Thursday, June 05, 2008

How Hillary Lost It

Clinton for Veep? What's in it for me? American Presidents do tend to think that they rule the world, and the world thinks that they are entitled to an opinion how Americans should choose their president. On a more serious note, everyone in the world seems to get affected by the choice of American President, and therefore the interest is real and practical.

So, I should have a say in who Obama, now that he is the Democratic candidate, chooses as his running mate. There has been a lot of speculation on Hillary Clinton, and Mrs. Clinton herself has positioned her candidature. She said she was open to the idea and have not conceded yet, apparently a gesture to be in the race. There was a talk about the Dream Ticket - Obama-Clinton Ticket - for a long time now, and people tend to believe that this will make a great combination and unite the democratic party, which stands bitterly divided. Obama himself has pronounced that Mrs. Clinton will have a role to play in his administration. Democratic super-delegates and leaders do seem to want it too - as Clinton in fact won most of the big states and Obama proved unable to attract White American Blue Collar workers, for whom he is too much of a change.

So, it does make political sense, and there are precedences of bitterly divided candidates making it to the winning ticket. The famous example of Reagan is being cited - he came in as an outsider, and then teamed up with establishment's George H W Bush and went on to win the Presidency. And, though Vice-Presidents have a small role, getting a strong candidate who can draw votes certainly helps, as having LBJ on the ticket would have helped John Kennedy to win Southern votes.

However, despite these apparent common sense reasons, Clinton has earned herself several disqualifying points along the way. First, she was a bad looser. She should have conceded the race long back and teamed up with Obama. She worked steadfastly to undermine Obama over last few months. Taking her on the ticket will now look like an act of convenience rather than conviction for Obama. Second, Obama-Clinton ticket will be too revolutionary. A commentator said - America has apetite for one revolution at a time. Third, throughout the campaign, various political observers and journalists remarked on Hillary's inability to look to people in their eye as she spoke to them. One Iowan democrat has also observed that 'she is George W in a skirt'. In an election where connecting back to American people is everything, she will be a great liability. Lastly, by dragging it for so long, Mrs Clinton almost made herself redundant. She will find it difficult to answer questions on Obama's credentials. Expect a lot of debaters quoting herself against her. Besides, she proved herself a divisive candidate and she has no place on an Obama ticket, which seeks to reunite America.

So, I am not alone when I hope/ pray that Obama does not choose Clinton as his running mate. Farhan, an astute political observer from Bangladesh [he is a friend and a successful business leader too], is praying that Obama chooses John Edwards. Despite my knowledge that Farhan is a great admirer of John McCain [he always was, even before McCain was officially in the race], I think he represents the sentiments of many like me who would want to see Obama as the next US president. John Edwards is less revolutionary, less divisive and more appealing to the White American Male Blue Collar worker. His candidature makes a lot more sense than Clinton's.

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