Last week, both Hillary and Bill Clinton brought up the prospect of the Democrats running a ticket that had Barrack Obama and Hillary on it. Of course, Bill and Hillary both noted that it would be Barack Obama who would be the vice presidential candidate, and not a Clinton. While doing so, both members of the Clinton party were able to reference how powerful the Obama name will be on any ticket, whether she is on it or not. Bill Clinton said:
I know that she has always been open to it, because she believes that if you can unite the energy and the new people that he’s brought in and the people in these vast swaths of small town and rural America that she’s carried overwhelmingly, if you had those two things together she thinks it’d be hard to beat. [It would be an] almost unstoppable force.
Unstoppable you say? Would that be because the voters that Clinton is bring to the table are true Democratic voters who would vote for any Democratic candidate, regardless of the party, while Obama brings in swing and independent voters, as well as the wavering Republicans?
Obama quickly, and effectively, squashed the idea for the short term when he came out the next day with this:
You know, we are just focused on winning this nomination. That’s my focus. And you know, I’ve said before I respect Sen. Clinton as a public servant. She’s a tenacious opponent. I think it is very premature to start talking about a joint ticket … right now.
And quickly followed with this statement:
You won’t see me as a vice presidential candidate, you know, I’m running for president.
And thus was shot down probably the last idea the Clinton campaign had to get Obama to pull out the race. What I found funny then was that the candidate who was coming second was ‘offering’ the second place on the general election ticket to the candidate running first. Apparently I wasn’t the only one to find that funny though. Obama himself came out at a Mississippi rally yesterday with these amusing assessments:
With all due respect, I’ve won twice as many states as Senator Clinton. I’ve won more of the popular vote than Senator Clinton. I have more delegates than Senator Clinton. So I don’t know how somebody who is in second place is offering the vice presidency to the person who’s in first place.
On all three, crucial, fronts, Obama is winning easily. But it didn’t end there. What makes the ‘offer’ by the Clinton campaign absurd is that while Bill might be out there floating the idea, and while Clinton supporters might encourage it (like Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell, who said “It would be a great ticket.”), Clinton is still engaged, along with the rest of her campaign, in an attack-and-smear campaign against Obama. While one side of her team is saying he would be a great running-mate, the other is saying that Obama is unqualified to take office, totally the wrong choice for voters, and doesn’t deserve to be in the White House.
Funny. I thought that the role of vice president was to be ready to take over as president if the occasion so arose. I thought you would have to be as qualified as the president (or presidential nominee) to be fit to be the vice president. Obama seems to think like this too:
If I’m not ready, how is it that you think I should be such a great vice president? [The Clinton team is] trying to hoodwink you.
That’s all it really is: An election tactic. The Clinton campaign is only throwing this idea out there in order to make Obama voters think that a vote for her is a vote for Obama, so vote for Clinton. What Obama voters need to ask themselves is will Clinton really pick Obama as her running-mate come the general election after all the negative things she has said? And if she does, is this the candidate that you want: Someone who can’t keep a consistent message? And do you think Obama will automatically say yes? No, no, and no are the answers to those three questions.
Polls among Democrats have been conducted concerning this hypothetical ticket. With the options of the primary race ending now and the ticket being ‘formed’ immediately or the race going through to the end, from Clinton supporters, 59% favoured the ticket option, while only 39% favoured the race continuing. For the Obama supporters, the results were opposite: 52% favoured continuing the race, while only 45% wanted to form the ‘dream ticket’. Among all Democrats, only 51% wanted to see the ‘dream ticket’, while 45% actually opposed the idea.
This probably stems from the following statistics: Only 71% of Clinton supporters believe that she will win the primary campaign. 83% of the Obama supporters believe that he will win it.
Similar confidence was shown by Obama’s political supporters in disregarding the ‘offer’. Senator John Kerry said:
The first threshold question about a vice president is, are you prepared to be president? So on the one end, they are saying he’s not prepared to be president. On the other hand, they’re saying maybe he ought to be vice president.
Tom Daschle, former senator from South Dakota and former Senate Democratic leader, who has also publicly supported Obama (previously saying “[Obama] personifies the future of Democratic leadership in our country” and has a “great capacity to unify our country”) had this to say about the offer:
It may be the first time in history that the person who is running number two would offer the person running number one the number two position.
And it might just be – which makes it all the more ridiculous to be touting the idea. The Clinton campaign slipped off the rails some time ago, so something like this can be totally expected from them.