06 September 2008

Let's Get Something Straight About Hillary

There are a lot of people Out There who think Sarah Palin wouldn't be the problem she is if Obama had choosen Hillary as his running mate. True, she wouldn't be. Palin wouldn't be the Republican VP candidate if Clinton were on the Democratic ticket. We'd be looking at Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, or maybe even Joe Lieberman, God help us.

A subset of these people are still fuming that Clinton wasn't even vetted for the VP slot, which they see as an insult to her and proof that Obama is a sexist asshole.

Here's the thing. Hillary Clinton did not want to be the VP candidate. No way, no how, as she herself might say. She wanted to be the presidential candidate, and if she can't be that this time around, she'll hope that Obama loses this year and wait until 2012. Proof of that came in a New York Times article yesterday in which "advisers to Mrs. Clinton" tepidly noted "that she stood ready to help the Obama-Biden ticket, but they urged the campaign not to overestimate the impact Mrs. Clinton could have, noting that she had other commitments this fall, like campaigning and raising money for Senate candidates."

That being the case, why put herself -- and more importantly, her husband -- through the rigorous VP vetting process?

Don't forget, when you run for president, the only official (and it's not even really official, just customary) vetting you get is in the release of your financial and medical records. Clinton waited until fairly late in the primary game to release hers, possibly because she didn't know how well it would resonate with voters that she and Bill had earned $100million since he left the White House. She needn't have worried. People don't hate you for being rich; they think they might be rich some day, too.

But in submitting to a VP vetting process, you open yourself to whatever the presidential candidate's team wants to ask you, and if they don't like your answer, it's over. Financial questions, sure (and do we know everything there is to know about Bill Clinton's business dealings with Ron Burkle and the Dubai Investment Group?), but also questions about what we euphemistically call a person's "personal life," in this case code only for "has Bill Clinton been screwing around outside his marriage in the last eight years and if so, with whom?"

Maybe the answer to that question is no. Maybe Clinton could answer no and the presidential candidate would believe her. But if it's not no, if there's any hint of it not being no, and you're not a lock for the VP slot, and you don't want the VP slot to begin with because you want to be president (for which, by the way, I don't blame her), why would Hillary Clinton put herself through that? Put off the Bill Clinton stuff another four years, by which time things might be different for him.

So stop being all up-in-arms self righteous about why Obama didn't pick Clinton. He may not have wanted to, but for her, the feeling was entirely mutual.



Post a Comment

<< Home