Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Congratulations to Senator Obama!

What an achievement. For Obama, for the Democratic Party and for our nation.

Senator Obama started as a true long-shot candidate, but throughout his campaign, his hopeful message, sharp, timely and cogent (not to mention correct) criticism of the Iraq war, and calls to change Washington have inspired millions. His insurgent candidacy was funded by millions of small donors rather than a small number of millionaire donors/lobbyists. Although he ended with a narrow victory over the “inevitable” candidate Hillary Clinton, which she seems unwilling to acknowledge, it still counts.

I’m amazed that Clinton didn’t even acknowledge the fact that Obama had crossed THE threshold for the Democratic Party nomination last night. She said she would make no decisions “tonight” to raucous cheers from her supporters. Her speech last night conceded nothing, sounded much like every other campaign speech and exhorted supporters to visit (i.e. donate) to her campaign website. “Decisions”? other than acknowledging reality, I’m not sure what exactly she needs to decide. By not even acknowledging his status as presumptive nominee, her words/actions seem designed to undermine the legitimacy of the process.

How this “posture” by Hillary brings the party together mystifies me. If Clinton wants a spot on the ticket, or a post in the Obama administration (should he win) she is pursuing an unusual if not outright bizarre path to follow.

In light of the fact that Clinton has said she would “consider accepting the VP slot”, I suggest that Obama respond by stating that he will “consider Clinton as a running-mate” along with all the other potential VP candidates.

Clearly any politician in Obama’s position would consider adding the number 2 contender in an incredibly close election to create a “unity ticket”. There are strong arguments for combining their firepower. Hillary has strong and committed support, and Obama needs to win her supporters in November.

Nevertheless I don’t think Clinton would make a good VP for some of the same reasons I didn’t think she would make as good a presidential candidate. She is polarizing—she has almost perfectly divided the Democratic Party. She has high negative ratings. She is married to Bill. She would undermine Obama’s change message, etc.

While Obama/Clinton could potentially represent a unity ticket, it would almost certainly make for a divided administration. A Hillary VP (and Bill) could cause lots of trouble if Obama chooses a policy she doesn’t agree with. And if she really does believe she would make a better president, I doubt she would feel any deference or loyalty to Obama. Not that I think an Obama administration must be like the “loyal bushies” but four years of continual power struggle within the administration would be disaster.


Post a Comment

<< Home