Sunday, June 1, 2008

Bright idea of the day

I can't imagine that Hillary Clinton would work out as Obama's vice presidential candidate. I know it worked for Reagan/Bush, but it still seems a waste of a VP slot (for Obama) and a waste of the talents of Hillary Clinton. That said, I do believe that the vice presidency is a good keystone upon which to rebuild party unity. So here's my suggestion today, which is really quite good:

Obama should ask Hillary to chair his VP Search committee.

Here's why I like it:

  • If the VP is anyone other than Hillary, we'll all know that it was because Clinton didn't want the job (remember Cheney?) But this Obama from being publicly rejected by Clinton, and Clinton for being in that somewhat embarrassing position.
  • It gives his eventual VP pick the air of being somebody of whom Clinton approves. That is, "her" committee probably isn't going to come out with somebody she dislikes.
  • It guarantees a fair hearing for her allies. It keeps the Obama campaign from striking off the list anybody who supported Clinton. This especially means Wes Clark.
  • It doesn't really take the choice way from Obama. The VP search committee's job isn't really that hard. They do some "vetting", but chances are you don't end up a Senator if you're completely unable to campaign (though Jim Webb comes darn close to that). Anyway, the committee usually provides the nominee with a "short list" annotated with plusses and minuses. Obama would make the final decision.
  • It sends a strong signal to the Democratic Party. It makes clear that Hillary Clinton is a person of deep knowledge and strong influence within the party, and will be a partner in Obama's presidency. It makes clear to his supporters that there will be no tolerance to turn this bitter primary into a left-wing center from which to attack her in the Senate. It also makes clear Obama's awareness and respect of her influence within the party as a valuable tool, and not a threat to him.
  • It also mends bridges. Seeing Clinton touring the country on "official" business for the Obama campaign will make it more smooth for her supporters join the Obama campaign.

The offer would have to be handled carefully. This job is a somewhat bureaucratic task, and if handled poorly comes across as rather demeaning to Clinton. I'd hope that a statement would make clear that Clinton would have a great deal of independence and autonomy in this job. She should be meeting with/interviewing people on the list. It allows her some prominence throughout the spring and summer.


Ryan Adams said...

it worked for JFK and LBJ...

Quriltai said...

True...mainly because LBJ knew how to invent ballots out of the Texan air. I don't know if Hillary has that ability.

I realize that JFK/LBJ and Reagan/Bush were successful tickets, but their rivalry wasn't as thorough and thoroughly documented as Clinton's and Obama's. Also, I'm not sure the vice presidency has the same power as a stepping stone as it once did...