by Lettuce, Fri Aug 22, 2008 at 05:14:59 AM EDT
shorttremendously long diary to say that even though I'm fairly sure Obama won't choose Hillary as his running mate -- I kind of hope he would.
Caveats -- I was never a Hillary supporter. I've been intrigued by Obama since 2003, when a former collegue at the Tribune turned me on to Obama's senatorial asperations. I parroted the Kos line that the race was Obama's to lose since he announced, even though I figured the Clinton machine would find some way to squeak out a win.
I never understood why she wanted the Presidency. I felt -- and to some extent still feel -- that Hillary is better suited as a Senator than a chief executive. With Kennedy ill and aging, the Senate needs a Democratic lion. I thought that was a better role for her.
I have high regard for the Clinton presidency, and thought the White House Clintons got a raw deal by the media, that allowed the Right Wing to manipulate. I always wished Bill Clinton was more progressive, but admired the way he got things done while tweaking the GOP. I felt Al Gore lost entirely because he ran against both Bush and Bill. There would have been no Florida recount if Bill Clinton had been down there doing retail politics.
I hated the negativity of the primary, i thought she disqualified herself for speaking more highly of McCain than Obama. I never thought Hillary or Bill were racist, but felt they exploited racial politics once it became clear that Obama had taken the black support they were depending on. I think Hillary's campaign was run with a lot of heart, but was mismanaged from the get go by advisors who should have been shown the door ages earlier. Wolfson, Penn... excretable people who cost Hillary the nod just as sure as her Iraq War vote. I still can't figure out what was worse ultimately. I feel like they ran for the 2000 election at the start.
I loved their localized campaigns. Even while pandering I could appreciate the quality of it. The shamelessness of it. Obama can't do that, he's too new to get away with it. Looks awkward. McCain can. Hillary can. You likely have to to awin. Again, felt it was racialized, I'll never understand the "hard working white people" line, but I understand what they were trying to do.
Those Penn memos show they could have been worse. I appreciate they weren't followed. Wish they weren't written. Wish they'd been burned rather than released.
But the release was what got me to thinking... I think they were put out with the express wishes of the Obama campaign.
I think they were poured out into the public to water down any attempts by McCain to later do the same. I think they were put out to water any future revelation of them... in case Hillary was the VP pick.
Because, since the campaign ended, we've seen discipline from the Clintons that we didn't see from their own campaign. It's been airtight. Even without the daily campaigning, there are enough of her former advisors on FOX News that real mischief could happen. And hasn't.
Then came the "cathartic" floor vote.
Then came the seemingly endless "clues" about Biden, Bayh, Kaine, Sebelius. Just enough for each to make each seem a certain pick.
And nothing about Hillary... and nothing FROM Hillary or her closest advisors complaining. Usually we'd hear if they were upset at their lunch options. But since the primary ended, nada.
It's been quiet... too quiet.
During the campaign, when Obama won the math in February, I thought Hillary's regional run (which would never have been enough) was to make his picking of her seem inevitable. Usually, a party that divided has to merge through a shotgun wedding.
But how do you make the shotgun wedding look like a love affair? Remove the shotgun.
Thinking over the last few days... the shotgun is gone. No one is calling for Hillary to be the veep. No one is pushing for her candidacy with any real ferver. Only the "Bower"y boys and girls whose craziness needs no attention.
So, picking Hillary back in June seemed dull and meaningless. Picking her now would be explosive.
And maybe not a bad explosive.
Obama can't attack well. It's ugly. It betrays his central message. Hillary can attack with zeal and it seems... natural. This isn't a dig -- she's just that much more battle hardened and... political. Maybe Obama is that political too, but it's discordant when he does it. Even his "houses" dig of Thursday, for all it's oomph and power seemed strained to me.
Hillary has baggage, but maybe there's just so much of it that balances out. She's been attacked so long that there is a natural ability to shake off the blows. I have a friend who doesn't eat donuts -- unless she's eating a dozen of them herself. Why? She thinks that you can only retain so much fat and sugar that if you're going to do bad, might as well do a lot and let only a little bit stick. I don't think medicinal science would agree, but it makes sense in the break room.
And lastly... I hate to admit this... but I think Hillary did earn it. If Obama wins, if the Democrats take major victories in the Senate and the House -- it'll be because of the every-state Primary that she and Obama waged. The organization each put into place will do wonders for the party up and down the ticket.
Hillary did a brilliant job applying her face to the idea of economic recovery. It doesn't hurt that there is a oft-mentioned track record of Clintons "cleaning up" after Bushes. But Obama is a process radical -- he talks about changing the system. The Clintons are policy "radicals." They talk about specific programs. That's a pairing that makes more sense than simply geography. Obama needs policies to really move the electorate. As they stand now it's hard to put your head around them.
I wish they'd both get behind single payer. But with Hillary on the ticket you know some kind of Health Care reform will happen. With Obama involved, you know they'll at least come up with a better name for "mandates."
Lastly -- simple politics. Kaine leaves behind a GOP Lt. Governor. Bayh, a GOP appointed Senator. Biden leaves behind, well, Biden is Biden. If you're going to go with a war-voting Democratic senator from a state not in contention -- why not go for Hillary instead?
So, that's what I'm thinking today. Never thought I would push this line of thought -- and it'll be meaningless in a couple hours when the real name is announced.
But at the moment on the Friday of the announcement... I hope the text message reads "Hillary."