Hillary Clinton's vp push is now in full swing. Yesterday she volunteered to a group of NY legislators that she'd be on the ticket and now both Lanny Davis and Bob Johnson are working on it as well, Davis with a petition and Johnson with an effort with get the Congressional Black Caucus to promote the idea.
What's going on?
Well, first of all, as has been reported in various places, the Obama folks have already told Clinton that she won't be on the ticket. I heard it myself from someone who works for the national campaign. So, I doubt that she will get the call.
What she did yesterday made a vp slot much less likely -- stepping on his day of triumph with all sorts of manufactured stories, like a) the leak she was going to concede, b) the campaign pulling that story back, and c) Clinton herself telling state legislators that she would be vp. She then went out and made the same tired, discredited claims about how she could win and used flawed numbers on the vote, even claimed that SD was the last primary. She also claimed that she was in it for the "18 million," as if Obama won't work for those folks, too, pursuing nearly identical policies. All that meant that last night the pundits were talking about her nearly as much as him. That night could have been a huge use of free tv for the general election, with packages about Obama's life story and discussions of how he won the nomination.
Second, what Clinton is doing is working for 2012. It used to be that saying that was so appalling that no one wanted to do it. But now we know it's so acceptable that a prominent diarist here makes it a key part of her diary. The Clintons and a subset of her supporters (I believe they are a minority) say that they will be working for Clinton for president in 2012. So they are fine with an Obama loss - and all this vice-presidential talk is a way to make this happen.
If Obama doesn't pick Clinton, and as I said in point one, I doubt he will, the outrage machine will crank up. They will claim that the "18 million" won't vote for him, which is pretty unlikely. (I know many Clinton supporters, mostly women over 50, and there's only one who said she might not vote for him and I think she'll change her mind.) So the small number of Clinton supporters who are most committed based on personal loyalty will make a lot of noise, distracting the campaign. And, who know, in a close state, their votes could matter.
Another point: Were Obama to pick Clinton under these circumstances, it undermines him. I would ask, and I think a lot of others would, too, if he can't stand up to the Clinton machine, how can he stand up to dictators and national security threats? And it undermines his message of change.
Frankly, I don't think the Clintons want the vp for Hillary that much. They would face quite a lot more scrutiny, from the sorts of things raised in the Todd Purdham article about Bill's relationships with women to a whole lot of vetting on finances. You may not think that they should face that vetting, but it will happen. They would have to deal with that and so would the rest of us.
So, this is more than a kabuki dance. It's power politics and it's aimed at undermining the Democratic nominee so that Hillary can run in 2012.
I'm a former Clinton supporter who switched to Obama after the Iowa caucuses. I argued for her on many occasions. But now our country's future is at stake. If the nominee is undermined and the Republicans hold the WH, our country and indeed our world is in greater peril. And I don't like it a bit.