Saturday, August 14, 2010

Why Obama Will Probably Pick Hillary

Now that the Obama-backed Michael Bennett beat the Clinton-backed Romanoff in the Colorado primary the speculation of Hillary joining the ticket will lessen. But it will not evaporate entirely.

It just seems all so logical. Hillary is probably the most popular member of his cabinet. The President has clearly decided to follow in the tradition of the legacy of the Clinton presidency (the Clinton economic team, the Clinton tax rates).

I like Vice President Joe Biden. He is a good man, he exudes foreign policy gravitas where Obama appeared, at the time, wet-behind-the-ears young and clearly was a wise choice in 2008 -- Senator Jim Webb having pulled himself out of the running. Negatives: Biden is gaffe prone, did a bad job overseeing the stimulus package spending at the states level and probably will not help Obama in Ohio, the all-important PA, and Florida in '12 as Hillary could if the republicans field a strong candidate. Further, having a Clinton on the ticket in '12 might even swing West Virginia and Arkansas into the Democrat column. There are, finally, also rumors that Biden has always wanted to be SecState. If Obama were to offer Biden the job with expanded powers ("Joe, I'm going to be focusing like a laser beam on the economy next term, I need a strong self-starter for State) it might happen.

And, of course, it would put Hillary in the drivers seat for 2016.

Such a bold move, though might make Obama pretty unbeatable in '12, but might -- just might -- open the door for a minor primary challenger from the left (Russell Feingold?) fed up with the hypocrisy on "Change." This would signal Obama's second term would be decidedly Centrist -- a clean break from the vaguely Progressive Change campaign of 2008. That too is logical considering that as the economic challenges of the next decade (a "new normal" of 7% unemployment) will probably translate into a stronger presence of the opposition party -- the Republicans -- in Congress which means the President will have to be more conciliatory and centrist like Bill Clinton did if he wants to get any legislation passed.

But why would anyone even want to be President nowadays anyway? The fantastically polarized electroate plus the 24/7 cable-blog driven news cycle means that the days of the casual, kennedy President (or even Reagan) is a thing of the past.

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