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Hillary’s VP Smokescreen

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In a recent campaign event Bill Clinton told reporters that Hillary was 'very open to the idea' of Barack Obama as her running mate. This followed Hillary's statements to the news media that a joint ticket "may be where this is headed".

This may sound like good news to Democrats who want this so called 'dream ticket' and to those who are worried about party unity. Clinton's offer suggests that she does not want the race to get irreparably negative. However the strategy behind this recent VP buzz is more tactical than altruistic.

Why Obama is not interested:

It is quite uncommon to see the front runner being offered the post of VP by the trailing candidate. Even though Sen. Obama is ahead by all measures in the race so far, Clinton's offer undercuts Obama's achievements and gives the illusion that she is ahead. It also puts him in an awkward spot where he either has to show some warmth to the idea or make a counter offer of his own to Hillary.

Let us assume for the sake of argument that Obama was trailing Clinton. Even in this scenario Obama cannot accept the offer because it would fly in the face of his entire platform. He has gotten this far by promising change and vowing not to allow the same old people to run Washington. By accepting the offer he would not only support the same old people, he would in fact facilitate the process as VP. Obama would also ruin his chances of running again in 2012 or 2016 because his message of change would be exposed as hypocritical.

Why Obama cannot counter the offer:

With Hillary as his running mate Obama would still be seen as facilitating giving power to the same old faces in Washington. He would also be worried about Hillary trying to undermine his authority. Denials aside, Obama will require on the job training if he becomes President. One can safely assume that he will not want the Clintons to be his trainers.

A President, Obama would also constantly be wary of Bill and Hillary trying to second guess him. It would be an ugly power struggle where a seasoned former President and First Lady outshine and out maneuver the rookie President. Obama cannot afford to risk an undercurrent of hostility and political conniving coming from his running mate(s).

The Clinton camp has already figured out this dynamic and is thriving on it. They know Obama is cold to either idea and they have put him in a tough spot. Hillary comes across as the uniter extending an olive branch to her opponent while he comes across as the one willing to risk a divided party. Clinton would also largely benefit if Obama did accept her offer since she would not share any of the above dilemmas. The Obama camp is on the defensive against the retooled Clinton machine.

The Clintons have accepted their role as the insurgent candidate and have adapted to it brilliantly. They are at their best when fighting in the trenches and it will be interesting to see how Obama responds from his above the fray pedestal.

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About Krutic

  • Clavos

    EXCELLENT analysis, Krutic!

    You nailed it! Right on the head.

    The devious and clever Clintons strike again.

    I hope Obama is smart enough to counter the move immediately.

  • http://www.winstonapple.blogspot.com Winston Apple

    Of course there is no way of knowing for certain, but I share your view that there may be an element of calculated scheming on the part of the Clintons involved in their comments about a “joint ticket.” I still think Obama would be wise to take them up on the offer, assuming that it is mutual.

    Over seventy percent of the Democrats polled have indicated a preference for both Obama and Clinton to be on the ticket. We already have a president who ignores the will of the people. It would be nice to see the two leading Democrats respond to the preferences of their supporters.

    I disagree with your statement that Obama would have to deal with “an ugly power struggle where a seasoned former President and First Lady outshine and out maneuver the rookie President.” The vice-presidency is an office that is defined by the president. It would be great if Obama made effective use of the knowledge and skills of both of the Clintons, but apart from Hillary Clinton acting as president pro-tempore of the Senate, if they seemed to be causing trouble, he could give them absolutely nothing to do.

    I just hope the Democrats can avoid doing anything that makes it easier for McCain to win. Even if Obama and Clinton don’t agree that whoever comes in second will fill out the ticket as the vice-presidential candidate, they should conduct themselves as if that is going to be the case. They should refrain from any and all attacks on each other.

    The number of new voters participating in the Democratic primaries and caucuses this year is a real tribute to both of these candidates. The excitement that they generate among their supporters needs to be maintained through November and beyond. Even a minor mud-slinging contest between Obama and the Clintons has the potential to turn off some of the supporters of the other candidate to the point where they stay home in November.

    – Winston Apple

  • JustOneMan

    Good Job…

    Hillary comes across as a uniter…and he comes across as the inexperienced loser that he is…

    JOM

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Who was it you were going to vote for, JOM?

  • Dan Miller

    “I hope Obama is smart enough to counter the move immediately.”

    I think he just did, at least I hope that is the correct reading of his statement. But, don’t worry. Sen. Clinton has lots of other potential VPs: the current Democrat governor of New York, for example. That would certainly make a few headlines and might perhaps even garner the oldest profession vote.

    Were Sen. Obama to give even a passing thought to running as Sen. Clinton’s VP, or having her as his VP candidate, he would forfeit every gram of luster he has so assiduously cultivated. It would not be too different from Sir Winston Churchill throwing a Tupperware party for Joseph Stalin just after the Fulton, MO speech coining the “Iron Curtain” phrase.

    I am afraid of Sen.Clinton, very afraid. My concerns about Sen. Obama are rather (no, not Dan Rather) less. I may well vote for Sen. McCain, but I would really like to have a viable choice. A Clinton-Obama or an Obama-Clinton ticket would not, for me, provide a viable choice.

  • bliffle

    Hillary is a poison pawn on the Obama/democrat ticket.

    If one hypothesizes that half the people in the USA hate Hillary and half love her (which is kinda the impression I get from what I’ve read about polls and blog writings) then her entire strategy depends on getting complete loyalty from the pro-hillaries and figuring that some anti-hillaries will stay away out of apathy. A pure hillary vs. mccain battle yields a hillary win in that case, because there is plenty of mccain apathy around.

    But Hillary may get knocked off by Obama so she offers this ticket thinking to dissuade pro-obamas from from defending Their Man with a ‘safe’ second best finish. Doesn’t even matter if she’s sincere (she can easily rescind the offer upon winning the primaries). The offer is only purposed to ding the obama position.

    Obama, of course, cannot accept such a sally, or at least not on it’s own terms. But there may be a way to offer a new initiative that seems to be as well-intentioned and turns the tables. A clever politician can figure that out.

    For example, Obama might offer Sec of State to hillary, thus stating both respect and proper ranking of their relative positions. this would avoid splintering obama support (surely some of which is made up of anti-hillaries who would desert him if he conceded too much to the clintons).

    But I’m sure there’s a better play. And if the obamas are half as smart as I think they’ll be up and about figuring out what that play is.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    JOM has not yet endorsed a candidate…

    Don’t make me link to that comment, JOM.

    You know which one I mean.

  • Bennett

    Dr. Dreadful,

    Please link to it. Anyone with the extreme lack of class to bring someone’s mother into the argument, especially in such an abominable fashion, needs to get hung out to dry.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Happy to oblige, Bennett.

    Drum roll, please…

    For your delectation and wonderment, the verdict of the slobbering Right:

    Comment #3 on this thread.

    Enjoy!

  • Clavos

    Thanks for the link Doc.

    This is easier:

    #3 — February 3, 2008 @ 10:34AM — JustOneMan

    “Obama is the best the Dumbocrats have had in years..and in fact if it comes down to him and “The Angry Old White Man” McCain — I WILL BE VOTING FOR OBAMA….”

  • jacksmith

    Breaking News!!! Major Political Scandal!!!

    Large numbers of Republicans have been voting for Barack Obama in the DEMOCRATIC primaries, and caucuses. Because they feel he would be a weaker opponent against John McCain. And because they feel that a Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama ticket would be unbeatable.

    Hillary Clinton has actually won by much larger margins than the vote totals showed. And lost by much smaller vote margins than the vote totals showed. Her delegate count is actually much higher than it shows. And higher than Obama’s. HILLARY CLINTON IS ALREADY THE TRUE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE!

    As much as 30% of Obama’s primary, and caucus votes are Republicans trying to choose the weakest democratic candidate for McCain to run against. These Republicans have been gaming the caucuses where it is easier to vote cheat. This is why Obama has not been able to win the BIG! states primaries. Even with Republican vote cheating help.

    If Obama is the democratic nominee for the national election in November he will be slaughtered. Because the vote cheating help will suddenly evaporate. All of this vote fraud and republican manipulation has made Obama falsely look like a much stronger candidate than he really is.

    The democratic party needs to fix this outrage. I suggest a Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama ticket now! All democrats need to throw all your support to Hillary Clinton. So you can end this outrage against YOU the voter, and against democracy.

    Fortunately the Clinton’s have been able to hold on against this fraudulent outrage with those repeated dramatic comebacks of Hillary Clinton’s. Only the Clinton’s are that resourceful, and strong. Hillary Clinton is your NOMINEE. They are the best I have ever seen.

    You should be angry America. “This is not a game” (Hillary Clinton)

    Sincerely

    jacksmith…

  • Bennett

    Well, what I’ve read runs 180 degrees counter to what you write. In Texas, repubs were voting for Clinton in order to keep the primaries going long enough to let the dems self destruct.

    Check out this story from the Dallas Morning News.

  • Clavos

    You’re right, Bennett.

    jacksmith has it bass ackwards…

  • REMF

    “In Texas, repubs were voting for Clinton in order to keep the primaries going long enough to let the dems self destruct.”

    Actually, the real reason being they know Obama would be harder to beat in the General than Billary.

  • Bennett

    “Actually, the real reason being they know Obama would be harder to beat in the General than Billary.”

    Point taken.

  • http://cqpinion.blogspot.com Krutic A

    I think it is a great strategy. They are using Obama’s predicament to their full benefit.
    Think about it – the whole day yesterday was full of this story. Obama spent the day before the MS primary talking about obvious things like how he is ahead and she is behind.
    His message has gotten lost in the past couple weeks.

  • V Selesele

    Makes little difference which one of them gets it. The US is headed down a path of decresing economic wealth and reduced standard of living. The response from Washington is going to be more spending, more regulation, higher taxation and more inflation. In other words, more of the same. The political philosophy is set and the machine will continue to operate as it does presently. This nomination business has been entertaining though.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Krutic,

    Absolutely right, (in terms of the article and your last post). His message has gotten lost, he shouldn’t have to explain that he is ahead and yet he does.

    I think Hillary has learned how to ruffle him a bit, since the last debate in Ohio. In that debate, the first ten minutes he was talking over her, obviously enraged by her. Someone in the audience must have tipped him off because he made a face to someone like “who, me?” and then was better behaved from then on.

    In terms of VP selection, you’re right, he can’t have her as VP, but she would really need him as a VP. That said, the real VP question that we should be caring about is who will McCain pick!

    V, I really hope you are wrong but a part of me fears that you arent.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Jack. The fact is that Republicans are crossing over to vote for Hillary NOT Obama. He’d have won Texas without that crossover vote, no question. As for ‘cheating’, that’s usually saved for the general election, though I suppose it’s possible that both democratic candidates are engaging in the usual vote guying and registration fraud which is the hallmark of the party.

    Dave

  • Krutic A

    I do have an article planned about McCain’s VP choices…watch for it!

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Krutic. I have only one name for you. J. C. Watts. End of story.

    Dave

  • Krutic A

    I suppose..although name recognition is an issue. Very few people know who he is and McCain is likely to need some sort of ‘star power’ to counter the Democratic enthusiasm.
    But he does fit the profile that McCain should look for: young, conservative and no political baggage. Being a minority is also an asset but it might not sit well with the base (or it might)..I haven’t figured that out yet.

  • Krutic A

    I guess I shouldn’t say very few people know him because he does make TV appearances. But I still think he is relatively obscure
    (Congressmen usually are).

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    We know him pretty well down here in the Southwest, plus he’s a personal friend of McCain. He’s also very well spoken and could go one-on-one with Obama pretty well if Obama ended up as VP.

    Dave

  • Baronius

    Krutic – I think that Obama did a great job of responding to the “dream ticket” idea. He said that, if Hillary is claiming he doesn’t have the qualifications to be president, why should she think of him for VP? He caught her in a lie, a transparent political maneuver. If he’s smart, he will hammer away on this point for a while. It’s exactly the kind of political gamesmanship that alienates people from the Clintons.

  • Krutic A

    Well I don’t know about that. He is spending time talking about her offer and that’s one of her goals. His message has gotten lost. She is bringing him down from his pedestal and now both campaigns are going negative. No one talks about Obama’s inspirational speeches or message of change or whatever.
    Its become about whose surrogate will resign this week for something he/she said about the other candidate. In the trenches, Clintons are going to destroy Obama and he is very close to getting where they want him.

  • Clavos

    He needs to be careful, I agree, because they are sneaky, Machiavellian, sleazes who will stoop as low as need be to try to bring him down, but he’s no dummy and he has good advisers.

    I don’t think he’s down, not by a long shot

  • Clavos

    Here’s an interesting take from Real Clear Politics on Obama’s strengths as a general election candidate.

    It comes from, interestingly, a Republican; “Alex Castellanos, who was a senior media consultant in both of George W. Bush’s campaigns and in Mitt Romney’s failed bid for the nomination:”

    “”Obama is the hope and future of the Democratic Party, not Hillary, and everyone knows it. He is the one bringing new energy and voters. He could be a Democratic Reagan, invigorating the party for 25 years. If the Clinton people knee-cap Obama, it would be like killing Santa Claus Xmas morning in front of the children. The children won’t forget or forgive.”

    Pretty good analysis, IMO.

  • Krutic A

    Gotta disagree there Clavos. Reagan’s platform was that America is a great country. That everything is right with it. He was optimistic about America the country.
    Obama’s platform is America has lost its way. That things need to be fixed. Everything is wrong with America currently and he is the only one who can fix it. His optimism (and his campaign) is about himself – not the country.

  • Wiky

    But Obama did not agree with Hillary’s appeal. Even Geraldine Ferraro, noted feminist and Clinton supporter, ignited a fire storm to Obama. I think Ferraro just hit a lot closer to the truth than many Obama supporters would acknowledge when she said. I am sure that Ferraro is a true feminist, one of her books ‘Changing History Women, Power, and Politics’ tells this point, so I think Hillary just wants to unite the Democratic Party. This is a wise way. Otherwise, McCain would have a big chance.

  • Baronius

    Clavos, a good number of the people who won’t ever forgive or forget will be blacks. If Hillary sneaks onto the top of the ticket, what’s to stop a black insurrection against the Dems? “When is it our turn? We have supported your party all our lives, but I guess you expect us to stay in our place. VP is no better than the back of the bus.” Imagine that third-party movement!

  • bliffle

    This may finally be the end for the Clintons as a political force. Maybe even Bill Clinton will have no unofficial job in the next administration such as he had under Bush. And after a failed run at the presidency will Hillary be content to merely be a US Senator from NY?

    Certainly, the goodwill image that Bill Clinton received the last 7 years has been p*ssed away.

    And their arrogant offer to Obama by insultingly giving a tentative offer of 2nd place to the 1st place leader, suggests that they don’t consider his cultural background as important and vital as many other people of that same cultural background think it to be. Maybe many people of that cultural background, as well as others who are sympathetic to struggles for equality, would consider that to be patronizing in a way that they thought we’d left behind.

    One can only suppose that Clinton Inc. is offering Obama the VP job to fulfill the traditional campaign position of harassing and nagging the opposition ticket. Sort of a House Nagger.

  • JustOneMan

    Obama Spokesperson Launches New Messaging Camapaign to Unite Americans

    Rev, Wright Obamas spiritual leader and mininster in his final sermon last month on his path to retirement kicked off Obama’s new campaign tagline by stating…”Hillary ain’t never been called a nigger!”

    Obama rainbow coalistion of supporters are picking up the messaage and adding…

    “Hillary ain’t never been called a Chink!”
    “Hillary ain’t never been called a Yid!”
    “Hillary ain’t never been called a Dago!”
    “Hillary ain’t never been called a Fag…well maybe she has!”

    JOM “Obama…Affirmative Action in Action”

  • Anon

    Obama’s biggest liability is his pastor. That guy is a black panter as far as I’m concerned. Their church website has the word ‘black’ or ‘african’ more than it has ‘Jesus’ or ‘God’. It is scary.

    I’d love to see him and Obama’s wife give a speech together..we can say goodbye to Obama the minute that happens! :)

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    That guy is a black panter as far as I’m concerned.

    What’s a ‘black panter’? An African-American who’s just run a marathon?

  • Anon

    Ha ha. you really should do stand up..I wouldnt laugh but you might find some like minded morons to laugh at you.
    If you really are that dumb..I said he is a black Panther..one of those old timey black terrorist organizations.

  • JustOneMan

    oh… I thought he meant painter….I thought most painters werent black but Polish! at least in NJ!

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    If you’re the same ‘Anon’ who’s been commenting regularly here for the last few weeks you should know by now that typos like that one are mercilessly leapt upon and made fun of. I guess humor is wasted on some people.

    JOM: we’ve got painters of all colors, shapes and sizes here in California. Landscapes seem to be popular, although a couple of guys actually painted the score to ‘Amazing Grace’ all the way up a 40-foot-high wall downtown. Fascinating what some people will do for attention.

  • Anon

    From Real Clear Politics:
    Today, “Good Morning America” aired this Brian Ross report on Barack Obama’s pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Wright has a history of making controversial comments on politics and race.

    One excerpt from Wright: “The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.”
    Check it out here

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Yes. And?

  • Anon

    And it should be looked and talked about. Obama attended this Church for 20 years..he is close to the pastor.
    I dont know about others, but I’d walk out of the church if my pastor made such comments. Obama seems to have no problems whatsoever with those comments. He only ‘disagrees’ with them and only when pushed.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    My wife also sometimes makes outrageous comments, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to walk out on her. It also doesn’t mean I’m going to call her on them in front of other people. I’ll discuss them with her in private.

    Those comments, as emotion-laden as they were, also have a kernel of truth to them. I think Obama is honest enough to recognize that. But he’s also politically savvy enough to realize that if he said so publicly, the circling wolves would pounce.

    Even President Bush distances himself from many of the outpourings of such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, much as he may privately agree with the sentiments.

  • Clavos

    “That guy is a black panter as far as I’m concerned.”

    But only while he’s having sex…

  • Anon

    Obama’s pastor is a terrorist..or at least does his best to sound like one.
    His ‘sermon’ is prob the same as that of a radical imam somewhere in the middle east. This is the beginning of the downfall of B. Hussein Obama.

  • Clavos

    @ #44:

    Why? Because he has a nutjob for a preacher?

    Are all Catholics pedophiles?

    A lot of their priests are…

  • Baronius

    Dread, where is the kernel of truth in those comments? Please be specific.