Hillary As VP Screams Desparation For Obama
August 17, 2011 Leave a comment
For well over a year some Democrats have been grumbling about Vice President Joe Biden. They want Obama to replace Biden with Hillary Clinton for the 2012 election. The theory is that Hillary will shore up some women and working class people in the Democrat base who have become disillusioned with Obama’s economic policy. With unemployment hovering around 9%, manufacturing dropping and consumer confidence tanking, it’s understandable why Democrats would be worried about Obama’s re-election chances. The question is whether Hillary adds anything to the ticket.
There’s no doubt that a certain segment of the country loves Hillary Clinton. She currently enjoys a 66% approval rating, which means that Democrats and independents approve of her while Republicans hate her. Joe Biden enjoys a 44% approval rating, largely suffering from Obama’s failures as the second man on the ticket. But Biden has also had a number of gaffes that have hurt him with independents. Hillary has baggage but it’s baggage everyone knows about already. Biden’s baggage is tied directly to Obama, while Hillary’s is not.
Hillary would certainly be more popular than Biden, at least at the moment. The problem for Hillary is that if she runs as Vice President she’ll have to campaign and defend the Obama administration’s economic policy. As Secretary of State, she can remain above Obama’s poor political positioning. As a Vice Presidential candidate, she’ll be forced off her perch. That will surely hurt her approval ratings among independents, the very people Obama is going to rely on to win next year. If her numbers drop as she defends Obama, will it even be worth it to make a switch?
Obama has another issue to consider. A sitting President hasn’t replaced a Vice President for an election since FDR dumped Henry Wallace for Harry Truman in 1944. FDR had also dumped John Garner for Wallace in 1940. FDR was a strong President who could get away with such a massive political move. Of course in 1944 the country was in the middle of World War Two, this should not be forgotten. Since 1944 no President has axed his running mate. It seems to me that unless there’s some sort of scandal or health problem, changing running mates screams desperation. It’s a panic move and if there’s one thing the American people don’t want to see at election time is the President panicking.
This of course all assumes that Hillary would want to be Obama’s running mate. The Clinton’s have always been the type to stick a wet finger in the air to see which way the wind is blowing. If Hillary thinks the Obama ship is sinking, she isn’t going to hop aboard unless her presence will guarantee victory. Hillary is not going to be enamored being the first female Vice President. She wants to be the first female President. If Hillary thinks Obama is going down, she’s not going to hop aboard and risk her chances of victory in 2016. In fact, Hillary would be better off running in 2016 against an incumbant Republican than she would be running for Obama’s third term. Hillary saw what happened to Al Gore in 2000 when he ran for Bill’s third term, she’ll not want that for herself.
My guess is that Hillary doesn’t join the Obama ticket in 2012. While seeing Hillary on the ticket will generate a lot of buzz for Obama, it will wear off quickly. The 2012 election isn’t going to be about Obama’s Vice President, it’s going to be a referendum on Obama and his policies. The fact that the draft Hillary talk has moved from rumbling to outright demands from various Democrats suggests that Obama is sinking and the Dems are worried. Republicans should quietly rejoice and continue on with the hard work of winning back the White House.