Hillary's Deal and Obama's Dilemma

Keep your enemies closer?

At long last - long, long last - it appears that Hillary Clinton has finally read the handwriting on the wall, heard the fat lady sing, seen the clock strike midnight, and had her coachmen turn back into the mice they always were.  If news reports are to be believed (and on this particular point, they have been wrong before), she will be suspending her campaign as of this weekend.

Suspending?  Not ending, and conceding to Barack Obama that he's won fair and square?

No.  Because in Hillary's eyes, he hasn't actually won quite yet.  She has more popular votes than he, and he does not have a lock on the required number of delegates.

Yes, he has earned a great many delegates in the various primaries and caucuses, most of whom are obliged by law to vote for him at the convention, but his earned delegates are not quite enough to get him over the top.  Come what may, Obama cannot win without the support of a majority of the infamous superdelegates, the Democratic party elders.

It is true that he has a list of publicly-pledged superdelegates sufficient to secure the nomination.  Unlike the ordinary delegates, however, the superdelegates are not required to keep to their commitments; they're free to vote their consciences, or their own self-interest as the case may be.  They're very good at doing that, after all, they're professional politicians.  Up until the very moment when they cast their votes, their minds can change.

Hillary and Obama are both intimately aware of this fact; after all, Obama has scooped up a significant number of noisy public endorsements from delegates who had previously publicly supported Hillary, but decided to jump the fence.  As  women who persuade men to leave their current wives and marry them instead often learn, once a welsher, ...

Is it likely that Hillary will be able to drag a couple hundred supers back to her side?  No, it's not all that likely; but it's possible.  That's the threat Hillary now holds over Obama as she announces so kindly that she "would consider" accepting his gift of the Vice Presidential slot.

Consider?  Yeah, for about a New York minute before she'd say "Yes!"

This presents Obama with the first absolutely critical decision of his presidency - one which cannot be undone, the consequences of which cannot fully be known, and which will permanently and decisively affect his future and that of the country.

Hillary has a large number of absolutely rabid supporters who adore her but distrust Obama.  As with the Yeswiccans who say they'll vote for McCain unless Obama's on the ticket, many of her people have publicly announced they'll vote for McCain if she's off the ticket.

How many of these are there?  Do they mean it or are they just blowing smoke?  Will they come 'round by November?  No one knows.

In a 50/50 nation, with the Republican nominee being perfectly positioned well away from the radioactive excesses of recent Republicanism, it's a potentially deadly threat.  Spurn Hillary, and Obama may very well be gifting McCain with the Oval Office.

Barack has the opportunity to play it safe.  Select Hillary as Vice, and it is difficult to imagine how McCain could win absent some sort of miracle.  Obama's and Hillary's enthusiastic supporters, combined, are more than enough to swamp the Republicans this year, especially considering how angry many conservatives are with their nominee.  The odds would be in favor of a Democratic landslide the likes of which have not been seen since the days of FDR.

Then what?  Obama would have gained the White House, but Hillary, and more important, Bill, would be living not too far away, involved in every decision, looking over every shoulder, and as the saying goes, "just a heartbeat away" from having all their hopes and dreams fulfilled.  Is it likely that Obama could be a strong, decisive, effective leader under those circumstances?  Or is it more likely that he would have to spend most of his time in front of a mirror checking his back for daggers?

They say "three's a crowd"; this would be one crowd that would surely turn into an awful catfight, especially with the volatile Michelle Obama thrown into the mix.  It might be fun to watch the show, but the drama would certainly not leave much of a legacy for the First Truly Black President.

Barack Obama must now choose: guarantee himself a presidency but a failed one, or take the chance of no presidency at all at this time but with the possibility of being President on his own terms.  Which will he pick?

After all, even if he lost, he could run again, he's certainly young enough.  Democrat's don't generally like to let people run again, but Mr. Obama has shown that he can go around the party leadership at need, look how the superdelegates are switching to his side as they see how the wind blows.  And if he did win it without Hillary, he would be free to govern as he has run, as his own man.

This is a decision he has to make.  Nobody can decide this for him.  Sure, he's appointed a committee to consider the question, but nobody's going to force him to spew or swallow Hillary but he himself.

We may soon learn a lot about what kind of a man he really is.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Petrarch or other articles on Politics.
Reader Comments
What's funny about all this is that Hillary has won the popular vote so far and yet Obama is the selected nominee. Which party was it again that had such a problem in 2000 with the popular vote not mattering? Hmm...
June 7, 2008 1:21 PM
Something everyone needs to realize is that elections have nothing to do with fairness, the will of the people, or anything like that. Elections are about nothing more nor less than getting power.

The Republicans badly betrayed their core voting group so they lost power nearly 2 years ago. When the Dems took over, they didn't clean up the ethics rules because now that they were in on the gravy, they wanted to let the good times roll. Theft went on as before. the economy tanked because rich people thought the next president would be a Democrat and that he'd sign the silly laws that Pelosi's people are passing. Wanting to stay right, they sold out and bought gold.

The Dems are as elitist as a party can get. Dems have super delegates in case the people vote for the wrong candidate; Republicans don't. You are right about the popular vote not mattering much. The elites decided they wanted Obama instead of Hillary; you could hear the supers switching over the last few months.
June 7, 2008 1:44 PM
greetings, my frantic crackers! before you rant and rave about the dangers of blackness let's re-examine some much needed faxs. shall we! obama has overwhelmingly won the popular vote. the people have spoken. they hate mz. hillary clinton. in case, you ain't noticed, obama has more than she does already!! so chillax already!
June 7, 2008 4:10 PM
I have a question for chillax - If the people hate Mz. Hillary Clinton, would it be a good thing for Mr. Obama to put her on the ticket with him as vice president candidate, or should he pick someone else? Some other woman, say, such as Nancy Pelosi? Could that calm down Hillary's friends who say they won't vote for Mr. Obama?
June 7, 2008 4:52 PM
I want hillary to come back next 4 years, so no deal for the DNC.
June 11, 2008 7:42 AM
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