Sen. Clinton and her famous husband are now trying to make the case that a united ticket with her on top and Obama on the bottom makes good political sense come the fall. I would have to agree. It is the only combination that will win, and it is the only combination that makes any sense. Obama will have the mentor that he so desperately needs, while Clinton will capitalize on her VP’s winning personality and lofty, if totally rhetorical, oratory.
The brilliance of this strategy is clear. It is meant to convey a clear message to two distinct and disconnected groups. The voters may buy this argument and give Sen. Clinton a hefty push in pledged delegates and votes over the next couple of weeks, putting some wind into her political sails and propelling her closer to a legitimate win by the time the convention rolls around. The super-delegates may also be persuaded that she is making a sound and cogent argument for putting together a ticket that has a winning chance. The second audience, clearly, is the audience about which she is most concerned.
The super-delegates will decide this election. Realizing that she is speaking, principally, to them is the only way one can understand how she can say in one breath that Obama is incompetent and untested while saying in another that he would make an excellent vice-president. She wants to cast herself in the role of seasoned mentor, a role for which she logically is well-suited, while posing the simultaneous argument that he will lose if he is the party’s headliner against Sen. McCain.
The Pew research group released findings that indicate a large portion of Clinton voters defecting from Democratic ranks should Obama be the nominee. Furthermore, the same findings indicate that Obama’s followers as well as those who have cast votes for Clinton question his experience and his ability to weather the tough road ahead for the next President. If these trends portend the future, McCain can look forward to a conglomerate of conservative Republicans, moderate Republicans, independents, and so-called Reagan Democrats to come to his side in the fall. Even worse for Obama, it means that he will have only three large constituencies, black voters, young voters, and members of the so-called intelligentsia. Hispanics tend to be conservative, especially those who have lived in the US for a number of years. Bush won handily from their ranks, and McCain will probably be able to pull similar margins this time around.
If Obama is the headliner for the Democrats, the question has to be asked: Who, precisely, is going to vote for him? Clinton knows the answer. That’s why she’s making a self-serving, if politically savvy, argument now before the nominating contest is over.