Team Of Rivals Gaining Traction?


Clinton's leading fundraising chair:

"There's a risk that if she isn't invited on the ticket, Hillary's political and financial supporters may not feel compelled to be as integrated and involved in the Obama campaign in order to provide the maximum support that he'll need to prevail in November."

So it gets clearer that they're bargaining for the veep slot. More straws in the wind here. But the money angle is an absurd lever. Obama's money machine doesn't need Clinton in any way. And the Democrats would be suicidal to turn off that spigot by handing the nomination to Clinton.

Nonetheless, the logic I laid out a few weeks ago still holds. The upside of an Obama-Clinton ticket would be considerable. I know I've been all over the place on this. My fear of an Obama-Clinton ticket is because of what I think of the Clintons. My interest in an Obama-Clinton ticket is because of what I think of the Clintons. They're dangerous to Obama - the overthrown dynasts who are pulling a Richard II right now. But they're just as dangerous in the tent and out of it. Obama needs to figure out which is the greater danger. I don't envy him.

But when you think about it, the Clintons' popular vote argument is not an argument for winning the nomination. You can't change the rules in the fourth quarter. But it is an argument for the veep slot. Put this way, the dead-ender act is not so psycho. The Clintons, like it or not, do have a base in their party. They've been beaten but not destroyed. Obama has to do something about it.

There are a lot of voters in his party for his opponent. And the signals the Clintons have been sending are that they will not go easily. When Obama says, "I'm very practical in my thinking. I'm a practical guy," this seems to me what he's thinking.

This really is the first major presidential decision Obama has to make. How he handles it, and what he decides will tell us a huge amount about the kind of president he would be. My hunch is that he will try to conciliate - and that, if he's shrewd, that will be the theme of his campaign. A Clinton pick would instantly relieve the Democrats and create a demographic landslide potential for the fall. It would immediately force an entire army on the right, now making the Clintons' arguments for them, to eat their words or find themselves praising the Democrat. It would reassure some voters that Obama has a running mate with more Washington experience. It would help the women's vote.

One more thing: for Obama to pick Clinton needs to be - and be seen to be - an act of strength, not weakness. It must be diplomacy not appeasement. That requires some class on both sides. And so far, only one side has shown any.