“Dream” Ticket: Just Say No

Hillary Clinton was not seriously considered as a vice presidential candidate in 2004. She wouldn’t have been seriously considered as a vice presidential candidate this year had she not run. The reasons are obvious. No blue state Senator who is far to the right of her party on defense, has negatives in the 40s, brings only four years more experience over the nominee, and who half of the country is convinced is Rosa Luxembourg’s lycanthropic evil twin is going to add anything of value, either in electability or in governing ability, to the ticket. That’s just stupid.
But damned if there are people who’ll try to convince the world otherwise. And not just Clinton hacks like Terry McAuliffe; people I really respect, like Ed Kilgore, are on board. I get the impulse; it’s tempting to want to heal the rift in the party through a Clinton choice. But I think doing something like picking Wes Clark – who, in addition to being more progressive on foreign policy than either of the candidates, would actually add something to the ticket – would be a better way to show that loyal members of the Clinton faction of the party, even someone as close as Clark, are not going to be shunned. Picking Clinton is, as previously explained, just stupid.
More importantly, though, I have a very hard time with the notion that the Clintons deserve the (nominally) second most powerful post in the US government, a post they would surely use to create a parallel policy shop with which to compete with Obama’s (better) people, for extending the primary process and damaging the party the way they have. This could have been over a long time ago. After the Potomac primaries, or Wisconsin, or Wyoming or Mississippi – there were plenty of opportunities for her to do what losing candidates have always done, and withdraw gracefully. But she didn’t. She stayed in, and she ran an incredibly nasty campaign, one with plentiful helpings of economic demagoguery, not even thinly-veiled race-baiting, and repetitions of Republican smears like Wright and Ayers. Because of her vanity, because of her unwillingness to accept defeat, McCain actually has a shot this November. I’ve said it before in conversation with my friends on the campaign, and I’ll say it here: on a basic, emotional level, I want Versailles. I want a Carthaginian peace. I want a world in which Hillary, Bill, and all the people who helped them do this don’t have a role in the Democratic party.
Obviously, that won’t happen, and thinking rationally, it shouldn’t. Hillary’s a better Senator than some alternatives, Bill still garners respect from some quarters of the party, and the campaign has supporters willing to believe the most absurd spin they can generate, supporters it’d do no good to alienate. But the point is, I don’t think Obama owes the Clinton campaign shit; on the contrary, the Clintons owe him, and our party, a lot. I don’t think it’s unreasonable, for instance, to ask that Mark Penn and McAuliffe not hold positions of authority in Democratic campaigns for the foreseeable future, or for Bill and Hillary to publicly apologize for their racism on the campaign trail. That’s the direction concessions should go toward, from Hillary to Obama, not the other way around.

2 thoughts on ““Dream” Ticket: Just Say No

  1. Well, since you’ve ruled out Hillary Clinton as a vice presidential pick, who do you think Obama should go for, and for what reasons? As much as I think that a strong majority in the Senate is a priority, I would like to see an Obama/Jim Webb ticket, for demographic and narrative reasons. I have a post on it here.

  2. I’m not sure what Webb adds to the ticket. He’ll only have three years of relevant experience (one year as Navy Secretary, two as Senator), which will, if anything, make that critique of Obama much stronger, and picking him gives up a safe seat in a purple state. I’d rather have him in the Senate, maybe chairing the Armed Services committee in a few years. I think it suits him better.
    I’m leaning toward Wes Clark now, personally. Bill Bradley still appeals, but Clark (a) gives Obama foreign policy cred (b) is legitimately liberal, more so on foreign policy issues than even Obama (c) reinforces the “outsider” image of the campaign and (d) acts as a peace offering to the Clintons.

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