We've arrived at one of those moments when we'd be wise to just hit the "pause" button, stop, sit in a quiet place and imagine something that could happen, actually happening.
(After all, had more people done just that before we invaded Iraq, a whole lot people would still be alive and the nation would be a trillion bucks richer right now. But we didn't, and here we are.)
This time that "something" is Vice President Hillary R. Clinton.
Having failed to bag the number one spot on the ticket, Hillary and Bill and their surrogates are now furiously working the back channels trying to get a lock on the second spot.
So, what if Obama is successfully hounded into tapping Hillary Clinton as his No. 2? What would life be like for President Obama -- and the rest of us -- over the next four years?
Let's stop, look both ways and imagine this:
Scene: VP Hillary Clinton and husband Bill Clinton move into the Veep residence, the Naval Observatory. The couple will be there for the next four years -- Hillary working 16-hour days, leaving Bill home alone. As Veep Hillary will also spend a lot of time on the road, leaving Bill home alone for days on end. I'm not suggesting he would do anything improper, I'm just asking you imagine Bill, home, alone for days at time.
Sure he's been pretty much home alone since this political couple left the White House in 2001. But he's been a private citizen free to indulge in the kind of things private citizens are free to indulge in. As the husband of the Vice President of the United States of America Bill will be back in the fishbowl. The last time he was in that fishbowl he hooked up with a sucker fish and... well, we all know the rest of that story.
“Authentic treachery is found when we abandon ourselves, becoming deaf to the whispers of our spirits and blind to the powerful potential therein” ( Joaquin Mariel Espinosa)
Scene: VP Hillary Clinton will spend much of her time in the Veep's office a stone's throw form the White House in the (dark and stuffy and, frankly depressing) old Executive Office Building. Out her office window she'll have a nice view of the front door leading to the Oval Office. From her vantage she would have to watch a daily procession of dignitaries and other national and international movers and shakers ushered through that door by the Marine Corp doormen for an audience with President Barack Obama.
And there she'd sit, as President Obama makes decisions he will likely only share with her after he's made them. And once made VP Hillary Clinton would be expected to publicly embrace and promote President Obama's policies -- as though they were her own -- only they won't be. And, should those policies prove beneficial to the nation, Obama would get the credit, not Hillary. How do you imagine that will go down? With everything we now know about Hillary and Bill Clinton, imagine that for moment. (It will only take a moment.)
“There is no act of treachery or meanness of which a political party is not capable; for in politics there is no honor.” ( Benjamin Disraeli )
Scene: It's evening. Bill and Hillary are gathered for a late dinner at the Veep's residence with long-time allies, like James Carville, Lanny Davis, Terry McAuliffe, and other familiar suspects. The topic of discussion: how to position Hillary for the next election, should Obama's approval ratings sink during his first term. This would require the risky but unavoidable tactic of leaking stories hinting that Hillary had opposed Obama policies that later became unpopular -- stories she would, of course, refuse to comment on or would indicate are not "entirely accurate."
Scene: Same place, same time of day, different meeting to hash out a different problem. This time the group discusses what Hillary can do to "shine on her own," outside the shadow of President Obama. The goal would be to identify positions and policies Hillary could use to attract the media attention , independent of Obama. Meetings she could hold with news-makers, world leaders, hints of policies she'd like to address outside the Obama administration's stated policy goals. All designed to portray Hillary Clinton as a hands-on Veep and get her on the nightly news, even if that means upstaging Obama.
Such tactics would leave Obama with a helluva dilemma. Should he simply allow his Veep to freelance, or should he grab Hillary by the nape of the neck and drag her off to the executive woodshed?
If he allows Hillary to freelancing the resulting news coverage would weaken the Obama presidency. After all, if he can't face down his own Veep, how can he face down America's enemies? That would be the question sweeping the news if he let's just lets Hillary be Hillary.