A Drag on the Ticket

The timing of this post, considering my main post of the morning is more olive branch than anything else, is probably terrible. Still, I don’t want people to take the opinions expressed below as an intentional dig on either Hillary Clinton, or her followers.

(speaking for me only *cough*)

Yesterday, former president Jimmy Carter suggested that offering Hillary Clinton a spot on the ticket this fall would be a major mistake. Indeed, not long after a rather curt WSJ post popped up saying that Clinton as number 2 would be unlikely. As Justin Gardner further fleshes out, the devil in this case is in the details, specifically, details about Bill Clinton’s financial details.

The release of Bill Clinton’s financial records, at least as the rumors have it anyway, seems to be a deal breaker on both sides. And it’s worth repeating that if that’s the case, this would be yet another instance in which Bill Clinton did more to hurt his wife’s Oval Office aspirations than help.

Now, I know the unity ticket is a hot idea right now among some circles, but I just can’t help but think it’s not a good idea for all parties involved. Not during the election, and not during the course of President Obama’s first term.

Especially if the only purpose of the so-called unity ticket is to encourage unity. Look, 120 million voted in the last presidential election. Let’s say, to make the math easier, and to account for what I think will be an election with much more participation, that number jumps up to 180 million. Now, if not one single Hillary Clinton supporter voted for Senator Obama, that would account for only about ten percent of the electorate. Granted, ten percent is significant, and would definitely require some serious damage control, but it’s not, I don’t think, completely fatal.

But the Clinton supporter defection rate will not be even remotely close to one hundred percent. I think the highest defection polling was in West Virginia, actually, where it was about even, but even at that point it was only about a third of Clinton’s total vote, which brings the total defection number down to six million, or three percent of the electorate, and I still think that’s a high number.

Don’t get me wrong, I know for a fact that there are going to be Clinton supporters that will defect or not vote, but pulling a raw number out of my ass, I would say that that would be about five to ten percent, at best, of Clinton’s roughly 18 million vote share. Again, for ease of math, we’ll call it at about 1.8 million.

Thus, I think it is reasonable to assume that the total defection rate won’t be much more than about one percent of the electorate, give or take, and that’s only if Obama doesn’t pick Clinton as his running mate. It could be higher, true, but I think anything over three to five points would be unrealistic.

Simply put, I don’t think three to five points at the very best is a wise reason to select a running mate.

There are other electoral reasons where picking Clinton would be a bad call, and there’s merit to what the former President put out, like it or not. There’s also the chance that picking Clinton would challenge Obama’s campaign theme, and would bring into question his strength and independence at the top of the ticket. Fact of the matter is, good or bad, Clinton is simply too strong of a presence, and the last thing Obama needs is to be competing for the spotlight in his own presidential campaign.

Worse, he wouldn’t just be competing with Hillary, but Bill as well, and, well, I’m not sure that’s such a good idea.

But, let’s say they win, the partnership still wouldn’t be good for either of them. Or for the country, for that matter.

I only needed eight years of Bush/Cheney to know that I don’t want to go back to a co-presidency type President/Vice President relationship, which would be all too likely in an Obama/Clinton administration. But while Clinton may not be good for Obama as VP, I don’t think VP serves her well.

Second fiddle is not a role I think that is suited for her, nor do I think she would be happy with it. As Vice President, at least if Obama ran his administration the way it ought to be run, Clinton would have little to no power. To that end, she would have much more clout and pull if she went back to the Senate and became a significant part of the leadership there, or if she became governor, or was appointed to Obama’s cabinet.

One thing I learned about Clinton is that she is a doer, and VP is not a doer’s position. It’s a staging area for a presidential run, at best, but even that isn’t a lock.

An interesting idea I remembered reading from a while back was a spot on the Supreme Court for Clinton. I balked at that back then just like many of you are likely balking right now, but as I was driving home this morning, a strange thought hit me that kind of changed my perspective a little bit.

What would Clinton be like if she never had to campaign again? For much of their adult lives, the Clintons have been campaigning non stop, but I wonder how Hillary would proceed if the campaigning ended? It’s an interesting question I don’t think should be dismissed. In any case, it’s not likely to happen, but I would be intrigued to see how Clinton would rule from the bench after the pressures of the next election have been taken off of her.


No, for all the talk from so many people that the “unity ticket” would be unbeatable, I disagree. Simply put, they mix like oil and water, and I think once they were inaugurated, neither one would be very happy with the arrangement.

As I noted recently, there’s been talk of appointing Clinton to the cabinet, an appointment that would put her on the front line of the healthcare debate. That’s probably the right spot for her. Assuming Obama wins theĀ  election (something I think would be shaky for just about ANY Democratic candidate given the size of the mess they would have to clean up), bump Clinton up to Secretary of State, and maybe start pushing for her to be the presumptive nominee.

But Veep’s just not a good call.

More at Memeorandum: Ben Smith’s Blogs, The Moderate Voice, Political Machine, American Street, The Raw Story, Top of the Ticket, TalkLeft, Fox News, Truthdig, The Glittering Eye, skippy the bush kangaroo, TIME.com and Gateway Pundit

(edited by DrGail)

One Response to “A Drag on the Ticket”

  1. DrGail says:

    I heard a very interesting perspective this morning: Those “blue collar white voters” in Appalachia, some of whom may or may not be among the ranks of the “defectors”, didn’t so much vote for Hillary as they voted against Obama.

    If that’s so, they won’t vote for the unity ticket under any circumstances. With that in mind, all the numerous negatives associated with the unity ticket far outweigh the benefits since the likely benefits would be almost nonexistent.

    Further, it kind of puts into perspective the insistence that Hillary’s supporters will vote for McCain rather than Obama in the general election: they aren’t Hillary supporters because of her policies or because they support the values of the Democratic party. Rather, they supported her because she wasn’t Obama. Given a choice between Obama and some really creepy old guy, they actually prefer the really creepy old guy.

    With this in mind, I agree with your conclusions: good riddance to them. They’re just not that important.


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