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Thursday, June 5, 2008
A reader writes:
I think we all need to lighten up on Clinton. There's a high chance at this point that she'll be fitting the VP position, despite all that is wrong with her - the Rev. Wright egging on, non-committal answers about Barack's religion, political exploitation of Florida and Michigan, and ad hominem attacks. We've gotten what we've wanted, Barack on the ballot - now we have to help the Democratic party as a whole.
This is a really weird and tough email to write. I'm the biggest Obama supporter in my small town and have rallied a coalition of fellow high school students around the cause (I will be eligible to vote in November). I've never been able to stand Hillary as a person, but I still believe that at this point in history, we can't afford to keep making negative comments about her.
First of all, thanks very much for your advice and feedback -- and thanks for reading! To address your points, I largely agree with you.
Now that Hillary Clinton will be endorsing Obama on Saturday and suspending her campaign, I agree that further commentary on her machinations would largely not be fruitful. This, of course, comes with a caveat. I will take her at her word that once she suspends her campaign and endorses, she will campaign strongly for Obama and do nothing to undermine him. If this comes to pass, I will hold my
However, as to the VP question, I must respectfully disagree. As I've noted here before, I think that she would be a terrible choice for VP, for a variety of reasons. For full disclosure, I have come to dislike her as a person and a candidate. I don't trust her and believe she has little capacity for honesty or integrity. However, there are a host of less emotional reasons not to want her as VP:
- As recently reported, the big "deal-breaker" would likely be Bill's refusal to fully disclose and open for vetting his questionable business activities after leaving the White House and the donors to his presidential library. Any VP and their family must be vetted and if this can't happen, it's a non-starter.
- One important quality of a VP is the need for them not to overshadow their boss. Take your pick of what Hillary brings to the table that has the huge potential to overshadow Obama.
- As a philosophical matter, Hillary represents (rightly or wrongly) the precise kind of sleazy, do-anything, say-anything Washington insiderism that Obama is running against. Bringing her onto the ticket would tarnish his image as a reformer.
- There are many other posts that Obama could offer and be seen as magnanimous to Clinton supporters, especially if Hillary subsequently discusses how she never wanted the VP job in the first place and that Obama offered and she declined.
- Hillary Clinton on the ticket, whether in the primary or subordinate role, would do for John McCain what he is unable to do himself -- galvanize the Republican base and bring out a better voter turnout.
- There are SO many other good VP picks out there that do not have Hillary's high negatives. Obama can pick a running-mate with solid bona fides without getting tarnished by the 51+% of the country that does not trust Hillary.