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Stop the Silly Talk about an Obama-Hillary Dream Ticket

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In March close-to-presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama was blunt when asked if he would be Hillary Clinton's vice presidential running mate, "I'm not running for vice president." Clinton would likely give the same blunt answer to the silly talk that he should pick her as his running mate. But even if she didn't and there was the unlikely possibility that Obama would consider her, an Obama-Clinton pairing would be no sure fire ticket to the White House. Clinton has given countless speeches and interviews, spent more than a year and a half on the campaign trail, shaken millions of hands, and gone millions into debt. She, as Obama, did not do that to settle for the consolation prize of the vice-presidency. In fact, no vice presidential pick in modern times has ever expended the amount of time, energy, and money that Clinton did battling for a presidential nomination only to settle for the second spot. Party unity is hardly a compelling reason for her to want or for the handful of Democrats that lightly float the idea of her as VP to even ask her to do that, let alone think that she would accept the offer. But that's a minor reason why an Obama-Clinton ticket is a pipe dream and would be a disaster if it happened. Millions of voters backed her in the primaries, but millions more rejected her, and these were mostly Democratic voters. Her negatives, and she had more than any other Democratic or Republican candidate, didn't vanish in the primaries. She's a Clinton, viewed as the consummate old school Washington insider, stirs visceral loathing among ultra conservatives, is a liberal and she's a she. Polls consistently showed that far more voters said that they'd vote for an African-American for president before a woman. The shock of a woman and an African-American on the Democratic ticket, and a woman named Clinton at that, would do something that McCain has only had tepid success in doing, and that's inflame Christian fundamentalist and ultraconservatives to storm the polls to back him. Even if Clinton was not a Clinton, and a woman, she would upset the very thing that every presidential nominee must have on their ticket, and that's chemistry and balance. She upsets both for Obama in two ways. She, as Obama, is a liberal Democrat from a big Northern state. This would almost certainly kill the faint chance that Obama has of pulling one or two of the Southern and heartland states out of the iron grip the GOP has had on them for a quarter century. The legions of non-college educated, rural and blue collar Democrats who find Obama politically (and racially) unpalatable will find him no more palatable with Clinton at his side. The GOP independent committees would endlessly loop Clinton primary hammer blows at Obama as being elitist and out of touch with "hard working, white Americans." Those loops would make both Obama and Clinton look silly paired together. Both would spend endless time trying to refute her old attack statements against him. She would further upend the chemistry and balance by forcing Obama to spend just as much time assuring voters that he, not Clinton (and Bill), would be making and implementing vital policy decisions. McCain will attack Obama on two major points. One is that he's too inexperienced, too green, too untested to fight the terrorism battle and to be hard nosed enough on national security. This worked for Bush against John Kerry in 2004, and having a moderate, Southern Democrat, John Edwards, as his running mate didn't do a thing to help Kerry burnish his credentials as a tough guy on anti-terrorism and national security. They're not the compelling issues that scare and concern millions of voters this time around but they're still issues that resonate with millions of voters, especially the much coveted, moderate to conservative independent voters. A massive viral email stealth campaign has already kicked into high gear targeting Obama on his national security toughness. It doesn't stop there. This slippery campaign also questions his patriotism. Before the West Virginia primary, a piqued Obama snapped at one reporter who questioned whether white voters in the state saw him as un-American that he was a practising Christian and that his grandfather was a World War II vet. His likely VP candidate will have to be someone with strong national security credentials, a big backer of military spending and preparedness, and equally important, a white male.One history making candidate will be hard to swallow for millions of voters, but two on the same ticket, would make them gag. Mercifully, Obama has given not the slightest public hint that he's interested in teaming with Clinton. And Clinton, just as mercifully, has given no public hint that she's remotely interested in playing second fiddle to him. It should stay that way and the silly talk about an Obama-Clinton dream ticket should stop. Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His new book is The Ethnic Presidency: How Race Decides the Race to the White House (Middle Passage Press, February 2008).
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Earl Ofari Hutchinson is a nationally acclaimed author and political analyst. He has authored ten books; his articles are published in newspapers and magazines nationally in the United States. Three of his books have been published in other (more...)
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