Will Obama Dump Joe for Hillary?
Now that Republicans have swallowed hard and are coalescing behind Mitt Romney, I have a very unsettling prediction for them: Barack Obama will dump Joe Biden as his running mate and choose instead - Hillary Clinton.
This makes such compelling sense politically that the Obama and Clinton camps will bury their collective hatchets and march forward arm in arm.
This will be the conservatives' worst nightmare realized, and I wouldn't suggest it if I weren't pretty certain it has been under discussion in the Obama camp for four years or so. Far be it from me to offer an idea beneficial to extending this administration.
Think about it. What does Joe Biden bring to the Democratic ticket? His feet spend a great deal of time in his mouth, and he is too old to be prepping for a 2016 run at the presidency. His constituency is greater Delaware.
Hillary, on the other hand, has served loyally as secretary of state, keeping her head down on domestic issues. She is no spring chicken, but is still a potential candidate in 2016, and there remains a powerful Clinton political machine with a large following of women - everybody's favorite voting block.
Face it: If Jack Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson could get together, anything is possible.
Politics, as they say, makes strange (metaphorical) bedfellows. At least the president and Mrs. Clinton are both Democrats, and, unlike Joe Biden, who is a potential loose cannon at any time, Hillary is disciplined (she's still married to Bill) and would add a certain pragmatic centrism to a ticket that keeps drifting leftward.
I think Mr. Obama's reasons for making this change are obvious, but why would Hillary accept? First of all, she's a party gal. She's been a Democratic politician all her adult life, and she's a true believer. She has always done what was required to serve the party (she's still married to Bill). She took on the secretary of state job despite her antipathy toward the president. She will step up again.
Second, she needs a vacation. The vice-presidency would give her a chance to relax and shorten up her travel schedule. How many banquets in obscure capitals should one person be required to attend? She could just lie low and bake cookies for Bill. Or not.
Then there is the presidency itself. She has been so close. She lived in the White House for eight years and came very near again in 2008. She must be both intoxicated with the dream and frustrated at waking from it prematurely. She will be 68 in 2016, younger than Ronald Reagan when he was first elected.
There are some problems. By all accounts, and despite the necessary political accommodations, Clan Clinton does not get along with Team Obama, including its captain. As Hillary hunkers down to the vice-presidency, Bill will have to promise to spend four years being good if he wants Democratic bigwigs to line up for his wife in 2016. Bill is much more self-controlled than Joe Biden, but he nonetheless has been known to go off the rails on occasion.
Hillary has some work to do, too. Commentators have recently been noting her new frumpy look. That look may play well in central Asia or California, but it really isn't very presidential, or even vice-presidential. She's going to have to get a haircut, slip the contacts back in and lose a few pounds before she goes out on the campaign trail.
Could this Republican nightmare really happen? If the polls continue to turn against the president, especially among women voters, the impetus to do something dramatic will grow. We'll know soon. The trial balloons (of which this column is definitely not one) will begin to go up. Stay tuned.
Fred Wolferman lives in Southern Pines. Contact him by email at fwolferman@ sbcglobal.net.
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