May 8, 2008

Hillary Clinton for VP?

There's a lot of talk about this exchange
CHARLES GIBSON: Is there any discussion of what kind of an exit strategy there would be?

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: There are various exit strategies right now. Number one would be, go out on a win. So, stay in until West Virginia, where Sen. Clinton is likely the winner, and Kentucky on May 20, and after that, bow out. Two, negotiate for the imposition of Michigan and Florida, to get those delegations seated, declare victory on that, and get out. But the big one, Charlie and this is what some people close to the Clintons are talking about: Is there a way to negotiate a settlement with Barack Obama to have Sen. Clinton on the ticket?

CHARLES GIBSON: And what do they think?

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: It's hard to know. I mean, first of all, would Sen. Obama go for it? Can he get over the bitterness of this campaign? Can he be convinced that it's the strongest ticket? Third, of course, would Sen. Clinton take it? I think if it was offered in the right way, yes.
I hate the idea of Hillary as VP.

Here's Josh Marshall on the subject:
Does Hillary Clinton really want the vice presidency? It seems to me that the senate offers her a better venue for achieving her ambitions and goals personally, politically and in public policy -- and a future in public life with much greater longevity -- than anything she'll find as Barack Obama's number two....

Most people who accept the vice presidency do so either because they believe it will line them up to succeed to the presidency or because it brings them to a level of power and honor their careers held little prospect of bringing them otherwise. But neither applies to Hillary Clinton. She's already of the stature and standing to run for president. She's a genuinely historic figure. And she's already been heavily involved in a successful two term administration.

Remember too that the recent trend for greater vice presidential involvement in key administration decision-making has brought with it a flat requirement that vice presidents be strictly loyal and politically subservient to the president. Quite simply, the vice presidency is beneath Hillary's stature....
Also, I can't understand this notion that Obama would pay Clinton to get out of the race — that is, that his campaign would pay her debts for her. Clinton spent her own money on her campaign. How is it permissible for Obama to refill Clinton's personal bank account? I don't know the election law here. I am simply asking why this outrageous bribery is even allowed.

That last link is also to Josh Marshall, who says:
Helping to retire an opponent's campaign is not unprecedented and can sometimes be justified in the interests of party unity... But using more than $10 million raised in large part by small individual donations to pay back the Clintons who appear to be worth many tens of millions of dollars simply seems wrong....

Frankly, I'm surprised that it's even being suggested. It would be a mistake for the Clintons to ask (and just because people are chattering about it -- don't assume they have or will), a mistake for Obama to offer and one that would risk a severe backlash.

That's not what people gave their money for.
That's for sure.

30 comments:

MadisonMan said...

Does we get the best of both candidates with Obama/Clinton or the worst?

MadisonMan said...

Let me rephrase that. What I mean to say -- does the combined ticket bring along the best that both candidates have to offer? Or is the combined ticket a continued unhealing scab that reminds us of the bitterness of the present campaign?

The only answer to that is: Does Hillary! really want to be VP? I don't see that she does.

Sloanasaurus said...

Obama's idiot judgment would become more prevelent if he picked Clinton as his running mate.

Obama would be better off if he had no running mate. He should pick someone and then tell them not to give any interviews or show up to any events.

A running mate will only hurt Obama by making Obama look like a light weight since any good pick will emphasize Obama's inexperience. After Dukakis picked Lloyd Bentson, everyone wanted Bentson to be the nominee rather than Dukakis.

Roger J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ballyfager said...

"I hate the idea of Hillary as VP".

I hate the idea of Hillary.

Roger J. said...

I am sure Senator Obama knows full well that he gets Mr. Clinton along with Senator Clinton. What kind of fool would want Mr. Clinton, the consummate loose cannon, anywhere near the White House when you would be trying to put forward your own agenda? If Senator Obama does tap Ms. Clinton, that to me would be proof positive of his lack of judgment.

herbp01 said...

Well there is a large part of the country that will never vote for Hillary, if he puts her on the ticket he just adds her negatives I think.

the Rising Jurist said...

She'd be crazy to take it. She doesn't need the VP slot to enhance her name recognition, and she'd have more political power as a senator.

Zeb Quinn said...

Her being Obama's VP choice only works if McCain wins it all in November. How else could she run in 2012? That's why she won't.

On the other side, why would Obama want the Clintons rampaging through his administration?

Simon said...

I think Marshall's right, at least to this extent: "Does Hillary Clinton really want the vice presidency? It seems to me that the senate offers her a better venue for achieving her ambitions and goals personally, politically and in public policy...." How often does being the veep on a losing ticket advance someone's chances of being the nominee next time? I remember that in 2004, we were told that Edwards was a shoe-in for the Dem nomination in 2008. And although he ran, his campaign failed miserably in Iowa and went downhill from there.

Still: I think we can assume she will run in 2012 (or at least that she wants to), which makes the question not what we think helps that goal, but what she thinks advances that goal. If she sees the veep nomination as a springboard, she'll seek it. If she sees it as a millstone, she'll do what Steph says - go out on the best possible terms and then stand well back to avoid getting all toastified in the ensuing firefight.

The Political Jerk said...

I think we should replace the term Vice President with "Wingman" since it has become clear that a vice-presidential choice is only about getting elected, and not at all about the office.

So, who will be Obama's wingman, and help him close the deal?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Quite simply, the vice presidency is beneath Hillary's stature....

Bingo. I’ll go so far as to say that she probably thought being First Lady was beneath her.

My contention is if Obama does pull off the election in November and he does start implementing the policies he’s touting (assuming Congress goes along), he’ll be a one term president much like Carter. I think even Hillary knows that and the last thing she wants to do is end up being a female Mondale.

bearbee said...

Does Hillary Clinton really want the vice presidency?

Would O want her as VP. Why not offer her Sec of State?

...he’ll be a one term president much like Carter.

Agree. Soaring debt. Trashed currency. Tailspin economy. Increasing energy problems with no solutions in sight....

PatCA said...

Hillary as VP has a whiff of Shakespearean tragedy about it: Always number two, always passed over. Her tragic nature does her in again.

George said...

Better to pick Jim Webb—White, Scots-Irish, military—to split McCain's white vote and help peel Southern states away from him, unless he thinks he has no hope of taking anything in the South or undecided white males, in which case he goes with Clinton to shore up his base.

Mitch H. said...

Ugly little whisper:

A President Barrack Obama would have a significant chance of not living through his first term. He's an Islamic apostate - as president he'll attract assassins in swarms. Not to mention the insane hangers-on he attracts, or the superannuated domestic terrorists he associates with.

His vice-presidential nominee would have a significantly nonzero chance of becoming president by misadventure.

Imagine the conspiracy-mongering *that* would spawn.

While we're at it, who's this Huffpuffer floating the idea of a grand campaign bribe to get the Clintons out of the race? Is he just a talker, or somebody with connections? Because that's like, Corrupt Bargain nasty.

LutherM said...

Regarding the upcoming bribery;
The numbers I heard totaled $21,000,000 - $11 million repaying loans by the Clintons - $10 million additional owed to vendors. TO AVOID THE APPEARANCE OF BRIBERY, the vendors get paid this year - BILL & HILLARY NEXT YEAR.
FOR $21,000,000, OBAMA gets strong support from the Clintons, and avoids the unhappiness of unpaid vendors.
Even though it is wrong, I'd bet that lots of good lawyers can figure out how to make the transaction legal,(but what's new about that?)

eric said...

Just a quick comment to Althouse - why would Obama's contrib's be mad about spending their money on Clinton's debt? They gave money to support Obama with the goal of getting him elected, right? If paying Clinton's debt gets her out of the race, how is that not accomplishing their goal?

Paul Zrimsek said...

I always figured that if there were to be a deal it would be for a Supreme Court nomination. These being liberal Democrats, the sticking point would be deciding who gets the big prize and who has to settle for being a mere President.

Simon said...

Eric: many of Obama's supporters desperately want - need, even - to believe that he (and by extension, they) represents a new kind of politics, full of hope and change. To countenance something so cynical, so ordinary, so obviously of the old kind politics would impose unbearable cognitive dissonance.

Steven said...

Compared to the Senate, VP and Cabinet positions are too subservient to the President. The only position Obama could offer that's a step up from what she already has is a place on the Supreme Court. And that she'd only be able to get if the Senate had a filibuster-proof Democratic majority.

Skyler said...

I wouldn't give a plug nickel on odds of Obama living through the next four years if he's elected and Hillary is the vice president. He would probably learn what Arkancide is.

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

IIRC, helping a primary opponent retire campaign debt is common practice. This is not news and I'm suprised by some of the pundits who are pretending it is (since so many of them have been involved in losing campaigns ;-).

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

P.S. Forgot to add, Obama won't pick Clinton unless forced to. No presidential candidate wants to be upstaged by the VP candidate and Clinton could not help but do that day after day whether she wanted to or not.

Revenant said...

If Clinton was that likely to upstage Obama, wouldn't she be winning by now?

My suspicion is that Clinton doesn't want the VP slot. Obama's term is likely to be a disaster -- the war's not going anywhere, the economy and housing market will be sickly for years, and the tax increases are going to make swing voters scream in agony. Why would Clinton want to be associated with that, when she can wait until 2012 instead?

Fen said...

Right. A VP slot dooms Hillary's chance of ever becoming President. If they win, it will be Obama up for re-election in 4 years; if they don't win, they'll be spurned as losers like Gore, Kerry, and Edwards.

Fen said...

He would probably learn what Arkancide is.

"Apparent suicide. Gunshot wound to back of head".

AJ Lynch said...

I don't think Hillary is ready to exit the stage even if it means taking the V slot. Call me a contrarian.

I suggest McCain pick Guiliani or Lieberman for VP and Obama should select Webb or Rendell. I agree with Sloan this is a test of Obama's judgment. Just yesterday, an article said Obama holds 99% of the voting rights in his campaign. If he goofs up his VP pick, he won't be able to weasel out of it.

Roderick said...

Get used to it bitches!

HILLARY WILL BE VP. After all the close races, after the drubbings she's given him.... His demographics vs her demographics -he needs her.

Nobody can deliver the votes Hillary can for Obama, and nobody can campaign as well as she can for him. After primary battles candidates ALWAYS kiss and make up... why does everyone seem to forget this???

This aint a game of beanbag its POLITICS... so she said some dumb things... it doesn't matter. We will all kiss and make up. NOTHING will unify the party more and nothing will SUCCEED like a joint ticket.

Sebelius is a joke. Richardson... the 'draft pick' no way!

And the notion that Bill will be in the inner circle of an Obama presidency is ludicrous. How much do you think Lynn Cheyney is in the freaking white house? Bill has his highly lucrative speaking tours, his Library in Harlem and if he does anything for the Obama administration it will be as a good will ambassador OVERSEAS.

Get real, get with the program and accept OBAMA/CLINTON '08

without Clinton on the ticket... never underestimate the Democrat's ability to lose an election.

A2MIChub said...

This has happened numerous times. JFK chose LBJ, his closest rival, as his running mate. Reagan did the same thing with George Bush. The truth is that primary campaigns can get very bitter, but at the end of the campaign the winner needs to unite the party. You can't win a general election without appearing to unite the party. If Obama did not offer the VP slot to Clinton, that would be considered a major insult to Clinton's supporters. He should do it and make it appear that he was going to do it all along. For those of you who hate Clinton and hate the thought of her being VP, you need to keep in mind a few things. A)By the end of this election, she will probably win the popular vote after Puerta Rico(even if you don't include Michigan. She will win it with Florida's popular vote, because they will probably strike some kind of deal for Florida delegates). B)Despite all the hooplah, Obama is in a very weak position to win the general election. He may be an amazing speaker, but American voters do not like to elect liberal presidents. Democrats have a hard enough time getting elected president. Democratic candidates have only won 3 presidential elections in the past 40 plus years because the candidates are almost always too liberal. It's Southern Moderates like Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter who can pull it off. Obama is very weak in swing states and even weaker in Appallachia. Clinton, despite her so-called polarizing effect, won these areas somewhat dramtically. Why? Because these people remember the Clinton era as something other than the divisive politics that the Obama supporters keep claiming. It was an era of unprecedented peace and prosperity. Obama needs Clinton to win and he should put his pride on the shelf and pick her. An Obama/Clinton ticket would energize the Democratic party and railroad through John McCaine in the Fall. The notion that Obama should pick one of her surrogates or another woman on the ticket would only demoralize her supporters. They want Clinton. You better believe that they will stay at home if the Obama camp insults her by not picking her. Why? Because they would rather suffer through 4 years of McCain so Clinton can come back in 2012 and defeat him to become the first woman president. Get smart, Obama supporters. Encourage your man to do the right thing or else you will have another Bush term.