By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Clinton (sigh) for veep

I can think of all sorts of reasons why Barack Obama shouldn’t make Hillary Clinton his running mate. She stands for what he was running against, she’s the most divisive politician in America, her husband is reckless, etc., etc. But I think he ought to suck it up and do it.

By running consistently ahead of Obama since — what? early March? — she has succeeded in forcing her way onto the ticket. It’s going to be very difficult to unite the party, and it’s got to gall Obama that it’s largely her fault. Tough. Putting her on the ticket creates some problems, but it solves more.

OK, time to hit the cable nets.

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  1. Anonymous

    politics makes strange bedfellows… just as Bill.

  2. Bill Toscano

    Waiting for the first JFK-LBJ comments.;)And if you believe Oliver Stone . . . I think putting her on the ticket clinches it for McCain.I loathe McCain, but I would vote for him rather than put her “a heartbeat away.”

  3. Peter Porcupine

    Gee whiz, DK – your concern for ‘uniting the party’ sounds…almost…partisan! A journalist! It cannot BE! >:~)

  4. Mike from Norwell

    Dan, to quote Iowahawk from this classic piece of satire: today Senator Obama faces a clear choice: (a) stay in the campaign through the convention, wasting millions of dollars on primary advertising and expensive food tasters, or (b) withdraw immediately and graciously transfer his war chest to the only remaining Democratic candidate capable of appealing to hard-working white voters, such as Hillary Rodham Clinton. Same outcome either way, with the possible exception of body count.Remember back to Mondale-Ferraro in ’84 and the comments about John Zaccaro “checking in”? How would you like to be Obama w/ Bill Clinton in the background, sneaking into the Oval Office using the spare key kept in the china set they absconded with back in January of ’01?Don’t think it’ll happen.

  5. Anonymous

    Bill Toscano: Swallow hard and vote for whichever ticket Obama creates, including Clinton. The backhanded choice of McCain instead of anything with Clinton is a vote for more of the same. We can’t afford that.She is divisive. That was claimed before she even declared for the nomination. It’s her history and her name, much more than her practices.Obama has a problem, and it’s all rooted in the many races he has lost to her this campaign. He may have been ahead since Feb, but could never ‘seal the deal’, which made this marathon campaign happen. Just look at how close they are in both delegates and votes. This was a race that had to be played out, not walked away from. Now, assuming the super delegates stand behind their declared words, and vote for him at the convention and officially make him the nominee, we have to get behind him four square, and work for victory in November. We can afford no less.

  6. Dan Kennedy

    PP: Spare the sarcasm. I’ve got advice for McCain, too. If he’ll listen, he’ll win the election!

  7. Anonymous

    The woman ran hard for 15 months. She equaled Obama in votes. She beat him in virtually every major state with the exception of his own state, Illinois. She lost to a better organization, not to a more popular candidate and not to a more popular message. In order to beat the Clintons and the DLC there was an orchestrated campaign to demonize Bill and Hillary. No one, unless you are a fool, believes Hillary Clinton is a racist but that’s the drumbeat we heard from the left and the right. Dick Morris wants to equate the Clintons with George Wallace. Every good deed the Clintons have done has been portrayed as image-making and money-grubbing in its intent. The latest, a piece in Vanity Fair, was an ugly hit job laced with innuendo.The primary is over. She has given notice to her staff. She is wrapping things up. She has to say she would accept the VP position if offered even if she does not want to be VP. She may want to be VP, who knows, but it is far from certain. To think she should just walk away and implore the 18 million people that voted for her to jump on the Obama bandwagon is to compare primary politics to sports—to the winner goes all the spoils. That’s not primary politics. Obama won the nomination but he did not win the hearts and minds of the people that voted for Hillary. If Obama is a leader he will negotiate for and obtain Clinton’s real backing and support (something Jimmy Carter never earned from Ted Kennedy). He should have done that months ago but he underestimated how bad she could hurt him. She beat him like a drum since March, left him looking weak, and forced him to get the DNC Washington insiders to secure the nomination in a bag job–so much for change. Once Obama has Clinton’s real support the presidency is his. If he does not negotiate a deal with her he will have made a bet he can win without her. Maybe he can in a year when Republicans have never been weaker. Politics makes strange bedfellow. Common sense indicates he needs her more than she needs him

  8. Tony

    I’m going to have a very hard time voting for Obama if he picks Hillary as his VP. The Clintons need to go away. I hope he doesn’t do that. I would hate to have to vote for Nader again [or McKinney or Barr …], especially since I live in a swing state …

  9. Robin Edgar

    What about Al Gore? Or one of the candidates who dropped out like John Edwards? I honestly do not see Barack Obama with Hillary Clinton as his running mate as a “dream ticket”, more like a “nightmare ticket”. ;-)Of course, as a Canadian, I have no real say in the matter but I think that Obama would be better off choosing a different running mate but giving Hillary Clinton a different prominent post in the government in the event that he is elected as President.

  10. man who's not really a hillary fan, but doesn't hate her either

    Clinton is a bad choice for VP for three reasons:1. She’s too obsessed with being President to embrace the “dark man in the shadows” role that Cheney did so evilly well.2. Hillary really brings out the hate in Republicans. Many of them might stay home in November with Obama, but they’ll be damned if they’ll risk letting Hillary back into the White House.3. Clinton is still a US Senator, folks. A US Senator in a Senate with a mighty thin margin in favor of the Democrats. If Hillary’s on the ticket, and Obama wins, that margin becomes RAZOR thin, with an even tie between Republicans and Democrats + 2 Independents that caucus with Democrats. Hillary would then become the tiebreaker as VP, but what if one of the Independents switches? Dicey, dicey, dicey.Frankly, I think both the party and Hillary herself would be better served by supporting Obama in exchange for a Cabinet post. If the President so wishes, a Cabinet member can have significant self-control over their domain. Perhaps Hillary could head up HHS with an understanding that Obama will support her healthcare package, getting it through Congress.

  11. Anonymous

    Apparently even the likes of Jay Severin is worried about McCain’s chances against an Obama/Clinton ticket.Speaking of the Jay-ster, can anyone get him to stop claiming that there’s a nefarious embargo on Michelle Obama’s thesis from when she was at Princeton? It is widely available on sources such as Maybe Jay hasn’t heard of google?

  12. Anonymous

    The dirty politics that Clinton used in the last few month make just as much people to not vote = people from clinton’s side would join with this ticket,so it doesn’t really help.Beside the combination of her hunt to be President & the 2-3 reference to assassination; Clinton become VP is just plain dangerous. (Just stating what has happen in the few month, I don’t mean anything else from it, right?)

  13. eebanks

    I disagree, Dan. The Clinton’s have a long history of dishonorable behavior. Senator Clinton makes nice speeches; always has, but her follow- through is doubtful. I, for one, don’t want her and Bill anywhere near the White House and will be perplexed if Obama chooses her.

  14. Anonymous

    to “Man who’s not really a Hillary fan…” one of those independents is Leiberman, who is more likely to align with the GOP in the Senate, making that razor thin margin even razorier (!). IMHO, Obama will shun Hillary as veep and go with one of the many Democratic governors whose names have come up. Hillary would continue to be too divisive and Obama would get tired of checking doors in the White House for trip wires.

  15. Mike

    NO FREAKING WAY! Her ego is holding 18 million voters hostage! You DO NOT negotiate with terrorists! Someone needs to teach her that you can’t always get what you want, even if you are a tremendously powerful millionaire senator.

  16. Peter Porcupine

    DK – No snark – I really hope you DO write that post with advice for McCain, because I think it would be interesting.

  17. Dan Kennedy

    PP: I’ll write a more fully developed version at some point, but let me get it out there now. If McCain picks Colin Powell as his running mate, he wins the election. That simple.I might have said this already. I’m old, and I tend to repeat myself!

  18. Enough!

    Suppose the Celtics had lost to the Pistons in the Eastern Conference finals, but refused to acknowledged that they had lost. Why, Danny Ainge could just point out that the Celtics had posted a better regular season record than Detroit and what’s more, had beaten LA both times they faced each other. For that reason, he could say, the Celtics are better qualifed to be in the finals against the Lakers, not Detroit. For good measure, the Celtics scored more regular season points than Detroit…Give it up, the NBA would say. You may be a better team, but you lost when it counted. There are playoffs for a reason.Sorry, Senator, you lost. Many candiates who lose in the primaries continue to believe they would have won in November, but for those darn pesky primaries. It’s hard for them to accept it. Now it’s time to move on.

  19. Anonymous

    Dan, you better stop. If you keep repeating that McCain could win and Obama could lose all those Kool-Aid drinking Obama supporters will start saying bad things about you. Enough! said, sorry, but the presidential primary is not a sporting event. Hillary Clinton does not have to admit her shame and her supporters do not automatically pass to Obama. Obama won the Democratic nomination, nothing more, nothing less. There is a Catch-22 to winning the primary. He now has to earn the support of the voters that didn’t vote for him in the primary and that he will need in the general election. The more you trash Clinton for staying in this contest the more you alienate her supporters and the harder you will make it for Obama to earn their trust.

  20. Anonymous

    What’s more likley to happen:1. Barry Bonds to the Boston Red Sox to fill in for David “Big Papi” Ortiz if the DH is lost for the seasonor . . . 2. Obama to offer Hillary, and for her to accept, the VP nomination on the Democratic ticket. Clearly, Hillary as VP is the correct choice but it says much about the state of the Democratic Party that most people would pause before answering this question. America does love to tear down its icons, and, make no mistake, the Clintons are political and media icons.

  21. mike_b1

    Dan, blacks neither like nor trust Colin Powell. He has never held public office and has no “home court.” So which constituency does he appeal to that McCain doesn’t already?In an earlier response, Robin said the same thing I mentioned to my wife this a.m.: Al Gore. If anything, he’s empirically more popular than Hillary, Bill, and Obama. He won more votes in 2000 than Bill ever did (and probably a few more than we know). He’s won a Nobel. He was the 600-lb elephant throughout the campaign. Obama should offer him both the position and a platform as the nation’s energy czar, with the resources and mission to develop a comprehensive energy roadmap for the nation. That would put the attention all back on the single area the GOP has never had a shred of zero credibility. And it’s a domestic platform to boot, at a time when McCain’s entire inane platform can be boiled down to, “Things are improving in Iraq.”

  22. Leslie

    In terms of coalition building, Hillary should switch parties and VP for McCain.But seriously, boys, (and as far as I can tell from your names, most if not all of you are boys) when I saw a headline yesterday afternoon to the effect of “Clinton Says Will Accept VP” I was astounded by the tears that sprang to my eyes. Out of nowhere. I’m just not a weeper. But I have realized that as a woman over 60, I have a deeply held desire to see a woman achieve that level of elected office in the US during my lifetime. I emailed her, “DO IT DO IT TAKE IT TAKE IT for all American women.” The challenges you guys raise can be overcome. I hardly see New York state put a Republican in her senatorial seat, get serious.

  23. Anonymous

    Mike, Colin Powell’s constituency would be the same one that has worked for Obama: whites who would feel better about themselves by voting for an African American. The percentage of young and/or minority voters who actually show up at the polls is improving but still too low. Americans are still begging for a chance to revisit the center. Obama is as far to the left as Bush is to the right.

  24. Anonymous

    McCain with Colin Powell as Veep? Powell lost any shred of respect from me when participated, actively in the Bush organization’s selling of the invasion of Iraq. I want him in government as little as I want McCain.

  25. mike_b1

    anon 3:15: I completely disagree. First, the demographic you state simply doesn’t exist. Second, there’s no evidence that indicates Powell has any constituency outside of the military — and he hasn’t even been part of that for a few years now. Allegiances shift. Whether Obama is left or right is irrelevant. Obama has a significant base in a large electoral state (Illinois), and ties to several other places as well. Powell has none, and I would argue most liberal whites — the group you are in effect are saying would support him — take a dim view of Powell for his inability to stand up to George Bush.

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