Hillary’s first and last chance to become the first woman elected President of the United States
Hillary Needs Obama
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If a week in politics is a lifetime then Hillary Clinton has lived this lifetime to the fullest thanks to voters in Ohio, Rhode Island and Texas.
She went from being on the verge of exiting the Democratic Presidential sweepstakes to sitting in the pole position in next month’s Pennsylvania Primary.
But despite her newfound success, Hillary Clinton stills needs Barack Obama if she is to win the White House never mind the nomination of her party.
Indeed, Hillary almost said as much during an appearance on CBS’ The Early Show. “That may be where this is headed, but of course we have to decide who is on top of the ticket,” said the Senator from New York, “I think the people of Ohio very clearly said that it should be me.”
But let’s look at the facts. Obama has at least 100 more committed delegates than Hillary. Obama has raised more money than Hillary. Obama has also brought more people into the Democratic Party than Hillary. That is a lot for any candidate to overcome. Hillary is still in the race but has not regained the lead.
There is a very good chance this race will not be decided until the Democratic National Convention this August in Denver. Should that be the case the super delegates enter stage left. I have every confidence in the political machinations and maneuverings of the Clintons. If anyone could come into a nominating convention behind and come out on top it would be Hillary Clinton.
Of course, the super delegates could prove to be a poison pill. Hillary might very well win the nomination with the help of the super delegates but in so doing could irrevocably alienate a significant segment of the Democratic Party, especially African Americans and younger voters.
The only serum that can offset the effects of this poison pill would be if Hillary were able to persuade Obama to be her running mate on the Democratic ticket. If there would ever be a time for Obama to use his rhetorical skills to unite the Democratic Party it would be in a scenario where Hillary and Obama delegates could be literally tearing each other apart.
Hillary won’t nominate Obama as her running mate out of want but out of need.
The last thing Hillary Clinton was expecting after John Kerry lost the 2004 election was that, in seeking her party’s approval, she would be in the fight of her political life with a neophyte in 2008. If Obama’s candidacy had resulted in him winning only in South Carolina then Hillary would not have to offer him anything. The nomination would have been hers.
While there is a great deal of affection for Hillary amongst middle aged white women and Hispanics, it is clear that many Democrats hate Hillary as much as Republicans do. For every conservative like Ann Coulter who hates John McCain so much she’ll vote for Hillary there are two Democrats who hate Hillary so much they’ll vote for McCain. This is only offset if Hillary lets Obama into the picture.
Even if Obama plays second fiddle to Hillary, he still wins. Even if Clinton-Obama loses this fall, he still gets another chance to lead the band. Obama did not need Hillary to come this far. If he wins the nomination he would not need her in November. Obama does not need Hillary - ever. Oh, Obama would certainly ask her to be his running mate out of political courtesy. But Hillary is not in this race so she can be number two and Obama knows it. This is Hillary’s first and last chance to become the first woman elected President of the United States. For this to come to pass, Hillary needs Obama.
Aaron Goldstein was a card carrying member of the socialist New Democratic Party of Canada (NDP). Since 09/11, Aaron has reconsidered his ideological inclinations and has become a Republican. Aaron lives and works in Boston.