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Friday, May 9, 2008

The Biggest Story Of The Next Four Months

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Stephy Clinton
by dollarsandsense123

Well the big question from now until the Democrat convention will probably be whether Hillary will be the Obamessiah's running mate. Arguments for and against will be made with varying degrees of fanaticism, cynicism and mockery. As a sort of primer Chuck Raasch in USA Today gives a good overview of the pros and cons:


• The New York senator appeals to powerful demographic sectors of the traditional Democratic coalition, especially white women, blue-collar voters and older voters. Obama has had varying degrees of trouble getting the votes of all three groups in primaries and caucuses so far.

• She is a tough and relentless campaigner and would be well suited for the traditional attack role of vice presidential candidates of recent vintage.

• She's a bridge to the centrist Clinton wing of the party and to an older generation of Democrats. Some Democrats also believe her Washington experience would help assuage real concerns in the party that Obama has no proven record of getting anything of consequence done in his short term in the Senate. And despite all the problems he brings, Bill Clinton would be a campaign asset in reaching out to white men, an Achilles' heel of the Democrats. They also make up about 40% of the electorate.


• What it would say, symbolically. Many are focusing on the historic picture of a black man and white woman heading a ticket. The vice presidential choice is the first big decision of the nominee. Obama has run as a conciliator, ready and willing to work with Republicans and independents to get things done. Hillary Clinton is arguably the most polarizing figure on the American stage today. Symbolically, asking her to join the ticket would undermine the central theme and rationale of an Obama presidency.

• Bill Clinton. It's about the governing. Some analysts and even some Democrats doubt that either Bill or Hillary could play second fiddle in an Obama White House. In a new essay, Rutgers University political scientist Gerald Pomper argues that an Obama-Clinton White House "would bring a President Obama sniping from his vice president and the anguish of the likely intrusive pretensions of Bill Clinton as a self-designated co-president."

• For all the historic attributes of her candidacy, Hillary Clinton brings nothing unique to the table that others could not. She represents a state that is already reliably Democrat. Several Democratic female governors or senators in swing states could appeal to women but come with less "baggage," as Sen. Clinton herself has described her history. And others can help Obama shore up a lack of foreign policy experience better than Clinton can, including New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who as a Hispanic, would have powerful appeal in one of the nation's fastest-growing voting demographics.

In his essay, distributed through the "Crystal Ball" website of University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato, Pomper argues that a Clinton-Obama ticket "doesn't make sense" in "cold-hearted political terms." He says Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, a Vietnam veteran and former Navy secretary, would be more help in appealing to white men that have quadrennially shunned the Democrats in presidential election after presidential election.

"The real gender gap is not caused by women but by men," Pomper writes.

The above is a rather rational analysis of why it would and wouldn't make sense to have her on the ticket and all these points will probably play a part in Obama's decision of whether he'll ask Clinton to come aboard.

Whether she would accept even if asked is another matter entirely and depends on what course she believes will best take her, eventually to the Oval Office. What would best for her, of course would be if Obama were to lose this year. If she were his running mate a loss would probably do her no harm since Obama, as head of the ticket, would get the lion's share of the blame. If he won, as VP she'd be the obvious nominee for 2016...but she'd be 70 at that time and a 70 year old woman (sorry, ladies but this is probably true) would be a hard sell.

If she doesn't get on the ticket, she remains in the Senate and her future is more her own than if she ties her wagon to the questionable Obama as President. And Clinton's like to be the master's of their own destinies.

Personally, I'm betting she isn't on the ticket. In the next four months even the most minute nuance of the most obscure argument on this subject will be dissected and analyzed by the media before we see what actually happens and we find out if I'm right or wrong.

Of course there is one thing that can be known with certainty about who Obama will choose as running mate: he or she will have more experience than the Obamessiah and will be more conservative. This is because there is no one in national politics to his left and very few with less experience.

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