Saturday, September 20, 2008

Will Hillary run (as VP)?

Biden is a never-ending source of delight -- for those who don't like Biden. Whether he's chastising reporters for being out of shape, demanding that the wealthy show their patriotism by transferring their money to the middle class, making bizarre and ill-informed pronouncements regarding Catholic doctrine and abortion, or offending Ohioans en masse, you can really count on the guy to get it done (or, should I say, to get it done wrong). Nothing about this is new; it's just Biden being Biden.

If gravitas means being old, gray, and a Congressional seat warmer, Biden is the ticket. However, if gravitas means being thoughtful, informed and wise, Biden is, and always was, the comedy man in this straight man's role. Although Obama must have known going in what he was getting with Biden, you can't help wondering if he's suffering from buyer's remorse right now. That's especially true given the legions of women who took umbrage at the way he cavalierly insulted Hillary and who, in response, fled to McCain.

The question then, at least in the blogosphere, is whether Obama is going to pressure Biden to withdraw for some sympathetic reason, such as health or a family crisis, enabling Hillary to come in and save the day. While everyone with any sense will know that Biden's withdrawal is manufactured, some women may be so glad to see Hillary back on the ticket that they'll yield to the Democrats' siren song. Frankly, I've been one of those worried about this.

Noemie Emery, however, is much more sanguine. She thinks that, whether Obama wins or loses (and, of course, especially if he loses), she'll come out on top if she sits this one out:
If Obama wins, she gets to see her party in power, if that is her object. The problem is that the party is no longer hers. Or hers and her husband's. If Obama wins, the Clintons become history. They also slip down considerably on the great grid of power: She is eclipsed by a president who defeated her, a first lady who hates her, a loquacious vice president with a large, lively family, and a legion of people who early on threw in their lots with Obama, and have prior claims upon him and his loyalty. She becomes in effect a footnote to history, remembered perhaps for her personal dramas, her historic run in the primaries no longer remarkable, but overshadowed by Sarah Palin's run for vice president. Win or lose, Palin becomes the country's most visible she-politician, culture phenomenon, as well as the best bet to succeed John McCain at the head of her party. Hillary is yesterday's news, and has the rest of her life to brood on the mistakes that caused her to lose--very narrowly--the great prize she wanted and pursued, some will tell you, for the past 30 years.

This changes, however, if McCain wins. At once, she becomes the most important Democrat, the shipwreck survivor, the frontrunner for her party's 2012 nomination; the road not taken; the one that, if followed, would have led to the outcome for which her party has struggled so long. For four long years, she will be saying "I told you so"--to the super-delegates who didn't flock to her even when she won all those big primaries; to Obama, now back in the Senate, who didn't name her when he had his big chance. A deflated Messiah, a w√ľnderkind who couldn't quite hack it, Obama would join Al Gore and John Kerry in the weary line of pitiful losers who tried and failed to match Bill Clinton's success. Bill Clinton himself becomes the Big Dog again, the one shining light in the overall darkness, the only Democrat to be elected twice since Franklin D. Roosevelt, the most successful Democrat since the mid-1960s, when Lyndon Johnson's luck, along with his party's good fortune, ran out. (Granted, this is a fairly low bar to get over. But still.) If you were Hillary Clinton, which prospect would you find more appealing? Let's guess.

That sounds like a reasonable Clinton-esque calculation to me, and one that is given more heft by the fact that Hillary's emissary (that would be Bill) has managed to trample all over Obama by heaping lavish praise on both McCain and Palin. The current Clinton tribe plan, therefore, seems to be to support generic Democratic issues, while building up the opposition. It's a long range plan, but certainly one that may benefit McCain/Palin in the short term, and one that seems antithetical to a Hillary October surprise.


Anonymous said...

"Biden is, and always was, the comedy man in this straight man's role."

That is a great line. Perfect.

Anonymous said...

Hillary's best laid plans:

Oct 6th: Joe Biden steps down as VP candidate and Hillary takes his place, for "the good of the country". Actually she'd been told that Kathleen Sibelius would be choice #2, and Hillary couldn't allow that, just as Obama couldn't allow Sarah Palin to speak at the Israeli protest rally against Iran's evil dictator.

Nov 4th: Obama wins. Hillary has a sleepless night.

Nov 5th, 3 A.M.: Hillary is still sleepless. "How did he win?!?!" she agonizes. "He was guaranteed to lose, and I was supposed to be the nominee in 2012. How did he win? Massive voter fraud in Ohio, Virginia, Nevada, Colorado, and Minnesota, and the media are covering for him... He's going to pull this off. How could that happen? How was Obama allowed to win? 2016 is too late. Now I'll never be President. Why did I accept this nightmare?"

Sabra said...

If this is the October surprise that everyone is talking about, and if it is going to take place after the VP debate - why has the VP debate not been rescheduled? Okay. That is naive, on my part, I realize...

So, then, just schedule another VP debate after Biden pulls out. [Still naive? Yeah. Probably.]

Either way - with voter fraud, and all that the democrats are going to do to make sure their chosen one makes it to the White House - we are screwed.

Anonymous said...

Biden doesn't have to do ANY effort to show that he is 10 times more intelligent and qualified that Palin... Although she is better looking, much better looking.

Pat said...

I really don't think Biden will withdraw, quit or get the boot. It would look bad for Obama's "leadership" and Hillary shouldn't give in to the powers-that-be...for the good of the country.

But on the other hand, could you imagine the Youtube video, late night jokes and maybe even an SNL skit.

Remember the line..."I've got a bracelet too". If Hillary's on the ticket, now the line will be..."And now I've got a woman VP na-na na na."