Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Should Hillary be Obama's running mate?

Yesterday's huge victory for Hillary Clinton in conservative, mostly rural, mostly white West Virginia underscores the huge amount of work that Democratic frontrunner Barack Obama must undertake in order to beat John McCain in November (like most, I agree that Obama's lead is now too large for Hillary to overcome.)

Today's endorsement of Obama by former candidate John Edwards shows the party is embracing the likely nominee after a protracted race.

Yet the considerable strengths that Clinton has brought to this campaign highlight an important point for me. Should all of that support and good will she has earned be all for naught?

Could Obama choose Hillary Clinton as his running mate? Speculation is rampant as we know. I'm well aware of the possible downsides of Obama choosing such a huge personality (who comes with a famous spouse of even larger personality and ego) to be his running mate. But it seems to me that an Obama-Clinton ticket would be a fitting finale to this historic race. It would also largely shore up some if not all of Obama's lingering weak spots. If Obama risks losing the general election without Hillary next to him, why should he care now if working with Hillary (and Bill) after a victory might be at times testy? He'd be President of the U.S., of course. I'm sure he could handle the dynamics.

Think back to previous running mates and how well they helped or didn't help the nominee. The most successful running mate choice in recent times I can recall must be Dick Cheney, whose obvious brains and experience added considerable weight to George W. Bush's 2000 run. I remember clearly the commentary then how Cheney would be essentially running the Bush White House.

Of course, I'm certainly not comparing Obama to Bush, or Cheney to Clinton. But it might be highly worthwhile for Obama to take advantage of the considerable street cred that centrist Clinton has earned over the course of this campaign, not to mention how it might soften the blow of the defeat for the first major female presidential candidate.

I've heard that Hillary just might be gunning now for the V.P. spot next to Obama. Such a position would keep her dream alive, no doubt. It might make the establishment far more comfortable with the prospect of an Obama presidency. I can't think of any other possible running mates who would provide equivalent strength to the ticket.

We'll see what happens. It just better not be John


rww said...

I think it is way too late for that but anything is possible in American politics. I think it would not be appropriate after the extremely negative attack campaign she has run particularly the implication that Obama should not be the candidate because many white voters would not vote for him, and the racist implications of that position.

James Bowie said...

Gawd no.

Anonymous said...

I would not want Hillary near the White House in my lifetime. The Clintons are done and dusted.

Hillary needs to concentrate on winning her Senate seat by focusing on "spygate". There are a lot of Buffalo Bills and New York Jets fan who will be clamouring for action there.