TRUTH OR DARE: Hillary on Obama’s 2012 Ticket?
Keep one maxim in mind: All of the big rumors that circulate within the political/media elite are designed serve someone’s agenda.
These rumors are almost never sourced because the agenda would then become too transparent.
The latest Kerfuffle began with Bob Woodward telling a CNN reporter that the notion of Hillary replacing Joe Biden on the Obama 2012 ticket was “on the table.” Here are two representative reports, typical of the internet buzz today:
Author/journalist Bob Woodward told CNN’s John King that there is a chance that Vice President Biden and Hillary Clinton could trade places in 2012. Woodward claims (accurately) that Obama’s reelection prospects would be stronger with a Clinton on the ticket. Woodward: “It’s on the table.”
But Andrea Mitchell of NBC quotes Hillary praising Vice President Biden and adding that Sec State Clinton has “no reason for doing anything other than just dismissing these stories and moving on.”
What is going on here?
Consider that Mr. Woodward’s latest book, “Obama’s Wars”, was not flattering to our new president – except possibly to Mr. Obama’s shrinking but still infatuated cadre of true believers. For the rest of the country, especially the pro-Hillary primary voters, Mr. Woodward’s revelations validate a growing sense of buyers’ remorse among mainline democrats. This was especially true of those who were taken with Mrs. Clinton’s famous primary campaign commercial – the one that depicted a telephone ringing in the presidential residence, then posed the question: “Who do you want answering the White House phone at 3 AM?”
The “Replace Biden with Clinton” rumor is an embarrassment to the White House because the very mention of Hillary coming to the president’s rescue admits the failure of Mr. Obama’s leadership.
Clearly, someone close to the parties involved floated this to Bob Woodward. No journalist of Woodward’s experience and standing would have gone with this story without a solid source.
Who was it? We can rule out any Obama loyalist within the POTUS’ inner circle – this young president is (for now, at least) psychologically incapable of self-criticism.
So we are left with someone connected to the presidential circle, but harboring a grievance, or a Hillary loyalist.
I think it was someone from the Hillary side, close enough to accomplish the leak, far enough to preserve her deniability.
Why would Hillary do this?
Hillary Clinton’s calculus is so obvious I don’t have to rely on secret sources.
She is relentlessly ambitious and totally persuaded that she would have made a far better president than the junior senator from Illinois. She is not alone in that assessment. Obama has screwed things up so badly that many highly placed democratic operatives, the movers, shakers and money raisers, are getting desperate: They are pining for Mr. Obama’s replacement by another democrat at the earliest practicable moment, and for adult supervision in the White House in the meantime.
Barak Obama’s perspective:
If this president cannot stage a full leadership and public confidence recovery following the pending voter rejection on November 2 (and please note that Mr. Obama is leaving the country for about two weeks on the heels of the pending electoral debacle), one or more of the following scenarios are very likely to unfold:
(a) Mr. Obama hunkers down as a “recalcitrant duck”, a one-term president;
(b) He becomes a self-righteous Jimmie Carter, Redux, and runs again;
(c) Our new president leaves office early, giving some face-saving reason;
(d) Barak pulls an LBJ, announcing that he will not run again;
(e) He “recalibrates” before running for a second term, adding Hillary to the ticket.
Hillary Clinton’s perspective:
This is a particularly complex problem for an ambitious politician like Hillary Clinton because:
In scenarios (b), (c) and (d) above, there will be primary candidates, other than Mr. Obama, for the democratic nomination for president in 2012.
It will be very difficult, both psychologically and politically, for any white democrat to take on a sitting African-American president without suffering potentially catastrophic blowback.
Therefore, it is in Hillary Clinton’s interest to present as a loyal Obama supporter, while allowing surrogates to try to force Mr. Obama not to run. We saw hints of this during the primary campaign when Hillary’s campaign operatives secretly helped republicans float information about candidate Obama’s questionable association with 60’s radicals and a rabidly “black liberation” pastor.
If Mr. Obama does seek a second term, then it may be in Mrs. Clinton’s interest to join the ticket. Here is the logic: If Obama loses, Mrs. Clinton then becomes the obvious democratic presidential nominee for the 2016 race. If Obama wins, Mrs. Clinton is well positioned to pickup the pieces in the event Mr. Obama cannot finish serving his second term (thinking impeachment here) and becomes, no-matter-what, the presumptive nominee to succeed him.
The problem for her is as simple as it is stark: President Obama may be a loser, toxic to anyone in his inner circle. This assessment explains why so many key administration players have already jumped ship. The Vice President of a popular and successful president (like Reagan) often can get elected in his/her own right (like Bush, the elder), but the VP of a failed president (like Carter) is usually retired for good (like Mondale).
So…Mrs. Clinton will probably not join the ticket as a candidate for Vice President in 2012, unless she is reasonably certain that he cannot win.
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