I hope it's... Hillary?

A 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."

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Anyone But Hillary is a Yawn

I am sure Obama will not pick Hillary. Sadly this will likely cost him the election. Virtually every other pick from mid to small state governors to senators are unlikely to light a match under this unraveling campaign.

Obama has been making it look like amateur hour for the better part of a month. Trailing a befuddled 70+ yr old at this stage with an unpopular war, 4 buck gas and a housing and economic crisis does not bode well. Picking anyone other than Hillary will not galvanize the party.

Sorry but things do not look good and the ground game strategy that won him the nomination will not win him the presidency. He is looking more and more the indecisive, somewhat baffled intellectual. He is nuancing everything to death. He can scarcely give a straight answer for fear of offending someone. He strikes me a lot like a boxer who can float like a butterfly, but I sure haven't seen any sting!

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Why Has The Race Tightened UP?

Why has the race tightened up?  I think it is a combination of three factors.

1.  The Republican base is coming home to McCain.  Of course if he picks a pro-choice VP, then he will put this group into a lather which will like cost him a point or two in the polls, but probably less, when all is said in done in the voting booth.  Its one thing to tell a pollster you haven't made up your mind because you are pissed off, its another to not vote at all, or, gasp, vote for the all pro-choice ticket.

2.  The attack ads have had a modest effect on Obama, by playing to the meme of "otherness." This has lead some independents who were earlier saying they would vote for Obama (based largely on general anti-Republicanism) to slip back to "I haven't made up my mind" when polled.

3.  The whole VP dance, and "putting her name in nomination or not" dance has served to reopen the barely scabbed wounds of the really angry part of Hillary's support.  Let's call it about 20% of her primary season voters.  When the pollsters call these women (my assumption is that is mostly women) they are too angry to say that they will vote for Obama.  And McCain's flirting with a pro-choice VP, gives them a little cover, as they toy with the idea of violating every core principle they have, out of anger.  But again, it is hard to imagine that in November, with a pro-choice, progressive ticket within smelling distance of the White House, that they will stay home, or vote McCain.

So..  If I were McCain, I would shoot for the independents, reclaim my maverick brand, and pick Tom Ridge, let the base chips fall as they may.  But, I don't think he will do that.  He will pick a safer VP, who is anti-choice, firm up his base, but also further dilute his "maverick" brand, and look like just another Republican in a year when the Republican brand is toxic.

If Obama picks a women VP, the Hillary really angry group will come home to him sooner than if he picks a white male, but either way, when it comes time to vote, that group will sigh deeply about how close they came to electing one of their own President, and vote for Obama.  Indeed, they may well deny it to pollsters right up to the moment in the voting booth, but when the actual votes are counted, I bet more than two-thirds of that group comes home to Obama.  

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I think Obama should pick either Hillary or Jim Webb!

I say that because they are the only ones with balls. Solid steel balls. For those newbies Hillary was tested during Bill's impeachment and she is really a very strong person.

 I think they are the only ones who are really capable of carrying the electorate. I say that because they are the only ones capable of beating the shit out of McCain.

What is wrong with you people you want Biden, Bayh or Sebelius?

If you have seen how Hillary campaigned in states like PA, KY and WV when she knew even her best effort would still lose her the nomination, how could you recommend Obama nominate Biden, Bayh, kain or Sebelius.

I think Hillary and Webb or the two real fighters in the Democratic Party. For the VP spot we really need a fighter. Do you guys remember the way Webb confronted Bush. I know of nobody who did that.

I am a Hillary supporter but I would be happy with Hillary or Webb.

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Greatest Head-fake in History

VP Speculation season, I love it!

I think Obama's got everyone right where he wants them, feverishly speculating on everyone EXCEPT the one he's actually chosen.  He'll wait until the start of the convention, and then announce his selection in a way that will dominate the news cycle for the next week at least.

Personally, I think that choice will be Hillary Clinton.  If he chooses another woman, it will be seen by many Clinton supporters as a weak choice from someone who couldn't stand up to the "Clinton Machine." There is a popular common narrative around sexist issues that many men feel threatened by powerful women.  Obviously, Obama doesn't fit that narrative very well (considering his choice of spouse).  But I think he'd be painted with that brush.

Hillary takes me WAY out on a lonely limb (thanks, Anna Shane, for keeping me company).

I read in an AP article today that IF Obama has decided on Hillary as his VP and is trying to pull a convention surprise, he would have to keep it from Hillary and Bill Clinton as well, because of the "seive-like" quality of their inner circle.  Hmm.  That remark probably referred to the leaked Clinton Memos.

Also let's look at the organization of the Convention.  Roll Call Vote, Hillary on Tuesday, Bill on Wednesday (the night the VP also speaks).  Wow.  He's really giving quite a show to the Clintons.  But look at the people who are NOT coming...Clark, Rangel.  Huge Clinton supporters.  Obama's creating a message of Unity, but he's not going to let it become Hillary's convention.  He's the top dog and Hillary and the Big Dog need to come to him now.  The message is clear.

Yes, yes, it's just speculation.  But fascinating.  What is Obama doing, we are all asking ourselves.

If Clinton isn't chosen, my bet is he'll choose Biden for his foreign policy experience and his ability to coin pithy expressions that crush his opponents ("A noun, a verb and 9-11.")

Finally, Sam Nunn.  As a gay man who spent 6 years of my life lying my ass off in the USAF, I offer a word of warning to the Obama folks:  Pick him and you can watch the gay community stay home on election day.  That's not a threat.  Samm Nunn is no friend to the gay community.

Caveat and apologies - my first diary.  I can't get the HTML tags to work so no linkie to the AP article, sorry.

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