Friday, June 6, 2008

Is it time to say, "Adios, Hillary"?

Now that Senator Barack Obama has clinched the Democratic nomination, there is the predictable media frenzy over the question, "What about Hillary?"

"Obama, Clinton Hold Talks in Feinstein's Living Room," cried a CNN website headline about the "secret talks" underway between Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton in Senator Diane Feinstein's Washington, D.C. home. Secret talks? What the hell? Since when did this thing become the Manhattan Project? Now the pressure is on Obama to select Clinton as his running mate. The New York Times announced, "Clinton Says VP is Obama's Choice." A poll taken by CNN found that most Democrats want Obama to choose Clinton to be his vice president.

Is this a wise idea? Aside from political guru David Gergen's famous quip that if Obama selects Clinton to be his vice president he's also going to need a food taster, a lot of pundits, campaigners, political junkies and Democratic bigwigs think Hillary would make an ideal veep.

To be honest, this Blogger has mixed feelings about whether Hillary Clinton would make a suitable running mate. True, she would bring a lot to the campaign: A wealth of connections, a base of support, cunning political sensibilities and an air of experience. She did a lot of things right on her campaign, especially her efforts to reach out to working-class voters. Plus Clinton is a dirty fighter -- and the Democrats need to dish it out a little more effectively to counter the army of Republican Orcs in the GOP Attack Machine who are already crawling out of the woodwork with their eyes on the prize of destroying Obama's momentum. Now that she's on our side, we can use her toughness. In these respects, Clinton would make an ideal vice-presidential candidate.

The negatives of making such a choice are obvious. Clinton is a polarizing figure. Poll after poll shows that a substantial number of ordinary Americans don't trust her, and that distrust cuts across party lines. Half of the voters on the right side of the political spectrum think she's still a flaming Sixties liberal, while many on the liberal/left/progressive side tend to view her as a reactionary warmonger. David Frum, by far my favorite conservative columnist (I read him religiously) weighed in in the pages of the National Post: "Clinton must surely rank close to the bottom of his vice-presidential preferences: too divisive, too 90s, too female, too untrustworthy and too prone to scandal. (Just last week, Vanity Fair magazine published a long story packed with lurid hints about Bill Clinton’s post-presidential sexual and financial adventures: 'No former president of the United States has ever traveled with such a fast crowd …')"

Frum continues: "So if Obama does choose Clinton, it will be obvious to all that he yielded to pressure and threat. That would put a humiliating mark on his candidacy — and offer an ominous clue about his hypothetical future presidency."

Old Bubba (above): Is there any way Hillary can keep a leash on that sucka?
Obviously, I have mixed feelings about Obama selecting Clinton as the Veep. Despite some brilliant moments on the campaign trail, Clinton showed a dark side of herself as a political figure possessing a Nixonian obsession with achieving and holding on to power at any cost. In many respects, she is a classic Machiavellian. How well will it serve Obama in conservative stronghold "Red States" to have a running mate widely considered by voters in those states to be a northeastern elitist who is out of touch with the people? And let's not forget Bubba (Bill Clinton). Man alive, Hillary is gonna have to put a leash on that sucka. Talk about leaving a foul taste in people's mouths. (And to think, I was actually getting nostalgic for Bubba after so many years of Old Dubya running the show.)

Obama ought to consider all the options carefully. But once he has, if he thinks Clinton is the way to go VP-wise, then Democrats will circle the wagons. Democrats are still stinging from the divisions of the primary season. So if Obama chooses Clinton, this Blogger will pick on her a little less (at least until November 5, the day after Election Day).

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