Tuesday, January 10, 2012

PUMA Pain and the Continuing Hillary Question

Can of worms opened.

The Hillary question just won't go away.

Last night, Ed Schultz - patron of the Virginian Too-Dumb-for-Tech Society - was wetting his Y-fronts at the possibility mooted, yet again, by Bill Keller that Hillary might replace Joe Biden on the 2012 Presidential ticket.

He even roped in the easily excitable Jonathan Alter and PUMA race expert Joan Walsh to discuss the assumption:-

In a rare happenstance, I agree with Walsh, although it pained her to admit that such a venture by the President would look weak, but then, the Professional Left have been pushing the misguided myth of Presidential weakness in this President since day one of his Administration. The repeated references to "caving" or "spinelessness" and "timidity" perfectly fit the age-old antebellum stereotype of the weak negro who was well in over his head in some enterprise, so incompetent that he had to call the white folks in to sort him out. Who better to do the deed than the Master and Mistress of the Democratic plantation?

Even Alter reiterating repeatedly that, although it was a miniscule chance, it was still a chance was paled by Ed getting carpet-munchingly excited about the prospect that Hillary could usher in a whole new generation of Democratic rule dating from 2016.

Wait a moment ... when did Presidents rule? Ed's fat ass should be smacked for that. He didn't sit in Fourth Grade Virginia History and Seventh Grade Virginia History in the Commonwealth dubbed "The Mother of Presidents" looking at those history books we got with the pictures of fat, well-dressed and contented slaves dancing around the campfire only to grow up and make a stupid remark like that. (OK, the first bit of that run-on sentence was satire, but the last bit was dumb). Presidents govern. They help to govern with the aid of Congress, who legislates. Kings rule, Ed.

Sometimes, however, you find sustenance in your arguments in the most unusual places, and the best and factually fairest argument against why it's not in the President's interest to ditch Joe Biden and make Hillary the Vice-Presidential candidate is found in Doug Mataconis's most recent blog on the conservative Outside the Beltway website.

Mataconis is a lawyer and a libertarian, but this time he nails exactly why it wouldn't behoove the President to change running mates for this election - and his rationale is virtually the same as Walsh expounded, and a bit more.

There’s another argument that comes to mind, though, and I think it may be the most important reason why the President would not take this step absent something truly extraordinary. Virtually from the day he secured the Democratic Party’s nomination in 2008, there has been speculation about what the relationship between the Obama and Clinton camps would be after what had been one of the most contentious primary battles in recent memory. It was fairly well-known by that point that there were many in the Obama camp who resented some of the actions taken by former President Clinton while he was stumping for his wife in states like South Carolina, including comments that some interpreted rightly or wrongly as having a racial overtone. On the other side of the equation, we’ve learned from campaign books like Game Change that Hillary herself looked upon then candidate Obama as something of a rank amateur. There was, you will recall, a somewhat tense kabuki dance in early summer 2008 as the two camps negotiated over the terms of a Clinton unity rally with Obama, which ultimately did take place after some arrangements were made to help Clinton retire her campaign debt. By the time Vice-Presidential consideration came around, that tension was still there as well as the question of whether Bill Clinton would ever agree to open his financial records for the vetting that would have to take place for Hillary to be considered for the spot.

The Clinton’s campaigned for Obama in the General Election, of course. They are, after all, loyal Democrats, but the Obama Campaign seemed to be careful about not creating the impression that either Hillary or the former President would in some way be responsible for an Obama victory. In the end, Barack Obama won the election on his own and turned to Hillary Clinton to be his Secretary of State in what what simultaneously a display of magnanimity and the political genius of removing an intra-party from the playing field.

Why, after all that, would the President turn to Hillary Clinton four years later? Given all the speculation we’ve had about this scenario over the past three years or so, would it not be seen as a sign of weakness on Obama’s part, a tacit admission that in order to win re-election he needs Hillary’s help? And, assuming for just a second that all her demurring about running again is untrue, what price might Hillary set for agreeing to save Obama? The perception of having to come to Hillary to save your Presidency is one that would be hard for the President to live down.

There you go again ... the perception of weak man, weak President, calling Hillary (and ubiquitously, Bill) in to save the day. It would look to many the way they want to perceive the President: as one who really wasn't up to the job, who was crap at negotiating, who appeased just that little bit too much. But with Super Hillary at his side (and Uncle Bill in the background) Progressivism would be saved (ne'mind the Clintons are Third Way proponents) and the Democrats would just live forever in the White House.

But then, Mataconis puts his Constitutional lawyer's cap on and delves further into why this "Ditch-Joe" scenario just wouldn't work: It would be precariously close to being unconsititional.

First here's the situation Keller posits:-

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.

Hold that thought.

Now, Mataconis's evaluation:-

If anything, this would make Obama’s position even worse. Not only does the public see him coming to Hillary to save him, but they see him calling her out of retirement to do so. Absurd, simply absurd.

And the Biden half of this scenario? There’s a fairly good argument that it would be unconstitutional, or at least highly inadvisable for a Vice-President to simultaneously serve as Secretary of State. For one thing, doing so officially would make him subject to the oversight of Congress despite the fact that he is a Constitutional officer, creating real problems for Separation Of Powers. For another, a Secretary of State can be fired, a Vice-President cannot. Do neither Keller nor his “political scientist” see the problem there?

No, neither Keller nor his "expert witness" see any sort of problem. Nor does Schultz nor any of the PUMAS who have been clever enough to rewrite Hillary as a Progressive (in your wettest dreams) but not clever enough that the rules the pundits want this Greek drama played out by, simply can't be achieved ... because of the Constitution.

It's time for the PUMAs to sit down and shut up. Hillary ain't gonna happen. You're not going to get her a heartbeat away from the President's second term. If she feels invigorated enough to make a run for the office in 2016, at sixty-nine, she's perfectly entitled to do so. She just won't have the office of Vice-President listed on her portfolio.

Hillary lost the nomination in 2008. It's now 2012, and we're staring another General Election in the face. If the PUMAs seriously aren't over the fact that an "inadequate black man" (their postergirl's words, not mine) beat their candidate ("a qualified white woman"), then maybe they ought to work for Willard or Newt or poor, sad-eyed Jon Huntsman. They're certainly qualified and white enough.


  1. Hillary Clinton is a quintessentially 20th Century Figure. The idea that she represents the future is laughable. She subsumed her own career to her husband's ambitions and derived her fame and influence in that manner.

    2016 could be the year of Elizabeth Warren, a strong, confident woman who earned every bit of her fame by virtue of her own good works.

    Needless to say, only 20th Century mindsetters like Ed and Joan could see her as the future.

  2. This is the kind of stupidity that gives me headaches. These characters also circulated the idea that the Sec of State should primary the President she worked under. They'd better be glad I don't run that channel. I would set up a hack free environment.


  3. I had the misfortune of visiting Taylor Marsh's site (first time and definitely last time) and hoo boy, the PUMA-ism there! They're still trying the meme that PBO is horrible. Oh yeah, Hillary would've been soo much better-whatever.Even on a blog like Jezebel, they practically worship Hillary.I don't get it.

  4. Btw, SO glad I discovered your site. You're awesome!