Monday, August 11, 2008

Hillary Remains Obama's Best VP Call

This weekend, I got a personal email from the Barack Obama campaign--me and few million other people. It asked if I want to be among the first to know who the Democratic Party hopeful names as his running mate. If so, I can sign up to receive a text message or email alert the second it happens.
Not bad. Who doesn't want to be among the first to know news like that,eh?
Obviously, we're getting down to decision time on the second slot of the Dems' ticket. That seems to me like a good time to again make the case for Obama picking Hillary Clinton as his running mate.
Yes, I know they're suppose to hate each other. And I realize that Obama is looking in another direction away from Hillary, who might not take his offer anyway. But, I still believe that Obama-Clinton is the best ticket for defeating the GOP's John McCain, which prompts this re-filing of an early post on that very topic.
Here goes:

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.)


Rob_N said...

You write that Kennedy picked Johnson in order to pick up votes in the South... sounds logical, but you're comparing an apple to an orange.

What votes does Clinton bring that pushes Obama over the top anywhere? In the states where she may help Obama is already leading, comfortably.

Following your logic, Bayh must not be able to deliver the swinging Indiana... Kaine must not be worth much in similarly swinging Virginia... Sebelius must not be able to do much in the middle of the country.

Clinton doesn't bring anything to the ticket that Obama doesn't already have; though she does bring a whole boatload of negatives (including several new ones -- the donations to the Clinton Presidential Library for one -- since the end of the Clinton White House).

No offense, but your argument in favor of Clinton as veep amounts to "just 'cuz".

Besides, the Clinton team isn't doing much to help that hypothetical cause with Penn promoting a Powerpoint slide show which disparages Obama's electoral chances; Wolfson blaming Edwards' affair (?!) for Clinton's 3rd place finish in Iowa; and Hillary herself possibly still pooh-poohing Obama's chances behind closed doors (if third-hand accounts are to be believed).

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