Friday, August 08, 2008

Veepstakes: The Clintons and the Convention

By Michael J.W. Stickings

"Democratic Aides Working on Plan To Keep the Peace At the Convention," reports the WaPo today.

I've been dealing with this nagging suspicion, a kind of monotonous buzzing in my head, that Hillary is still in the running to be Obama's running mate.

I'm not sure why this suspicion lingers, but it probably has to do with the fact that the leading candidates, that is, those presumed to be on Obama's shortlist -- Bayh, Biden, Kaine, and Sebelius -- are so uninspiring. (Biden is my clear preference among these four, but it's not like he'd be the perfect choice.)

It also probably has to do with the fact that Hillary is such a popular and impressive figure.

And with the fact that an Obama-Clinton ticket would be genuinely formidable. Although the media have played up the divisions in the Democratic Party, suggesting that they are deeper and more damaging than they really are, it is nonetheless true that a "unity" ticket would do wonders to bring the entirety of the party together heading into November. I suspect that most Hillary supporters will end up voting for Obama anyway, but she would energize the party, the base, the donors, and the campaign itself. In short, it would make sense to have her on the ticket.

Which is not to say that she would be the perfect choice either. There's the not-so-small matter of her husband, after all. Although he has apparently been offered a speaking role at the Convention, it is not clear what role he would play, or how he would behave, if Hillary were on the ticket. (Interesting note: It is being reported that he will speak on Wednesday night, right before the running mate speaks. Could Bill be the lead-in to Hillary?)

Plus, it looks like Obama is looking elsewhere. While it is certainly possible that his campaign has been preparing for a massive surprise by intentionally (and successfully) distracting the media away from Hillary (she isn't even on the shortlists anymore) -- mostly by floating other names and holding mysterious campaign events with the likes of Bayh -- it seems unlikely that it would have been able to keep the lid on for so long without even the slightest hint being leaked.

And, too, there is now all this talk of working to keep the peace at the Convention. Could it really all be nothing but a charade? Surely not -- although the best way to keep the peace, of course, would be to put Hillary on the ticket.

But I'm just floating a few ideas in hopes of ridding myself of this buzzing.

Besides, predicting that Obama will pick Hillary would be akin to predicting a Giants victory over the Patriots. I'm just not that crazy. At least, I don't think I am. (Wait, didn't I pick the Giants?)

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