Carol Platt Liebau: No Clinton-Obama Ticket?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

No Clinton-Obama Ticket?

Roger Simon opines that Barack Obama will not be chosen as Hillary Clinton's VP, even though doing so would be consistent with the tradition of the nominee choosing a strong runner-up as a running mate in order to unify the party.

One of the reasons to which Simon refers is the "rule of firsts" -- it might be too much to have the first woman and the first African-American on a national ticket together. He could be right about that -- as well as in his suspicion that Clinton will be reluctant to have a ticket-sharer more charismatic than she.

But there are two other additional factors he doesn't mention. One is that Obama's race -- which on a Republican ticket could be a plus -- really does nothing to help Clinton. She's already got the African American vote in the bag, and if she's looking to reach out to an ethnicity, it would likely be Hispanics by choosing Bill Richardson (who would also be helpful in the crucial state of New Mexico).

Simon's on safe ground betting that in the end, Hillary will probably go with a white male. But here's another consideration: All those listed have been around for a while, and have obvious flaws.

If Hillary were smart, she would choose a retired general -- which would go a long way to assauge the public's concern about her anti-military bias and address worries about the prospect of a female commander-in-chief. My guess is that Wesley Clark was being groomed for such a role (remember both Clintons promoting him in '04), until he imploded under the weight of his own weirdness.

But other generals are no doubt very much in the running, and happy to burnish their credentials for the Democrats by criticizing the war in Iraq -- at least until the surge started to turn things around.


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