Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Obama's Dilemma

Barack Obama, "the winner," is nonetheless in an unenviable position.

On the one hand, choosing Hillary as his running mate makes a lot of sense. She has nearly half the delegates. The party is deeply divided not only as a result of the unusual length and intensity of the campaign, but also as a function of the personalities involved. There are just too many Hillary supporters who have vowed that they will stay home rather than vote for Obama. In addition, Hillary's half of the delegates are of a very particular sort. Despite his best efforts, Obama was not able to crack the Hispanic and working class white votes which he consistently lost to Clinton by wide margins. Then there are the hard core feminists for whom gender trumps race. If these groups are as anti-Obama in November as they were in the primaries, his place in history will remain simply the first black nominee of a major political party.

On the other hand, selecting Hillary is almost unthinkable. Say goodbye to your claim to be ushering in a new kind of politics. Hillary is the consummate old-style political operator. She is also not one to offer a discreet word of advice when asked, and otherwise to sit quietly by as she waits for her constitutional role to kick in (heaven forbid). She pursued her own agenda when her husband was president. (Remember the Gennifer Flowers deal? "I want domestic!") Then there's Bill hanging around. Both of these people want too desperately to get back into the White House to be on the ticket with such a neophyte like the junior Senator from Illinois.

What's a guy to do?

Of course, he would be foolish to allow her in the door. His choices are not happy ones, but the only sensible alternative is to thank Sen. Clinton for her offer then press on without her and hope for the best. Hell hath no fury like Hillary scorned.

Maureen Dowd's column on this is very funny and insightful. "He thought a little thing like winning would stop her. Oh, Bambi. Whoever said that after denial comes acceptance hadn’t met the Clintons." For what it's worth, I foresee her scenario #1.

Of course, we know who Obama wants as his running mate. His idea of a dream ticket is a Barack and Michelle pair up. And wouldn't that be touching?

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