Tuesday, June 03, 2008

“ARE YOU READY FOR THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE USA?”

Those are the words with which Hillary Clinton was introduced tonight by her campaign manager. Earlier in the day, Hillary decided to tell the nation that she was indeed “open” to the Vice Presidential job. So what are we to make of these inconsistent messages? That Hillary expects to gain the Democratic nomination for President in 2008? That Hillary hopes to be the VP nominee instead?

Personally, I doubt that either will happen. At least I’m hopeful that neither will happen. But this much is clear: Hillary is not ready to relinquish her position at the front of our political stage.

By any rights, tonight was supposed to be the night when all attention was focused on Barack Obama, who FINALLY reached the necessary number of delegates to claim the nomination. Hillary’s people moved back the goal posts this weekend to make it harder for Barack to clinch, but when we woke up this morning, we still had reason to believe that Barack might clinch before the end of the evening. Sure enough, the networks are saying that he has indeed garnered the necessary number of delegates to gain a new title: Presumptive Nominee. That means that for the first time in our nation’s history, a black man has attained the honor of being a Presidential nominee by a major political party. Time for a celebration, right?

It should be. But something still seems a bit off kilter, even if you love Barack (as I do). Until Hillary decides how she’s going to play her hand, this will still feel less like a celebration than the continued unwinding of a very bizarre drama, a drama focused on a married couple whose larger-than-life egos are on display 24/7. Yesterday was Bill’s day as he unleashed a barrage of vitriol aimed at a reporter. Today was Hillary’s. She made it known that, for the conceivable future, the story wouldn’t be McCain versus Obama but whether Obama would choose as a running mate the person “who has gained more popular votes in primaries than any candidate in American history.”

Folks, for as long as I’ve been alive, it has been the Presumptive Nominee’s prerogative to select his party’s VP nominee. Nobody has ever questioned that right. But now, I fear we are beginning the process of listening to one pundit after another strongly suggest that if Obama knows what’s good for him – i.e., if he wants to win – he will select Hillary. The pressure may well weigh on him like a block of lead. Still, this is a guy who rises to the occasion more often than not. My bet is that he’ll bite the bullet, nominate someone not named Clinton, and put up with the cries of “sexism” and the like.

To any Hillary fan who threatens to vote for John McCain as long as Barack doesn’t comply with all of Hillary’s demands, I have but one thing to say: don’t let the door hit your tushies on the way out. It’s time for Barack to show that he can stand up to Hillary’s rage-brigade. Later, it will be time for him to stand up to the world’s tyrants oversees. But just as there is a time to show courage, there is also a time to talk. Let’s pray that when Barack and Hillary talk, they can reach an agreement whereby Hillary can get what she needs (say, an agreement on paying down her debt), and Barack gets what the nation needs – a team player as Vice President.

4 comments:

Spinoza Freak said...

Well said, Dan. Now lets get on with the nation's business. Enough of "One Day in the Life of . . . " the world's most visible housewife.

Daniel Spiro said...

Spinoza freak,

I think we have about one more week of all Hillary all the time. Then it should calm down. McCain is already running ads showing Hillary basically say that she and McCain are qualified to be Commander and Chief but Barack is not. I really don't see Barack putting her on the ticket. I'd be surprised if it isn't one of the following:

Webb
Richardson
Strickland

YoungMan said...

Dan,

I've rethought Webb...his mysogyny probably keeps him out. Its more likely Tim Kaine, or even Mark Warner if a Virginian.

y not rendell?

Daniel Spiro said...

Youngman,

Webb has a lot of charisma. He does really well with the pugilist, Scotch-Irish crowd who has been hammering Barack in states like PA, OH, WV and rural Virginia. He is viewed as strong on defense, but wise on Iraq. He is seen as a foreign policy guy.

But yes, he has made some comments that will tick off the other group that isn't yet sold on Barack -- feminists. No argument that Barack will consider that as a serious drawback to selecting him.

Rendell? I'm trying to be diplomatic about Hillary's supporters. Unity, right? But I don't think Rendell would wear well as part of an Obama campaign. The dude strikes me as a throwback to the days of Boss Tweed. I see him as an anti-change candidate who we would don't need at a time when change is warranted and desired.