Circ: If Hillary wins, she has to ask Obama to be her running mate if she intends to win a general election. If he wins, he needs nothing from her. He needs the moral equivalent of Lyndon Johnson to balance his ticket. Governor Ted Strickland of Ohio, a Clinton supporter, comes close.
Clinton-Obama is not a balanced ticket. But she loses black votes without him. Absent that real risk, Obama is a terrible veep choice for Hillary. She needs A White Guy and a heavyweight. Obama-Clinton is an even worse ticket. He wins Hillary's voters and states without her--she doesn't.
This is why Obama is the stronger candidate. He's made himself indispensable. He comes to the general election a whole candidate in and of himself. Clinton does not. Which really isnít her fault-- it's just the street logic of Obama's run.
Hillary's run actually *made* Obama run. She should have seen this coming. She should have known her making the historic case for a woman candidate threw the door open for, well, just about anything. Hillary actually *created* this Obama phenom, as many of the arguments and much of the enthusiasm her viability generates is directly applicable to him.
Obama *had* to run. Once he realized there was this opportunity, he had to step in and use Clinton's headwind to create an opportunity for him to play a key role in the nomination process. The very worst thing that could have happened would have been a key slot at the convention and positioning for a 2012 or 2016 run.
But something unexpected happened along the way: Obama started winning. I (and, likely, Hillary Clinton) never thought Obama's run was about 2008. I've always assumed it was about '12 or '16. But, because Clinton was so enormously successful early on, Obama strolled in, making use of the same arguments, the same our-time-has-come rhetoric, to make his own candidacy viable. Which changed the strategy from positioning himself for a later run to locking in the veep slot. I'm absolutely convinced Obama was running for vice president.
But, then something even more unexpected happened. And, much to my surprise and Hillary's chagrin, Obama is actually a viable candidate for the nomination. I don't believe he can win a general (that's just my cynicism about liberal whites being overtaken by doubt when the curtain closes behind them on election day), but I do think he's positioned himself perfectly to demand the veep slot if the Dems find some way to rob him of the nomination.
And, frankly, the veep slot would be safer for him. Eight years in office, and nobody's going to hang the "inexperienced" bit on him. And, having successfully run a viable campaign, running in 2016 as the first black vice president wonít provoke nearly the anxiety this race does.
But his future would then be indelibly tied to Hillary Clinton's performance. And I thin Clinton would probably make a crummy president. Much as the Dems want to sell John McCain as Bush Term Three, I think that's just a faÁade McCain is putting up to try and pull his fractured party together. McCain *loathes* George Bush. He's way, way smarter than Bush. And the spiraling economy--the very scary economic forecasts--actually help McCain, who confesses he knows nothing about economics.
Not sure why, but I see McCa as Harry Truman-esque. I think people are going to be scared in November, and they're going to be looking for a grown-up. Hillary is really hurting herself by lashing out at Obama, making herself seem a woman of many faces who does underhanded things to get her way. McCain at least *looks* like a president--something neither Clinton nor Obama can claim.
But I think McCa will be a disaster in office. I think he crashes the economy and keeps us mired in Iraq. I think Hillary spends eighteen months trying to prove she's not Bill, or, worse, that she's Smarter Than Bill. But she's not, 'cause she didnít see The Obama Thing coming. She didnít see how her creating opportunity for herself in turn created an opportunity Obama could not possibly ignore. She did this to herself. Hillary got rope-a-doped. And, I take it back-- it IS her fault for not having seen this coming. Any smart lawyer knows your most clever arguments can ultimately be turned against you.
I honestly donít know what Obama does in his first 100 days. I'm not sure any of the three make a good president. Like, Kerry-- he ran a bad campaign. But I wasn't concerned about him assuming office the way I am about these three.