Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Hillary For Vice Presidential Nominee? No. And That's Because Of Bill

No sooner had the Democratic nominating process for President seemingly ended this evening with a victory for Barack Obama than the selection process for his running mate began, ironically still pitting Obama against Clinton, this time with Hillary apparently trying to pressure Obama to select her. How strange and how sad.

I supported Hillary for the presidential nomination. Tonight when she asked her supporters to go to her website to pledge their support, I did and wrote her the following:

Dear Hillary,

A year ago I felt that I could not vote for you for President. I'm in my 60's, a white, professional male who voted for Bill twice but who had been turned off by your public persona.

You won me over in this campaign with your commitment, energy, fighting spirit and by showing me and others, for the first time, your more human and emotional side. I liked what I saw and I donated to your campaign several times and endorsed you in my blog (not that it brought you many votes).

At this point, I remain with you and am not sure I can support Obama. But at the same time, I know that it is time for you to join the effort to elect the Democratic nominee as president and, while I don't like it, that nominee will be Obama.

Thanks for your zeal, persistence and love of country. And, I do hope that your time will come.



Not only do I think it’s time for her to end her presidential campaign, but I also do not feel she should be Obama’s running mate, whether or not I ultimately decide to vote for him.

I’m old enough to recall John Kennedy selecting presidential rival Lyndon Baines Johnson as his running mate. Kennedy bested Johnson and others for the nomination. Johnson was, in many respects, a more seasoned and more powerful political figure than Kennedy in 1960, serving as majority leader in the Senate. They weren’t friends at all. But tapping Johnson as his running mate was a political calculation intended to improve the likelihood that Kennedy would win in Texas and other states.

For similar reasons, Obama may find tapping Hillary as his running mate attractive. I do not see their apparent antipathy for one another as the obstacle. I see Bill Clinton as the obstacle. Were I an adviser to Obama I would recommend against selecting Hillary as his running mate not because of Hillary but because of Bill. I have no doubt that he brought voters to Hillary in the primaries. But I also have no doubt that he repelled other voters. Selecting Hillary means getting Bill. His unpredictability and penchant for becoming the story lead me to conclude that selecting Hillary would be an overall detriment to Obama, perhaps less so in the presidential campaign, where Bill could be helpful to Obama, than in the White House.

One might ask why I supported Hillary for President if I harbor these negative feelings about Bill. I think like many I initially overcame my antipathy to Hillary because of my lingering affection for Bill. But as his behavior became more of a distraction, I wanted him to step back from her campaign. And as she emerged as the candidate, finding her own voice and showing more of herself, I found myself increasingly drawn to her. I even concluded that she would be able to keep him from negatively intruding on her presidency, were she the candidate and the victor. But I don’t think Obama should take that chance. He has a choice Hillary didn’t have and I think he should steer clear of Bill, which means he should not select Hillary.