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
To any Hillary fan who threatens to vote for