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March 9, 2008

40 Acres And A Mule

The Hillary Clinton presidential campaign has found yet another strategy to employ against Senator Barack Obama. A pernicious and truly sinister attack that might just be their most effective ploy yet: selling the Democratic voters on a Clinton-Obama ticket. Both Hillary and Bill Clinton have been all over the media these past days openly speculating about Barack Obama as a running mate, which, on the surface, seems like a fig leaf to Obama if he’d just end his annoying and time-consuming wins (Obama won in Wyoming today and, as it turns out, won Texas—see following). But this is no fig leaf so much as it is a Trojan horse.

Floating Obama-as-veep accomplishes a number of things, all good for the Clintons: (1) it puts Obama on defense, forcing the senator to all but publicly declare he won’t take the veep slot if offered, which thereby frees Hillary from having to officially offer it, something she would surely loathe to do but would be forced to do should she win so closely a contested race. By floating it out there, she gets Obama on record as not wanting it, which helps her with the black vote when she doesn’t offer it to him. (2) It puts Obama in the Little Brother category. “And here’s my little brother, Barack.” Should Obama even obliquely engage her in this business, he’s finished as a serious candidate, as it positions him, viscerally, as Number Two in the minds of the voters. Obama cannot engage her about this, which forces him to either ignore her altogether or reject this nonsense on the merits, which brings us back to (1).

Finally, (3) this strategy helps Clinton with Obama sympathizers, mainly black women whose loyalty is divided between race and gender. It seems to offer us the chance to have our cake and eat it to. But I am persuaded Senator Clinton will only offer Senator Obama the veep spot if absolutely pressed to the wall. I believe she is furious at this man for ruining her coronation, for making her have to deal her way in to the Oval Office. The very last thing she’s considering is offering Obama an important cabinet post or the vice presidency. I believe she despises the man, and this truly evil strategy seems to bear those suspicions out.

This business is a poison pill designed to kill Obama’s candidacy. And it just might work. Clinton plays to the obvious hope of many Democrats—that we end up with both of them. But it’s a lie. A lie worthy of the best of the West Wing episodes (it is, in fact, ripped off of a West Wing episode in which President Elect Jimmy Smits floats a veep slot to losing presidential candidate Alan Alda. That was a set-up, too). It’s a setup to take Obama down and to insulate Clinton when she ultimately chooses some Southern military type as her running mate.

I wish I could say the American people, or at least the Democratic voters are smart enough to see through this, but I suspect they aren’t. Playing to America’s ignorance and fear is a time-tested Republican strategy. This move on the part of the Clinton camp have revealed Hillary’s other face. I find my intelligence insulted by this business, and I’m really not liking either the former president or the former first lady very much right now.

Meanwhile, in case you missed it (and you probably have, the news media seems to be all but ignoring it), the numbers are in: Senator Barack Obama won Texas. Senator Hillary Clinton apparently won the popular vote, but Obama beat her in delegates. I could go on to explain this, but MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann did a much better job than I could.



I think you’re right in that this is obviously an attempt by the Clinton camp to break Obama’s campaign. But I think the offer of the VP spot is a legit one and Hilary would be happy to have Obama as her veep.

At least, as happy as any President is about their Vice President (most VPs were gunning for the top spot against the President they serve under so I suspect most of those relationships are strained)

That said, where I think you’re wrong is from the Obama angle. I agree with your second point and I think Obama knows the worst thing he could do would be to consider this offer. Heck, I’m absolutely sure he knows it.

Let me be clear here, I dislike Barack Obama…a LOT. A LOT!

But I recognize what he is. He’s someone who has amazing oratory skills and someone who is good at painting himself as a leader. Being second banana to anyone would do him more damage than could ever be good. He’d be better off dropping out and running next time (ala Reagan in ’76).

All the above said, I’m almost sure the Dems will pick Obama because they have a history of picking losing candidates and he is the most likely to lose. No offense to all the left wing people here (of which most are if the same readers from 2004 are around) but the Democrats have to realize the country is more conservative than liberal. You can be a moderate liberal, a moderate conservative or a far right conservative but you can’t be a far left liberal. Thank Jimmy Carter’s disastrous 4 years for that (of which I thankfully wasn’t alive for). Obama’s gotten a free pass thus far but when his ideals become the focus (as opposed to his persona) things aren’t going to go well.

Plus, he has almost no experience. He’s only won one election for a national office and he was losing that race before his opponent had a nasty divorce with a TV star. Obama in a general election is like putting a high school baseball player into the Major Leagues because he had a decent season.

You may not like Clinton but she knows how to play the game and she knows how to pander to the electorate. In a general election she stands a much better chance.


Yeah, because McCain is so much more electable.

Give me a *BLEEPING* break.

I'm more than aware of Obama's weaknesses, but Hillary Clinton has always been arrogant to the point of sloppy. She's like a bad supervillain, always playing her hand too soon and whining petulantly when she loses. She's no more of sure thing than Obama is. THIS is why she's so peeved. She thought it would be a cakewalk and that she'd shred Barack like tissue paper.

Believe what you want, but if anything, Hillary Clinton's past with the former president and her behavior now are bigger deficits than a lack of experience and "just being able to talk good."

I don't believe the public is smart enough for any of this, though. Maybe they just don't want another war-supporting conservative (even in liberal clothing) in the White House.


As for Carter, I WAS alive during his presidency, and his mistake wasn't being too much of a liberal, it was of being fallible in the eyes of the American people. He made too many management mistakes and he lost our trust. The country was already reeling from Watergate and not completely over it. Liberal or conservative, any president who fails and makes huge blunders is going to lose out. How GWB, Jr. didn't get forced out is beyond me.

I think both DNC candidates are weak. I think McCain is weak only because he's trying to have it both ways. McCain is a moderate, he's not a true conservative. That's why I like him. But his support of the war will hurt him.

Of course, now that we no longer hear about 40, 70 US troops dead every day, the fickle American public's attention is drifting, worried more about the economy. Notice how Iraq is off the front pages? Think THAT's an accident?

Don't shoot me: I liked Huckabee. I like McCain. But I think most people are simply stupid. I think America is going to vote a Democrat in, which is Hillary's big chance: to ride the wave of emotion into the West Wing. It's the same wave that's propelled Obama. She's just ticked that he won’t give it up.

What's scary is, two or three times last week, I saw a reporter ask an Obama enthusiast why she likes him, and all they could think of was, "Change." They couldn't give up even one coherent Obama position on anything.

Most blacks are voting for Obama because he's black. These are the some folks who would have come out strong for Hillary were Obama not running--the same folk she was counting on.

And, of course, the longer this circus goes on, the better for McCain. Of the available Three Stooges, he comes across like Dad. He is, actually, he one I'd prefer answering that phone.

Doesn't make me a Republican...


The problem is, shifting the focus away from the war onto the economy doesn't really help McCain, because he's got nothing on the economy. Nothing. He's never been interested in econimic issues, he hasn't really put anything forward beyond extending the tax cuts he initially voted against, and he just tosses out the occasional incoherent thought on health care. His issues are the military, campaign finance and, um, straight talkin'. Beyond that, there's not much there.

Huckabee at least ran on an economic platform. It was, by all analysis I've read, a suicidely stupid one, but he did seem to actually care about those issues. Barring a radical change in events, this election is going Democratic - which means Obama, as the delegate counts just don't add up for Clinton at this point.


I find it interesting when the media carts out someone who appears to be 'one of the people', yet acts like one of the 'great unwashed peasants', and that fiasco is believed. I am sure people are smarter than one would prefer to admit, just not collectively. At any rate, I think Obama will just remind people that he isn't running for the 'number 2 spot', call this ploy of Clintons's what it is, and move on. Game over until next mud wrestling match. I relish the opportunity for someone to give me an indicator of what these liars will do with the presidency. Frankly, I doubt anyone knows until they sit in the chair. Here's hoping for an Obama/Powell ticket and a term with corruption and foolishness to a minimum. Electing the current prez was like pulling our pants down to the world, this country and its citizens need better...


'Of the available Three Stooges, he comes across like Dad. He is, actually, he one I'd prefer answering that phone.'

I used to have this kind of respect for the man in 2000. Since his get-on-his-knees-for-the-establishment tactics, not any more. It seems to have gotten him the nomination and support of some prez who ignores reality in some distant land. We'll see if it was truly worth it...


@Hysan – My point on Carter wasn’t that he failed because he was liberal it was that he failed so dramatically that he gave liberal a bad name. Say what you will about GWB he hasn’t come close to negatively impacting people’s lives as much as Carter did (e.g. you might consider the war in Iraq a screw up but that doesn’t really affect the average person as much as sky high gas prices).

As far as Hilary, I don’t really like her either (I don’t really like McCain either) but she’s moderate enough to be electable and she’s got that Bill-vibe going for her (undeserved as it probably is)

@Priest – Everyone disagrees with me on this but I swear to God its true…McCain’s support of the war…wait for it…is going to help him tons. In fact, Obama vs. McCain, McCain wins hands down.

Here’s the thing, people are in denial right now but the truth is Iraq was supported by the great majority of Americans and Bush didn’t lie he screwed up (everyone thought Saddam had nukes including Bill Clinton). So deep down the majority of Americans know they’re hypocrites for hating the war now (because they chose to trust the screw up making this just as much their screw up)

Don’t forget, the Iraq war had massive public approval at first.

So now you have Obama vs. McCain. Obama says “I’ve always been against the war, it was a bad idea”. Now Liberals who were always against the war might cheer but the majority of Americans are going to feel a little uncomfortable with this. McCain on the other hand says “I supported the idea of the War but this administration has botched it.” That makes everyone who supported the War happy. They can all jump on that bandwagon and in fact come off feeling better about themselves.

That’s why it’s a win, McCain gives people an “out” as far as their hypocrisy goes. I’m not a fan of McCain but his early attacks on the war (he called for ousting Rummy before anyone else) are going to pay off in spades.

Matt Adler:

My thoughts on each:

McCain: He's an honorable man. But I can't support him because he's fundamentally wrong on Iraq, and the larger geopolitical philosophy behind it, which is that the US is more safe when we invade and take over foreign countries. We can't risk that again. We have to fix these mistakes and he's been very clear that he won't.

Obama: Honestly, I'm sure he's a nice and sweet guy, someone I wouldn't mind hanging out with. But the longer this campaign goes on, the more I come to dislike him, because he represents everything I see wrong with American politics; we favor the guy we'd like to have a beer with, instead of the person qualified for the job. As Priest pointed out, most people can't even come up a reason why they think he is qualified for the job. Why? 'Cause he really isn't. Oh sure, the more educated of his supporters will be able to put together a reasoned argument, but it's ultimately empty; they really support him because he makes them feel good.

Clinton: She's mean. She's vicious. She's cutthroat. She will do whatever it takes to win. And God help me, that's why she's the best candidate. If you take a look at the American political scene since 1988, you know that we are in at war at home, and that to win it, you have to be as nasty as them. She understands that. She's been through it. And she knows that the stakes are far too important to give the other side another 8 years to work their magic.


Yes, because we don't have high gas prices now, or anything.

There are many things supported by the general public decades ago which turned out to be a bad idea. How is that a defense for doing something monumentally stupid? It isn't, and everytime people use that, I just cringe. It's like justifying something after you've already planned on doing it anyway. Do you honestly believe that line? I hope not.

My biggest problem with Obama is exactly what everyone has pointed out. What is he about? How do we know we're not putting another middle management disaster in the Oval Office? Clinton is mean and vicious and a scrapper and would be perfect for the job, but she also has the Richard Nixon stink all over her. As much as people take GWB to task for being someone who never forgives a slight, I know Hillary would go after anyone who went against her with a vengeance. And she'd most likely do something to end up being the second Clinton to get impeached. Yes, I think she's that out of control. Something about her, like I said, feels too much like a bad supervillain. Even when she's smiling, she looks like she's ready to eat someone's still beating heart.

If we could just combine them into one person, we'd have a great president.

McCain is a joke. I'm sorry, he is. He's going to get eaten alive. Look who he had to go up against...a guy who thinks Chuck Norris is a selling point, and a man who is essentially a haircut. Not really a great win.

"Clinton: She's mean. She's vicious. She's cutthroat. She will do whatever it takes to win. And God help me, that's why she's the best candidate."

Likely the most salient argument for Clinton I've heard yet. I wish her campaign had the stones to run ads to that effect.

My gosh, you may have swayed me.

Here's the bottom line: emotionally, I'm with Obama. Intellectually, I agree with you-- I'm with Clinton.

Realistically, I'm not entirely sure I don't pull the McCain lever. And THAT's why I think Mac will win

Hysan: "As much as people take GWB to task for being someone who never forgives a slight, I know Hillary would go after anyone who went against her with a vengeance."

Which is why I doubt Obama wants the veep slot. It'll be eight years of reading the paper and waiting for a meteorite to fall on Madame.

"Even when she's smiling, she looks like she's ready to eat someone's still beating heart."

Hysan: that's actually another PRO argument.

"If we could just combine them into one person, we'd have a great president."

and THAT's how the Clinton campaign will sink him: Buy One Get One Free. But it's a lie. As veep, Obama won't have any voice. He'll be stuck shooting pool with the Secret Service agents at the Naval Observatory.


Oh man, it's true.

I would also love to see Hillary rip McCain apart.

Yes, I'm a ghoul.

Matt Adler:

Regarding impeachment; in this respect, Hillary is smarter than Bill. Bill has the social smarts, the people skills. But Hillary is more controlled (which has hurt her in some situations). She'd never be sloppy enough to give her opponents the opening to take her down. I guarantee, her fury with Bill was not so much over what he did, but that he was dumb and reckless enough to leave the evidence behind.

And if you tried to approximate a similar situation with Hillary, the whole saga would never have gone anywhere; Hillary would have stonewalled the Paula Jones civil litigation, appearances be damned, and the whole thing would have withered on the vine. Which is how the Bush administration has dealt so effectively with every scandal they've been involved in.


McCain: the "bomb,bomb,Iran "thing killed him for me.The whole we have to smash any one who doesnt like us to be safe thing is a just a show stopper for me.War is not funny.
Hilary:The longer this whole thing goes on the meaner she seems to get.Also petty,and just sneaky. Yeah , very supervillain like!Call me naive and an idealist but I am really tired of that in politics.Focus on the damn issues.
Obama: I like the guy but I would be swayed more once I see( assuming he gets the nomination who he picks a veep).I dont know that he is the best qualified but I am just tired of seeing the same damn people in office over and over and expecting things to change.
Seriously ,if Colin Powell had run we wouldnt be having these discussions.
Answering the phone at 3 am OH PLEASE!! Can we stop the 24 scenarios I mean honestly.Are we really back to the "if you dont vote for me the terrorists will get you "tactic??In which case you want Dennis Haysbert as President like he was on 24.
It all just makes me tired

"Seriously ,if Colin Powell had run we wouldn't be having these discussions."

See, this is what I'm saying.

What I'm praying for is for Obama to keep his cool. It seems like he *tries* not to respond to every silly thing the Clintons throw at him, and that's good. But, too much restraint--waiting too long to hammer back on the 3AM ad--has clearly hurt him.

Obama's campaign seems to appeal to people's hope while Clinton's seems to play on their naiveté.

Longevity seems to be the real test, here. See, early on, Romney seemed like The Man. But, as the game got rough, Romney got knocked more and more off-record. And the more I saw of him, the more phony his smile seemed. His eyes dart back and forth in a very Nixon-like way that I frankly found creepy.

I think with both McCain and Clinton, we're being a bit nostalgic. With McCain: for the John McCain we SHOULD have elected in 2000. This is an old man, folks. I'm pretty nervous about putting a guy of advanced age with serious health issues in office.

With Clinton, early on, the enthusiasm was (my thinking) more a hope to return to the Clinton economy. To have Bubba around the White House again would be great. But, the longer this thing drags on, the more we begin to realize we're actually voting for *Hillary* not Bill. THAT's why she's struggling: people are starting to see HER and not Bill standing next took her.

She IS mean. She IS a bully. She's maybe a smarter version of Nancy Reagan. Which, as somebody pointed out, here, is why she'd make a great president. Seriously: all those things are actually plusses.

But the more tired she gets, the longer Obama drags this thing out, the more of her negatives begin to show. Floating the veep thing hurt her, at least in the sense that it has energized Obama's supporters rather than siphon them as planned. It was a rookie move, I'm shocked Bubba went along with it.

And between the 3AM ad and the veep float, people are really starting to get it that she's kind of nasty and, yes, will do anything to win.

Which is actually why she should. But, as long as Obama can keep from blowing his stack, I think he glides along to the convention, where the part bosses will pull their hair out for a week trying to find some way to tank him without losing the black vote.

Every bit of this only helps McCain. Might as well swear him in today.

Isaac Lawrence:

I'm thinking McCain may win now too.

I want Obama, but I was more than willing to vote for Hillary. After the "...as far as I know" thing from the 60 Minutes piece a couple weeks ago though, that changed completely. There is no way in this world I'm voting for Hillary Clinton now.

(The 60 Minutes thing started it for me, and just these last few weeks have cemented it.)

You know what I'd like to see? I'd like to see McCain just float Condoleezza Rice's name out there as his veep; as someone on his short-list. Do it just to gauge the reaction from both the right and the left.

She'll most likely go back to Stanford, but you never know...

I do know though if McCain put either Rice or Colin Powell on his ticket I'm voting Republican this year -- and join the Republican Party and order my "Martin Luther King Jr. Was A Republican" t-shirt and button from the National Black Republican Association website and the whole nine; I'll get the whole starter-kit.


Just to add on to the longer the Obama vs Hilary flap.Like Priest said he longer this goes on the more her negatives come out.However ,the more her negatives come out the stronger his support becomes.Is that an inversely proportional relationship?
She honestly seems bamboozled that she has to fight to get the nomination.
I saw an analyst on CNN complaining about how Obama cries foul and racism whenever he is criticized.Well ,to be honest when attacks and rumors tend to focus on his" blackness",his middle name,religion and his wear of african garb yeah those would be race or bias attacks.

McCain winning? The thought of him winning SCARES me.He was a man of principles who bent over like a 3 dollar whore when he thought it would get him favor in the party and with the ultra right wing.
If Obama and Powell were the ticket...Oh my goodness!!!It will never happen but I can dream cant I?

McCain-Powell is a slam dunk.
McCain-Rice is quite near a slam dunk. Rice shuts down the whole "first black-first woman" argument.

Powell is sheer competence and a nice F-U to the Bush Administration who marginalized him.

Here's the big problem: Powell and Rice themselves.

They're both far too mature to NOT see through any veep offer as transparently political. Neither brings a state with them. Neither is particularly more qualified to be president than Barack.

And it'd be horrible, just horrible, to see Obama have to try and bad-mouth Powell on the campaign trail. Rice is easier to bad mouth, but the country knows, for a fact, Bush did end runs around Powell and kept things from him and undermined him at State. Powell rings a great deal of sympathy with him.

But neither Powell nor Rice are particularly political, and I doubt either wishes to be used in this manner. But, if I had to guess (and I do), I'd say there is indeed a short list, with only two names on it. The only two names that can shut down the Democratic ticket.

A shame Powell won’t run himself. He'd shut down both races--he's everything everybody wants. Well, almost, but why nitpick.

Isaac Lawrence:

Yeah, I agree with all of that about Powell and Rice.

(And I'm watching 'Hardball" as I type this and now this Geraldine Ferraro mess...

I'm going to move to England or something... )


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