One of the things I thought I knew last year before Barack Obama even declared his candidacy for president is that the Democratic ticket this year would be Clinton/Obama. As John notes below, Obama did an impressive job today ridiculing Hillary Clinton’s trial baloon inviting Democrats to consider the possibilities. Still, Rich Lowry is not impressed. He makes an impressive case that Obama may yet succumb to Clinton’s blandishments.
I don’t think so. We have learned in the course of the campaign that Obama is a smart man and an impressive candidate. The thesis of his candidacy is that he is a messianic political character. He has come to heal America’s divisions and to redeem the time. He has struck a chord with many followers who have come to believe in him.
In this light, at least, it seems unlikely to me that the vice presidency is an acceptable option for Obama. On its own terms, the vice presidency would require Obama to act as a spokesman for the Clinton administration. Is he really willing to undertake a role that makes him a mouthpiece and relegates him to the status of an understudy?
Under traditional circumstances it might not be unlikely. If there is anything the campaign has taught us, however, it is that Obama’s role in a Clinton adminstration would not just be that of the traditional second banana. He would be third banana. It is a role that would diminish him twice over, and I think he is too smart to take it.
JOHN adds: I wish I had written “second banana” on purpose to set Scott up, in which case I would claim an assist. I didn’t; but, Scott, you are absolutely right. Whatever the appeal of serving in a Clinton/Obama administration might be, the appeal of a Clinton/Clinton/Obama administration is a great deal less. Moreover, the Clintons are a train wreck waiting to happen, and Obama would be crazy to put his political future in hock to–not to put too fine a point on it–Bill Clinton’s zipper. Like Scott, I think that if Obama doesn’t get the nomination, he will give Hillary a polite “No thank you” and stay in the Senate.
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