Pros and Cons: Hillary Clinton as Obama’s Running Mate

May 24 2008 Published by under Featured News

One of the most divisive questions currently among Democrats is the matter of the so called “Dream Ticket” with Hillary Clinton as Barack Obama’s running mate this fall. On average 60% of Clinton supporters favor it, and 60% of Obama supporters oppose it, but what are the pros and cons to having Hillary on the ticket with Obama?

Resume: Sen. Hillary Clinton is currently the junior senator from the state of New York. She also was the only other major contender for the 2008 Democratic nomination. Prior to her Senate election in 2000, she was the First Lady of the United States from 1993-2001. After graduating from Yale in 1973, she spent a brief period working as a Congressional legal counsel. She then followed her future husband Bill Clinton to Arkansas in 1974, and spent much of the remainder of that decade teaching law and working as a patent and intellectual property attorney. During her husband’s terms as Arkansas governor, she was that state’s first Lady from 1979-1981, and 1983-1992.

Pros for Picking Clinton: One of the fascinating things about the 2008 Democratic primary campaign is that Clinton and Obama have split the electorate, with neither candidate being able break into the other’s base of support. Obama has struggled with rural, older, white, less educated and blue collar voters. Many of these groups have been a part of the foundation of the Democratic for a long time, and Clinton has dominated with these voters throughout the primary year.

She would also go a long way towards comforting any fears that voters may have about Obama’s experience. Her popularity with women is overwhelming, and her aggressive campaign style would help offset the cerebral nature of Obama. On its surface, this could be a ticket that would heal the wounds of a long and bruising primary campaign, and completely unify the Democratic Party.

Cons for Picking Hillary Clinton: Clinton may strongly appeal to certain types of Democratic voters, but she has huge unfavorable number of 50% or more with the nation at large. She has already polarized the country. With Hillary Clinton also comes the baggage of the Clinton years. By choosing her, Obama would be attaching himself to the scandals and drama of the 1990s. Right now, Obama’s Republican opponent John McCain is left with making the same tired experience argument against him, but if Clinton is added to the ticket, he inherits all the Clintons negatives.

Obama has also spent a year and half defining Clinton as the establishment, and linking her to the kind of politics that needs to change in Washington. If he were to select Clinton, he would be throwing that message away, and risk alienating many of the new supporters he brought into the process by campaigning as a different kind of politician practicing a new kind of politics. Plus, how would Obama govern as president, with a vice president who is lusting for his job and her husband, a former president, looking over his shoulder?

Odds of Obama Selecting Clinton: The idea of an Obama-Clinton Dream Ticket sounds a lot better in theory than it would work in practice. If the Obama campaign sees no other way to appeal to white blue collar voters than to have Clinton on the ticket, they might do it. Overall, the negatives of having Clinton on the ticket greatly outweigh the positives. Obama wants to take his message of change and hope into the general election, and selecting Hillary Clinton would undermine the main theme of his campaign.

The Choice O Meter says:

OOO (3 Os out of 10 for Hillary Clinton)

You can read Pros and Cons: Bill Richardson right here.

6 responses so far