Friday, June 6, 2008

Discussing Barack's Vice-President: Points of Agreement

Reprising the Roles of Teddy Kennedy and Dick Cheney
In a 'telephone conference' with two friendly bloggers last night, I was apprised of a different future for Hillary Rodham Clinton:

The Ted Kennedy Role.

Teddy tried for the Presidency in 1980, trying to unseat the sitting President, Jimmy Carter. As I recall, Teddy never conceded until the party's convention. It was, I am assured, a bitter loss for him to absorb - not being able to aspire to the highest office in the land as did his two brothers.

In the wake of his defeat, Teddy doubled-down and got to work being the best darn Senator he could be. As a legislator and a voice, Kennedy was without parallel. He is now known as the Lion of the Senate.

Likewise, Hillary: not being able to reprise Bubba's presidential record is a bitter pill to swallow. She was certainly qualified. And the only Chappaquiddick in her closet would be husband Bill. Actually, that's kind of an insurmountable obstacle, IMO. But Hillary could reprise Teddy and graciously become the Lioness of the Senate. I really do not see another future for her, unless she'll accept eventual elevation to the SCOTUS.

Without a vice-presidential nomination this year, there is really no path to the White House for Hillary. Four or more years in the Senate will make her just one more Senator in a crowd of Senators with mixed track records.

On another blog, I recently took exception to a standard knock against Barack Obama as a presidential contender:
... Barack Obama is not as experienced in politics as his vanquished foes...
For the McCain campaign, as it was for the Clinton campaign, this was a common refrain, verging on a mantra. The journalists stenographers of the press and media have made it into a kind of mantra. But in fact, lack of experience is also the most un-examined or under-examined statement about modern American presidential politics: rarely do people ascend directly from significant Senatorial careers into the Presidency. Senators with long careers just do not make good candidates.

Jack Kennedy was the last sitting Senator to win a presidency. Lots have tried, but none have been anointed.

The fact that Obama has vanquished Clinton and will soon vanquish McCain is illustrative of this convention (the less Senatorial experience the better.) So, whenever you see this phrase quoted above, in whatever variation, you should recognize it as trite.


The Dick Cheney Role

However you can characterize this past eight years, you have to admit it has revolutionized the office of Vice-President. For that reason I have a decided preference for Obama to fill it with an elder-statesman type, who can offer the chief executive a respectable voice in areas of perceived weakness. (Not too elder, but somewhat elder.) General Wesley Clark has the attributes I think would benefit Obama's ticket. He's a member of the Clinton camp. He has won delegates in the presidential primary four years ago. His career in the military was long, unblemished and distinguished. As past commander of NATO, his ability to serve a president in strategic and diplomatic circles is unquestionable. And, his nomination would not deprive the Senate of a valuable member.

So, those are the points of agreement I reached last night.

12 comments:

  1. BTW, on my IRV ballot with 192 ballots cast, General Clark is not defeated until the 12th round:

    Jim Webb 61 (34.7%)
    John Edwards 51 (29.0%)
    Bill Richardson 64 (36.4%)

    Pretty damned good, even if this is a non-scientific poll!

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  2. Bill Richardson is a great man, but I agree with you completely about Wesley Clark and would add Jim Webb. They are both ex-military and southerners. Clark wins over Webb only due to his extensive political experience.

    The IRV ballot was a great idea. Thanks for conducting your own poll, Vig.

    That picture of Kennedy and Cheney gives me the chills.

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  3. Read this endorsement of General Clark by Matt Stoller of Open Left and then come back at me, Boris.

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  4. I sense a turning tide.... Hillary will be asked by Barack to join the ticket.....

    Otherwise I think you might hear McCain-Clinton rumours. While she would quickly turn it down (as McCain did four years ago), it will add spice to the Vice Presidential stew.

    All the smart money is on Webb.... But, then again, all the smart money was on Big Brown today.....

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  5. Wrong, Wizard! It's the Come-Back Kid! Dont'cha know?

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  6. Wizard, I just heard a clip of Zbigniew Brzezinski this morning on Meet the Press.

    Z.B. said that Clinton would be the worst choice as V.P. It would produce a "dysfunctional presidency", with the Vice President's executive office just across the street from the White House West Wing, the Clintons would constitute a "government in exile as well as a government in waiting".

    I have to ask you Wizard, do you really think the Clintons play better as team-players than they do as team captains? And that would be co-captains, wouldn't it?

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  7. This comment is addressed to Boris' earlier bumper-sticker comment:

    Let's just insert Matt Stoller's compelling case into this discussion. General Clark as Obama's VP,

    doesn't help heal the Clinton-Obama divide; he isn't identified with the Clinton wing of the party. He's an island, an independent power source, which maximizes his leverage in the Senate, but isn't helpful in unifying the party.

    .... Clark, though not in elected office, has a better sense of what it's like to run for President. He has after all done it before, and for a neophyte, he did very well. More importantly, he has excelled at the real job of a VP candidate, which is not getting votes for the top of the ticket, but being a surrogate for the campaign and for lower ticket races. In 2006, Jon Soltz of Votevets tells me, Clark was the single most requested surrogate in the country, with the possible exceptions of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Clark is heavily involved in both his own PAC and Votevets, raising money and supporting Democrats up and down the ticket. He has huge credibility with officials all over the country because he was reliable and helpful to groups, candidates, and activists. There is simply no one else who comes close to his ability and track record of delivering a persuasive and progressive argument on national security on behalf of Democrats.

    ..... a Clintonista through and through, and so putting him on the ticket would be a key signal to the Clinton world that they will have influence in an Obama administration. You may not like that, but the Clinton people need an incentive to work aggressively for the ticket, and Clark is that incentive. While Obama backers may not like a Clinton person having such an important seat that the table, Clark is actually a supremely progressive advocate, and probably the best Clinton loyalist on national security issues that progressives have. This is a guy who not only opposed the war but, along with Ted Kennedy, fiercely opposed Lieberman in 2006, shooting a TV commercial for Lamont when the entire edifice of the institutional establishment was against him. He was not only against the war, but he is demonstrably more progressive in his politics than almost any other Democrat.

    ..... Clark would be an excellent VP, and a great President. The guy won a war using multi-lateral strategies with zero American casualties, and he can and will be able to help ride herd over the Pentagon. He has stated that he thinks it is important to keep investigating Bush administration crimes and not just drop it

    ..... As VP, he will do an excellent job of working to repair our international relations and designing a new national geopolitical strategy. He knows a lot of world leaders and has spent substantial time in nearly every continent working with them.


    I apologize for the length of this comment, but Food-Blogger had swerved this discussion into the frivolous realm which is not what it merits.

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  8. We now have a candidate and can focus our attentions on taking back the White House and increasing our presence in Congress.

    As I've stated, Clark or Webb would work fine for me..

    Speaking of sexist Rethuglican misogynists: McShame.

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  9. Welcome to corporatist, fascist America.

    Ala Military Industrial Congressional complex

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  10. Sure, I have a VP preference. But, Obama needs a break after this difficult campaign. I think he's right when he said, "I need some time to think about that." I'd rather have him make the choice when he's had some time off and rested enough to win the election.

    Hell, how many vacations has Bush taken while he's pseudo-President? First year in office set the all-time record for most days on vacation by any president in US history. I wonder how many vacations he took while he was campaigning.

    I guess Rove and Cheney were busy taking care of the campaign as well as the Gray House.

    President Obama needs a rest while he has time to weigh the VP candidate that will do most good for this country.

    I made my choice: Vigilante for VP! (Vig, I'm looking for the link.)

    :L)

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  11. Why not right in the dead Meet the Press guy?
    That will make all the difference from the assortment of Price System flunkies that are out there waiting to serve the corporate fascists.

    You people make me sick.
    Playing along and thinking that this system is for real. Really disgusting. Sheep. The lord is your shepherd. The political price system is your shepherd.

    Obama can pick Webb or Hillary. It matters not. They are figureheads for special interest groups.

    Clark by the way is the worst scum bag of any in contention.
    He is a total crook. Wrote a book about economics that sucked. A big player in the military industrial congressional complex.
    Ignorant politicians.

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