Thursday, May 29, 2008

Obama -- Clinton 2008

Assuming that she wants the job, and assuming that she doesn't take her campaign to the convention, I think Barack Obama ought to make a strong move to unite the party, and invite Hillary Clinton to run with him in November.

Despite the many valid and persuasive arguments against choosing her to be Vice President - you know my complaints, let's not enumerate them here - I can think of three strong arguments to offer her the second spot on the Democratic ticket:

The need to unify a bitterly divided party -- Two strong candidates have fought a long campaign. We have a clear winner, but the margin of victory was small. Although the race drew many new voters to the primaries, some will be alienated when the winner is formally declared - these folks may not return to vote in November. We need those votes.

The need to overcome the taint of racial and sexist offenses, perceived by both camps. If Obama embraces Hillary, some of her moderately-racist supporters may be mollified (I assume that nothing can mollify her extremely racist supporters). The implicit and corrosive argument the Clinton campaign has been peddling - that Obama can't get the votes of white working class voters will no doubt end when Hillary is on the ticket. If Hillary is on the ticket, some of her supporters who perceived a sexist attitude in Obama and his supporters may be willing to drop the charges. And no doubt it will be easier for Bill and Hillary to repair relations with the African-American segment of the party once they are on board the Obama train.

Finally, it must by now be obvious that Hillary Clinton is the preeminent woman on the American political scene. For the first time in my lifetime, there is a woman who has the talent, charisma, fortitude and political base necessary to make a compelling and viable run for the presidency. Even after the many mistakes of this campaign, Hillary stands up as a formidable candidate. I suspect I share a sentiment with some women of my generation - a sense of disappointment that this opportunity to elect a woman to the presidency has ended in failure, and that she was clearly our best hope of breaking that glass ceiling in our lifetimes.

So, despite strong misgivings, despite a preference for Joe Biden, despite an abiding concern about Bill Clinton kibitzing at the edges of the Oval Office -- despite all of this, I do hope to awake Monday to the news that Hillary has agreed to run for VP.

Time to start fighting John McCain. Let's hear it for Obama-Clinton!

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posted at 9:39:00 AM by Neil

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