Thursday, May 8, 2008

How Clinton Might Leave

Political Analysis

Back on March 30, I wrote Obama: Clinton Welcome To Keep Campaigning.

He took the high road then

Obama's taking, if not the high road, at least the moderate road now, in a memo to Superdelegates, calling the Clinton strategy "entertaining" but not "legitimate."

This owes a debt to Dan Conley's Salon article, What does Hillary want?

Second, this is analysis, not what I necessarily think personally is the best solution for the country or for either the Clinton or Obama campaigns. It is however, what I think is happening, from a political point of view, and what will get Campaign Clinton to concede the nomination fight.

In the face of the Clinton campaign's promise to fight on -- which they must say to show strength for their negotiations over terms of quitting -- what are the promises from the Obama Camp which would induce Clinton to quit, and support Obama with her full strength, not just for show?

1) Clinton needs her campaign debt paid off by Obama, so she leaves the campaign not owning anyone money. This includes her personal loans to the campaign. This part is simple. Clinton will fight and fight and fight, till Obama agrees. The winner paying the loser's debts is also fairly traditional.

2) Clinton will want some promotions -- say, President Clinton to the next Supreme Court opening, and her to Senate Majority Leader. That has the advantage of being such a powerful position she'd be unlikely to ever run again for President. Further, it plays to her strength. She's much more a legislator, than an executive.

3) She needs a major plank, perhaps health care, which has always been her signature issue, to go her way. Then Elizabeth Edwards will be happy, and Clinton can say to her supporters that my campaign made a difference. It stood for something. It changed what we have fought for all these years. Finally... finally health care in America is going to change. YOU made that happen. Together we won. THAT would be worth the whole campaign to her, in the years to come, politically... to be able to take credit for health care, especially if as Senate Majority Leader she was then in a position to not just sponsor the legislation, but oversea and control its passage.

4) Lastly, Clinton doesn't need Campaign Obama to let her control the VP pick, but she'll want a veto over Bill Richardson, because she and President Clinton are PISSED at Richardson right now. Heh.

Does Clinton want to be VP herself? I don't think so.

The up-side for Clinton being Vice President would be that the odds of Obama being assassinated during two terms of office, which are much higher of course, for an African-American Democratic President than any President we've ever had before. The race-bating has already started as LM and Maggie point out.

The down-side is, being VP is a thankless, powerless job (Cheney not withstanding) and Clinton would unquestionably be locked out of power in an Obama administration. Her style is the opposite of Obama's, and to Obama's most fervent supporters (admittedly, the Obama-manics are at best, perhaps 10-15% of those who will hopefully vote for Obama) Clinton is the epitome of everything wrong with Democratic politics; putting Clinton on the ticket would upset this part of the party.

Further, if Obama should die with her at VPOTUS, Clinton would instantly become the center of the worst paranoid conspiracy shit-storm in U.S. history. Clinton is a fiercely intelligent woman, who must also balance out the opportunity to get close to her life-long dream of becoming President of the United States. Perhaps it is necessary in this sexist country for a woman to become Vice President before one can become President. Everything considered, I suspect Senator Clinton will go for the surer route to real power -- Senate Majority Leader.

Give her these four points, a major photo op with Clinton and Obama where they make lovey-dovey and endorse, and she pulls out May 21, the day after the next major round of primaries (so she goes out after a major victory.)

Don't, and Clinton goes scorched earth at the May 31 meeting, working to get Florida and Michigan seated, and takes it till stopped by the Super Delegates, Dean, or Denver.

These are my predictions. Remember -- I'm usually wrong on short-term political predictions. *laughs* My track record on technology is first rate, same with long term speculation about the future... I'm not as good as Sara is as I don't have the discipline and training she has, or the vocabulary (thus, the distinctions.) But my track record is good.

Short-range politics... not so much. But it's fun to play.

Enjoy yourself in comments (and please, no personal attacks.)