I would like to see a poll that specifically says, "Black people will abandon Obama if Clinton is his VP". Not just "Who would black people prefer?" but whether or not they would stay home or vote for McCain if Obama picks someone they don't like.
Mind you, after Jesse Jackson's comments, I get the feeling that there are those in the black community would would rejoice at any reason not to vote for Obama -- which would be about the saddest thing I've heard in a long time.
And even if what you say is true and the black vote deserts Obama in the wake of a Clinton VP choice, let's look at the numbers. I use the word "assume" here in the mathematical sense, meaning it's a starting condition for the problem, not that it's factually precise.
Black Americans are 12% of the population. (Add in 2% for those identifying as biracial if you want, though the census data doesn't say how much of this is Black/White, Black/Asian, White/Asian, and so on.)
Whites are 76% of the population, including 8% Hispanic (racially "white" though culturally often their own group.)
51% of the population is female. For the sake of this thought experiment, assume that all black women vote black and not female.
Assume the total voting population of the US is 10,000,000 (it's higher than that, but this is a nice round number.)
Assume the country is evenly divided Dem/Repub voters (pretty much what the polls say...) Assume women break evenly this way, but that blacks all vote Democratic (both are generalities of course.)
Let's crunch those numbers.
10,000,000 x 12% = 1,200,000 votes. This is assuming all black people vote Obama.
10,000,000 x 19% = 1,900,000 votes (19% = one quarter of the white vote, representing white Democratic female voters.)
Take the absolute extreme case scenario: An Obama/Clinton ticket chases away all black voters (not likely) but pulls in all women Democrats (also not likely). What happens?
Obama gains 7% of votes, that's what happens.
Now, I don't believe that even half of the black population would abandon Obama if an Obama/Clinton ticket happens, so in reality he stands to gain a couple of percentage points there, but he also won't convince all the PUMAs, so he loses a little bit there. I'm willing to call it a wash, even though I think the die hard PUMAs are few (die hard = won't vote Dem even with Hillary on the ticket) and the black population is more supportive than you say.
7% votes is a LOT. And that number is probably low.
That's the number I get, using 2000 US Census data, as the amount of votes Obama stands to gain by paying more attention to female voters than to black voters. This is what it means to be a "minority." Blacks are a true minority. Women are a majority.
This is all a very rough calculation and I expect people will pick nits with it (if anyone actually got this far...) but I think the trend is clear:
Obama/Clinton would be a good thing, even if it costs Obama every last black vote. Which it wouldn't.
I do not for a moment believe that there is a significant voting block of Republicans who are thinking, "Hey, I'll vote for that Obama guy as long as he doesn't add Hillary Clinton to the ticket." Or that the presence of Clinton on the ticket would magically energize McCain's presidential bid. The Rethug machine is lukewarm about McCain because he's seen as not "right" enough. The Democratic ticket, no matter who's on it, isn't going to repair that for McCain, if that's what's worrying you.
I have disagree with you on the meaning of "he's not one of us." Anyone who wouldn't vote for Obama because he's black wasn't going to vote for him, ever.
The "one of us" he really has to deal with is the "one of us ordinary people, who understands our lives, our needs, and our fears". That's where he can lose or pick up votes.
Maybe it's the Bradley effect in action, but the people I know who are doubtful of Obama are saying it's not because of his race, it's because of his attitude. You can believe them or not, but I don't think ALL of them are lying.
Obama's "one of us" problem (gooble gobble!) isn't about his skin color. I repeat: the racist vote was never going to be his, since he can't change the color of his skin. It's the other ways in which he appears to stand apart (above?) that he needs to combat.
I think the point is, if Gore had been a stronger candidate, the Rethugs couldn't have stolen the election. That's not saying his campaign was bad, but rather that it could have been better. Possibly one way to increase the margin past the tamper-proof level would have been to get help from Bill. It's hard to say even with hindsight what would have solidified things for Gore.
Bill's a distraction. It's Hillary's abilities (and faithful following) he should be going after. I think a part of the reason for his slide is all the talk about how he's definitely not going to pick Hillary as VP. Sorry, but no one is going to get excited about Kaine.
I hope it's not too late. The Unity Ticket isn't (quite) dead yet. I hope Obama is the sharp politician people have been saying and realizes what he needs to do to win. If he doesn't win, it doesn't matter who his VP pick is in the slightest.
I am baffled by people who would rather see Obama lose without Hillary than win with her.
It was bluff, bravado, bluster, and BS. There's no such thing as a vote you "don't need". I don't know how many of them were just making noise, and how many were truly fooling themselves that it wasn't necessary to heal the rift in the Democratic party. Many good people on this blog and elsewhere tried to explain this to people who were either so pro-Obama they couldn't see the necessity, or -- my favorite theory -- they were actually Republicans fomenting the best way to bring Obama down.
If he loses -- and I still have hope he won't -- I'm going to have a hard time not punching people who will inevitably walking around going "It's the fault of the Clintons!" I actually read a comment on an Op-Ed piece somewhere by a supposed Obama supporter (right!) who called the Clintons "The most evil couple in America". Yeah, sure. Obviously a Rethug stirring the pot.
It saddens me that the "pro-Obama" trolls were allowed to run wild here (and I won't even talk about KOS and Huffpo). They should have been stomped on hard before they made the party rift completely unbridgeable.
The obvious thing to do is for Obama to put Hillary Clinton in as VP, but these "Obama supporters" will accept anything except that. But it may not be too late...if Obama could just bring himself to see the necessity. It's too bad there are people who think an Obama/Clinton ticket would be a worse outcome than a McCain victory.
Primarily because, while he does bring out those groups, it's not nearly as decisively as he brings the black vote. He might get 60% of the youth vote (if they bother to go to the polls), maybe 50% midwest (though I think that's pushing it), but he regularly pulls in 85-95% of the black vote. Those voters are absolutely his, no question.