Monday, January 9, 2012

The New York Times Has a Ticket to Ride

Now that we're in another election year, who remembers this nugget from almost four years ago?

That's right ... Harriet Christian, the long-time Democrat and PUMA, who just couldn't believe that the Democratic Party would choose, as its candidate, an "inadequate black man" instead of a "qualified" (and entitled) white woman. (Thank goodness, she wasn't Southern! We'd still be living with that dog whistle!)

Some people can't let Hillary go. First, after she said she'd leave the Administration after serving one term as Secretary of State (pssst! This is what most Secretaries of State do), people began speculating that perhaps she'd primary the President in 2012 - as if people learn nothing from the Kennedy folly of 1980, which gave us Reaganomics and set us on the road to hell we're traveling today. Some disaffected PUMAs and even more Progressives sought to revise recent history and portray Clinton as the Progressive alternative to the President, forgetting all about poor Johnny Reid Edwards, who pointedly ran to the Left of Hillary and was beloved by all celebrity Progressive icons.

Some ranking Democrats even pushed for the President to ditch Joe Biden and replace him with Hillary on the 2012 ticket.

Other notable DINOs suggested that the President not seek a second term, thus freeing the field for a Hillary candidacy. When that didn't work, the same dynamic duo of disappointment started pushing the "Draft Hillary" meme.

Anything to get the "inadequate black man" out of the White House. Listen! Do you hear what I hear?

So I'm looking at The New York Times this morning and, bold as brass, there's this by former editor Bill Keller.

The proposal to draft her in place of President Obama this year is preposterous. It exaggerates his vulnerability and discounts Hillary’s loyalty. But the idea that she should replace Joe Biden as Obama’s running mate in 2012 is something else. It has been kicking around on the blogs for more than a year without getting any traction, mainly because it has been authoritatively, emphatically dismissed by Hillary, Biden and Team Obama.

It’s time to take it seriously.

Why? Why is it time to take this seriously? Joe Biden is immensely popular as Vice President. He's got real working class credentials and isn't above calling things as he sees them. Besides, Hillary didn't want second billing. According to the Halperin and Heilemann gossipfest, Game Change, as far as the VP slot was concerned, Hillary had been there and done that during Bill Clinton's second term, to the detriment (and possible resentment) of Al Gore. And the President was right in his assessment that a Hillary Vice-Presidency then, would have given the impression of a triumvirate of Presidents, with Bill lurking in the background - not to mention any instance of appearing overtly patronising.

Speaking of patronising - cough, cough - Keller has this to say:-

I know the arguments against this scenario, and we’ll get to those. But the arguments in favor are as simple as one-two-three. One: It does more to guarantee Obama’s re-election than anything else the Democrats can do.Two: it improves the chances that, come next January, he will not be a lame duck with a gridlocked Congress but a rejuvenated president with a mandate and a Congress that may be a little less forbidding. Three: it makes Hillary the party’s heir apparent in 2016. If she sits out politics for the next four years, other Democrats (yes, Governor Cuomo, we see your hand up) will fill the void.

I don't understand Keller's rationale at all. First, this is the President who's achieved the rudiments of a universal healthcare plan for the country - something the Clintons couldn't do. He's killed bin Laden (Public Enemy Number One) and ended the Iraq War. (You'll recall that Hillary was closer to McCain in wanting to stay in the region limitlessly.) Is Keller saying that hardcore PUMAs would risk all to make a protest vote for Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum or even Ron Paul? Talk about voting against your interests! Or is he insinuating that an African American President needs the white presence of a member of prime Democratic royalty on the ticket to ensure a victory? Patronising much? White privilege, plenty.

I totally don't understand his second rationale. With or without Hillary on the ticket, if the Republicans maintain control of the House and win the Senate, that's gridlock, no matter how you look at it - and to achieve anything at all, the President would be pulled to the Right. After all, Bill Clinton, himself went in that direction even moreso, when he had to cooperate with a Republican House (fronted by Newt Gingrich) and a Republican Senate. Who doesn't remember "The era of big government is over" being said by a Democratic President in an Inaugural address? Would Hillary, who compromised enough with the Republicans when she served in the Senate, now get the blame for "caving"? I think not.

And, thirdly, in 2016, Hillary Clinton will be 69 years old. I'm sorry. I know she's done a fantastic job as Secretary of State, but she looks tired. Physically tired. And, I'm sorry again, but a candidate of 69 years old is not the future of the party.

Just look at the Republicans' line-up for 2016, should they lose this round: Chris Christie, John Thune and the even younger Marco Rubio. Are you telling me that Hillary Clinton is the future of the Democratic party? What is wrong with an Andrew Cuomo, a Mark Warner, or even a Brian Schweitzer?

How about this one?

She would bring to this year’s campaign a missing warmth and some of the voltage that has dissipated as Obama moved from campaigning to governing. What excites is not just the prospect of having a woman a heartbeat — and four years — away from the presidency, although she certainly embodies the aspirations of many women. It’s the possibility that the first woman at the top would have qualifications so manifest that her first-ness was a secondary consideration.

I'll give Hillary her qualifications, but I beg to ask if she'd have got this far this fast had she not have come also with the credentials of having been married to the President of the United States. Hillary's a worker, credit where credit is due; but I don't think she has as much political acumen as her husband, and then, there's the Bill factor as well. We know how much he likes to involve himself in the scene. And what is this crap about "a heartbeat"? Is Keller implying that the President might die? Wishful thinking? What?

Now,consider this:-

Moreover, even if Obama can win without Hillary, there’s a lot to be said for running up the score. If she can do in 2012 what Obama did in 2008 — animate that feeling of historic possibility — the pair can lift some House and Senate candidates along with them. One reason Republicans did so well in the 2010 Congressional elections is that they overcame the gender gap and carried women voters 51 to 49. Those voters will flock back to Hillary, the more so if the Republican ticket is locked into a culture-war agenda. So, by the way, will Hispanic voters, securing such endangered states as Florida, New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado.

Bubble much? The reason that the Republicans carried the House is because, simply, Progressive voters sulked out the Midterms; and those women voters who went to the polls in November 2010 returned the most inexperienced and obtuse bunch of Congresscritturs in the history of the place. Midterms bring out older voters in general. It's quite likely that those women who returned Republican control to the House would never dream of voting for a Democratic President, even if Hillary Clinton were on the ticket.

And finally, Keller deals with the question of Joe Biden:-

THAT leaves the delicate question of ditching Joe Biden. He is not a dazzling campaigner, and — five years Hillary’s senior — he is not Obama’s successor. But he is a loyal and accomplished public servant who deserves to be treated with honor.

A political scientist I know proposes the following choreography: In the late winter or early spring, Hillary steps down as secretary of state to rest and write that book. The president assigns Biden — the former chairman of Senate Foreign Relations — to add State to his portfolio, making him the most powerful vice president in history. Come the party convention in September, Obama swallows his considerable pride and invites a refreshed Hillary to join the ticket. Biden keeps State. The musicians play “Happy Days Are Here Again” as if they really mean it.

Of course, this is more exciting if it’s a surprise, and now I’ve spoiled it. Sorry. But not as sorry as I’ll be if — as I fear — it’s just a fantasy.

The idea that Joe Biden is the President's "successor" is, quite honestly, a load of Republican hogwash. The Democrats don't do "wait your turn."

So we return to the idea mooted originally by disgruntled PUMAs - Hillary gets the VP slot and Biden gets State. Why? Is this President that unelectable? Or is this just another white man's fantasy designed to get white people on the Left who are having doubts about supporting a black man again a reason to turn out at the polls in November?

Why is it so utterly and unmitigatingly important that Hillary Clinton be President of the United States, at any cost?

As a woman, I would dearly love seeing a woman elected President, but a woman who's attained her candidacy through her own abilities and not riding on the coattails and the name of her husband. Even Maggie Thatcher accomplished that.


  1. Evidently, Keller doesn't realize just how much the right hates our Secretary of State. Were she to be second on the ticket in 2012, watch out! It would create a major distraction and fodder for the GOP Propaganda and Faux Outrage Machine--drama we don't need.

  2. Welp in the immortal words of Hillary herself, "we all know what happened to Bobby Kennedy".