In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that I thought Hillary Clinton would be the wrong choice for the VP spot on the 2008 Dem ticket. She may, indeed, be the inevitable choice, but I don’t think that she would be the most productive one. Let me elaborate.
The HIllary haters have their list of anti-Hillary-VP reasons all lined up. They’ll start with the fact that former President Clinton will have access to the White House again and he will, as a former President, have full security clearance. There could be quite a tango going on among the former President, the VP’s office, and the Oval. I certainly think that Obama has the grace and he has recently shown the fortitude to handle that situation. But it would be a distraction. And President Clinton is, as we have seen, most notably in the SC primary, I think, a loose cannon. While I’m not a card carrying member of Hillary Haters Anonymous (no, I don’t think it exists), even I’m not sure I want him wandering around the world speaking for the White House. I don’t think he has it in him to stay on message.
The Hillary haters will also mention that she ran her campaign so poorly that she hasn’t shown the creds necessary to be an executive. There were huge budget shortfalls and staff infighting. She came into a race that there was no way she could lose, with the Clinton name and some really talented folks who had already run and won successful political campaigns. She sewed up the traditional high rolling Democratic fundraisers and donors. And in the face of all that, she lost. And her behavior in losing, up until that speech yesterday, was not worthy of the former First Lady.
There are certainly some great reasons to name her as VP, the greatest of these, and probably the reason most VPs are picked, is the votes she brings to the table. The theory, of course, is that those who voted for her in her primary campaign will also vote for the Obama / Clinton ticket. She will “bring” women, Hispanics, blue collar voters. There will certainly be a portion of her supporters so bitter that she did not win the primary that they will stay home or vote for McCain in protest. But they’re so crazy we can’t worry about them.
I think, however, that Obama can find another candidate who will bring at least one or two of those sections onto his ticket and who will make, in the process, a less divisive VP. In the meantime, here’s my number one reason for Senator Clinton not getting the VP nod: she needs to stay and the Democratic party needs for her to stay in the Senate.
We have not begun to see what Senator Clinton is capable of in the Senate. She is, no matter what one may think of her, a powerful woman. She can negotiate, she can bring people together. By all accounts, she is very warm and vibrant in person. She is intelligent, no doubt. She is a true policy wonk, getting into the details and embracing the solutions. I love the White House and fully acknowledge the importance and power of the Presidency. But the Congress and, more specifically, the Senate is where things get done, folks. With President Obama in the White House and tough, like minded Democrats, like Senator Clinton, in the Senate, we could actually make things happen in America. We might start recovering from the darkness we’ve been living in. We might end this stupid war. We might prevent an attack on Iran or recover from whatever damage Bush manages to incur with Iran over the next few months. We might make some inroads with our struggling economy. We might help our kids recover from the disastrous No Child Left Standing, er, I mean, No Child Left Behind, Act. And the healthcare thing? I can’t think of a better Senate ally than Senator Clinton. That one’s gonna be hard, people, and she knows how to make it happen.
I’m not saying that she won’t be chosen for VP. And if she is, I will support that choice as ardently as I have supported Senator’s Obama run for the nomination. But I will be surprised if she is chosen, I will suspect back room machinations. And then I’ll move on.