Monday, June 2, 2008

Obama Must Give Hillary VP Call

Barack Obama, saddle up your Hobson's Choice.
English folklore states that a 17th Century liveryman, Thomas Hobson, would require every customer to take the horse nearest the barn. His patrons believed they had a choice but, in reality, they didn't. Old Man Hobson had already made the decision for them.
When he finally buttons up the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, Obama will be in a similar fix. The Illinois senator may think he has many choices for a running mate but, in fact, there's only one: Hillary Clinton.
Whether he likes her or not, Obama must make a sincere effort to get Clinton on his ticket, even if she rejects him. If Obama doesn't offer her the vice-presidential spot, he risks exiting the Democratic Convention as a much weaker and vulnerable candidate--one who exposes an important voter flank to GOP rival John McCain, who is going to be a much tougher candidate than most are giving him credit for right now.
Obama needs to reach out and bring Hillary's backers into his orbit. To win, Obama is going to require more than the hardcore support of young people, new voters and the black community. He'll also need Hillary's base of support, which includes Hispanics, working-class whites and middle-age women.
An Obama-Clinton ticket is the Dem's best bet for winning those voters.
Political experts, who follow this race more closely than many of us, say Obama-Clinton is a nightmare ticket, not a dream team.
I disagree.
Seems to me that this is a close replay of the Democratic Party nomination of 1960, when John F. Kennedy won a hard-scrabbled and nasty nomination fight against Texas Senator Lyndon Johnson.
Kennedy didn't want Johnson on his ticket, nor did JFK's ardent supporters. But, JFK was a pragmatist who knew the offer had to be made. Once Johnson accepted, he went to work bringing in a lot of southern votes and helping the Dem's ticket win a squeaker of an election over Richard Nixon.
You see, JFK embraced his Hobson's Choice.
That's what Obama has to do--if he wants to win this race.

(Hobson's Choice DVD cover art courtesy of on Google images. By the way,the David Lean movie with the great Charles Laughton is worth seeing.)


Patricia Martin said...

Really good insight, Bob. And loved the analogy.

Marj said...

I guess I'm on the "nightmare" side. I don't think it's a sweet dream for either Obama OR Clinton. I think she'll campaign vigorously for Obama and bring her supporters along even if she's not on the ticket. She doesn't want to be in the spoiler role. Obama needs to give Hillary whatever else she needs to be happy (help paying off debt, etc), ensure that she does NOT want the VP slot, THEN offer it to her. Wouldn't THAT make everyone happy? The Hobson's choice would then be hers, not his.

Ron said...

Although it is a nightmare, Obama likely will do it for political expediency--i.e. his church decision. No matter what, Hillary is going to be a trooper and support Obama--knowing that she is then becomes the 2012 heir apparent if Obama loses in November.

Anonymous said...

She brings nothing to the ticket. The voters she had will be with Obama anyway. Check polls from 2000 that initially had McCain backers refusing to support GWBush. The only thing she brings is chaos and drama and distraction. No way.

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