Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The moment Hillary Clinton lost the vice presidency

First, watch this new John McCain ad:

Then, imagine how much worse it would be if Obama had picked Hillary as his runningmate.

The PUMAs who complain that Obama somehow "disrespected" Hillary by failing to pick her as his veep, or by failing to consider her seriously enough, need to get a grip. Hillary sacrificed any right to complain about not being Obama's VP when she went harshly negative against him in the primaries, particularly when she made the above-quoted statement about McCain being more ready than Obama to be president.

Remember, when Hillary made that statement (and various others like it), it was already 95% clear that Obama was going to be the nominee. And yet Hillary "went there" anyway, because she felt it was her only chance to pull off a miracle comeback and beat Obama for the #1 spot on the ticket. Fine; that was her prerogative. But you simply cannot say the things she said, in public, and then expect -- nay, demand -- serious consideration for the #2 spot. (To her credit, Hillary seems to understand this. Too many of her supporters, possibly including her husband, seem not to.)

Hillary could have run a kinder & gentler, veep-friendly campaign against Obama in the spring. She chose not to do so, because she felt it was strategically necessary to go negative. That was her decision. By making it, she effectively ruled herself out as a potential runningmate for Obama, precisely because of the devastating effect these sorts of ads would have had if she were on the ticket. So basically, it's her own damn fault she wasn't seriously considered for the V.P. spot. End of story. Enough with the hurt-feelings nonsense.

P.S. Speaking of which:
In a private meeting with Sen. Barack Obama after she conceded the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton made a request: that he consider her for his vice presidential running mate, but not put her through the charade of being vetted if he was not serious.

Obama told Clinton then it was unlikely he would choose her, people familiar with the conversation said. Obama did not want to lead her on and, after campaigning against her for more than a year, already had a sense that their pairing would not be the right fit. ...

Obama advisers said they did not want to raise expectations for Clinton knowing they would probably be dashed, especially after she asked not to be put through an artificial process. ...
So basically, by not "vetting" Hillary, Obama was doing exactly what she asked him to do. And for that, the PUMAs blast him as "disrespecting" her, not giving her what she "deserves," etc. Good lord. What a bunch of myopic whiners.

P.P.S. And/but:
At the same time, aides said, Obama did, in fact, consider whether he should revisit the idea of an Obama-Clinton ticket as he went through the selection process.

But in effect, he did not really consider Clinton for the No. 2 spot. Even toward the end of his decision-making process, as he was weighing alternatives and leaning toward Biden, Obama raised the idea of Clinton once more with the close circle of associates helping him make the decision -- but ultimately concluded that it was not the correct course.
Interesting, very interesting.

Meanwhile, just to prove that I don't always side with Obama in disputes with the Clintons: from what I've read, I think the Obama folks are being unreasonable in their dispute with Bill Clinton over the content of his speech. It's fine to have a national security "theme" on Wednesday, and it's fine to insist that Clinton talk about security issues at some length. But he should also be allowed to talk about other stuff, and make a broader pitch for Obama. For goodness sake, the broader his pitch, the better, from Obama's perspective!

Convention organizers get way too obsessed with their "themes" at times, and this is a classic example. Memo to DNCC/Obama: Nobody cares about your stupid theme. This is like a prom decorating committee getting all upset because somebody got the wrong color ballons. Except it has much bigger consequences: it seems really petty, and does unnecessary damage to an already strained relationship, to tell a former president he can't talk about his economic legacy in the context of whole-heartedly throwing his weight behind Obama. Let him talk about whatever he freakin' wants, so long as he's enthusiastically pro-Obama. Good grief.

Oh, and I just had a thought. Tonight, during Hillary's speech, will the Obama powers-that-be allow "Hillary" signs -- with her original typeface, not some Obama-fied version -- to be distributed on the convention floor? They should.