee will be the next president. Not Bush/Cheney! is going to rustle up a lot of votes in November.

Obama/Clinton is not bad. The corporate wing of the Democratic party will have its entrée in Clinton, and Obama can go on making oracular statements of comity while his bulldogs do their business. I think John Edwards as Attorney General would be the greatest show on earth. And Al Gore flinging down his thunderbolts as Secretary of Energy, ah, yes!

Of course, by not bad I mean that viscous boundary between good and bad where so much of the world’s business takes place. An Obama/Clinton adminstration would natural incline toward this, the best result liberal compromise can achieve.

Such an adminsitration would be loaded with operatives who, like their counterparts in the professional pundit class, have risen mysteriously to eminence on wave after wave of mistaken ideas and bad policy, particularly if they’ve had any influence on foreign affairs.

Then again, with progressives constantly tugging at its sleeve, an Obama/Clinton administration might actually do some small good. Who knows? I sure can’t tell from here.

30

sferris 01.06.08 at 6:07 pm

I would look for Obama to pick someone like Webb. His military experience combined with his intellect would be a good match for Obama. The fact that Webb is a Southerner is an added benefit, but not the primary reason Obama would consider him as his running mate. Ending our engagement in Iraq will be the paramount issue facing the next president, especially if there is a recession, and Webb with his military experience would be the best man for the job either as VP or as Defense Secretary.

31

T 01.06.08 at 6:12 pm

if Obama is the candidate, you need a white man in the VP slot, preferably a Southerner. (Sorry, I didn’t make the wretched world.

This kind of thinking is just as effective at maintaining an unhealthy status quo as direct and active opposition to change. “Well, that’s just the way it is, folks, nothing we can do about it.”

As for the Obama love – or the Edwards love, even more unbelievable – it sounds so creepily much like the BushCo love: the swell guy, the charismatic leader looking to do the right thing. What misery that “love” has brought upon the world.

…A more capable woman as the #2 to a younger, inexperienced, under-accomplished man? This would make women happy? It certainly would not.

32

Brett Bellmore 01.06.08 at 6:14 pm

Why tar Obama, who so far at least seems to be a reasonably honest guy, with the utterly inevitable ethical problems which will crop up given Hillary in the administration? Forget Iraq, it was Republican corruption that gave Democrats another shot at power, why would you want to hopelessly muddy that image?

33

Martin Bento 01.06.08 at 6:15 pm

There is only one group of people who will vote differently with Hillary on the ticket, and that is those, by no means only on the right, who detest her and will never vote for her. Adding Hillary gives the lie to Obama’s whole “change” stance.

As some have been discussing, Edwards would make an excellent choice for Attorney General in an Obama administration. This would require filling the Veep spot with someone with no presidential ambitions. We should stop putting heirs apparent in the Veep spot anyway. Since the Veep has no job unless he or she creates one, it is not really great training for the Presidency, nor the most visible position.

My own preference would be an Edwards Presidency with Obama as Secretary of State. Obama’s personal and academic background make him ideal to represent America internationally. But I am concerned like others with his excessive hunger for reconcilliation with the Repubs. Both previous dems made that mistake and we cannot afford it again.

34

geo 01.06.08 at 6:50 pm

What #31 said. Webb is not as good on substance as Edwards or Kucinich, but he is honest, popular, and committed to ending the war(s). And Edwards would be an ideal Attorney General.

35

Steve LaBonne 01.06.08 at 6:57 pm

Webb would indeed be a good choice. Hate to take him out of the Senate though- while he’s not really my kind of Democrat he’s pretty good by Southern standards and is an important figure in the resurgence of the party in Virginia. (By the same token I’d hate to see Obama as VP candidate- if he’s not at the top of the ticket I’d rather have him in the Senate.)

36

Luke 01.06.08 at 7:39 pm

Yeah, no Obama/Hillary. Just no. As others have said, it undermines the ‘Change’ message and will do all sorts bad things to the electorate–inevitably, it’d wound the Democrats downticket in local elections in ways that would otherwise not happen.

If there really is a huge appetite out there for double change–that is, the first black and the first woman–we should really hope for Obama/Napolitano or Obama/Sibelius. Strong executives who have built up their state Democratic Party.

If we want to tap experience, it’d be Richardson, but again, first black/first Hispanic. Plus the looming issues of Richardson’s past and his zipper problem.

When Clinton lost in Iowa, she rallied her husband and his cabinet. If anything can be said about her campaign, it’s in that image: a bridge to the 20th century.

So, Obama/Sibelius, with Edwards at Attorney General (at VP, when Elizabeth dies in four years, well, reelection would be challenging) with one of the Samantha Powers-aligned foreign policy guys taking over State, and Clark at the Pentagon. Or something like that.

37

sferris 01.06.08 at 7:39 pm

To add to why I think Obama will choose Webb as his running mate is in the event that McCain wins the Republican nomination, Obama will likely need a counter-balance against McCain’s military experience. Because of Webb’s service to his country, and work on behalf of the military serving now in Iraq, he likely has the respect of the military families and establishment, which would mitigate any later claim over who lost Iraq. Another benefit in picking Webb is his son is serving in Iraq, which is rare in Washington.

38

Rich Puchalsky 01.06.08 at 8:36 pm

Military service is worthless in terms of bringing over GOP-leaning voters. The minute Webb or Clarke signed up as VP, they’d be Swift Boated. If there’s anything the modern GOP agrees on, it’s total disrespect for military service.

I think Edwards would probably be best as VP, assuming that he doesn’t win nomination. After Gore and now especially Cheney, VP is no longer a do-nothing job. I can’t see why Edwards would go for something like Attorney General; that seems a bit under his weight class at this point.

39

George 01.06.08 at 8:39 pm

… if Obama is the candidate, you need a white man in the VP slot …

What about Richardson? Who would know? Mostly, just Hispanics, IMO. I mean, “Bill Richardson”? To your average voter, he’d be just another middle-aged white guy. A win-win situation.

40

Steve LaBonne 01.06.08 at 8:41 pm

Those guys have a much more extensive service record than Kerry, and Webb (in addition to being a former REPUBLICAN Navy Secretary) has a son currently serving. I think an attempt to swift-boat either, and especially Webb, would backfire bigtime.

41

fred lapides 01.06.08 at 8:49 pm

Any one of the
Dem potential people would be ok with me in the election, but I don’t understand why you say Obama stands for Hope etc? What will he do that will not be approved, transformed, or knocked down by special interest groups, the lobby people who run the American govt? Standing up and saying you offer Hope is hardly convincing…what are the specifics? Iraq, health care, housing crises, nation’s massive debt, unemployment, illegal aliens etc

As for Hillary: she will not accept 2nd place because Obama, if elected, will run a second term. She is better off in the Senate.

42

Slocum 01.06.08 at 9:05 pm

And anecdotally, he would lose votes from some independent/R-leaning people I know if she were on the ticket.

This libertarian-leaning independent would be more likely to vote for an Obama/Clinton ticket for the main reason that would mean the ticket wasn’t Obama/Edwards (Edwards is residing in my ‘anyone but X’ file along with Huckabee).

From a pragmatic point of view, I have to think that Clinton could help pull some independent/R-leaning women to the Democratic side.

43

Jon H 01.06.08 at 9:27 pm

Obama/Clinton would just multiply the GOP slime (racists * misogynists) while making it more effective because Clinton is less sympathetic than Obama.

Another issue is that Bill Clinton would be hanging around, stealing Obama’s spotlight and potentially causing a scandal.

44

Jon H 01.06.08 at 9:29 pm

“From a pragmatic point of view, I have to think that Clinton could help pull some independent/R-leaning women to the Democratic side.”

Judging from Iowa Obama pulls women better than Hilary anyway.

45

jonp72 01.06.08 at 9:29 pm

What about Richardson? Who would know? Mostly, just Hispanics, IMO. I mean, “Bill Richardson”? To your average voter, he’d be just another middle-aged white guy. A win-win situation.

Wasn’t there a Dave Chapelle stand-up routine about how the black presidential candidate must have a Latino veep in order to keep from getting shot by racist assassins? I guess the Onion isn’t the only case of satire becoming reality.

46

AlisonS 01.06.08 at 9:42 pm

Hillary would be too much like Cheney lite: a slightly gentler hawk. I can’t see her giving up any of the power Cheney grabbed for himself. Also her negatives would be inclined to pull Obama down in the election. She would be much better as Senate Majority Leader.

47

Martin Bento 01.06.08 at 9:45 pm

45 comments and I count 3 “yes” and 2 “OK I guess” votes for Obama/Clinton. I don’t think you have a winner here, John.

48

Peter 01.06.08 at 10:20 pm

Would HRC accept the VP slot? Of course she would! She knows where the real power is!

Of course, the big problem will be to convince Dick Cheney to resign from the post.

49

michael paleologus 01.06.08 at 10:21 pm

The mistake is to assume Obama will get elected if nominated. Hillary will much prefer being the “i told you so’ shoe-in in 4 years time than to risk the tarnish of a VP spot at this point.

50

Quo Vadis 01.06.08 at 10:27 pm

Hillary would be a very poor choice for VP because she is an extremely polarizing figure. There are people all across the political spectrum who absolutely despise her for some reason. Bill Clinton would be better than Hillary.

As far as VPs go, their negatives count more than their positives in the general election. Any negatives the VP may have are more fodder for the other party’s attacks. Obama will probably do what most presidential candidates do and choose some well connected, low profile person with a clean record.

Of course, choosing someone like Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton would guarantee that some KKK nutjob doesn’t try to off Obama.

51

Peter 01.06.08 at 10:44 pm

would Obama/Clinton ‘08 be a strong ticket?

Short answer: no.

Hillary and her gang have spent too much effort backstabbing Obama as well as raking muck over him. She’s an unrepentant supporter of bush’s wargasm in Iraq, and that would seriously detract from Obama: he’d have to spend time and energy fighting not only the republicans, but HRC.

52

Crystal 01.06.08 at 11:34 pm

I agree with #48 – Hillary Clinton is too polarizing a figure in a time when the Dems don’t need that. Plus as others have pointed out, I don’t think she’d want to bury the hatchet, suck it up and go for VP.

I really really really want John Edwards in the White House next year. I’d settle for an Obama/Edwards ticket, though – and Obama/Edwards would be a lot more palatable to more people than Obama/H. Clinton.

When it comes right down to it, I’d settle for “any Democrat with a pulse” to win the Presidency. I just want the Rethug tin-pot dictator crew the hell out of there.

53

Sebastian Holsclaw 01.07.08 at 12:16 am

I can’t imagine that you’d want to bring all of Clinton’s negatives to the campaign if she isn’t even the top of the ticket.

On the plus side she would probably offer Obama some (hopefully unneeded) assassination insurance. No one who is likely to object to a black man that much is likely to simultaneously ok with Hillary stepping into his place.

54

Bruce Baugh 01.07.08 at 12:23 am

I’m still way less than enthusiastic about Obama’s proposed policies, but there’s this: getting a lot of people to think both that they should participate in politics and that they can leads to interesting stuff. It doesn’t feel to me like Obama is set to wage the total war against the Republican machine that must be fought as the precondition for any significant changes in policy. But if a lot of folks turn out hoping to see some change and then don’t get it, they could start pressing the machine from other angles. I would much prefer to have a chief executive who took the threat more obviously seriously, but I would be Very Happy Indeed to have a more actively engaged public, and if Obama can keep rousing the potential voters to actual voting…I’m good with that.

55

ed 01.07.08 at 12:52 am

Clark (or maybe possibly Webb). Getting the Military Cred (yes, even in the face of 20 Kill War Hero losing to coke-addled war avoider via Poppy’s influence and/or deserter) is pretty dang important.

56

Robert the Red 01.07.08 at 1:07 am

VP slot means nothing about the final vote. Presented for your consideration: Dan Quayle.

57

phil 01.07.08 at 1:29 am

I can’t see Edwards wanting to run for VP again. AG on the other hand….

58

Jeff Goff 01.07.08 at 2:12 am

Just as Cheney lent his “experience” dreft dodging, deferments, etc to the Bush campaign. Obama will be the nominee and he must choose someone with military combat experience. The new Rudy and McCain ads of fear are truly horrible. The ole’ whities are going to be nice and scared by the time of election day let alone if there’s another attack in the US.

I’m think maybe Wes Clarke or maybe Hagel??? I like Edwards alot, but the two of them would be horrible when opposed by the GOP in the general on defense. And FORGET Hillary.

You know Bill loves OBAMA!! But what can he do????

Sincerely,
A 30 y/o whitie

59

Jon H 01.07.08 at 2:55 am

“Wasn’t there a Dave Chapelle stand-up routine about how the black presidential candidate must have a Latino veep in order to keep from getting shot by racist assassins? “

After AG Gonzales, it’d probably be safer to nominate Barney Frank.

60

JP Stormcrow 01.07.08 at 3:21 am

Obama/HRC probably is a non-starter, but I just hate, hate, hate! how this primary season has played into the insane demonization of HRC these past 15 years. For instance K Lo reprints an e-mail at The Corner:

Did you notice the “look” that HRC was giving to the other candidates when they disagreed with her. It was the “look” every husband has seen a million times – and I am happily married. I showed it to my wife and she agreed. That may not help her with votes from men.

We all need to take a deep breath and look deeply into the mirror on this one.

61

JP Stormcrow 01.07.08 at 3:31 am

Brett from way upthread: Why tar Obama, who so far at least seems to be a reasonably honest guy, with the utterly inevitable ethical problems which will crop up given Hillary in the administration?

I have no doubt (zero, zilch, nada, none) that paragons of right-wing virtuousness like Ted Olson, Babs Comstock and Brent Bozell will be able manufacture “scandals” aplenty for any Democrat and their running mate.

62

ScottS 01.07.08 at 3:35 am

The VP spot is more important now after the experience of Cheney. Quayle did hurt GHWB (“Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy”) but Dukakis lost the 88 election on his own.

Hillary is a bad idea on political grounds. Obviously. High negatives, bigot magnet, Bill baggage and a big disconnect with Obama on the big picture. She’s fighting the last war. Turn the page.

Moreover, I found that hint of “how dare you usurp me it’s my turn” coming forth from the Clinton camp to be sufficiently close to uppityville to be distasteful, and even if the politics worked, I can’t imagine Obama would reward that sort of arrogance.

VPs: I used to think Richardson was a shoe-in, but his performance in the campaign was iffy. Janet Napolitano (Dem Gov of AZ), Mark Warner, and Webb have purple state and executive credentials. Vilsack is obsolete. Edwards is plenty smart but if I here about the mill one more time I think I’m going to barf. The experience issue isn’t a plus for him, either.

Obama-skeptics: the only way to change the system is from within. Sorry, I didn’t write the Constitution but that’s how the cookie crumbles. Build a new solid majority and it can happen. There are a good number of decent Republicans who can tilt the field if you can get over your purity test.

63

JP Stormcrow 01.07.08 at 3:53 am

Moreover, I found that hint of “how dare you usurp me it’s my turn” coming forth from the Clinton camp to be sufficiently close to uppityville to be distasteful, and even if the politics worked, I can’t imagine Obama would reward that sort of arrogance.

Are you sure it came from the Clinton camp, or were we all influenced by braying jackasses like Chris Matthews to think that it was? I know, I know, pragmatics—in an election perception is reality. I’ll shut up now.

64

ScottS 01.07.08 at 5:04 am

Eugene Robinson is a braying jackass?

65

JP Stormcrow 01.07.08 at 5:16 am

Eugene Robinson is a braying jackass?

In this case possibly. What I am saying is that we are all Bozos on This Bus when it comes to trying to deconvolve the ground truth out of fifteen years of conservative demonization of the Clintons. And that most certainly goes for anyone in the political press corps. Does not mean she “deserves” any office or position of course, but I will just say that I find the net effect of reading the comments on HRC on this thread to be very, very depressing. I’ll join in the Obamagasm later. These folks are all politicians.

… and BTW, my personal preferences were/are Dodd -> Edwards -> Obama.

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ScottS 01.07.08 at 6:24 am

Historically, I agree that the demonization of the Clintons is totally insane, and it has had bad effects on the country (e.g. Anything But Clinton analysis about defunding anti-terrorism in favor of missile defense; the Huckabee clemency of a rapist whose victim was associated with the Clintons in AK).

But this campaign has not brought out the best in the Clintons and Hillary is in charge. Planting friendly questioners? Cocaine whispers? Kindergarten? “Ready to Change” the day after Iowa? Bill claiming to having been against the war from the start? Hillary triangulating the war from the time of her Senate vote (most recently seen as she shifts from being against a pullout in general election mode and then realizing she has to backtrack to primary mode). Hillary’s 2nd term as first lady and Senate career are admirable. But the Clinton political style is not something to admire IMO and the country might just be ready to move on. I don’t think finding incessant political posturing to be a civic disappointment is due to being dependent on the Bozos on the Bus. I tried to get excited for Hillary when she was in the lead, I paid attention, and I just don’t like her. I’d vote for her in the general in a second and she’d be a competent if not good President, but I don’t like her.

The Clintons leaked like a sieve in the White House and having a number of unattributed inside the campaign gossip type pieces run in the evilbadscary MSM do add up and contribute to the perception. They haven’t exactly disavowed them all “war room” style, either. There is probably a reason for that.

Hey folks, Obama not hating Republicans (a group that is now being stereotyped and demonized by people who should know better) is both sincere and subversive. I can’t fathom why more netroots types get the subversive part. Sullivan’s Reagan analogy is apt. You want specific policy positions rattled off like a list? Bleah. He’s more liberal than Hillary, just as smart, and way more inspiring. A true liberal that conservatives can respect and people perceive as moderate is better than a moderate that everyone perceives as liberal. I’m sorry, but the politics of this just seem self-evident to me.

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zaphod 01.07.08 at 8:22 am

I’d be disappointed if he chose Hillary as VP. To me, she’s just the Democratic version of Dubya. She embodies the paranoid, tribal mentality that is what’s wrong with politics in our country. If Obama is serious about engendering a new kind of politics that includes creating space for thinking conservatives and moderates (and I support him because I believe he is serious), then picking the conservatives’ most-hated bugaboo would send the exact wrong message at the start of the general election campaign. Can’t see it. And to be honest, I’m reading Edward’s Obama-friendliness in the NH debate as a sign that he’s angling for that spot and may have already secured Obama’s private agreement. Speculation. But either way, I can’t see HRC as a politically expedient choice or one that is in agreement with the principles that make Obama so attractive.

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harry b 01.07.08 at 4:39 pm

scotts — sure, the only way to change the system is from within (or, to be more precise, the system can’t be changed in the next couple of generations, and the only way to improve things in small incremental ways is from within). I’m no purist, and agree about Republicans (of the right sort). The scepticism is that Obama has either the will or the ability to carry out significant reforms, even of the small kinds that a good progressive refromer might be able to produce. The sceptics among us are just resisting an unhealthy tendency the left has to invest charismatic politicians who have not really been tried with their hopes. That’s all.

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c.l. ball 01.07.08 at 5:36 pm

How about another female senator but from the South (Landrieu, Lincoln, McCaskill) or Cantwell from the Pacific Northwest? Or a governor? Sebelius, Gregoire?

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mijnheer 01.07.08 at 6:33 pm

I think we can be sure of one thing: Obama and Clinton will not be on the ticket together. If one of them gets the presidential nomination, the VP spot will go to a white guy from the South or Midwest. There’s no way two Northern liberals will be on the ticket together, and no way a black AND a woman will be on the ticket. Obama/Edwards is a possibility, as is Edwards/Obama. But if Hillary is rejected for the top spot, the party will have decided she’s a liability and there’s no way she’ll get VP, even if a southern white guy like Edwards heads the ticket.

You can take all this to the bank, because I’m Canadian, and Canadians know more about the U.S. than anyone else, including Americans.

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DHN 01.07.08 at 6:37 pm

Isn’t the biggest objection to Hillary that people are SICK of Clintons and Bushes, and repulsed by the thought of eight more years of them. How would the propospect of 16 more years improve that?

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wood turtle 01.07.08 at 11:28 pm

“You know, this is very personal for me. It’s not just political. It’s not just public. I see what’s happening. And we have to reverse it.”

I don’t think she would be on a ticket with someone who did not share her beliefs.

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Brett Bellmore 01.08.08 at 12:32 am

“I have no doubt (zero, zilch, nada, none) that paragons of right-wing virtuousness like Ted Olson, Babs Comstock and Brent Bozell will be able manufacture “scandals” aplenty for any Democrat and their running mate.”

Get real, with Hillary on the ticket they won’t have to “manufacture” scandals, they’ll barely have to lift a finger to uncover real ones. You’re dreaming if you think Hsu is an aberration. It’s time Democrats faced the facts about Hillary’s less than stellar ethics, or you’re going to make it way, way too easy for the GOP to recover the White house.

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reason 01.08.08 at 10:43 am

My reading of this discussion is really radical. The people here if they are honest would really like to see Hillary decide now to abandon her run. They would like it a straight out Obama, Edwards contest. Am I right?

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geo 01.08.08 at 7:26 pm

#71: Sullivan’s Reagan analogy is apt. You want specific policy positions rattled off like a list? Bleah.

Yes, we want specific policy positions. We won’t have a functioning democracy in the United States until a large majority of voters are no longer swayed by manufactured images of candidates but instead pay close attention to the specifics of their record, views, commitments, sources of support, and policy proposals. Of course Andrew Sullivan doesn’t have a clue about this.

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