Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Could A Clinton/Obama Ticket Be Stopped?

Unless you're only a Republican in the vaguest possible sense - that is to say, a John McCain supporter - you must be beginning to get that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. You know, the same one you got in 2004 when you realized that Paul Martin was actually going to become Prime Minister of Canada. A lot depends on today's Super Tuesday results, of course, but it's looking more and more likely that McCain's going to be the candidate and, worse yet, that the veepee could be Huckabee. It's a disheartening prospect.

Through it all, there has been one great comfort felt on the right: the Democratic candidate is probably going to be Hillary Clinton. No matter what problems we have with the current direction of the GOP, a glance at the Democratic primaries gave us hope. Hillary Clinton is a socialist-cum-moderate who says things like "I have a million ideas; America can't afford them all" on the campaign trail. She's a figure of the institution in an election where the buzz word is change. She's as divisive as any Republican and her popularity is probably about equal to John Kerry's in 2004 but no greater. Whether it's McCain or Romney who gets the nod, chances are they'd have a good shot at beating her.

Although the momentum seems to favour Clinton, I don't mean to completely count out Obama. He has made - and is still making - an impressive run at it. Clinton has a large support base and the advantage of name recognition but the adulation thrown at Obama has proven time and again to be a force to be reckoned with. It's true that his experience is non-existent. And it's also true that his power is mostly as a symbol of that great and nebulous concept of change. "Change into what? Um. Who cares? Just change, okay!" But the power of what he represents has now become impossible to deny and, for Clinton, too dangerous to ignore.

So, for all these reasons, I wasn't all that surprised to hear that Clinton strategists are beginning to say that Obama would "absolutely" be considered as a running mate if Hillary gets the nomination. The animosity between these two had put me at ease heretofore but the possibility of a Clinton/Obama ticket, something I consider to be increasingly likely now that they're beginning to make nice, cannot be dismissed out of hand. Against John McCain and the inevitably divided conservative base that would accompany his nomination, it's hard to find an angle that doesn't point to a Democratic landslide. When even Ann Coulter says she'll vote for Hillary over McCain, you know the Republicans are going to have trouble satisfying the base.

With Clinton and Obama on the same ticket, we're beginning to enter nightmare scenario territory; 16 years of Democrats in the White House. Consider it. In the general election, Hillary would likely match Kerry's performance in 2004 and pick up the usual blue states but Obama's name on the ballot would almost certainly be enough to keep and gain most of the swing states like New Mexico, New Hampshire, and Iowa. His popularity among independents and the power of his "change" message has already proven effective in most of these states.

There's that sinking feeling again.

The more I mull it over, the more sense it seems to make for the Democrats. Is the Clinton/Obama ticket as likely as I think it is? Roland Martin offers some pretty persuasive reasons to think it'll never happen, but I'm still not convinced.

We've all had fun watching Obama and Clinton snipe at each other. There's clearly no love lost between these two. But how far are they willing to go to keep a Republican out of the White House?

I can't be the only one who thinks the answer is "as far as necessary".

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