Earlier this week Obama said that it was too soon to talk about running mates, “I think it’s premature for us to be thinking in that way, because I don’t know who the nominee is going to be yet. It’s not yet resolved.”
Howard Wolfson of the Clinton campaign flatly denied that she interested, “She said that’s not something she would accept.” It is logical that the Clinton campaign would have this position now, because they are still trying to win the nomination, but when one examines the people pushing Clinton as a running mate, you find most of the fuel for this rumor is coming from Clinton supporters.
Sen. Ted Kennedy’s comments released yesterday about a dream ticket are a reflection of the way most Obama supporters feel about this idea. “I don’t think it’s possible. And I think if we had real leadership – as we do with Barack Obama – in the number-two spot as well, it’d be enormously helpful,” Kennedy said.
However appealing the idea of a dream ticket may be, if Obama would select Clinton as his running mate it would hurt his campaign more than it would help. Hillary comes with enormous baggage and record high negatives. Most importantly for Obama is that he has based his campaign on change, and adding a link to the past like Hillary Clinton would send the wrong message voters in the fall.
Republicans have been dreaming for over a year about facing Hillary Clinton. If Obama would select her, he is risking being tarred with the Clinton legacy of scandal. (Just ask Al Gore how much fun that was).
Clinton’s selection would give the Republicans something to campaign on, a way to define Obama by linking him to the Clintons. Picking Hillary Clinton is not the way to show the nation what Obama means by a new kind of politics.
Obama needs a running mate who can help him in a swing state. He needs a fresh face. Frankly, he shouldn’t choose any of the current Democratic U.S. Senators, because a choice of a swing state Democrat could mean the loss of a Senate seat in November for the Party. I do suspect that his selection will probably be a Democratic governor.
Adding Clinton to the ticket creates more problems for Obama than it solves. He will carry her state of New York in the fall without her, and I think the much talked about white blue collar Democrats will vote Obama if their other choice is John “The economy is great” McCain.
Trotting out an old war horse like Clinton is not the way for Obama to define the politics of new.
So if she isn’t going to be the VP nominee, what should Hillary Clinton do next? I think she would be the perfect replacement for the ineffective Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader, but the worst thing Obama could do would be to put Clinton on ticket. What may be a dream ticket for some might turn out to be a nightmare for Obama.