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Mrs. Clinton, it’s time to step down.

June 3, 2008

And, according to an article in the Huffington Post, she just may be doing that, as early as tomorrow night. According to the article in the post, Clinton has arranged a gathering of her donors and top supporters for tomorrow evening, where it is expected that she will announce her decision to drop out of the Presidential race.


It is also expected that at a similar gathering in St. Paul, also tomorrow night, Obama will clinch the nomination, finally receiving enough nominations to convince even Hillary that she cannot win. It is not certain that she will step down, however. Some are claiming that her meeting will serve as her announcement that she intends to contest Obama’s nomination. One can only hope that this is not so, as Democrats are looking more ridiculous by the moment. Finally having a nominee, and, hopefully, a nominee endorsed by the other candidate, is exactly what the Democratic party needs with only a little over five months remaining until the general election.


This is a point that most have overlooked. Normally, the candidates on both sides are decided on, or soon after, so-called Super Tuesday. Because of the prolonged race between Obama and Clinton, there are now only five months for the nominee to campaign for the general election. Luckily, Obama has been gradually turning his sights toward the general election for months, and so he should be able to hit the ground running, so to speak. Also luckily, while McCain has been campaigning since he received the nomination in early March, the country has been thoroughly distracted by the Democratic contest.


So now, when it seems almost certain that Barack Obama will become the official Democratic Nominee for President within days, what is the next hurdle? Obama has momentum, he has charisma, he has amazing fund raising capabilities, and, most importantly, he is not George W. Bush, nor can he be tied to him in any way. It would seem, disregarding major catastrophe, that the election is in Obama’s pocket. However, there is one thing that could lose him the election outright, and he just may step into what seems a very enticing trap indeed.


Barack Obama must not, under any circumstances, make Hillary Clinton his running mate.


Granted, naming Hillary as his running mate seems to be, on the surface,  the most intelligent thing that Barack Obama could do. If there is one thing that this extended contest has shown, it is that this country is divided about who should become the nominee, and, eventually, President. What better way, then, to unite the Democratic Party than to run a “dream ticket” with both candidates? Barack Obama would gain the voters that Clinton currently holds, as well as her experience and drive. Hillary would gain a better chance at becoming President in the future. What could be bad about that?


According to an article in a recent issue of the Economist, there’s no worse outcome for Obama. First, there’s the fact that the “upsides” of the dream ticket are not really upsides at all. While Clinton has certainly shown her ability to rally white middle-aged women, there are others who could do the same. More importantly, there are others, such as Ohio’s Governor, Ted Strickland, who could also draw white male voters, who are currently leaning toward John McCain just as they overwhelmingly supported George Bush.


Then come the downsides of an Obama-Clinton ticket. First, there’s the clash between Obama’s platform of change and the good-old-boy atmosphere of the Clintons and those surrounding them. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, is the idea of Clinton’s actual performance as Vice President. It is almost impossible to imagine Mrs. Clinton sitting back submissively in her symbolic role, especially considering that she was unable to do so while she was First Lady. The White House would fast become a battleground, with opposing factions of Democrats fighting for power and standing.


While it is true that the Democratic Party needs to be united as we move into the general election, adding Mrs. Clinton to Barack Obama’s ticket (or, in the case of an upset bigger than Truman vs Dewey, adding Obama to Clinton’s) is not the answer. Barack Obama should carefully consider his running mate based on his or her ability to gain votes that Obama cannot reach, as well as the talents and abilities that such a running mate could bring to the Presidency in this troubled time. This author suggests that there are any number of potential candidates out there, including John Edwards (who recently endorsed Obama), Ted Strickland (who would be invaluable in gaining votes in Ohio), or this author’s personal suggestion, Bill Richardson. And while we’re playing “fantasy Presidency,” indulge me for just a moment. Picture a scenario in which, through some twist of fate, Barack Obama chooses, for his running mate, none other than . . . Bill Clinton.


Now there’s hilarity for you.


(This article drew much of it’s information from the Lexington Editorial “Why Not Both?” in the May 17th issue of the Economist.)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 3, 2008 1:31 am

    I doubt the Obama-Clinton ticket will happen. The benefit of Hilary leaving is she will take Bill with her.

  2. Mike Robinson permalink
    June 3, 2008 4:53 pm

    Something interesting is the similarities between the campaign of 2008, and the campaign of 1972. Lots of in-fighting amongst the slew of Dem hopefuls; McGovern, the candidate most in touch with the “liberal” voters starts to make a big showing; the Dems take it all the way to the convention.

    McGovern could have easily handled Nixon, but he started pandering to the other Dems’ crowds, which meant changing his style and alienating his own base. He also had a disastrous time picking a VP, something that bit him in the ass. Obama has avoided the first of these issues, let’s hope he can clear the second as well.

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