Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Obama-Clinton 2012? Shouldn't happen.

Today's buzz is over a possible Obama-Clinton 2012 ticket, with VP Biden taking over Clinton's job at State. It's been officially denied, of course. Tomasky offers a positive outlook on the potential pairing here, but I'm skeptical for a few reasons:
  • The fallout could make Obama look disloyal if Biden doesn't look as though he's done anything to deserve demotion.
  • A possible Blair-Brown situation between Obama and Clinton. Biden is a good VP in many ways, but one of them has to be a lack of an independent power base. Gordon Brown had one and was able to hamstring Tony Blair to some extent during their effectively joint reign, and Dick Cheney's power base probably made Bush more inclined to take old Darth more seriously. Putting Clinton in there means radically different power dynamics in the White House, which are pretty unpredictable as far as I can see.
  • Plus, seriously? Clinton has many talents and has done a fine job at State, but her managerial skills, particularly her ability to judge character and ability, have been proven to be poor (see: 2008 campaign). As far as the longer-term consequences go, setting her up as Obama's heir makes some sense from an electoral perspective, but it's not like Obama couldn't name his own heir any time he wanted to, and Democrats usually win when running younger, charismatic, outsider-type candidates instead of insidery, elder statesman types. Maybe that would be different with Clinton specifically, since she's iconic in a way that Kerry and Gore aren't. I don't really know.
Still, given all that, if she could get some ambivalent Democrats to definitely vote for Obama it is eminently worth checking out. None of this stuff is insurmountable and a lot of such a decision depends on the situation in 2012. This particular point, though, by Tomasky strikes me as off-base:
She would help rev up women and Latinos, and she's [sic] raise the comfort level on a second Obama term inside the Beltway establishment, which generally speaking likes her a lot and consider the Potus a little unproven as yet.
Actually, they hated her up until she won rural whites in Ohio, which showed that she can reach the holy grail of politics, or whatever. Anyway, this is not an argument for Clinton as VP, but rather for Mike Bloomberg as VP. I think that's a pretty lousy idea, since Bloomberg has no experience in the federal government and delivers pretty much nobody who wasn't going to vote Democrat already, but the Village's obsession with the man--to the point of imagining running mates for the guy!--along with his genuine skill leads me to believe that Obama might want to consider bringing him into the government in some way. Considering his talents are mainly for running large and unwieldy institutions with technocratic efficiency, and that is stature is decidedly independent, something like Secretary of Defense seems like an interesting idea to me. Of course, Bloomberg probably knows little about defense policy, but maybe the Villagers would assume that putting Bloomberg in the Cabinet equals seriousness about government or something.

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.