March 10, 2008

A prediction

A reader writes:

There will be no bloody convention in Denver, no days of rage, no train wreck, not even do-overs in Florida and Michigan.

Sometime within the next few weeks, Senators Obama and Clinton will announce a fusion ticket, with Obama at the top spot, Hillary as his running mate. They'll call it "Hope AND Experience," or something like that. The Democratic Party will save many millions of dollars, it will avoid racial acrimony, and Howard Dean will gleefully announce that all is right with the world.

Some obvious questions:

1. Why Obama on top? Simple math, for starters - there's no way she can win the nomination without the superdelegates and all the accompanying chaos. Hillary will also come under far less scrutiny in the second spot. There aren't just the tax returns, pardons to terrorists, and the Clinton Library donations; don't forget the cattle futures windfall, the missing documents, even her tax deduction for donating Bill's used underwear to the Salvation Army (seriously.) HRC's closet has more skeletons than Imelda's had shoes.

2. Why will he accept Hillary, who is loathed by nearly half the nation? That's her price of admission - either she gets the second spot or she fights for every last delegate in Denver, probably giving the election to McCain. For her, it's better to be the first female VP than just another senator.

3. Don't they hate one another? Sure, but it's nothing compared to the mutual loathing between the Kennedys and LBJ. Those guys needed one another in '60, just as O & C need each other now.

This scenario will be terribly disappointing to Republicans, but even more so to the media, which want a bare-knuckles brawl for ratings, circulation & excitement. I find it kind of disappointing myself, as I would relish the drama in Denver. But the Democrats are neither stupid nor venal enough to allow the fratricide everyone is predicting.

If this comes to pass, remember where you read it first. If not, remember those words of Emily Latilla. Never mind.

Seems sensible to me, but, keep in mind, that back when I was in the marketing research business, I eventually noticed that the surest indicator that a product would fail in the marketplace is if it seemed pretty good to me.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


Φ said...

Your reader is perceptive in that there are almost certainly party officials trying to broker this deal. But the train-wreck scenario seems overstated.

To an outsider at least, the acrimony seems confined to the campaigns. I don't perceive any spillover to the rank and file. On the contrary, it appears that Democrat voters would be tickled pink to have either of these pols as the nominee, both of whom promise the biggest expansion of government since Walter Mondale. There just isn't a likely scenario in which McCain faces a sufficiently divided Democrat party to make up for the GOP's own divisions.

Eric said...

I think Hillary cares a lot less about what the Democratic party looks like at convention time than she does about... Hillary. As long as she has a mathematical chance for victory I don't see this scenario playing out. And if she doesn't, there's no reason for Obama to do it.

dearieme said...

He daren't: as soon as the Election was won, the Clintons would have him shot.

Ralph Phelan said...

I'm hoping Obama's smart enough to avoid getting into a situation in which his heartbeat is the only thing standing between Hillary Clinton and the realization of her ambitions.

canson said...

I have to agree that this makes sense. Really the only way to better it would be to amend the constitution so that Winnie Mandela could run. And yes, I know that she goes by some other name now, no one else remembers it either..

neil craig said...

Can't see why Hilary would go for this. Vice President or "taking the veil" as Teddy Rooseveldt called it, is a non-job if the top guy doesn't like you & doesn't get shot. Also she is to old to use it as a stepping stone in 8 years.

Anyway she has already had the position de facto.

Might work the other way round for Obama, for whom it would be a promotion & who probably does have a future but his question is would his chances be improved by being in the limelight, particulalry if recession is coming, or standing back & saying "I could have done it better"?

Remember all these TV shows where the black guy is the sidekick.

Anonymous said...

Never gonna happen.

Hillary's done.

Barry will pick another double-x chromer for veep to get the "Ebony & Ovary" ticket. [hat tip to Rush]

Senator Debbie Stabenow (Michigan) (dowdy non-sexy older chubby) would help get the old white chick vote.

ya read it here first!

William said...

I guess it depends on how much the perceptions of Hillary Clinton are true. If she is truly as thirsty for power as so many seem to think, then I don't see any way to avoid just such a mess.

A look at her personal history doesn't dissuade me from the train wreck scenario. She's spent her whole life chasing after political power. Every career move, every personal move - having a baby, changing here last name (back and forth and back again), even the decision to stand in Bill's shadow - seems to have been motivated by political calculations, at least from the day she gave that commencement speech at Wellesley, and certainly well before.

From the first day we she entered the national scene, back during the "2 for 1 deal" we were promised (threatened with?) during the 1992 election, every action by Team Clinton seems to have been directed towards raising her political stature.

Will that woman now accept the Veep slot - a slot that gives her almost zero chance (she'd be 69 in 2016) of ever becoming president?

And a prediction: we will never, never, ever have a second President Clinton. And that's not because Hillary has no chance of winning. That's because even if she does win she will revert to Hillary Rodham well before Jan 20, 2009.

William said...

Is Hillary really mathematically eliminated from winning with the elected delegates?

Florida (big Hispanic, old women, and ex-New Yorker population) was winner -take-all on the Republican side. Was it that way on the Dem side, and would it still be so in a do-over?

Barack Obama wouldn't seem to have a choice about allowing a redo. To stiff Florida and Michigan voters (especially Michigan) would not be good for his general election chances.

Anonymous said...

Comparing the Obama-Klingon,er,CLINton ticket to Kennedy-Johnson...uhm,are you suggesting a similar outcome???

Todd Fletcher said...

No way would Hillary take the #2 spot.

Anonymous said...

Obama would be insane to put her on the ticket. He wouldn't live a year.

Sideways said...

No way Hillary would consider this before the Penn election, anyway

Anonymous said...

It will never happen and here's why:

1. Obama would have Hillary undermining him on issues of policy all the time.
2. The campaign could not "finesse" minor issues but MAJOR ones: Hillary's calls on NOT meeting Nutjob, NOT wanting immediate Iraq pullout, NOT wanting to deep-six all military spending.
3. Obama + Hillary = HARD LEFT ticket, no balancing.
4. Hillary's people would lose out in patronage.
5. Likely defeat in November, possibly catastrophic defeat for Blue Dogs.

These last two issues are likely to be major. It's not just Hillary, it's all her backers wanting a restoration. Blue Dogs are unhappy about Obama at the top of the ticket, Obama and Hillary = disaster for them.

And Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan, Code Pink, ANSWER all WANT AND NEED their time in front of cameras. You think Al will give up on a fight? OF COURSE he wants to be known as "Hillary killer" so he can ramp up his influence and power. Rev. Al is likely a candidate for Chicago's Mayor or Gov. He's not going to give up now. Meanwhile guys in the Mid-south and such are facing defeat in Nov. with a hard left ticket. So Hillary plus say Jim Webb looks good. Obama as the Sharpton candidate does not.

Dennis Dale said...

Hillary won't take the VP nod because that means cooling her heels for eight years, after which she will likely be seen as too old to run for president. This is not in serious play.
That's why her suggestion of a Clinton/Obama ticket is a very smart play (and in no way "unfair"; these people really need to stop pretending to be so delicate).
Hillary is saying that with her in the top spot Democrats avoid a damaging convention battle and lessened chances in the general election, and get both candidates, Hillary now and then Obama, seasoned in public posturing and safe from having to make politically costly votes in the Senate (he's been quite circumspect through his sophomore season about risk; he can't keep this up for a decade--well, perhaps he could get away with it).
Obama may be able to buy her off by promising to give her the health care initiative she so dearly covets. Of course, she might still be better positioned to push that in the Senate anyway.

michael farris said...

"I eventually noticed that the surest indicator that a product would fail in the marketplace is if it seemed pretty good to me."

And you didn't quite get it. I think you're pretty smart and not even really evil. You just never met a status quo that favored the already powerful that you didn't like and want to justify. That's a big blindspot to have for someone who wants to figure out what's going on.

Hint: your lying eyes tell you that the train tracks meet somewhere in the distance, it's your rational capability that tells you that isn't possible.

Jeremy Umstead said...

"1. Obama would have Hillary undermining him on issues of policy all the time."

I seriously doubt this. People are predicting Vice Presidents will "disagree" (meaning in some meaningful, argumentative way) with the President and that this will create "deadlock" due to some imagined powers that the Vice President doesn't have (and forgetting some responsibilities the VP does have). It's never happened, including when the President and Vice President were from different parties (Adams-Jefferson, Lincoln-Johnson).

Clinton still won't be on the ticket. If I may borrow from myself, people are predicting that front-runner candidates will secure the nomination by picking strong runners-up for VP all the time, and it almost never happens. Reagan-Bush is the only time I can think of it happening.

You make amends with the losing candidate's supporters by giving the VP slot to someone like their candidate, but even that is pretty vague. Jack Kemp wasn't a whole lot like Dole's main opponents. Bentsen wasn't much like the people Dukakis defeated.

Obama will likely pick someone with oodles of experience. Who is the Lloyd Bensten of 2008? Probably not a proven loser like Kerrey, Biden, or Dean. Probably not an NE mainstream leftist like Dodd. Maybe another big-stater with a long resume ... did Boxer and/or Feinstein endorse him?

simon newman said...

"Meanwhile guys in the Mid-south and such are facing defeat in Nov. with a hard left ticket. So Hillary plus say Jim Webb looks good. Obama as the Sharpton candidate does not."

I was at Democrats meetings in 2004 when the left-Yankees running the show told everyone to shut up and settle on Kerry, ie not Edwards. Ohio 2004 proved conclusively what I'd already been saying, that the Democrats can't win without the Blue-Dog, Scots-Irish, Appalachian-American voters. Hillary has some appeal to them due to her husband and focus on blue-collar issues - these are people, often low paid workers without insurance, who would really benefit from a decent health care system. OTOH they see themselves as stubbornly independent and have zero interest in "workers of the world unite" solidarity.
Hillary would benefit from a popular Blue-Dog VP like Webb, since many of them dislike her personally. Obama though absolutely has to have a Blue-Dog VP if he's to have any chance where it matters.

numbskull said...

"canson said...
I have to agree that this makes sense. Really the only way to better it would be to amend the constitution so that Winnie Mandela could run. And yes, I know that she goes by some other name now, no one else remembers it either.."

That reminds me of who I was thinking whilst watching Michelle Obama. Except Michelle is taller and physically fit. I guess that thing with the personal trainer had not gotten through those evil racist Apartheid barriers set up to cage in the blacks.

Martin said...

A Hillary/Obama ticket might be the only way for McCain to win. I don't think the democrats would be quite so stupid. Neither a woman nor a black man have EVER seriously had the remotest chance of gaining the nomination of either of the two parties for the office of President, until this year. So now someone wants a ticket made up of both a woman AND a black man? That's too much change for one year - the rather conservative American electorate (conservative in whom they're willing to vote for, not conservative in the sense of desirous of electing conservatives) won't go for it.

Anonymous said...

Bama picks a woman.

Caroline Kennedy? Katie Couric? Mika Brzezinski? No wait ... Silda Wall Spitzer!

William said...

Obama won't pick Hillary - unless he absolutely has to - because Hillary and Bill would always be looking for a way to focus the attention on themselves.

The problem with a Obama/Clinton ticket isn't that it's Ebony & Ovary, the problem is that both are so far left that they would alienate all the independent voters. A well-known moderate woman would be fine. But so many Americans used to seeing blacks and women on the political stage are used to seeing the most radicalized blacks and women. To have two such people on the ticket makes it that much worse, especially with Obama being such a cipher.

headache said...

"I eventually noticed that the surest indicator that a product would fail in the marketplace is if it seemed pretty good to me."

I have to agree, although I know nothing about marketing. Usually political developments caught me off guard. When I thought conservatives had a chance, they got trashed. And the other way round. The problem with politics is that it’s about underlying social currents not seen with the eye, which often go directly against what's good or sensible for a country.

For instance, here in Germany Gerhard Schröder won because all the kids of the first successful workers class generation (also a type of AA receivership), had just finished their university studies and were now the "new" middle class, basically pushing aside the classical conservative bourgeois boring clerks, engineers, bakers and bureaucrats. Schröder was a financial and political disaster for Germany but the internal social dynamic was overriding. People were prepared to put up with dismal politics for 7 years just so the dream of this "new" middle class could be fulfilled (sort of).

I guess in the US similar things are now happening, but I cannot see them because I don't understand the country. Most probably Obama or Hillary will be a disaster for the US and I don’t think this is what the US needs right now (considering immigration, war, budget deficit, boundless AA etc.), but the social dynamic will always trump the rational, conservative, because there is this irrational hope for a brighter future, and conservatives just have the fear, security, close-down-the-hatchets ticket, which of course I always prefer.