I’ve been listening to everyone talk about whether or not Hillary Clinton should have been offered the vice-presidential nomination, or at least given the “courtesy” of making the short list, and I gotta tell you — it never struck me as a real possibility, or even a good idea.
Yes, Hillary was a fairly close second in the primaries. But in politics, do you know what they call the candidate who comes in second? “Loser.”
The idea that former rivals could set aside any animosities that might arise in a political campaign and unite for the good of the nation was one of the dumber ideas of the original Constitution, when the candidate who came in second for the presidency became the vice-president. That was such a bad idea that it was the subject of the second Amendment to the Constitution (after the Bill of Rights, which were approved concurrently with the Constitution).
Historically, very few presidential candidates have tapped former rivals for the number two slot. The only exception I can recall was Ronald Reagan choosing George Bush for his vice-president — Bush, who had hung the term “voodoo economics” on Reagan’s economic plan.
That was a notable exception, and I think that the Bush family trait of loyalty played a hefty factor in the choice.
“Loyalty” is not a term that springs to mind when talking about Clintons, however. In fact, if someone were to list the virtues exhibited by the Clintons, “loyalty” would be pretty far down the list.
The last thing any president needs is an ambitious vice-president. They need an advisor, a surrogate, a person they can trust implicitly. They do not need a former rival who still nurses a considerable grudge against the person who defeated them, especially in as bruising a primary fight as the one between Clinton and Obama.
Quite frankly, the White House would not be big enough for the egos of Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Bill Clinton as the nation’s First and Second Couple. The constant rivalry between a sitting president and first lady, and a former president and sitting vice-president, would be a huge distraction.
And as entertaining as that would be for folks like me who don’t care for either couple, that would be very, very bad for the country.
Also, Obama had to know that nearly every vote Hillary brought him as a running mate would really be a vote for him to fail, for her to be in place to step up at the first opportunity. While I’m not the paranoid “Clinton body count” conspiracy type, it’s an established fact that those who place their faith and trust in the Clintons come to very, very bad ends — it’s remarkable how many former Clintonistas ended up imprisoned or otherwise disgraced. “Loyalty,” to the Clintons, only means “loyalty to them,” not something that is reciprocated.
Quite frankly, Hillary Clinton never had a prayer at the number two slot. The “outrage” exhibited when it came out that she wasn’t even vetted, never made the final cut, was inevitable. At some point, it was going to be made clear that she wasn’t going to get it. The only question was when it would become undeniable.
Even to those die-hard Hillary supporters who were in a massive state of denial.
Hillary will now go back to the Senate, serving out her current term. She might make one last stab at it in 2012, pending on what happens in November and over the next four years, but for all intents and purposes she’s done.
Which was obvious to almost everyone several months ago, when Obama started racking up win after win after win.
The only surprising thing is that that denial lasted right up until Obama picked Joe Biden.