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Hubris Beyond Description
In the weekend preceding this article, March 8 and 9, 2008, two things happened: (i) Barack Obama trounced Hillary Clinton in the Wyoming caucuses, although many pundits thought that Mrs. Clinton might prevail, or at least come close in the state; and (ii) Hillary and Bill Clinton both extended naked offers, through the press, to Mr. Obama for the Vice Presidential nomination. Although I am not a big fan of the Democrats, Tom Daschle, who supports Mr. Obama’s candidacy, had the remark of the weekend: "...it’s really a rare occurrence, maybe the first time in history, that the person who’s running number two would offer the person who’s running number one, the number two position." What mind-numbing hubris!
It is monumentally unlikely, bordering on the impossible, for Mrs. Clinton to win more pledged delegates than Mr. Obama. It’s monumentally unlikely, bordering on the impossible, for Mrs. Clinton to win the remaining contests by a large enough vote total to come into the convention with a majority of the popular vote. Mr. Daschle’s quote continues as follows: "[Mr. Obama] doesn’t have any interest in being vice president. He’s going to be our presidential nominee." And It do not blame Mr. Obama in the least. He has worked his posterior off to be the Democrat nominee. He has won the nomination and he deserves to go into the general election.
Why would Mr. Obama ruin his career by choosing to ally himself with a person who would have certainly cheated him out of the nomination, either by hornswoggling the DNC into admitting Florida’s and Michigan’s votes and delegates (Mr. Obama campaigned in neither state because the DNC disqualified them both for flouting DNC rules and moving their primaries earlier) or by strong-arming superdelegates into voting for her, against the Democrats’ precious popular vote? The black community would take him, as I said before, as an "uncle Tom" who decided to be the "token black" on the ticket, and willingly laid down to be run over by the Hillary bus. Not only would Democrats stay home in the general election, they would vote for Mr. McCain in protest. John McCain, who has the luxury of nominating second, would beg Condi Rice to come onto his ticket, splitting the black vote and giving Miss Rice the next logical promotion in her career, which, whether she likes it or not, is destined to end up with her occupying the Oval Office, probably for two terms.
Now, how about Mr. Obama for President and Mrs. Clinton for vice president? As I have previously opined, such a move would be suicidal for Mr. Obama. He would inherit all of Mrs. Clinton’s negatives, while gaining nothing for the general election. In face, he may deflate the extreme left base who voted for him. My guess is that he would nominate a governor to be his running mate, probably Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas. She has Mrs. Clinton’s positives, administrative experience, and none of her negatives.
The Clintons show hubris and a remarkable sense of entitlement. There is good reason for them to try to push the issue in 2008. Mr. Obama has a real chance at winning the presidency. If Mr. Obama wins, then Mrs. Clinton will be a senator-for-the-remainder-of-her-term, and then will be pushed out, ending her career in 2012. That year, she will have no chance at the nomination against Mr. Obama’s re-election bid. If Mr. Obama loses, then she will put up a valiant fight in 2012 to beat back Mr. McCain, but will fail. The GOP has an excellent track record of re-electing its leaders. Mrs. Clinton’s husband would not have beaten George H. Bush in 1992, except for Ross Perot’s wild-card third party bid that split conservatives along fiscal-to-social lines. Perot split up the vote, leaving her husband a minority vote-getter but still President. In 1996 the same thing happened, with less fanfare, in a boring election. Mr. Clinton remains the only President to be twice elected to office by a minority of the vote. Perhaps that history is why Mrs. Clinton seems to think that she is entitled to the nomination without actually winning it.