May 5, 2008 at 9:23 pm | Posted in Barack Obama, Democratic Party Presidential Primary, U.S. Politics | 2 Comments
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Andrew Sullivan, a Conservative who’s even more of an Obama partisan than some on the left, thinks the unthinkable:

His model in this should be Abraham Lincoln. What Lincoln did, as Doris Kearns Goodwin explained in her brilliant book, “Team Of Rivals,” was to bring his most bitter opponents into his cabinet in order to maintain national and party unity at a time of crisis. Obama — who is a green legislator from Illinois, just as Lincoln was — could signal to his own supporters in picking Clinton that he isn’t capitulating to old politics, he is demonstrating his capacity to reach out and engage and co-opt his rivals and opponents.


Done deftly, picking Clinton could even resonate with Obama’s supporters as a statesmanlike gesture, a sign of the kind of reconciliation he wants to achieve at home and abroad and energize his own party for the fall. It is consonant with his core message: that he can unify the country in a way few other politicians can. It would even help heal the gulf that has opened up between the Clintons and black voters in this campaign. It’s win-win all round.

I hesitate to propose this, but I do think it is now worth actively considering for the first time in this campaign. The test of a president is his ability to recognise his own weaknesses and adjust to them. If he can do that while strengthening his core message, and make his own election close to unstoppable, what would hold him back?

There are advantages to it, if only that it’d stop Clinton’s compulsion to continue destroying the Democrats’ best hope of beating John McCain.

At the same time, having Clinton on the ticket could be a serious handicap given the amount of animosity between them. How would Clinton be able to talk her way round the suggestion that Obama hadn’t passed the commander-in-chief theshold, whilst she and McCain had? How could Obama disown his statement that Clinton’s ‘totally obliterate Iran’ remarks’ resemble those of George W. Bush? These two have made enough negative statements against each other to give the media months worth of headlines, and all the while John McCain would get a free pass.

There are many others – like Jim Webb & Bill Richardson – who could bring as much political muscle to the ticket as Hillary can. They also happen to be better-qualified.

Photo by Jim Lehr’s Newshour (Creative Commons)



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  1. The last debate made it pretty clear there could be no joint ticket. I had hopes once. It would have been a knock-down ticket, but now it’s impossible. I know a lot of people will blame Hillary for this, but I see it is leaning towards Obama’s fault as he began to believe his own press. I think his ego got inflated and then it all came blasting back after PA, and he’s not over it.

  2. Yeah, the blame probably runs both ways. Quite why Obama never extended the offer when he had the chance is beyond me: he had the opportunity to show himself as a conciliatory bridge-builder & put Clinton under even greater pressure to accept for the good of the party.

    The fact he never even made such an offer (at least, not publicly) just reveals the extent of their animosity…

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