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Thursday May 22, 2008

No Nightmare Ticket

I have no idea what's in Sen. Hillary Clinton's head as far as her endgame is concerned. But there is speculation (uninformed, probably) that she wants maximum leverage to pressure Sen. Barack Obama into putting her on the ticket. (UPDATE: Time reports President Clinton is pushing his wife for VP, but no one knows what Sen. Clinton wants.)

That would be a disastrous idea for several reasons.

Wrong Message: It undermines Obama's central campaign theme of "change," that it's time to "turn the page."

Looks Weak:It would be perceived as a decision made under duress, indirectly undermining his foreign policy argument that he would maintain toughness while conducting diplomacy.

Constant Distractions: The Clintons are a continuing train wreck of psychodrama that would repeatedly distract and overshadow. (Note how far President Clinton's poll numbers have dropped in recent months.)

Iraq: Obama would have difficulty attacking McCain's foreign policy judgment on the Iraq war if his running mate displayed the same poor judgment.

The main argument for Clinton is to help bring in more white working-class voters. But just because she's doing better than Obama with them in the primary is no evidence she's the only or best option to attract those voters.

For example, Sen. Jim Webb (VA), Gov. Ted Strickland OH), Sen. Blanche Lincoln (AR), former Sen. Sam Nunn (GA), Sen. Evan Bayh (IN), Sen. Jay Rockefeller (WV). Gov. Phil Bredesen (TN), Gov. Brian Schweitzer (MT), Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (KS), just to name a few.

Furthermore, I'm not convinced Obama needs the electoral college help.

He's beating McCain in seven out of eight major polls taken this month: up 10 points in yesterday's Zogby poll., others generally around 5-7.

Yes, it's early for national polls. But keep in mind polls from this month have been conducted after Obama has taken plenty of fire, and McCain has gotten off light.

He may be relatively weak in Appalachia. But he's still holds PA versus McCain. And a lead that big should help Obama pick up states like Virginia, Colorado, Iowa, New Mexico and maybe more.

Everyone is focused on how to handle Clinton to avoid deep fissures in the party, for good reason. Obviously, Clinton should to be properly considered as any popular figure in the party would.

But expectations can't get too high either.

A quicker decision may help in that regard. Expectations won't build too much, and any bad feelings will have time to heal.

There's no need to draw out the suspense. Obama's candidacy is exciting on its own.

After Clinton concedes, the veep search should be the first order of business. And when the decision is made, and the vetting is completed, don't wait to announce.

Posted by Bill Scher on May 22, 2008 email post email Spotlight / / You are in Democratic Party
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